I made a bunch of phone calls this week but reached few of the persons I wanted to. Companies are slowing down and executives are more concerned with holiday plans than business. My wife is in California visiting our daughter and I am holding the fort in New York looking after my mother-in-law who is the most good-natured and undemanding elder relative you can hope to find. And I am also taking stock and acknowledging the many blessings in my life. And I am remembering my friend. We had known each other for more than three decades and met socially many times in the early days. Then he moved west and I moved east so geography intervened. I used to joke that New York was close to the largest toxic dump in the world – a dump called New Jersey. As a new resident of that state he did not agree.

There is an illusion that you hold on to though your own experience shows that it is just that – an illusion. You know it, but you behave as if it were not true. And much suffering results from this. What is this delusion that holds you in thrall? It is the notion that you are one single permanent self that is present all the time. I know this is not true. The resolute me that greets the morning with joy and determines to eat healthy and exercise is not the same person who, having had a good dinner and brushed his teeth, decides the perfect way to end the day is with a deep-fried, salty snack.

We were in Paris this summer and my wife, being a big Monet fan, dragged me to Giverny. Monet was one of those rare painters who actually made enough money during his lifetime to live a comfortable, even luxurious, life. Here is what his estate in Giverny looks like and this is a tiny part of it: TRI Blog Image Certainly conducive to peaceful thoughts isn’t it? My wife tries to recreate this atmosphere and I am grateful for this. Here is a picture of a part of my backyard:

I have a number of personal coaching clients and one theme has surfaced many times. Come to think of it, it is also prevalent in the lives of friends and relatives. A busy attorney is scaling new professional heights but his son is investigating controlled substances and has had several brushes with the law. He knows that if he could get his son to change life would be perfect. An entrepreneur is grappling a key-employee issue. The guy is brilliant and gets the job done. But he is also brusque and alienates everyone. Including, unfortunately, clients. If only he could get him to change… A senior executive works long hours. When he gets home he just wants to put his feet up and relax and watch some junk on the idiot box. He was a dutiful father and chauffeured children to various activities when young. But now that they have left the house he feels entitled to his ‘relax’ time. But his wife wants to go our for dinner every day and with persons he finds intolerable. If only he could get her to change…

I am a public speaker and I frequently used the example of a hamster on a wheel to illustrate our tendency to get caught up in frantic activity while going nowhere. Virtually everybody could relate to the example. In fact, hamster-on-a-wheel has become shorthand for a meaningless life filled with unfulfilling action.

We rush through life desperately striving and achieving. We are on the go, on the run striving to be more productive. Time is a precious resource and we want to make sure that we fill each minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. But we just might be making a big mistake. I elaborate on this in a 120 second video.

I am reading a moving, sad-funny-inspirational account of someone who hit rock-bottom and then bounced back. Of course, the depth that he reached does not compare to the really destitute in a third world country, but let that pass for now. He was a 52-year-old attorney whose practice was floundering. 30 years after graduating from a prestigious Law School he had difficulty making ends meet. His clients were not paying what they owed. And they were not dream clients who were a pleasure to work with; he scrambled for work and took what he got. He was forced to move to a dingy apartment where the air-conditioning barely worked and which felt like a sauna or a deep freeze depending on the season. His second wife lived in the house he moved out of and he could not afford the alimony or the child support. He could barely make payroll. One of his clients was suing him. It was a frivolous suit but he still had to hire an attorney to defend him and that was more cash out the door.

My capstone program – Creativity and Personal Mastery – gives you very powerful tools that will absolutely transform your life for the better. An early assignment, before we meet for the first time, calls for admitted participants to list what they would like to get from it. A surprisingly large number say that they are concerned about what persons think of them. They would like to improve other’s perception of themselves. Be honest now. Don’t you want to know what other’s think of you?
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