Spending time worrying about something you cannot control is like making payments on a debt you will never owe.

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Some of us will spend countless hours stressing over something or obsessing about an outcome that may or may not even happen. It’s an emotion fueled by fear and worrying is our way of coping. It takes up a lot of time and energy, which are our most precious commodities. It’s time and energy that you will never get back, whether what you are worried about happens or not. Imagine forking over $100 for every hour that you worried about something you can’t control over your lifetime. How much money would you be out? Here’s the double zinger – only 1% of what we worry about happening ever actually happens. Continue reading

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Absence is the mother of all disillusion

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This adage is the flip side of the more famous: absence makes the heart grow fonder. The one is a romantic notion. The other speaks to cold truth. Few know this saying or harness its power. In fairness, it is not an easy pill to swallow.
 

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If you can’t bite, never show your teeth

IMG_1396The other day, I mentioned a little about confrontation. I wanted to delve deeper into the point with today’s adage. When one enters into a confrontation, presence of mind is critical to succeed. That is not always possible. Continue reading

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A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

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We find comfort in our daily routines, relationships and how our life is simply because it is what we know. It is our safe space, where we feel comfortable with who we are and how we have created our life. The problem is, by staying in that same place not challenging yourself, you stagnate. We stay where we are because we are scared of the unknown – whether that unknown is horrible or great. And without those challenges, triumphs and failures, we are incapable of growth.

We may choose to stay in unfulfilling jobs, relationships and situations because it’s the devil we know versus the devil we don’t know. Some of us are so scared of being alone that we rationalize staying in relationships that aren’t healthy or where we aren’t happy. Why? Because it may be crappy, but at least we know what to expect. Continue reading

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People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

People shouldn’t judge or criticize someone else for having the same flaws that they have. By doing so, it takes the focus off of themselves and onto someone else, creating a nice little buffer of cognitive dissonance.

It’s easier for people to take what they don’t like about themselves and find the same weaknesses or flaws in another person and be vocal about it. It temporarily relieves the uncomfortable feelings they have about themselves. For example, Mary cheated on her history exam. She discovers that John did, too, and she criticizes John for doing the same thing. Mary is taking her own feelings about her own actions and focusing her energy on being critical of John for the same action. Yes, it’s hypocritical. But behind that hypocrisy, is insecurity that we will all likely face at some point in our lives. So how do we learn not to throw stones if we are living in that glass house? Continue reading

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It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live

Today’s adage comes from Marcus Aurelius.  Aurelius championed stoicism. His treatment of fear illustrates the philosophy. In stoic thought, one pays attention to events under one’s own control. It is logical then to not fear death. Death is inevitable. What is not inevitable is life. Life is the sum of our choices. Our choices and our time.

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Danger is real but fear is a choice.

People often confuse fear with danger. Danger is very real, but fear is an emotional response to something that may or may not be real. Let’s take a look at their unique definitions.

Danger: The possibility of suffering harm or injury. A person or thing that is likely to cause harm or injury.

Fear: A strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant emotion caused by actual or perceived danger or threat.

Notice that danger is an action – something that presents a very serious potential outcome of harm. This could be an action you take or another person takes against you, or just simply being in a situation that is dangerous.

Fear is not an action. It’s an emotion. It is a feeling about something that has yet to happen. Its intensity is so powerful that it can impair and skew our judgment when determining what is truly a threat. So how do we learn to conquer our fears rather than let them conquer us? Continue reading

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You will never learn something from those who agree with you

Do you fear confrontation? Most do. It takes stern stuff to stand against a foe. But when we only hear agreement, we do not learn anything new. Take our competing echo chambers. One side declares the other to be corrupt. And all the blind mice line up on both sides to harrumph their assent. We grow weaker with every passing debate.

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Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

When you decide to act on seeking revenge on someone, you inevitably end up poisoning your own mind because you are so fixed on harming someone who has harmed you. Once that seed takes root in your mind and you choose to take action, you go down a path that you can’t come back from.

Movie and television plots are laden with the theme of revenge…and we can’t stop watching them. It’s what drives the story and allows us to connect to the characters. The impulse to right the wrong that happened resonates with us. The idea of exacting sweet revenge on someone who has done us wrong is a natural human response backed up by science. MRI scans have shown that thinking about revenge activates the reward center in our brains and releases dopamine. But does carrying it out really benefit us? Continue reading

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You can’t judge a book by its cover

We’ve heard this adage so often we ignore the deeper meaning. Within are two gems for our hectic, modern lives. The first concerns the sense on which we most rely. What we see is what we get only in text editors and many times not even then. Continue reading

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