enduring uncertainty

The ability to endure through uncertain situations or unpredictable times of life demonstrates the necessary amount of faith and belief in ourselves that transcends circumstance. A uncertaintyseemingly invisible, yet undeniable drive underlies all attitude, effort, and action. It’s this consistent focus that harnesses hesitation, produces action over apprehension, and capitalizes on chaos with a solution-oriented perspective.

Sticking with things after we’ve stuck our neck out is a virtue that reveals character. To endure means to face with courage. Though giving up seems like the easier, softer way at times; the long-term consequences of quitting often far eclipse any apparent short-term gains in certainty and stability. Enduring uncertainty requires an attainment of presence in the present. Presence is recognizing the now today… by accepting yesterday… while embracing, not fearing tomorrow.

©2008 Tom Leu

the difference

goodAre you good enough to be replaced? Or are you valuable enough to be irreplaceable? Being good at something and valuable for something is not the same thing. Sometimes simply being good isn’t good enough. You can be good, even very good, yet not good for something or someone at some point in time… there is a difference. And real wisdom lies in knowing and acting on this difference.

©2008 Tom Leu

as you are

One of my old mentors used to tell me that the world is as you are, not as it is

distortedperceptionsIt’s an interesting observation that has stuck with me.

How we “see” things influences how we “feel” about those things.

How you think = How you are.

So… since (our) perception is (our) reality, doesn’t it make sense to change our perception when our reality is in need of change?

But how? How does one go about changing their perceptions?

Two ways:

1) Get honest about any long-held perceptions that may not serve you anymore. Fall out of love with the notion that your way of seeing things is the only “right” way. It rarely is. If you don’t have the objectivity to do this yourself, ask someone else who really knows you to help.

2) Become willing to consider another viewpoint. Being willing doesn’t mean blindly agreeing. Do some homework and investigate other viewpoints for yourself. Sometimes the very act of trying to challenge or disprove another perspective exposes new information that was unseen before.

No one likes to change. Change makes people defensive. Change is hard. But change is necessary for growth.

Think back one, five, even ten or more years ago… how much have you changed?

Is “as you are” today really the way you want your world to be tomorrow?

If not, then keep what’s working and get rid of the rest. Your world depends on it.

©2008 Tom Leu

fantasy football

Fantasy Football is an extremely popular recreational activity for footbal buffs and sports junkies everywhere. The rules are simple: You select and assemble a “make believe” NFL team consisting of real players whose performance on your fantasy team is based on their real-life football statistics. The better your team’s players perform during their actual NFL games, the better your collective artificial team does. Kinda cool… Part reality; part fantasy. Sort of like real-life isn’t it?

Don’t we take real people and their real actions and behaviors, and then assemble them into our own new reality? We pick and choose who we want on our “team,” and then base the success of our team on our people’s performance (their actions and behaviors). If they do well (in our opinion), we are happy. If their performance is not up to our standards, or does not meet our expectations, we get upset. The irony of all this is that we have absolutely no control of the outcome though we try very hard to control our success by playing the odds based on other people’s past performances.

Of course yesterday does not always equal tomorrow, but history can and should be a consideration of future performance. The quality and content of our lives is certainly more important than football games, but living in reality rather than in fantasy can be far more challenging at times than we care to admit. If you consistently find yourself making excuses while pursuing “escape mode” with any number of vices, devices and distractions, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart with your “head” coach. Game on…

©2008 Tom Leu

secrets

Most people carry around secrets; some dark, some not. These are powerful things that we don’t want others to ever know about, but often wish to get off our chest. Things we may go to great lengths to hide that can end up haunting us.

We’re often attracted to the idea of something, rather than the actuality of it. Secrets are concealed because of their powerful appeal and allure, despite one’s conscience . The attraction is often great enough to overcome the resulting feelings of guilt or moral dilemmas present to engage in the activity anyway. It’s a twisted proposition that comes overflowing with mixed emotions. It’s a no-win situation; a situation in which everyone involved eventually loses whether they realize it or not. The resulting pain and suffering is often chronic and profound.

We’re taught to learn from our mistakes. But some mistakes may carry hard lessons that no one should ever have to learn if they can be avoided. The innocence of ignorance may very well be the bliss and serenity we’re all searching for. Maybe some things are best left undiscovered. Maybe…

©2008 Tom Leu

storytelling 101

I loved this presentation… for its message AND its energy! I got it from a very cool site called Slideshare.net. And since we are all in the “presentation” business both personally and professionally at times, it’s worth the 3½ minute-watch.

Like I preach incessantly in my classrooms…

Communication is King!

Get great at it, in all ways, always.

©2008 Tom Leu

common sense?

I often hear people critcize or dismiss other’s ideas by labeling it as “common sense.” Common sense indicates that the majority of people intuitively understand and already “know” the information that is being presented. And this fact of knowing indirectly asserts that the information is somehow less valuable because it’s “common” and therefore a commodity. So labeling something as common sense carries a deragatory connotation… but herein lies the irony:

Common Sense does not equal Uncommon Success…

Knowing and doing are two completely different things. Yes, it’s true that we all know many, many things. We may intellectually understand and often agree on a vast amount of knowledge about ourselves and about our world. But equally true is that most people do not DO what they know. This is not a judgement, but a statistical reality. Generally speaking, most people are not successful at applying the knowledge that is available to them. Proclaiming something as common sense seems to become a defense mechanism people employ to manage their disappointment around their lack of productive activity. Uncommon success in any area of life requires taking common sense on the road. It’s not enough to know something or to simply talk about something. You have to do something and make things happen for the common to become uncommon.

Smoking is an obvious, yet powerful example. No one will argue that smoking is hazardous for the health of the human body. It causes disease and people die from it everyday. We can call this common sense because everybody knows it. Yet millions still smoke despite this common knowledge. So what do we call common sense that is unacted upon? The norm… unfortunately. History proves that the most profound wisdom and universal truths are simple to understand but difficult to implement. Identifying something as common sense then is the beginning, not the end.

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” – Albert Einstein

Of course what some call common sense, others call crazy. It becomes a matter of perspective based on one’s social, cultural and educational background. So maybe we could benefit from re-learning some universal “common sense” principles that affect our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. But more importantly, maybe we can then learn to apply some of this knowledge and information to improve not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us. Sounds like common sense to me…

©2008 Tom Leu

silent listening

Do you realize that the words SILENT and LISTEN are spelled with the exact same letters? I didn’t until it was pointed out to me… so what?

Clean the ego out of the ears.

True listening cannot exist without the listener being silent… not only verbally silent, but mentally silent. Not speaking is much easier than turning the mind off momentarily and really paying attention to someone else. Real listening does not include planning what you are going to say next. Easier said than done.

Authentic listening is active and requires effort, empathy, focus and concentration toward another. To truly hear someone, we have to be able to be still and really listen to them. We need to lean into what they are saying and attempt to understand what they are really trying to tell us. This takes practice but the rewards are huge.

Did you hear me?

©2008 Tom Leu