September, 2008:

Drop the Agenda, Grumpy Guy

Disneyworld bills itself as “the happiest place on earth.” For many of us who visit Disneyworld, that statement rings true. The sounds of laughter, the scent of funnel cake and popcorn, and the excited expressions on children’s faces combine to create a magical atmosphere. Why is it that some people can’t help but to sabotage what may be the most rewarding time of their family’s life?

Some people are so self-centered that their agenda takes precedence over fun and relaxation. I agree that having a plan is important. It can provide a road map with which to organize activities for everyone to enjoy. However if the person making the plan lacks flexibility it is a recipe for disaster.

Think about the tight-jawed, red faced man wearing the obligatory Grumpy t-shirt with his concerned looking wife and silent children following close behind.  His intense gait lets you know that he is on a mission. Although the tightly gripped map in his right hand is crumpled and wet, it is still legible. No time to look through the Mickey Mouse gift shop, he has Fast Passes for the new ride and by God he won’t miss his time. He’s the guy that will periodically TELL his family how much fun they are having while ignoring the expressions on their faces which tell a very different story.

Did you grow up with this guy? Are you this guy? Does anyone like this guy? Hell no, nobody likes this guy. People get as far away from him as quickly as possible. He is a drag. There are some very easy ways to make sure that you are never that guy. By the way ladies, you can be that guy, too. 

  • When making plans, leave room for flexibility
  • Understand why you are where you are. For example, if you are somewhere with your kids, their agenda should always come first. This isn’t at the expense of your fun and happiness, this is your fun and happiness
  • Along the lines of planning with flexibility, be willing to adapt to the conditions in which you find yourself. It may rain. The show may get cancelled. The people you are with may decide what you are doing sucks. Adapt and you will maintain peace of mind
  • Finally, and this is extremely important, lose the Grumpy t-shirt. It’s not funny. It’s hackneyed.If you are an asshole you certainly don’t need a t-shirt to prove it.

By dropping or adjusting your agenda you leave room for fun and joy. Hopefully that is why you are planning your activity to begin with. Enjoy the people you are around and be someone others enjoy.

Welcome to the new site!

Welcome to the new and improved site for The Fearless and Joyful Life! As we move forward we will continue to make this site more useful, easier to navigate, and of course, much prettier.
My mission is to provide content that inspires and challenges all of us to improve our relationships and ourselves. With an enthusiastic and passionate attitude we will accomplish these goals.
I will write about what is important to me but I also want to hear from you. Comment often and let others know about this site. Let me know what is important to you and ways to make all of our lives Fearless and Joyful.

How’s Your Day?

What have you done today? Did you spend a lot of time complaining? Were you consumed with self-pity? Did you obsess on what other people may have been thinking about you? Were you indignant? Rebellious? 

Or did you make it a point to praise someone? Did you think about ways you could help someone? Did you compliment another person to a third-party? Were you open and loving? Cooperative?

Here’s my point. When circumstances are somewhat “normal”, you are in complete control of the condition of your day. Even when there are unexpected circumstances you are in control of your reactions or responses. If today is sub-par or down right sucks, take a moment and pause. Take a look at the questions above and determine which state of mind represents you today. If you’ve been a cynical and negative asshole and feel bad, change your perspective. Start right now. The people who love and care about you are waiting…….

Viral Gratitude

We all have certain days or holidays that remind us of the importance of gratitude. I am not writing this to scold anyone with some self-righteous “it shouldn’t take a special day to make you grateful!” statement. I am, however, taking advantage of the opportunity to point out how important it is to share our gratitude with those we love.

Gratitude empowers. It galvanizes. When words of gratitude are spoken both the person sharing the feeling and the one receiving the message benefit. As a result of this strength, anybody else who comes in contact with either of these people is affected. They feel better and may not even know why. The more grateful people there are out and about will allow these feelings to spread like a virus.

The term “viral marketing” is very popular. It describes how one person’s opinion and the willingness to share that opinion has far-reaching effects. I challenge everyone to practice viral gratitude. If there is someone you are grateful for today, share it with them. Just one person. Ask them to share it with someone else. Don’t limit yourself to sharing your gratitude with a list that only you see. As this gratitude spreads, know that you have made the world a better place.

Is there a better way to honor today?

Radically Change

I am currently at the annual Live and Learn Conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Live and Learn is a conference my family and I have attended for the past four years. Through it we have made many valuable connections and gained vital validation for the direction we have chosen to  build our family. In case you were wondering, Live and Learn is a conference for families who adhere to a philosophy called “radical un-schooling.”

Without going into an entire explanation of radical un-schooling, which would be very subjective anyway, I am going to share a synopsis of my experiences at these conferences from an emotional and awareness based perspective. 

Wendy, my wife, and I discussed our philosophies in regard to child rearing long before our daughter was born. Neither one of us bought into the classically accepted educational practices that are common in our society and we wanted our daughter to know that she is an equal member of our family from day one. I combined both of these thoughts into one sentence for a reason. Our society has an obsession with catergorizing people, children in particular. A large part of this catergorization begins the first day a child steps into a classroom. From standardized tests to standardized lessons, people are taught to seek the status quo and “rise” to the level of normal. While this phenomenon is taking place children are also reminded daily that they are less important than the adults in their lives on all levels. Their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires are dismissed as childish whims or as a waste of valuable time. These messages are reinforced every time a child is reprimanded and told to be quiet or to leave adults alone.

It is unbelievable to me that people act confused as to how we have the societal problems we have. The values of creativity, compassion, and communication are sold out to the gods of compliance, status quo, and secret keeping. By the way, if you disagree with the secret keeping part ask yourself if you believe in the limiting, yet popular, belief of “it’s nobody’s business.” There are some simple solutions that begin at home. These solutions are simple to understand but hard to do. For many people it means challenging some belief systems that have existed for generations. However if your life is filled with acrimony and you are having a difficult time making connections with people, children in particular, keep reading.

  1. Love is a much more powerful influence than societal pressure. Simply stop and realize that no matter how badly you may desire the acceptance of society as a whole, you are surrounded by people who want what is best for you all of the time. If you truly believe this you will continue to attract more people to you who share this belief
  2. Life is not a race. It is neither a 50 yard dash or a marathon. Don’t you love hackneyed cliches? Although I understand what people are trying to explain with this statement, it is still a limiting belief. Life, as an experience, is not a competition of any variety. Live through love. Love through understanding. Understand through connecting. Catch my drift?
  3. Your mind is yours. Experience your life. Control, judgement, criticism, and complaining create jaded and lonely people. I have been all of these things before. It sucks. Joy and happiness are free to anyone who seeks them. If you are a negative person you have the power to change right now. It doesn’t matter what your process may be, you can change right now. What does it take? A decision. Decide that you want a life filled with laughter and love and it is yours. 

Radically un-learn. Many people have developed entire belief systems on lack and negativity. Always know that this is a choice. There is always someone who understands. There is always a way to change. There is always someone who loves you, even those who are convinced that they are unloveable.

Until next time…..