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

Sunday, May 10, 2015

How to Become Great

The quest for greatness – that is the chase of a lifetime.

Let’s cut to the essence of this pursuit.

I’m taking this quote from an unusual source – the classic movie The Godfather by Mario Puzo. 

And how do they do that exactly?

~They hang with other great men and women.
~They read books and become lifelong students.
~They learn from their mistakes.
~They analyze and review every performance and presentation and get better with each delivery.
~They have a can do attitude.

How do good men and women become great?

They do the hard work of self-analysis and improve every day.

Now, go and do likewise.

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

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Are People Buying YOU

We SELL with every word we speak, every sentence we write and every encounter we have.  And how well do we do pull that off?

We bump up against this concept time and time again – We are as successful as we perceive ourselves to be successful.

Dozens of philosophers, writers, business speakers and thought gurus have said this before.

Earl Nightingale’s famous quote is the most often repeated. 

“We become what we think about.”

So … how about raising your self image a notch or two?  It just might work – if you believe.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

I love a great hot chocolate.  The store-bought package mixes don’t compare to a great little specialty coffee place near here.  Same name – “hot chocolate” – different worlds. 

All Mexican food is not the same.  We are discovering our favorites of favorites and will stick to those.

My writing has its own brand.  I can’t write like James Paterson or any others who might be “greats” but I can write like me.  And so I do.

What we are talking about here is “branding”.  You have a brand as a company, as a restaurant and as a human being.  Your trade mark is what sets you apart.  And people will seek you out simply because of how you look, smell, taste, sound, speak and the services you offer.

All chocolate is not created equal, and neither are we humans.  We each add our distinctive touch to this world and people discover us and like us because of that.

Sip on that for a while.

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Next Two or Three Feet

When I started blogging in 2009, I could not have told you then that tonight I would write this blog.  Honestly, I didn't know for how long I could sustain my first blog site – Up-Words Morning Notes.  Six years later I now have four blog sites, and continually find material for them on an on-going basis.  

Even now, I rarely know what will come out of my computer at the beginning of a writing session.  Somehow the ideas gel, the words flow and the blog is written.

This is a great summation of what I want to say today.

Often, on the waters of the Puget Sound in Seattle, we see cargo ships headed out to their next destination.  Perhaps it is Hong Kong, Moscow, San Francisco, Dubai or any of hundreds of other ports in this world.  For 99% of the journey these vessels can’t see their port of call, yet they make it, one foot at a time.

Anne Lamott says this about that:  “You don’t have to see where you are going; you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way.  You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.  This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever read.”

Thank you Anne.  You are spot on.

Where are you going?

What is your diagnosis?

What is your game plan?

You’ll get there, one step, one foot at a time.  Just follow your agenda, your compass, your doctor, your road map or whatever metaphor or guiding system you choose.

Enough said.

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

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Broken Crayons Still Color

Today’s thought is simple.  Actually, the title says it all.

I broke my left arm when I was nine.  It still works.  I still can write and play drums; I play ping pong and racquet ball.

I’m older now.  I think I’m forty, but my body knows better.  My joints, muscles and ligaments have stiffened with age.  However, HOWEVER - they are stretching again thanks to my Monday night Yoga class.  I may be older, yet I’m regaining flexibility. 

Even if we are broken, wrinkled, walk with a limp or use handrails, we still have value.  We can still splash this world with our unique touches.

Broken crayons still color beautiful pictures.

Be encouraged today.

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