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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.
 
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.
 
Yes...it's true. Size really does matter. In fact, it not only effects your life - but it will certainly effect the lives of others as well.

No, I'm not talking about an outward physical trait. What I'm addressing here is the size of a few things that are far more important. How "big" is your heart? How "broad" is your mind?

Living with a "big heart" and a "broad mind" enables you to spread good energy, see things in a more accepting manner, and allows you to learn more easily. A "narrow mind" and "closed heart" tends to drive people, who may add texture, love, and kindness, to your life...away. What you are left with are only those with the same "closed heart" perspective and "narrow mindset" as yourself. That will, most assuredly, limit your view of life and will stunt your ability to grow as well. 

However, the toughest part is to be able to admit to yourself that you have a "closed heart" and a "narrow mind." It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to recognize one's shortcomings. And...even more to want to change. A "broad, or open, mind" and a "big heart" may cause a person discomfort at first because it goes against what one has "stood for" his or her entire life. Yet...once they are achieved a person frees himself, or herself, from the negative energy and the physical affects that a "small heart" and a "narrow mind" causes.

If you've ever be around negative people (or you are one yourself), their faces emit the affects that their negativity creates. A positive person is lighter, happier, and less stressed. Closing one's heart and one's mind will, ultimately, increase one's stress and also cause physical ailments.

So...be aware of the "size" of your heart and mind. Open them both. It will allow you the freedom to pass on an overly stressful and judgmental life. And - give you the rewards that go with a "big heart" and a "broad mind." 


 
For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses. 

Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.

You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."

Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.

However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it. 

As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.

Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
 
For the entrepreneur, business is more than just the promise of making money, it's the realization of one's goals. Most entrepreneurs I know, including myself, are goal driven - as opposed to money driven. Any entrepreneur worth his or her salt will tell you that their businesses are a reflection of their dreams. And...if they're lucky enough to make those dreams into reality, and that reality becomes a success (in whatever form that takes), then...the money follows.

As many of you know, I've had some wonderful experiences and successes in my business life. I've also had some endeavors that taught me what not to do. Yet...I still consider myself a serial entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. Some have a higher risk tolerance than others, however, as we've all recently learned - even working for someone else brings with it enormous risks.

When I look at my classrooms full of students, or sit on the stage at commencement, viewing hundreds of graduates as they get ready to go out into the business world, I wonder. Will they be able to find jobs? Will those jobs make them happy? Will their desires be fulfilled?

Today, more and more people have to think about going into business for themselves. Everyone I know...and that includes you, has brilliant ideas - things that could change the world in small or big ways. All it takes is direction, focus, knowing one's strengths and weaknesses, being able to realize when to partner with others and when it can be done alone, and having the tenacity to stick with an idea, set a plan, gather resources, and forge ahead. 

I've coached and trained more entrepreneurs than I can count. I've helped them "get on their feet," given them advice, coached them through problems, and guided them so that they could avoid pitfalls and seize opportunities. It's part of what I love to do and is integral to my own entrepreneurial dream. 

Sometimes, being business brave can be one of the most invigorating endeavors of a person's life. In today's environment it may be the best choice one can make. So...think about your desires, your plans, your wishes, what motivates you, what inspires you, what makes you (or would make you) want to "get up and go" each morning, and start conceptualizing your future endeavor(s). Life is finite...one's business journey should make a person happy and as contented as possible. 

In the societies in which we live, economic survival is based (whether one agrees with it or not) on business and money - yes...they are both mental constructs, but - as with so many mental constructs, we make them real. Therefore, with that reality in mind - think, grow, innovate, and work on building your business dream. There is a sea of opportunities out there. And...you can acheive your business objectives while still being kind, compassionate, sustainable, and also by putting people before profits. Because when people come first...profits usually follow (especially if you understand what it takes to have the margins you need to be successful).

If you can handle the risk...it just might be worth it - in so many ways!
 
Years ago, as I staggered into the Emergency Room at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, I was gasping for breath with a life-threatening asthma attack. The doctors and nurses rushed me into a room and started to give me intravenous epinephrine to enable me to breathe easier. It was, to some degree, a frantic scene...one straight out of a medical series on television. As the lead physician (Dr. Joe) walked in, and all the others who were subordinate to him looked to the good doctor for approval, he gently checked all the doses, connections, charts, and the patient, to make sure everything was going as he directed.

As it turned out, after an overnight stay in the hospital, I was free to go home. Since I lived around the corner it wasn't a long trip. But...the memory has been imprinted in my brain ever since.

Life is strange and, as luck would have it, Dr. Joe was - within a few months - in my office with his prescription. I was to take care of his vision and was very pleased to do so. He and I became good friends. On occasion we would meet for lunch and talk about our philosophies of life. The first time we walked down the street together he confided in me by saying, "You know...if I hadn't have been there that night, you would have died. Your attack was that bad." In my mind...I knew it. However, hearing it from him brought chills to my being. How lucky I was that Dr. Joe was "on" that night.

We continued walking and I mentioned to him how incredible I thought life was, how fantastic it was that nature created so many amazing things and how beautiful our world truly was. He responded by telling me that he was awed at the inventiveness and innovation of humans and how much he admired the creations our species had crafted. Walking past the skyscrapers of downtown Philadelphia he said, "Look up, look around, look down. See what I mean." I couldn't deny what he was saying. Yet...I also felt that nature created the most incredible things this planet has ever been graced with. Species, mountains, oceans, energy, continents, vegetables, fruits, love, and so much more.

Both views are valid. In fact, both are very compatible. Humans, of course, have also invented war and weapons that may someday wipe out life as we know it, as well as the ability to save peoples' lives from disease and other ailments. Yet...the one thing that could save us all may be very simple. If we, each and every one of us, would step back and look at the beauty (both natural and man-made) that surrounds us, things may begin to change. If we just did that simple act, spent a few moments each day marveling at the awesomeness of nature and the innovation of humankind, we may see life from a broader perspective. Perhaps a perspective that will enable us to ALL say, "What the heck are we doing to ourselves?" Maybe we'll realize that our self-sabotaging behavior could ruin everything that is good about life and it's even possible that we might start to eliminate the bad.

All it would take is a few minutes of stopping our daily madness each day. Call it meditation, realization, or whatever you'd like. But...no matter what label you use, I believe that if each of us took a few minutes a day, at least a few times a day, and looked at the beauty of life and our exceptional existence - we may be able to save ourselves from ourselves. Look around - it's worth it.
 
We live in a world filled with sensory delights, and yet...we keep insisting on desensitizing ourselves. We have become plugged into things that unplug us from the reality around us. In this video I discuss our situation and what we can do about it. Hopefully - you'll watch it and not just look at it, listen to it and not just hear it, and perhaps...you'll pick up a few intriguing thoughts as well.