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What is time? I posed that question to my father when I was a young boy. His answer has been with me ever since. "Danny," he said..."Time is the rich man's way of telling the poor man when to be at work."

I can't argue with his definition. Of course, he was being simplistic and answering only one aspect of that thing that measures our lives. In fact, it really is the primary measurement of our entire existence. "How old is she?" "How long has he been working here?" "Ahh...what a cutie - and he's grown so quickly in 15 months!" "When did the Earth come into being?" Our questions and statements about time are constant. You've probably checked the time an 
inordinate amount today - just like most people.

We live our lives governed by time. Meetings, deadlines, benchmarks, and other markers of life, are all gauged on, and by, time. But...what REALLY is it in the grander scheme of our everyday lives? How could we measure things without time? 

Time, to me, is just the constant presence of now. That's it. Our time measurements can only happen in the now. As I'm writing this article each moment is a new now. The future only exists in our minds - as does the past. Time is a floating "now" machine. Yeah...I get it. You're gonna say, "Wait a minute - I lived yesterday - I know it for a fact. And...I'm planning for tomorrow because, hopefully, I'll be able to do the things I've posted in my planner." To that I say, "You're absolutely correct!" However, they only happened, or will happen, in a particular now.

When you leave this wonderful spinning globe, will time have any meaning? No. So...time is relative (as Einstein stated). Can it really be wasted. No. Only the efforts you deem necessary and the deadlines you self-imposed are judged, not the time you lived doing (or not doing) them.

With that said, I hope you've enjoyed your time reading this post and perhaps you'll give time a bit more thought. After all...for us it's finite - and now.
 
Contentment is a very special state. It is beyond happiness, residing in a place that calms the soul and brings wisdom to one's existence. A person can live in "poverty" and be perfectly content - just as an individual who is extremely wealthy can be in constant discontentment. So...how does one become content?

It's easier than one thinks. Contentment is based (like so many things in life) in perspective. The secret is to recognize what is really important (not some importance that is thrust upon us by our society or through marketing) and what is not. The ability to laugh at one's self and the absurdities of so many things in life is another aspect that enables a person to become content.

There is a difference between material contentment (living a life of material plenty) and "spiritual" contentment. The first deals with possessions, which...if they should go away, so does the contentment. The other is based in the ability to live beyond the material world and understand that it is the contentment of the body, mind, and soul, that enables a person to travel through life in a contented state.

It also contains elements of that old expression, "Don't get too high with the highs, or low with the lows." Of course, we all experience great joy and happiness, as well as sorrow and tribulations. And yes...our emotions deal with those things in many ways. However - once one understands that these things too shall pass, the recognition that we are living in a journey that is finite helps us see that mellowness, balance, and calmness, will enable us to enjoy all the aspects of life in a deeper, more textured manner.

If you realize that contentment is already inside of you and that all you have to do is reach in, discover it, embrace it, and then live it...you will have found the magic of an incredible way of life.
 
Our society is filled with "noise." Of course...that word is relative. One person's "noise" is another person's "music." However, the constant sounds of our communities - whether one lives in the country, city, or suburbs - can constitute an ongoing, and often unconscious, "hum" that we have all become accustomed to.

That hum sets a pace for each of us. Therefore, to truly clear one's mind...cleaning out the hum is essential.
How is that possible? It's actually easier than you think. In fact, many of you do it without even knowing how or why. Have you ever "zoned out?" It's that state when everything seems to have disappeared from your surroundings and enables you to exist on a level that puts you in a place of relaxation.

Many of us fall into it without any provocation. It just happens. Yet, it's possible to do it on your on. You can facilitate it by staring at an object. closing your eyes and visualizing something such as a beam of light, yourself sitting, the top of your head, or any other myriad of things. The trick is to not focus on items that are emblematic of chaos. Some call the exercise meditation, some call it a form of yoga, and some call it both - by intertwining them. I call it concentrating on peace and serenity.

It may sound difficult. Since we're so used to "noise." And...it also means being fine with being with yourself. Even if you're not...try it and soon you'll find that you're perfectly okay with being alone. Calmness will begin to encompass you as time seems to stop and peace and serenity engulf your being. Once you have accomplished the ability to remain calm on your own, then you will be open to even "higher planes" of existence.

It all starts with recognizing the "noise" and your desire to remove yourself from it. Once you've done that, you're on the path to peace and serenity.
 
For so many individuals a balanced life has become as elusive as catching a cloud. Society's pressures and stresses have moved people away from being in balance with themselves and their surrounding and into a frantic position of constant - and often needless - motion. People have become spinning tops caught in a perpetual state of inertia.


Relaxation even has to be scheduled! What does that say about our view of life and of ourselves? Balance is not something that one does on a mat for a few hours a week, it is a way of life. Prioritizing one's health, family, love, contentment, and living in the now, are all important elements of balance. How can one feel balanced when he or she is always looking at what needs to be done in the future and...when they have not really lived in the present?

What happens if the future doesn't come? Will you have spent your "nows" ignoring their importance for the sake of something that never happened? That doesn't mean that a person shouldn't plan for the future. But...it does mean that he or she shouldn't be obsessed by it. 

To be balanced, at least by my standards, also means to understand the difference between "working to live" and "living to work." It means looking at what's around you and understanding that it could change at any time and that you should "take it all in" and enjoy it. In addition, it is an ability to create a "level plane" for yourself, so that you don't get too high with the "highs" or low with the "lows." And - to be able to laugh robustly - especially at yourself, as well as recognize how to put life in perspective. Plus...it takes a realization that life is always changing. That's just inherent in the state of existence.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that (and I've said this many times before) we create our on constructs, then...often live by them, stress over them, and lose sight of what's truly worthwhile in being alive on this planet. The secret is actually not a secret at all...it's staring you in the face. It's in every person you see, love, and care about. It's recognizing that those you love and who love you in return want you around and not some fancy toy in your stead. It's the mountains, rivers, streams, and sky. It's everything in the universe. And...it's admiring all that while you're here - not letting it pass you by in the humdrum of running around as you focus on what can be, as opposed to what is. 

Balance is enjoying now. Knowing that each now will never be here again. Balance may include planning, but...it's overwhelmingly about being present every moment of your life.
 
What gives anything worth? What makes gold, silver, your services, or products, valuable commodities? It's their perceived value. We put a constructed worth on everything we encounter. From relationships to retail products, diamonds to donuts, and homes to horses, each item in our lives is accorded some type of meaning. And...that meaning is often translated into a value system of one type or another.

When businesses and individuals try to create worth they often forget that it's the perceived value that other people see in what they're "selling" that gives it any meaning whatsoever. Who needs a college education? A new car? Some fancier clothes? Or...the latest knowledge about technology? Well...you do, if you think it brings you value.

Here's the rub - if you give value, people will recognize that whatever they're spending - whether that's time or money - is well worth it. And - if you go "above and beyond" the initially stated product or service and provide even more value than the "customer" thought they were going to get...you're on the road to building great relationships and a solid business. 

It's value that the business and individual should look at first, not revenue. Because...if the value is what you say it is (or beyond what you say it is), then - most assuredly, the revenue will come.

Look first at what value you provide and then build your business and/or individual relationships from there.
 
Leadership is an interesting thing...everybody wants to be leader (in one form or another) but sometimes it's hard to figure out what it takes to be viewed as a one.

I've taught leadership (including writing curriculum for leadership courses) at the university level, continue to do so, and have written books on the subject. My favorite quote about leadership comes from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was also Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War !!, "The art of leadership is getting people to do what you want them to do because he (or she) wants to do it." That pretty much sums it up!

However, as I've said many time, the best leaders are really guides who enable those they "lead" to lead themselves. Below are 7 attributes I believe every individual should aspire to in order to become an effective leader.

1. Know yourself first. If you don't know who you are, how are you going to understand others? Understand your behavior, motivators, and communication skills so that you have a clear perspective of how you view yourself. Once you know who you are, you can transfer that knowledge to your work, your relationships, and communications skills and use them effectively.

2. Be non-judgmental. Let people make mistakes, that's how they grow. Advise with being derogatory. being non-judgmental does not mean that you don't recognize problems, are oblivious to a person's negative behavior, or think that everything is fine. It's only means that you dissect situations rationally before acting.

3. Listen. We, especially in the United States, live in a society where listening has become a premium trait. People are so distracted that they fail to give attention to others for an extensive period of time. If you can learn how to listen...really listen - actively - you will be appreciated by others and looked at as a person that they can speak with.

4. Use humor. The one attribute that ranked the highest (according to a survey cited in Daniel Pink's book "A Whole New Mind") for effective leadership is that the leader be funny. Humor relaxes people, makes them feel that they can relate to the leader, and creates on atmosphere of camaraderie.

5. Be authentic. Authenticity is always key. Most people can uncover a phony relatively quickly. However, sometimes it takes time. If you're "putting on a good face" only to be revealed later as someone who is not authentic, after you've been exposed...you will rapidly lose your credibility. Being authentic and staying authentic builds trust - and maintains it.

6. Become a chameleon. Now...that may seem like the antithesis of number 5, but...it's not. Authentic people have the ability to understand themselves and others to the point where they can make them feel comfortable by transferring their behavior, interests, and attitudes to match those they are dealing with. They've learned what makes people comfortable and have no problem doing so in an authentic and pleasing manner.  

7. Be the example you'd like others to follow. Leading by example is the most effective way to show your leadership abilities. "Do as I say, not as I do" - doesn't hold water in today's business and personal environments. Respect is an important element of leadership and the easiest way to get respect from others is to show them that you can "do as you say."

These 7 steps should help you become the leader that others look to for guidance. Practice them, perfect them, and then...teach them to others. Happy "leading" my friends!


 
No matter who you are or where you live, you have an effect on those you interact with. Your energy sends a message to the people and other beings around you. Do you exude knowledge, wisdom, excitement, innovation, fun, happiness, contentment, kindness, compassion, and/or love? Or...does your energy give off arrogance, stubbornness, ignorance, hate, intolerance, negativity, paranoia, lack of confidence and low self-esteem?


Whatever it is that you convey, others (both human and other animals - and some may argue...even the greater energy of universe) can readily "pick it up" and feel its effects. Having others look forward to your presence and feel comfortable around you is not always an inherent trait. It can be, rather easily, learned if you're willing to spend the time to open your mind and heart to understand you strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

The first step is to understand who you are. "Look" at yourself when you converse with others. How and what does your tone of voice, body language, content of your message, and use of words, convey to others. Step back and watch yourself. Are you a person who displays the type of energy that evokes positive emotions, or do you repulse others and cause them to rapidly move away, physically and/or mentally, from you. If you are too judgmental, it can be relatively certain that those around you will "turn you off" after your negativity has been on constant display.

The easiest way to have a positive effect on others is to listen to them. We live in a world where listening has become a prized commodity. Since so many of us are pulled in an ever increasing amount of directions (see my previous post), our ability (or desire) to listen to others has - from a societal perspective - been stymied. Showing that you are willing to listen non-judgmentally, and REALLY actively doing it, can create a positive effect on how you are viewed and...make you one of the people that others want to interact with. 

Listen and you well, most certainly, see.
 
Life for most people, especially those living in metropolitan areas, has become a frantic affair. So many things call for our attention. Work, play, school, family, friends, apps, social media, cell phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, televisions with 800 channels, radios (both satellite and broadcast), CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, books, and on and on and on, are constant diversions.

When I was "growing up" there were no computers or cell phones, television meant watching four networks. Then..."UHF" came along and three more channels were added. One's telephone transmission was apt to be over a "party line." Meaning, your family shared the line with another family and if you picked up your receiver you could hear the conversation of the people who shared your line. Sometimes, you'd have to interrupt them to ask if they were almost finished speaking so that you could make a call. Progress was achieved when you could afford to have a private line. Then REAL advancement came when "party lines" ceased to be.

Newspapers ruled. They were packed with stories and the Sunday edition weighed "a ton." For "paperboys" like me, it was the hardest day. Music came over your favorite radio station or on your turntable (we called them record players or victrolas), via records that were either 45 RPMs, 33 1/3 RPMs, or 78 RPMs. RPM stands for revolutions per minute.

Families ate dinner together. Food wasn't processed as it is today, there were no GMOs, and...the days events were actually discussed at the dinner table!

ADHD, as we know it, wasn't around back then. Perhaps it was because there were relatively so few things diverting our attention. Folks who did numerous things, seemingly at the same time, weren't thought of as multitaskers, they could just do lots of things "at once." 

So how did we become societies filled with ADHDers? Easy, we created a "world" that has countless things vying for our attention. We drift from one thing to the next, often without finishing the first, because...we are "pulled away" by something new, "more important" more attractive, more interesting, or more entertaining. The choices we have today dwarf those of 40, 30, even 20 years ago. In fact. it's hard NOT to be diverted! Yet...leave it to the pharmaceutical industry to develop drugs to control ADHD and other related "ailments."  

I have an easier solution. Slow down, don't look at your electronic devises on a constant basis, clear your mind, speak with your friends and family, relax more, stress less, and have fun. It'll save you from having to buy more things you think you "need" that you really don't, and...it may even cut down on your prescriptions too!
 
Why is violence glorified? How come death and destruction are what fuels the news media and also our curiosity?  There's a simple explanation. "If it bleeds, it leads." That's the mantra the media uses to attract our attention.

I owned a marketing, management, advertising, and public relations firm for almost 15 years. Quite often, in our interactions with newspapers, television and radio stations, we were very aware that negative stories would always be their top priorities. Sure...they'd run "public interest" pieces and "touchy/feely" stories, but...their main focus was: murder, injuries, devastation, and destruction. Why? So that they could sensationalize it and get people to tune in. It was, and still is, all about viewers and advertising dollars.

Dissect what you watch and you'll see how violence has taken a front seat to most other forms of "entertainment." There are other reasons as well. It often takes our minds off our daily troubles and transfers them to the "poor souls" in the news, or "victims" in the scripted television shows.

On one hand, we've become numb to violence in all its forms, on the other...(and I choose to part of "the other"), I see media manipulation and realize how I COULD be sucked in if I chose to be. 

Stop and think about how you view the world, how you're led to watch certain things, and what you can do to free yourself of society's violence obsession. Learn peace, kindness, compassion, and love, and...spread those precious commodities while turning off shows and others forms of media that propagate violence, hatred, destruction, and negativity.

You control your "remote." Learn how to use it to create a more positive outlook on life.
 
Run without pants and you'll soon realize how much calmer and healthier you'll be. It's more than you think!