THE CHOICE FOR LIFE

By Terry Carter, Editor

When you were a child, what inspired and powered you each day? Why did you fly out of bed each morning?

Were you:

A) Filled with energy 24 hours a day, always chasing the next game, party or thrilling ride because of the fun? If so, you may have played sports or joined dance, band/orchestra or theater classes as soon as possible.

B) The curious one who liked to read, study, get ahead of homework and evaluate opportunities/situations? If so, you were a strong student and enjoyed learning new hobbies, skills.

C) Did you join the events already organized or started by family and friends and let others show the way? If so, you may also have been the peacemaker in your family. You were the glue for your family.

D) Or did you play leader of the pack as a child with all of your friends trying to keep up with you and the trends you established? If this was your natural strength, you made the bold choices without regret and adjusted strategy to win games, contests and really just control the room.

Nearly all of us have two of these four characteristics as a personal strength, and they work together as a team to make us the person our friends and family loved when we were young. Trouble is, not all of us find a career with our born strengths. We often have to learn new skills like organization, promptness, setting an alarm clock and being nice to co-workers to earn and keep a job.

Still some skills feel like a cage that boxes us in, so we cannot grow to our potential. If you had those characteristics as a child/student, you probably don’t feel tied down by your gifts.

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With your answers in mind, now consider: Are you using that personal strengths in your current life and career that helped you grow into a valuable adult? Odds are that nearly half of you are not using your natural strengths.

About two decades ago, I was recruited to work at a technical support call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a significant change from my journalism career and customer service background. I entered the job with a natural strength combo that was fun-loving and ready to lead a team.

Call center work, however, focuses on analysis, deductive reasoning and troubleshooting with great customer service. I could have failed at that position because it didn’t suit my natural strengths. But I was looking for a new opportunity at the time — ALERT: fun-loving people get bored easily, and leaders leave jobs if they are not given growth opportunities — was eager to learn something new.

So I sat at a desk and took incoming calls on computer problems, but my fun-loving side got to play Nerf basketball and video games while solving major hardware/software issues. In retrospect, I can attest that my analytical skills are now among my best skills that I can draw on in any situation. It was semi built-in like my base characteristics because I have always been very good with numbers.

Conclusion: If you are working and using your childhood strengths at full force, congratulations. You probably have good self-esteem and knew your advantages in life before you picked a college and career path.

If you have switched away from your natural strengths, you have two options: Enjoy the journey and learn all you can from this new opportunity.

Or investigate the true strengths in your childhood and reconnect with those super powers. If you were a follower, you can become a leader again without departing a quality employer or partner. Keep your eyes open for a chance to plug-in one of your dormant powers. The world will thank you.

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My advice to 98 percent of adults is to remember your childhood and the happiest times. Whatever you did on those days will still bring you joy today. So do the homework and chase personal happiness over career happiness.

We all know a lot of unhappy coworkers or bosses who never seem to smile or enjoy the moment. That attitude sucks, friend. It hurts that person’s health and the attitude — if not the health — of everyone they come in contact with.

Since you are likely interest in living your best life and not a miserable waste of time, I suggest we all actively pursue happiness at home, when we look in the mirror, when we drive and at work.

Let your smile come out and play. Studies are showing that happy people are more productive, even if they spend extra time playing on the Wii or meditating. And a happy office — hey boss, this is in your hands too — not only works better together, but the employees are more loyal and they go out of their way to help coworkers.

Let the leaders lead. Let the peacemakers lead too because they are not confrontational; it is a sweet change to the Type-A hot head.

Bottom Line: We are all magnificently made with unique and wonderful talents. Don’t hide your glory. Let it shine and share your perspective, wisdom and skills with those around you. This is another way to improve our little blue planet.

 

 

 

 

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HOW BAD IS HEARTBREAK?

By Terry Carter

When we are young, many of us think we are invincible. Then we suffer heartbreak and slowly begin to realize we are not quite bulletproof.

I remember being paralyzed while enduring a traumatic breakup years ago. It was among the lowest moments in my life. I felt helpless, always angry and desperate for a solution. Every day was a “Don’t bother me” nightmare.

If you are there now, know that time soothes most, but not all, pain. Lessons are learned from being in pain, particularly long-term pain like a lost love.

I once thought that my heartbreak would last forever. However I worked on my mindset, my vulnerability, my frustration and my healing until I was ready to test the dating world again. As with most painful events, personal determination to play the long game was the redeeming quality that helped the most.

That and God’s grace to ease my pain.

And somewhere around November 1984, I met a beautiful, petite blonde with a strong, spunky personality. She was kind, considerate and playful. She has changed my world for the better for about 33 years. Without the my future spouse taking my hand, I don’t think I would be where I am today.

She has been a huge blessing in so many ways.

Have we always been blessed with good fortune and amazing gifts from heaven? In the short term, the answer often appears to be no as people always disagree. We are all human after all.

But step back from my latest squabble with a human being, and I can see that Suzie is a lifetime blessing. She has managed to deal with me for three decades, and I have grown exponentially at certain times in mental and philosophical ways. So that can be hard to deal with.

Plus I began working out consistently and learning to run again after an injury some six years ago. Surgery, rehab, changing diets, diabetes, work schedules and 100 other things pull us in opposite directions.

Yet I love Suzie, and she still lets me take her to dinner. That’s pretty good when boredom, restlessness and worse are exceptionally common among a lot of people our age.

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For those of you hoping to keep your relations alive for the long term, cry when your loved one is sad. Cheer when they are happy. And share love every change you get (verbal approval or a hug or a sympathetic ear may be all they need for the moment).

Stay in moment and really try to hear what your loved one says to you. You likely don’t have all the answers, and you shouldn’t. But be willing to give 100 percent to search for the lost screwdriver or finger nail polish if you are asked. It makes an impression on the heart of the person you love the most.

I sincerely recommend you don’t take advantage of or manipulate your loved one as these things leave long-lasting emotional scars. That’s a Type-A or immature maneuver that sinks boats — and relationships — pretty quick.

I am a firm believer in hope, faith and prayer to solve the toughest problems — and to thank the Lord for his daily miracles. Recently meditation, which still gets curious looks from even friends, neighbors and my loving spouse, helps me to focus on what is truly important in life.

It is my way of discarding stress that accumulates daily and allows free radicals to damage our health, our best thinking and creativity.

While heartbreak cannot always avoided, I recommend that your prayers or meditation can often conclude by asking God to allow the Holy Spirit (aka fate) to rule the day for the greater good.

If a breakup today benefits you moving from LA to New York and eventually meeting the person you marry, don’t wait 10 years to say thank you for the breakup and the move. Try acknowledging God’s path even when its purpose is totally bewildering to you today.

By accepting life’s oddities as God’s move to benefit us or people we care about, the future can often look more worthwhile both today and in the future. What happens will happen. How you respond determines whether the happening was a victory or a defeat in your mind.

 

 

YODA: LIVE YOUR LIFE, YOU MUST

Every time we watch a television program or movie, we are watching others live their scripted lives. In retrospect, this may be one of the biggest wastes of time in our lives if we watch 1-2 programs each day.

Some years ago, I recall a friend reminding me that people on TV programs don’t waste time watching TV. Based on their script, they are to provide active comedy, drama, tragedy, etc. — not to simply view others live in a fictional world. I recall about 25 years ago eliminating cable TV from my home when my three children were young. It seems there could have been a lot of complaining — and perhaps I remember only the happier moments — but protests, strikes and throwing fits didn’t happen.

We simply turned out attention to playing outside more often, taking trips, spending time with the family and handling our responsibilities. 

ADDING CLASSICS TO YOUR LIFE

By Steve Rogers, Editor

Music is an influence in our lives, and I greatly appreciate the diversity of styles and artists performing today.

While I recall when many people wanted to download huge quantities of music and movies for free, I was always content to buy one song or album at a time from iTunes. Now I have a sizable collection that ranges from Apocalyptica to The Beatles to Yo Yo Ma.

Up front, the music on my no-fly list currently includes 95 percent of rap music. Don’t take me there, but if the artist cannot sing a compelling note, you won’t impress me. Beyond that, rock, jazz, country, pop, audiobooks, acapella, rockabilly, new age, classical, Cuban, Latin, soul, dance, reggae, Christian/gospel, blues and much more appeal to me.

I realize also that what I consider a classic may be crap to you. So listen carefully and critically with your ears, not mine.

The artists and albums I suggest are red hot to me because I grew up devouring music as a youth, including:

  • Soaking in every LP my dad played like: “Downtown” by Petula Clark
  • Every song on the radio like “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee
  • Every album my brother manage to play on dad’s stereo when no one was around like Wings Over America by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Hold your nose and open your ears. Image the best of these famed artists. And if you don’t know their best music, let me introduce them to you. For we all need inspiring music, original lyrics. Music is really about your heart, your hopes, your faith and your loves in this life.

  1. The ultimate cellist on Earth is Yo-Yo Ma. His work in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” mesmerized me some 16 years ago. No one plays with with such passion and precision. He plays classical music, but his creativity rises to the top on soundtracks. I was particularly pulled into his music when he teamed with famed composer Ennio Morricone to re-create the music from, among others, a spaghetti (Italian) western film featuring a young Clint Eastwood. Yes, I am referring to the 3+ hours of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which features perhaps the best soundtrack ever by a western film.

    “JORGE HARADA…PLAYS LIKE ONLY ONE OTHER LEGEND HAS — AND THAT WAS STEVIE RAY VAUGHN.”

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    JORGE HARADA, 6-string Samurai

  2. My favorite guitarist today may not be on your list of standouts, but he is an old friend of many talents. He may not be the biggest man on stage among all-stars, but Jorge Harada of Ruby Dee and The Snakehandlers plays like only one other legend has — and that was Stevie Ray Vaughn. Jorge is a master guitarist and brings Stevie Ray back to the stage for me. He gives the reins to lead singer Ruby Dee on most nights because she commands the stage so well. But when Jorge steps up for a solo on their original compositions, each note strikes your heart and soul. Rockabilly is the band’s music genre, but this Austin-based band travels internationally because so many people love their music. Try their live album from Austin to get a feel for this band. The band is currently touring in Europe and killing it. Play one for me tonight, Jorge. The six-string Samurai can be visited at JorgeHarada.com, and the band’s website is RubyDeeMusic.com.
  3. On the country front, I’m still hooked on the young tenor Josh Turner. His hits range from “Long Black Train” to “Firecracker” to “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” And Josh’s voice reveals a deep tone that is nearly unmatched in the country music genre right now. This guy has a supremely bright future.
  4. For now, I will leave you with a young artist who was murdered after her concert on June 10, 2016. Christina Grimmie was only 22 when she passed, but her connections with Adam Levine, Selena Gomez and more than a million fans since her introduction to the music world in 2009 are eternal. She also starred in an endearing movie, The Matchbreaker. She finished third on The Voice in 2014, and that kicked off her tremendous growth. What allowed Christina to capture the hearts of millions was her thankful, sincere personality and her powerful, pure voice. While Christina released only a handful of albums and one movie, she and her family continue to change lives for the better with the Christina Grimmie Foundation. Donations and purchases can be made at ChristinaGrimmie.com.

More award-winning music later. Contact my friend Terry at UDPhotos@gmail.com when you are planning big events in your life. He has an amazing history as a photographer, and now he has new equipment too.

Make today legendary, friends!

FUN-AND-GAMES THERAPY

Suffering from depression or just the blahs of life? We all have moments when life appears to let us down, taking all hope away.

Breakups, divorces, deaths and more tragedy occurs. I have recently lost my mother and father. Despite initial dejection and some mourning, I found a way to bounce back stronger than ever from life’s letdowns. And today I have become happier, healthier and more content with life. 

How? I have tried many methods to contentment and bliss with some success, possibly because I was a happy, fun kid. But the deep-down, soulful happiness that everyone sees because it pours out of you was more difficult to obtain. Still I knew friends like this, and I had the choice to conclude they were either; A-Fake; or B-A source of inspiration.

While analytical at times, I rode my faith and chose option B, which proved to be a good first step toward toward positivity. I discovered over time that positive self-talk — that is, the discussions we have with ourselves — in good times and bad is a primary strategy to overcome any hurdle in life. 

Acclaimed therapist Marisa Peer is renowned for solving major issues for people after their doctors have determined they to be long-term patients whose issue cannot be resolved without years of additional appointments. Having met Marisa in Spain in June, I can confirm that is an amazingly intelligent and one of the world’s best therapists. Additionally Britain’s top therapist is well known as a trendsetter among therapists because she can often resolve long-treated issues within 60 minutes and has helped women become pregnant after their doctors told them they could never have a child.

Marisa ranks as one who does not mince words. When speaking one-on-one in Barcelona, she focused completely on each person in front of her and helped them promptly when asked. Instead of asking you to talk about your childhood, family and troubles for months as a standard therapist or counselor might, Marisa assesses and then solves situations with astounding efficiency.

She has inspired my progress in life, and I place her on a special list I categorize as “angels” to many of us who have met her, watched her mind-blowing video “The Biggest Disease Affecting Humanity: I Am Not Enough” on YouTube or read any of Marisa’s practical books. 

Beyond focusing on finding a positive attribute to everything in my life (a rain day helps plants, trees grow tall, for example), I resolved to become content where I am at the moment. Not an easy task, but I know it’s important not to envy everyone else’s life and hate your own environment. 

Now these two key elements are not and never will be easy as you start. I struggled with stating what I wanted in my life and with smiling at my own situation, despite my background in psychology. I believe all of us have a test to take every week that is part of earning a Master’s in Maturity. Fail the test in front of you today, and the same test will arrive on your plate again next week.

That outlook helped me enormously to review my mistakes, personal weaknesses and to tackle those weaknesses as a priority. Step three in solving problems in this life is to take a self inventory and know yourself in every detail.

Know your strengths, weaknesses and what ruins your day, as well as what makes you angry. With that information, you can begin to avoid moments that you lose control. For me a knee injury gave me the focus I needed to direct my focus on making my biggest weaknesses into my greatest strengths. After four years of self-directed physical therapy, I have strengthened my knees to a point I can now walk, jog and even run a 5K race and still have energy left.

Start with these proactive steps, and you will begin to see that everyone can improve their outlook and their life in general. As you will see, you and I often determine our own destination in life by how we think subconsciously and therefore consciously. Improve one area, and you will improve all areas of life.

More steps on the way in future blogs here at 3FORADIME.WORDPRESS.COM 

 

TOP 10 MOMENTS IN SPAIN

On UDPhotos.com’s first trip to Spain, we came home salivating from the cuisine, as well as the adrenaline rush of this special week that included amazing tourist adventures, rare meetings with world changers and world-class service. Many thanks to Mind Valley for hosting this event and to Marisa Peer for being the first to invite us to join this historic annual journey.


Here are UDPhotos.com’s TOP 10 MOMENTS IN SPAIN (and unedited images for effect):

See additional images and blogs here, at UDPhotos.com.

10. Meeting 26-time world-record holder and endurance/pain specialist Wim Hof. This man has lived a life of challenging the limitations of human capacity. He currently baffles science and laughs about it. So refreshing to here is honesty on stage. If he visits your area, take the time to meet Wim. He is a special combination between a Guiness World Record live demonstration and a visit to the Improv!

9. The varied architecture, historic buildings and castles around Barcelona are too numerous to count. But adventure hunters are invited to chase them all down, including the Gaudi masterpieces. Feel free to start and finish The Magic Fountain in Montjüic where the nightly water fountain show borders on surreal. It was created for the 1929 International Exposition by famed engineer Carles Buigas.

8. Checking out the 3-story, marble Apple Store in Barcelona was a kick. Apple architects are always sharpening their store appearances. In this rendition, the glass/marble look (maybe its plexiglass and PVC, but it looked great) keeps visitors engaged.


7. The sculptures and water fountains in Barcelona are among the best the UDPhotos team has ever witnessed. Dancing waves that change color in perfect sequence often attracts crowds in the thousands. When you visit, don’t miss these highlights.

6. The beaches of Barcelona bring to mind the mellow atmosphere and physically-fit nature of a Southern California beach. Volleyball, biking, roller blading, running and fit bodies of all ages were plentiful. The water was clear although as loaded with Atlantic Ocean saltwater. The beach sand was a little coarse, but easy to enjoy. Also the beach we visited was clothing optional. 

5. Meal to Live For: The cuisine in Spain is flavorful and diverse. We stayed at a Crown Plaza Hotel, which hosted the event and included two restaurants: A bar and a full restaurant we could not seem to coordinate schedules with. On our final night, we enjoyed a 5-star dinner highlighted by beef tenderloined cooked in salt.

4. Main Meal to Live For: We joined about 25 other people at a dinner at a special location on Saturday night after listening to Marisa Peer talk. At the restaurant, we were exposed to a variety of Spanish delicacies like baby octupus, but the main course of beef was so flavorful and tender, it left most of us speechless. And that is a rare quality for a roomful of ambitious leaders! Best food we found in Barcelona, and we logged numerous Top 20 dining experiences this time.;

3. After watching dozens of Vishen Lakhiani videos on YouTube.com, I was searching for an opportunity to see him in person, and this trip brought three of my favorite speakers together at one time. Vishen founded Mind Valley (MindValley.com) several years ago and has partnered with numerous of the world’s elite personal improvement speakers. His book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, is an eye-opener to the way most of us were taught when we were younger. On stage as in his book, Vishen cites research and facts while challenging everyone to test the rules they live by daily, which may be holding them back.


2. Famous hyponotherapist Marisa Peer (MarisaPeer.com) made me an offer I simply could not refuse. Having seriously considered flying to England to train with her in recent months, her invitation email regarding the Barcelona MindValley.com event arrived at a key moment. And we enjoyed the opportunity to eat a meal and ask for personal advice from Marisa. Marisa has been a counseling sensation for years for her Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) method, which she has used on television programs to solve serious problems in rapid fire for celebrities. Marisa is a trendsetter in her industry and the author of numerous books, including the best seller Ultimate Confidence. She holds the key to happiness for millions of us.

1. The spontaneous conversation my wife and I had in March as this trip originated with the announcement of a rare live convergence of authors and speakers at the very top of my must-see list. Marisa Peer’s signup email arrived, announcing a 3-day event only in Barcelona, Spain in June. I called Suzie and asked if she wanted to go to Europe for the first time for an early anniversary trip. Fortunately she said yes.

LIVE WITH VISION; DO NOT DIE WITHOUT HAVING LIVED

By Terry Carter, Editor

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die — and then dies having never really lived.” 

— James J. Lachard, on what is most surprising about humanity

The summary above describes the average day, year and life of the average person who is working hard and getting ahead in the 21th century. Some work to make money. Some to fill time. And others don’t work at all. They seem to play for 8-12 hours each day, enjoying each challenge, each event, each interaction they have while pursuing their life’s work.


That person, if you study the details carefully, is not unusual, nor a rebel. He is hard working, perhaps so busy he does not make time for family dinners, teaching his children to play ball or drive the car. He may have stayed at the office late to make financial ends meet, to afford a family vacation or to consider retiring late in life. It’s easy to justify the actions because nearly all of us have ignored what is actually more essential — in hindsight — to pay attention to the task at hand.

The fictional character described in the first paragraph dies having missed the reason and the joy of why he lived. He was so driven by societal means goals to “work hard to get ahead” and “promotions come to those with seniority” that he worked beyond the patience of his friends and family, who wanted him to have fun. At the end of his life, he will be well remembered for his work, but the end goals of joy, love, amazement and surprise were planned out of this type of life. 

Nearly everyone grew up pursuing means goals, including “get a college degree,” “work for one company during your career” and “marry once for life.” Of the 350 high school graduates from my high school, I suspect perhaps 30-40 percent did not receive a college degree, 95 percent did not work for just one company in the past 30 years, and perhaps 70 percent have exceeded the once social norm of one spouse per lifetime.

In the 1980s, no one mentioned end goals, such as climbing the tallest mountains on each continent or being surrounded by love daily, as they are primarily emotion-based that will make us happy or satisfied. End goals are about “following your heart,” Vishen Lakhiani writes in his book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. 

Means goals typically take us another step toward a place that our elders or society suggests will make us happy, But there are stipulations and complications. See how this sounds:  You should get a college degree…so you can get a good career… so you can retire. Then you will be happy. As many of us know, the college degree put us in debt and 4-8 years older. The career allowed us to pay off the debt and afford a family and some lifestyle. The retirement, however, is not as likely as we imagined as teenagers.


Stop during your work week and look at your career as you walk or hurry through the day and the deadlines. Do you feel energized to go to work today? Did you spring out of bed this morning because of how great today will be? If not, why not? For each day is only as special as we make it.

We need to dig and change our software and hardware to bring computers to the market. And we need to do the same with ourselves. Ask yourself a few questions to see if your means goals are in line with your end goals. If they are, then your path may have been perfect for you. I have had to re-adjust my path several times due to changes in the economy (new hardware), new information I have uncovered (new software) and unpredictable events. These questions are taken from Lakhiani’s book, regarding all areas of our lives including relationships, spiritual, healthy and intellectual growth, careers, family and communities:

  1. What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime? The in-depth question is: If time and money were of no object and I did not have to seek anyone’s approval, what kinds of experiences would my soul crave?
  2. How do you want to grow? The in-depth question here is: In order o have the experiences above, how do I have to grow? What sort of person do I need to become?
  3. How do you want to contribute? The follow-up question is: If I have the experiences above and have grown in these remarkable ways, how can I give back to the world?


Answer me this, and your frustration with day-to-day work will vanish because we will begin to unlock your vision. A person who works to accomplish their vision never works as we know work. He or she enjoys every moment, brings light to dark rooms, shares and helps everyone who wishes to grow. 

Perhaps you are happy with your work and your life. But studies reveal that 80 percent of us are dissatisfied and just putting in time deposit the check. And the check simply vanishes to the bills that are due. 

This, my friends, is not why we are here on Earth. We are here to do so much more than pay bills, complain in the break room and break rules when no one is looking. 

Are you ready to grow, change and stretch those wings to fly? Be one with the wave and grow forever. Walk the narrow bridge on the highest mountain, and let us discover the thrill of victory at the summit.