Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fear of Being Wrong

I want to speak to the creative person who lives inside of you.  Let him/her out for a bit and read this.

Nobody who is anybody likes to be wrong.  I certainly don’t and you probably don’t either. 

The fear of being wrong constricts, it stops us in our tracks, and it gets in the way of creativity. 

Note this:

How many attempts did the Wright brothers make before they succeeded in their first flight of 12 seconds?

Do you play the stock market?  How often are you wrong?  How often are you right? 

I don’t have millions of dollars in my retirement portfolio because of fear of making a poor investment.  Can I see a show of hands on that one?

The adventure of being a creative soul is fraught with peril.  You would not believe the fears I faced in my early days of blogging.  Before every push of the PUBLISH button, I faced panic.

My conversations ran something like this.
“What if I’ve said something stupid?”
“What if nobody reads it?”
“What if I misquoted something and the blog police come and arrest me?”

I’m re-reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way.  Here’s a quote worth re-quoting. 


I love that.  Am I getting better?  Am I going further and getting stronger?

Squelch the fear.  Stop it in its tracks. 

Do the thing you desire to do. 

I guarantee that tomorrow you’ll be a bit closer to your dream than you were today.

A classic quote:  “Do what you fear and the fear of death is certain.”

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Abilities and Choices

You and I have a lot of abilities.  What an understatement.  However, let’s pursue this for a moment.

Pardon this personal reference.  I have the unique ability to impress certain people with some measure of my abilities in a variety of ways.  That is a good thing mostly.  I’m all about ability and how one demonstrates one’s abilities to a given task.

On the other hand, my abilities come to the front only when I make good choices in actions, words, follow-through and a whole host of other soft skills that come into play. 

In the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we find this:

“It’s not our abilities that show 
what we truly are; it is our choices.”

I’ve written a bit about the power of “choice” in these posts.  That is still a great topic and an important topic.  Our choices live long after we have left this earth.

I think John Steinbeck gives us a clear distinction for this idea of choice.

“But the Hebrew word, 
the word ‘timshel’ – 
Thou mayest – that gives a choice.  
It might be the most important word 
in the world.  That says the way is open.  
That throws it right back on a man.  
For if ‘Thou mayest” – it is also true 
that “Thou mayest not.”
~John Steinbeck – East of Eden

You see, choices mean “yes” and sometimes choices mean “no”.

And we hold it in our hands to choose which response to offer.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Failure" Is Not a Person

This is one of the great quotes for today.

Failure is an event.  It is not a person.
~Zig Ziglar

Thank God!  Now we can take a deep breath and continue living. 

How many of us have failed at something?  Raise your hands. 

You, the one driving the rusty red Volvo ... I see you.  Thank you for your honesty.

And you, the mom pushing the stroller with your seven-month-old who just will not be still ... I see you too.  Thank you.

And you, minister at the church downtown ... Yes, I see your hand.

And I won’t forget you, the man sitting on the curb, clutching a brown paper bag, and we probably know what is in that bag. 

Failures happen to all of us.  We miss a step.  We take the wrong job at the wrong time.  We make a series of poor decisions.  And those missed cues crash in on us. 

We tend to blame ourselves. 
We tend to talk dirty to ourselves about ourselves.

And we get down and sometimes stay down for a while.

Again I’ll say it ---

Failure is an event.  It is not a person.
~Zig Ziglar

Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors and speakers.  Listen to what she has to say about this.

“We hate the disconnect.  “I can’t let you see this picture of me because I fear that it will cause disconnection.” 

“Oh how we fear the disconnect.  We don’t want anything to rock our world and our perceived perfect conditions and perfect people. 

“Everyone – EVERYONE has imperfections.  Every company has a weak side.”
~ Brene Brown

Michael Jordan once said this:  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

Bill Gates of Microsoft fame was a drop-out.

Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, had this said of him:  “All the teachers I spoke to when researching the book said he was a complete pain in the backside and they were very glad to see the back of him.”
~John Rentoul – Tony Blair’s biographer

Abraham Lincoln ran for political office sixteen times.  He became a beloved president.

You see – Failure is not final.

And now … pick yourself up.  Dust yourself off, and start all over again.

Find a new challenge.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Monday, June 8, 2015

Learn from the Best

Are you in pursuit of better?
Better skills
Better speech making
Better piano playing
Better selling
Better parenting

Whatever your pursuit might be in the “bettering of your life”, the main idea is this – watch a professional do what you aspire to do.

Learn from the best.  Buy the best seat you can afford and go see the show.  Buy the book, audio recording or DVD.  Search on YouTube for your favorite guru and see what they are doing or have done that was so awesome.

Be amazed. 
   Be wowed. 

      Be impressed. 
         Be inspired.

Learn from the best.  Mimic. Borrow from their style until you make it your own.

As a young drummer, before the days of YouTube, I listened to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five album often.  I learned some of my best drum licks from Joe Morello, Dave’s drummer on the Take Five album.

Time passed.

A year ago, thanks to YouTube, I watched Joe play that famous drum solo, Take Five.  Later, I remarked to Carolyn how much Joe’s playing had influenced my own drumming style and had never realized it until that particular moment.

Carolyn and I were invited to a musical venue at Benaroya Hall to hear a concert called Ten Grands.  It featured ten grand pianos and ten stellar performers.  We left there awestruck, and Carolyn remarked that she felt inspired to practice more after listening to that quality of musical excellence.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and it is a great way to learn from the best of the best.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pleasing Everybody

Are you a people pleaser?  I’ve been accused of that a few times in my life.  “It ain’t working” as we used to say in Tennessee.

Today, I subscribe to Seth Godin’s philosophy, as stated below.

“Better to pick just one thing you can be proud of, rather than offering just about everything in an attempt to please just about everyone (and thus no one).”

There is no way I can write to please everyone in this world.  I am honing my niche for my reliable readers, and it is to this supportive group of individuals to whom I speak every week. 

Sometimes, a more narrow focus is the real secret to success.  Who is really a success whose philosophy is to become “all things to all people”?

What are you really good at? 

March onward!

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Setbacks Only Make Me Stronger

Have you had a setback lately?  So have other.  And then what?

Consider this:

Oprah Winfrey:  “I was raped at age nine.”

Bill Gates:  “I didn’t complete my university education.”

Steve Jobs:  “I used to sleep on a friends floor and returned Coke bottles for food money.  And I would get free meals at a local temple.”

Prime Minister Tony Blair:  “My teachers used to call me a failure.”

President Nelson Mandela:  “I spent 27 years in prison.”

Setbacks happen.  That is a given.   

And we still persist. 

Setbacks don’t mean the end.  Sometimes they are simply the beginning of a new direction.

You get to decide.

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Word about Habits

Habits fascinate me.  How we allow a habit to take over our lives fascinates me even more.  This is a short article so you won’t find a detailed treatise on this subject – just some observations and thought starters.

About 40% of our daily actions are not decisions but habits.  40%!

Consider this:
What are your morning routine habits?
Left shoe or right shoe first?
What part of your body do you wash first in the shower?
Where are certain clothes placed in your closet?
Where do you place your deodorant?
When meeting an attractive member of the opposite sex, where do your eyes look first?

See what I mean?  We evolve into habits for a large portion of our lives.

Now, what if you wanted to change a particularly bad habit?  How would you go about it? 

First comes the awareness of the habit to be changed, then the change in behavior or patterns.  A huge part of that is being aware of the trigger points that lead to the habit to be changed.

If we follow this logic, that is a good path to be on, however, there is one ingredient above all others that must be invoked.

The Power of Belief

We have to believe we can change a habit first for it to become a viable change in our lives.  I’m not talking about a belief in God.  I’m simply talking of a belief in one’s own ability to alter a certain set of circumstances, exposures and thought patterns.  You and I have to believe that we can make the changes we seek.  “Once people learned how to believe in something, that “belief” skill starts spilling over to other parts of our lives and we start believing we can changeBelief was the ingredient that made a reworked habit loop into a permanent behaviors.”
~The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I am a spiritually minded person, and spirituality, religion, a code of ethics, laws and legislation are all good, but when it comes to overcoming bad habits, it is a matter of belief in one’s ability to make the changes that come into play.  It’s not a God-thing.  It is a strong determination and belief within that says “I can do this.  I believe in myself to bring this about.

This concept in no way diminishes my God-concept or my relationship with God.  It does, however, have to do with the power of choice.  We choose to believe, and in this case, we believe a change is needed and we accept the change we perceive as good and wholesome.

If this article causes you to consider the power of habits in your own life, well and good.  If it causes you to read Mr. Duhigg’s book, even better. 

P Michael Biggs
Offering Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time