Flipped Karen Headshot 2012


You're going to love March's bonus!

 

People often ask me what I'm reading because they know that I not only love to do it but that I find tremendous inspiration in what I read.

One of the books I've recently finished is The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. I love this book because it challenged me to take a look at what I want in my life and how I'm about reaching for my dreams. I also love it because there were so many different passages where I thought about a particular client and wished they were reading the book too.

I've already told those people about the book, but I realized there are so many more of you who read my newsletter that might get tremendous benefit from reading the book too. Then I thought that not everyone has the time to read or prefers to have a preview of a book before they read it and that's when I decided what this month's bonus would be.

This month I've decided to give you a copy of my notes from The Motivation Manifesto. And in case you decide you want to read the book, go to http://www.motivationmanifesto.com. After registering at this site, the author, Brendon Burchard, will send you the book for only $7 and give you access to 12 weeks of videos in which he discusses the book. Heck, just listening to him discuss the book was worth more than the $7 to me.

My notes start below the image of the book...


 

Notes on Brendon Burchard’s The Motivation Manifesto by Dr. Karen Finn

What follows are the highlights and notes I made when I read this book. The underlined text are chapter titles. The text in Comic Sans font indicates my notes.

Quotes That Open This Book

  • “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. ~Albert Einstein”
  • “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy”

On Freedom

  • “I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. ~Mahatma Gandhi”
  • What is personal freedom? “Choosing our own aims and seeking to bring them to fruition creates a sense of vitality and motivation in life. The only things that derail our efforts are fear and oppression.”
  • “The ultimate narrative of the human species is its quest for more freedom and the related struggles to ascend to higher standards of living and relating.” page 10

The Doubts About Freedom

  • “The long light of this golden age of peace and prosperity has changed the world for the better, but for some, it has led to a sunburn on the soul – an excessive exposure to abundance that has led to indolence, greed, narcissism, and entitlement.” page 11

Social Oppressions

  • “Our most difficult task is to defeat social oppression, the caging of our spirit and the stifling of our potential by others. We mean the moments when someone exercises judgment, authority, or power against us in a burdensome, cruel, manipulative, or unjust manner.” page 14 There’s a careful line to walk here with teenagers, but this is a BIG deal. How is society stifling me? What social “rules” have I accepted as truth that inhibit me from being gloriously me? Important questions to ask again and again.
  • “It’s when any other person’s petty judgments, harsh criticisms, demeaning comments, injuries, or unreasonable expectations and direct or indirect actions hold us back. When others make us feel insignificant, powerless, or unworthy, this is an effect of oppression.” page 14 So what of our responsibility to make ourselves the best version of ourselves possible? How is it that someone can MAKE us feel instead of us allowing the oppression to occur because we don’t like the consequences (either real or perceived)?
  • “We can quickly lose ourselves in others and in our culture.” page 16 Hello co-dependence! Hello “I don’t know what boundaries are”! Hello “I just want everyone to like me”!

Self-Oppressions

  • Self-oppression is the condition of letting our own negative thoughts and actions restrict us.” page 17 itty bitty shitty committee
  • “This is why we seek personal growth – to be free from the pain we cause ourselves, to make better choices, to feel better about who we are becoming, to act more confidently in social situations, and to unleash our full creativity and contributions into the world in order to make our highest difference.” page 18 We’re all pulled to improve ourselves. But not everyone believes they can live upage to their real or inner expectations of greatness.
  • “We must be conscious and responsible for our beliefs and behaviors if we are ever to be free.” page 19 Personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions is key.

A Dedicated Pursuit

  • “Every decision and action of humankind stems from a hope to attain Personal Freedom. We seek to be free from hardship, pain, fear, anxiety, and want; free from oppression; free to be ourselves; free in the moment to sense surprise, spontaneity, and our own spirit; free to choose our life’s course; free to pursue our dreams; free to love openly without judgment or condition or regret; free to give our time and energy and resources to causes we believe in; free to experience and enjoy future peace, passions, and prosperity.” page 21-22 And, yet, even with this as the goal that doesn’t mean that every decision or action that an individual makes is a “good” one – just that it is the best they can do in that moment

On Fear

  • He who is brave is free. ~Seneca
  • “Declaring that we will master our fears is the first great leapage toward freedom.”  page 26 How does this work for the person with anxiety disorder? It was through sheer determination that I fought my way through my panic attacks so that I only struggle slightly with them occasionally now. (I feel like I should knock on wood when I write this – hahaha. Well, maybe I should…)
  • “Fear is the human motive of aversion. … Its sole aim is immediate release from threat, strain, or pain.” page 26 The key to fighting fear is to embrace the fear and move forward. Unless, of course, the fear really is about being in a life-threatening situation.
  • “...ego-driven desires to feel more emotionally comfortable.” page 27 THIS is what keeps us from moving forward to our dreams – a lack of desire to struggle and do the work.
  • “Almost all fear we experience today, and its resultant cowardly thinking and behavior, is just imagined social drama created by unchecked mental impulses and conditionings. We are afraid of being rejected, isolated, or abandoned…” page 27 OUCH! How’s that for a motivating statement to stare down our fears and ask “How can I rise above this fear?”

Aversion vs. Ascension

  • “A great maturity opens in the human psyche when we accept that we can control our impulses by conditioning our thoughts, and that we alone are responsible for our emotions and reactions in life.” page 30 This is one of those statements that we can all accept as true, but how much responsibility are we truly taking on a second by second basis?

The Social Conditioning Of Fear

  • “We are not slave to our history; we can be freed by our conscious thoughts and disciplined habits.” page 32 It’s habits that keepage us slaves to our history, but new habits will free us.
  • “The great efforts to move our lives forward always come down to a new moment when we interrupt our fear and activate our freedom by choosing how to feel, interpret, and direct out lives.” page 33 This can be hard to do in the moment, but it’s critical to moving forward. All it takes is consistent practice.

The Mental Projection of Fear

  • “…we must remember that we have friends all around, and we mustn’t hesitate to ask for their help, inspiration, and wisdom” page 44 Our response to fear is often to feel isolated, ashamed that we’re fearful and/or at risk of having something worse happen if we talk/share what we fear.
  • “Most of the fear we feel in life is simply anxiety arising from our anticipation of two kinds of pain that change might bring: the pain associated with loss or hardship.” page 44 We totally can psyche ourselves out by what we create in our minds that very often has little to do with current reality, but a lot to do with history and incorrect interpretations.
  • “Once we sense that we are anticipating loss, we must question whether or not it is true.” page 45 The truth is another perception, so maybe the better question is whether or not the loss will 100% happen.
  • “Once we question the assumptions causing us anxiety, we should explore the opposite of our worries, focusing as obsessively as possible on what might be gained if we changed.” page 45 I LOVE this shift of focus by 180 degrees!! It works wonders for motivation and getting out of the pits.
  • The tools to manage the difficulties of life are within. Perhaps we can imagine ourselves actually enjoying the struggle versus fearing it.” page 47 This goes back to the idea that everyone will face struggle to have a fulfilling life, yet everyone has the capability of dealing with the struggle. And, no, struggle isn’t necessarily fun or glamorous, but the reward for conquering each and every part of the struggle can be all that and more.
  • “Fear wins or Freedom wins, and I choose Freedom.” page 49 LOVE this mantra for when fear or anxiety rears its head.

On Motivation

  • “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum upage people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • “If we have a strong list of reasons to move forward and we’ve conditioned our impulses to support freedom, we are more likely to advance our lives.” page 52 The more external the strong reasons the better – for most people.

The Mother Of Motivation

  • “To developage a motive for action, our mind, with or without conscious guidance, filters through various thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and chooses from them a set of reasons to do or not do something. Our mind’s clarity on and commitment to that choice dictates our level of motivation. … The mother of motivation is choice.” page 53 Knowing that you always have a choice in how you respond to a situation is key to being able to weather any situation. Need more of a reminder? Read Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  • “Though the vast swath of the population does not suffer from such clinical disorders, they may show a lack of self-awareness as well as poor mental habits. Most people have simply not yet chosen to prize self-mastery or to work toward it.” page 55 Simply put, most people are lazy when it comes to self-awareness.
  • “Even in mental illness or traumatic brain injury, all roads of recovery lead to better understanding and direction our own minds” page 55 If you want to get better, you have to work on it.
  • “Reason is the secret to developing a motivated and independent identity. I think therefore I am and I do.” page 55 Conscious, directed thought is a requirement for being an active, growing human.
  • “When we understand that thoughts and emotions can be chosen, then we finally realize that we err in saying, ‘I don’t feel happy’ or ‘I feel sad and there is nothing I can do about it.’ Since we have some choice in how we feel at any given moment, the more accurate statements would be ‘I am not using my mind right now to generate a feeling of happiness’ or ‘I have been choosing to focus on sad things for a while and that has created this feeling of sadness’ or ‘I am allowing my unconscious impulses to direct me now rather than using my consciousness to feel positive and design my ideal reality.’ ” page 56 This leads me to believe that we curate feelings. We tend to go to the same ones over and over again without much thought about how we got there. If you don’t like how you’re feeling, you need to take a stepage out of the emotions and think about how you got to that emotion then change what you’re focusing on to change how you feel. It will take practice to become proficient at it, yet I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible and totally worth the effort.
  • So if we want more motivation in our lives, we must make clearer choices and more deeply commit to them.” page 57 Clarity and commitment are key to accomplishing big things.

Sparking Motivation

  • “Psychologically, motivation is sparked by the energy created by ambition and expectancy. Ambition is the choice to be, have, do, or experience something greater in our lives. page 57 Holding the thought that something is possible for you and then choosing to have it in your life will allow you to spark your motivation.
  • “So we must go within and ask: ‘What do I want for myself? What new goal would be meaningful to me? What am I excited about learning or giving? What great new adventure do I dream of? What grand pursuit or act of service will be satisfying to me and get me out of the bed each morning?’ “ page 58 Answering these questions is how we are able to choose what we need and want to feel motivated about.
  • “By deeply contemplating higher aims, we energize ourselves to pursue them.” page 58 We can energize ourselves by contemplating high goals, the challenge is not to freak ourselves out when we do that and then fall back into a state of fear.
  • …expectance is the great differentiator between mere hope and motivation. When we find ourselves hopeful but not motivated, we need to add a little more faith to the mix…” page 59 At least faith in ourselves and even faith in something outside of you.
  • “Do not hope for motivation; choose an ambition to become motivated for. Fix on a dream and believe that it will see daylight and soon a great swell of enthusiasm will enliven you.” page 60 I LOVE this quote.

Sustaining Motivation

  • “The sustaining choices of motivation are thus attention and effort.” page 60 This is where people stopage feeling motivated. They like to be cheered on, but don’t necessarily want to put in the effort or else they aren’t sure where to put in the effort and so lose focus.
  • “This can be as easy as reviewing our goals each day, journaling about our desires each night, regularly setting aside moments to visualize what we want and schedule our next steps.” page 60 Since I started journaling about how well I’ve moved toward my goals each night, I’ve been much more focused about moving toward them during the day.
  • “…the deeper and longer I give attention to my ambitions and passions, the more motivation I feel.” page 61 You create a sense of expectation the more you work on something and that fuels the motivation to get it done.
  • When motivation dies, then it’s not because our dreams died; it’s because we never began – or didn’t sustain – any real effort.” page 62 This is so true of failed marriages
  • “…nothing keeps motivation aflame more than hard work and the resulting momentum and fulfillment. To continue our efforts toward our ambitions despite fatigue and distraction and hardshipage – this is the mark of the truly motivated.” page 62 There is no magic wand to fulfilling any dream. Whatever it is you want that is different from what you currently have, can only be obtained after you roll upage your sleeves and work diligently to make it happen.
  • “What is the ultimate secret to life-long motivation? Continuing on – no matter what.” page 63

Amplifying Motivation

  • “Two choices will amplify our motivation to another level: attitude and environment.” page 64
  • “Few things amplify our long-term motivation more than a positive social environment.” page 65

A Clear Path From Victimhood

  • “Choose an ambition and, with full force, expect that it is possible and that you can make it happen. Give constant attention and committed effort to your dreams, and your motivation will perpetuate itself. Demonstrate a positive attitude as you strive for great things and take care to create a supportive environment around you that amplifies your motivation.” page 67

Declaration I: We Shall Meet Life With Full Presence And Power

  • Your true home is in the here and the now. ~Thích Nhat Hanh

The Half-Experienced Life

  • “So much of our lives goes unnoticed.” page 75
  • “With enlightenment comes the realization that the natural foe to life is not a distant death, but a detachment from living.” page 75 AMEN!!

Ripped From Time

  • “Most people have become addicted to obsessing about their past, either wishing for its return or blaming it for frustration in their lives today. The cost is that they cannot be spontaneous – the are acting from an identity that is but a glorified or terrorized mental reflection.” page 77 Interesting description of people who have a difficult time moving on from the end of their marriage.
  • “If we revisit the past for brief and joyous recollections, let us be sure to take note of what exactly made us happy. We will see that happiness came from those moments in which we were vitally aware. Something was happening, and we noticed it with awe or appreciation – there was beauty, surprise, pleasure, passion, fun. Love, and peace, perhaps all of these in a glorious span of moments.” page 78
  • “Even though we have these positive associations, let us not drift too long in our minds at the cost of missing those very things that are accessible to us right here and now.” page 78

Forgetting Tomorrow

  • “Many people are checked out of today because they are thinking about tomorrow. For some, there is a secret fear that tomorrow will be worse than today. They lie awake stewing on the hardships that tomorrow might bring.” page 79 I was living this way for months after I moved out.
  • “Plan and dream when those things are called for, yes, but don’t disconnect from the magic and tasks and people at hand. A better future can be imagined for segments of time, but it is only in this time that a better future can be built.” page 80 Imagination is important, but making the dreams come true requires present action.

Avoiding Reality

  • “To the immature or unconscious person, it feels sane to avoid the hardships that life thrusts at them. It makes sense to remove their attention from circumstances that bring discomfort. It’s easier to stopage doing the hard task right in front of them, to disperse their attention onto multiple easier tasks. It is tempting to check out, to run and hide. But in doing so, we avoid life itself.” page 81
  • “When we lack the courage or discipline to address what we must, our presence is never wielded and honed, and so life becomes devoid of feeling and happiness. Avoidance may be the best short-term strategy to avoid pain and conflict, but it is also the best long-term strategy to ensure suffering.” page 82 Fear traps so many people into this type of avoidance. The issue is that the fear is almost always a creation of the mind and not a reality. And the times when it is a possible reality it’s thoughtful action that that’s needed to avoid the realization of the fear.
  • “Free and motivated people do not neglect reality.” page 82
  • “Through practice, they learn to find comfort in the uncomfortable, and true mastery in life. We can learn from them. Let us never look hardshipage in the face and run. To do so is to tear ourselves from this world and time, and to relinquish our growth and contributions in life. Let us always remember that in addressing our pain and fear, we gain mastery over them. In meeting challenge rather than avoiding it, we find success. In meeting Fate’s well-placed opportunities for growth, we become favored. And so let us ask ourselves, ‘What should I finally face in my life? What truths or realities are preventing my growth and happiness? What could I do about it right now? How can I better connect with this moment so that I can master what the hour demands of me?’” page 82-83 Self-awareness!!

Inattention To Our Roles

  • “…purpose is the greatest bridge to Now.” page 83

Director

  • “Those who are unhappy with the current story of their life are those who have not been directing its scenes and characters. They lacked a plan for their story. They wandered in and out of situations in their lives without any real intent. They focused on the wrong things, often zooming in on the negative aspects of life while missing the beautiful or interesting. They let the wrong characters enter the important scenes. They rarely stepped back from the frame to see the big picture. They let themselves respond to situation not as a noble and heroic character but as a whiny child screeching across the stage of life.” page 85 Hello drama queens and kings!!
  • What shall our life’s story be and how can we direct our thoughts and actions to make that vision a reality?” page 86

Guardian

  • “Most people would feel guilty for destroying someone else’s property. Yet they wreck the very temple their Creator gifted them.” page 87
  • “If we let the energy of our body fade, our motivation soon goes with it.” page 88 It’s so easy to sit on the couch and play with your phone or watch TV. A steady diet of these behaviors leads to laziness because doing anything more requires thought and effort.

Warrior

  • “If we are to have real dreams, then we must fight for them.” page 90
  • “They are fully aware of the fact they are warriors and creating a warrior ethos, a legend as a fighter for things both important to themselves and also grander and more significant than themselves. They are giving their lives to something that matters.” page 90-91 How you spend your time is how you give away your life.

Lover

  • “In a modern world plagued by distraction, our greatest work in becoming better lovers is in reconnecting with those who have already given us their hearts. We have to finally stopage all the looking about and once more peer into the eyes of those we adore. We have to ask them more questions. How was their day, really? What are the struggling with? What would make them feel more alive and happy? How ca we connect with and care for them better? Is there a way we can demonstrate even more affection and appreciation for them?” page 92 These are critical questions to forging an enduring marriage

Leader

  • “We must begin again the great work of uplifting humankind.” page 93

The Moment Now

  • “We can choose our roles and responses to the world so, over time, our character and destiny are forged purposefully. From these efforts, we shall rediscover the immensity and freedom and gift that is each and every diving moment spent alive.” page 95 Sadly so many of us forget to choose and lead mediocre lives as a result.

Declaration II: We Shall Reclaim Our Agenda

  • “The day is always his who works with serenity and great aims.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stripped From Our Path

  • “If there is a lack of true expression, enduring joy, vibrancy, and satisfaction in life, then clearly our agenda has been compromised.” page 101 This is a great test and check to apply regularly during the day.
  • “Should a person feel caged in any aspect of their life, it is an obvious reveal that they have not been owing their life agenda but rather they have been suffering the chains of conformity. They have been catering to everyone else, slave to the prevailing ideas or expectations of others, playing a game they never wanted to be a part of.” page 102 THIS is how I used to live my life.
  • “The subtler sign is how we consistently feel about our lives. If we obtain everything we think we need and every indication says life should be satisfying, yet something still feels “off”, then we know there is a problem.” page 102
  • “Fine is the calling card of conformity” page 102 Fine also stands for f’d up, insecure, neurotic, emotional
  • “Things are merely fine in life when passion has been slowly bled from our veins.” page 102 graphic description!
  • “Another subtle sign of trouble is that we feel regularly silent about things that matter to us.” page 103 I grew more and more silent as the years went by in my first marriage.
  • “…speaking upage for ourselves and telling the world what we want and desire is a fundamental practice of a free life.” page 103 Learning to speak upage for myself wasn’t easy at first, but it becomes easier and easier the more I practice it.
  • “If we are to measure and monitor and improve anything, let it be our story, our character, and our conduct – a mindfulness of who we are and how we are experiencing and relations with the world.” page 104 He’s challenging us to stepage into our personal power and be our best selves.
  • “They reply with equal frenzy and devotion to one and all, to both influencers and idiots, their addiction to meet others’ demands making no distinction, giving no priority.” page 105 This is describing the sure ticket to burn-out and overwhelm.
  • “We must choose this day to finally be more intentional with what we want and what shall deserve our golden attention.” page 106

Setting A Direction: A Written Manifesto

“We must go further. Beyond evaluating our current life experience and becoming clear as to whether or not our days’ efforts are meaningful to us, we must set a new and more proactive course for our lives.

What will our mission be from this moment forward?

What will be our plan of action?

What steps must be taken?

These questions are not a philosophical suggestion. We should sit down now with pen in hand and write out the focus and direction of our lives from now forward. Lacking our own declarations and directives in life – written down, reviewed, updated, lived from – we can only fall into the herd. WE end upage where “they” take us, where they want us, wherever the wind blows us, regardless of our hopes and intent. Such a life is not one we want.

So now, in these magical moments of our lives bursting with fire and choice, let us sit and write. Let us take back our day tomorrow by scribing our dreams tonight. Let us ask:

What am I really after in life?

What do I truly want to create and contribute?

What kind of person do I want to show the world each day?

What types of persons shall I love and enjoy life with?

What great cause will keepage me going when I feel weak or distracted?

What shall be my ultimate legacy?

What steps must I take to begin and sustain these efforts?

What will I orient my days to accomplishing this week? This month? This year?

Yes, we must write these things down in what will be our own manifesto, our own written declaration of what our lives are to be about.

Those who lack such a written document must stopage fooling themselves and thinking they are in charge of their lives. For without such self-direction, we are but sad vessels captained by conformity. Intentions and occasional musings about life are insufficient for keeping anyone from conforming or losing their days to distraction. There is a reason nations write out and follow their declarations, constitutions, and laws. No matter how strong a society, no matter its intent or culture or popular will, without written directives all is lost in the randomness of human behavior. That is why we must write and that is why we must revisit our manifestos and that is why we must act in alignment to the agenda we have set for ourselves.

After all this writing is done, let us rise tomorrow and forge the day and week to begin moving toward and accomplishing these things. Let us fight for these things. Let us use the morning to remind ourselves what we are after and to write any specific goals for the day, dedicating time in the first golden hour to planning out our schedule. That precious first hour must not be squandered, for our evening’s dreams can easily be forgotten in daylight. We must use the virgin morning to shape a schedule that is ours before the world shoves its corrupt needs in our direction. Yes, rise in the morning and write some more. Who will I be today? What dreams will I chase? What will I create and accomplish no matter what? Who will I give value, love, or appreciation to? What will I do or experience that will helpage me feel fulfilled and grateful when I rest my head to pillow later tonight?

This is called living intentionally and independently. This is how motivated persons live. This is manifesting a freer life. Everything else is wishing and hoping, a steady decline into mediocrity. The dead boring drumbeat of the reactive and unconscious life.” page 108-110 I love this section and have implemented it to varying degrees over the past year. The closer I stick to the core of this idea of ending and starting the day with focus the better my days go.

Progress Despite Obligation

  • “No one around us can tear us from progressing toward our dreams. Believing otherwise is accepting the role of victim in life. Our day is ultimately our choice.” page 111 The responsibility for how I live my life is 100% mine.
  • “And so what can be done? Must we leave everyone who needs us so that we can have the lives we desire? Perhaps the more mature choice is to learn new ways to protect our desires and dreams while fulfilling our chosen roles in life.” page 111 Realizing that we’ve chosen the roles we’re in can be a bitter pill for many.
  • “No great person ever made history without having guilt thrown at them or suffering some backlash from those who didn’t like or appreciate their independence, discipline, or single-mindedness.

    So let the petty ones complain. Let them tremble with silly anxiety or anger. After days and weeks and months of protecting our turf, refusing to give in to guilt or pressure, stating convincingly that we have our own dreams to chase, we will find that the demanding bullies and unaware idiots finally have left us alone. Then, liberated from the social oppression that is others’ distracting demands, we are free, liberated to create and design our own lives in the newly opened white space of time. The more we say no to demanding people, the more life opens upage to pursue our passions and happiness and to serve and spend time with those we love.” P115 This passage speaks so loudly to those of us who are people pleasers, who are unwilling to say “No” when that’s what we really mean, and who are conflict avoidant. Each of the behaviors get in the way of living our dreams. We must live our dreams if we are to live a full and fulfilling life.
  • “We must artfully deal with anyone who derails the day’s mission, including family.” page 115 Yup, this can be the most difficult thing to start to do. But once you’ve had some success with it, you find (like I have) that it becomes easier to do and even a bit of a game.
  • “If we can see a dream in the distance, let us move toward it with real force, will, and consistency.

    To do less is to let the dream weaken and die. We can support our loved ones for a while, stepping in, helping out – but that does not require us to bring our dreams to a full stop. Every day we can do something to advance our own agenda.

    Perhaps it is also time to stop seeing others as obstacles to our dreams but rather as collaborators.” page 117 The key here is to do something. Every day I journal about how well I’ve moved toward my dream. It helps me to stay on track

The Great Reclamation

  • “And so our attitude each morning must be that this is our day, no matter what. If we can start with that intention, if we developage clarity and write our own manifestos and plans and we execute them with heart and discipline, if we stick to it and fight it through and stay in charge, we suddenly find ourselves one day back at the help, happy, motivated, alive.” page 118 Mornings are the start of it all, but check in regularly with yourself throughout the day to make sure you’re still on track.

Declaration III: We Shall Defeat Our Demons

  • “A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. ~Alexandre Dumas” page 119
  • “…our thoughts, more so than our circumstances, sabotage our freedom and success. We are the ones who allow our insecurities and fears to grow into the tidal waves of worry that wash our dreams away. We are the ones who constantly delay our own progress, quitting just as the hour demands courageous action. We are the ones separating ourselves from others so that we needn’t risk real connection or so that we can feel better than them.” page 119 It’s amazing the power of our thoughts and how powerless we can feel about them.

Transform Doubt With Faith

  • “The great sages have taught us that when Doubt has a hold on us; only Faith can tear us from its grasp.

    Faith is a deepage conviction, a global trust and confidence in our beliefs about what is true. The conviction comes from choice – we choose to believe something and hold on to that belief tightly, even in the face of so many unknowns.” page 125 One of the ways we understand the world is by building a set of beliefs that define the world, our part in it and our relationships.
  • “…the most powerful Faith in the world is the humble variety that says, ‘I believe in my ability to learn and figure things out. With enough focus, time, effort and dedication, I believe I can learn to do what must be done and become who I must become to achieve my dreams.’” page 125 What’s important to note is this doesn’t mean you’re doing things all on your own. Asking for helpage from others is a key component of achieving your dreams.

Transform Delay With Action

  • “Knowing that we haven’t spoken up when we should have, worked when we should have, fought when we should have, loved when we should have, lived when we should have – this is the misery of mankind’s inaction, of Delay celebrating a win over our soul.” page 128 What I love is that living like this eliminates regret. (This quote also reminded me of the movie “Concussion.”)
  • Having a plan and acting on it to advance our lives, regardless of the terror within, make us legend.” page 129 Who knew that by simply moving toward what we want on a regular basis would make us legend?

Transform Division With Love

  • “Love is the antidote to Division. Its warm intent flows through our veins and floods the chasms between us, sweeping away the detritus of judgment, anger, and hatred.” page 132 This quote reminded me of the movie “Woodlawn.”
  • “Love is always the final and most complete cure to our inner demons.” page 133 Being able to love yourself is HUGE.

The Sword Of Courage

  • “We now know Defiance and it’s three serpent heads
    • Doubt questions our worth and course of action.
    • Delay breeds indolence.
    • Division closes the mind and heart.
  • Happily, we know we are able to beat Defiance back with Faith, Action, and Love” page 133
  • “All great people of history…But what made them celebrated, what pushed society forward, what gave birth to their legend, was their sheer will to overcome such impulses and to faithfully, actively, and lovingly fight for a better life for themselves and others. Let us learn from them, let us master ourselves, and let us now add our own chapter of courage to the good book of humanity.” page 134 Yup, we can be great!

Declaration IV: We Shall Advance With Abandon

  • “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. ~William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar” page 135

Reality Is Bendable

  • “You are responsible for your reality. Decide what you want of the world and go make it happen. No clarity, no change; no goals, no growth.” page 139 How’s that for hitting you right between the eyes with some truth?
  • “Let us take this truth into our minds and ask, ‘What of my reality do I like and dislike? What areas of my life have I been taking a backseat on, hoping they would get better but failing to change my own reality? What would have to change – no, what would I have to change – in order to feel more engaged, enthusiastic, and fulfilled with my life?’ These simple questions have the power to reconnect us with our lives and ultimately with our power.” page 140 Hitting home the truth of personal responsibility which is something I painfully realized I had abdicated in my first marriage.

Action Is The Yardstick Of Character (I LOVE this title.)

  • “Only action allows us to create, grow, connect, contribute, rise to our highest selves, and soar into the bright stratosphere of greatness.” page 141 Are you ready to take action yet? I sure am!
  • “Individually, we cannot gauge who we are without looking at our actions. We do not even know what we truly value without action, because our values are more than thoughts – values are our ideals in motion, demonstrated through our interactions with others.” page 142 What are your actions saying about what you value?
  • “How people consistently act toward us and others gives us the data we need to judge their values, goals, and worthiness of trust and attention. Attempting to gauge someone’s character with anything other than their actions is like guessing what is at the core of their hearts and minds, and guessing only leads to assumptions and drama.” page 142-3 This is fabulous advice for dating again after divorce!
  • “And so let us have the courage to face ourselves and ask, ‘Am I taking enough bold and significant actions in order to advance my life and reach my full potential? If I were unafraid and acting from my highest self, what would I be doing to move forward in life? What steps must I take today and this week to begin dramatically advancing my health, career, family, and purpose?’” page 144 How courageous can you be?

Permission Is Not Required

  • “Great men and women don’t give a damn if anyone approves. They rarely seek permission from the world, because they know that the masses bound by mediocrity will never approve of anything that breaks convention or smacks of boldness and magic.” page 145 Mediocrity is a trapage that we’re all lulled into. It requires both insight and effort to break free from the pack!
  • “We will choose other people’s opinions, preferences, and approval over our true heart’s desires and growth?” page 146 If you do, then you’re just one of the herd.

Abundance Is At Hand

  • “All those who have won major life victories have found that all the resources needed to win are within, and that most knowledge needed to succeed is acquired after action.” page 147 Taking action toward your dreams is the only way to ever achieve them. Seriously, you have to BUY the lottery ticket before you can win it.
  • “It is but our own vision, will, resourcefulness, and discipline that is needed to begin – these will never be in scarce supply unless we choose to abandon them.” page 148

Success Is Positive And Necessary

  • “Those who advance in life do so because they view progress – and all its resultant successes, achievements, influence, and powers – as a positive and necessary thing.” page 148
  • “…most people of influence earned their own way by discipline, struggle, and service. They broke the chains of their resentment against others and strove for their dreams, knowing no one ultimately held them back but themselves. They recognized that poverty of intelligence, morals, and courage was more crippling than lack of wealth could ever be, and so they strengthened their mind and forged their character with hard work and noble pursuits.” page 151

Struggle Is To Be Expected And Honored

  • “We must remember that the power to direct our destiny comes only from a mindset that makes us willing to struggle through learning, effort, and growth.” page 153 A belief in yourself is mandatory to weather any storm that comes in life.

Declaration V: We Shall Practice Joy And Gratitude

  • “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach”

The Jewel Of Life

  • “We alone activate the very energy and emotion through which we experience life.” page 157 No one can ever motivate us to do anything unless we allow them to do it.
  • “Perhaps the severest requirement of the good life is to have the constancy of mind to maintain our joy and gratitude even amid hardship, pain, and injustice.” page 157 Not an easy task, but achievable.
  • “The more we automatically allow ourselves to sync with others’ energy levels – unless they are the emotional energies of joy, love, and enthusiasm we ourselves wish to feel – the more we diminish our personal power.” page 160 And yet part of being human is mirroring those around us. So it’s a battle against laziness to notice the energy of others and still choose the energy you want to have.

The Joyous Master

  • “Let us return then to the instruction of happy children again and again: Be curious. Release expectation. Take pleasure in small things and expect good things. Cheerfully engage the moment. Let this become our practice, our mastery, and our art.” page 161 Just thinking about this brings a smile to my face!

The Path Of Gratitude

  • “A vibrant and happy life begins at the path of gratitude.” page 164

We Are Blessed

  • “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much joy and gratitude am I bringing to this moment?” page 166 Excellent question to bring awareness to my emotional state.

Declaration VI: We Shall Not Break Integrity

  • “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. ~Epictetus” page 167

Creating Clarity

  • “When we are incongruent, acting in ways that are not aligned with our beliefs, we feel “off,” frustrated, regretful, and, overtime, miserable. But when we align our thoughts and actions with our values and priorities in life, we enjoy the blessings of a chosen and satisfying life.” page 170 Being congruent in even the little things of life is important too.

On Contribution

  • “Where there is no clarity, there can be no integrity.” page 173

The Six Practices Of Integrity

  • “first - think before we act”
  • “second - never commit to anything where we lack passion”
    • “As we become more mature and enlightened adults, we come to realize that if an opportunity is presented to us and it does not gain a near 100-percent enthusiasm and commitment from us, then the reply must be a 100-percent no.”
  • “third - keepage our word”
  • “fourth - always treat others with respect”
  • “fifth - tell the truth”
  • “sixth - always favor action”
  • “…integrity is found in taking actions that support our genuine desires and values.” page 177

The Seven Temptations

  • “…we can easily lose integrity when we are feeling or reacting to any of these things: impatience, disappointment, desperation, aggression, hurt, loyalty, and power.” page 178

The Temptation Of Hurt

  • “Integrity is learning to feel hurt but not integrate its darkness into our soul or cast it onto another.” page 184

The Temptation Of Loyalty

  • “But when loyalty is chosen over truth, corruption is always near.” page 184 Makes me think of politics – corporate politics, social politics, familial politics, and governmental politics!

Declaration VII: We Shall Amplify Love

Life’s Animating Energy

  • “…love is in itself a good thing, that opening ourselves more to love is akin to opening life’s secret treasures, that more love makes us more empathetic, connected, and influential with others. Love is a practical tool for bettering our lives. If we are loving to those around us, then we create the conditions for a positive environment and deeply fulfilling emotional and social life.” page 190

The Closing Of The Heart

  • “It began with hurt.” page 190 Yup, the same hurt that gets in the way of integrity.
  • “Hurt has nothing to do with love, and love is unaffiliated with and unaffected by pain.” page 192
  • “Love is not confined to the human heart and, thus, cannot be held in or out. It is our lack of this awareness that has made us at first seek to protect love and then to limit its release with such fear. We believe it to be a finite thing that we own and can lose. We think it is scarce, delicate. But we are wrong, and this fallacy is what makes life lose its color, what rips away the joy, connection, and sacredness of life.” page 192

True Divinity

  • “Yet a loving fate depends on our discovering that pain has nothing to do with love and that the time for rekindling past hurts and living from the motive of fear has run out.” page 193 Let the past be the past and not defining of the future.

The Route From Suffering

  • “The only way through the pain and hurt is love. The surest route from suffering always begins at the trailhead of love.” page 194 Self-love is a requirement for healing from divorce.
  • “To open upage to love once more, we must act on this knowledge – It was I who diminished love – and let go of the notion that others must right their past wrongs. We must stopage rekindling or resenting ancient hurts. There can be no discovery of fire or treasure there. We have no injuries to avenge now. Let us bind upage the wounds of yesterday and set them in the ocean of love. Let no false mental constructs finally recast love not as something we “have” but as something that exists independently and abundantly in the world, regardless of our own inadequacies or others’ selfishness.” page 195 WOW! Powerful medicine for getting over a divorce.

A Divine Intent

  • “Today, like all days of our lives, we have choices to make about what kinds of persons we’ll be and how we’ll interact with the world. We can meet others with no intention or care. Or we can meet them with disregard and bitterness. Or we can meet them with a profoundly loving intent and fire, a full and vibrant energy that reminds them once more of the spectacular abundance of love and divinity in this world. Which choice we make will determine the quality of our lives, the depth of our relationships, and the hope of our human family.” page 200 Our ability to choose is incredibly powerful!

Declaration VIII: We Shall Inspire Greatness

Demand Higher Standards

  • “A society that lacks good people willing to speak against evil or low standards can only devolve into darkness and mediocrity.” page 209
  • “This is what a virtuous world requires: candid people willing to hold high standards for themselves and others.” page 209

The Nine Virtues Of Greatness

  • “…demand intelligence…If we are to be great, we must take responsibility to helpage others learn, explore, think critically, and grow in wisdom.” page 212 One of the reasons I do what I do.
  • “Courage is often cultivated through confrontation: forcing others to face fears and injustices, teaching people to helpage rather than hide, asking for candor over quietness, urging others to stand upage rather than back down.” page 214 But it’s also about confronting ourselves.
  • “Honesty. Responsibility. Intelligence. Excellence. Courage. Respect. Vigilance. Service. Unity. These are the virtues of greatness that we must exemplify and expect.” page 216 I think they’re requirements for a successful marriage too.

Declaration IX: We Shall Slow Time

  • “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. ~Henry Miller” page 219

Nothing But Newness

  • “All that matters is what is here now before us, to be lived and defined and experienced as we choose.” page 224 This is a call to be present.

The Sensory Animal

  • “It is such a simple formula; The more senses we bring to the moment, the more time slows, the more a catalogue of joyful vivid memories grows in our minds, the more life is filled with gratitude, and the more nourished our soul.” page 227