Embrace Your Freedom (or Happy 4th of July)


July 4th, 2010

This morning, I got to thinking about the freedom we have in our country.

Unlike with communism or a dictatorship, where there is less choice, Americans have the freedom to create and live the life of their dreams.

But there’s a problem.

Although America offers people freedom, many people shackle themselves within the belief of limitation – that they are either not worthy or not capable of fulfilling their personal legend. Even though they’re given freedom, they accept tyranny. And they are their own tyrant.

Even though I’m a motivational speaker and I believe that anything is possible, I sometimes fall into the trap of limitation. It’s an ugly trap that tries to push away the things we want, and make us believe that the attainable is out of reach. On this 4th of July I wanted implore you to listen to your heart, not the lie of limitation, and follow your dreams. If you don’t know what they are, click here to figure them out.

Remember, at one time America was the little guy, while Britain was a powerful country. Odds were that we were going to lose. Yet we still won our freedom, the very freedom you hold in your hands today.

What will you do with yours?

Even if you feel like an underdog, you have the power and the right to live your dreams.

And remember, you are not alone …

The Speeding Ticket

A few weeks ago, I received a speeding ticket while traveling to work. 

Picture from http://www.herbiemania.com/

I was running late because one of my boys was up all night, so I was severely dragging my butt.

I had no intention of speeding. But my fatigue, coupled with listening to a Zig Ziglar audio book, created less than optimal conditions for me to pay attention to the speedometer.

I was clocked at 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. Doh!

You might be wondering, “What’s your point, Joey? People get speeding tickets every day.” Which is true, but the incident became a milestone moment for me — it became a lesson in integrity. Both seeing it in someone else, as well as showing some of my own.

When the policeman gave me my ticket, he did a great job. He was courteous, informative, knowledgeable and professional. He made the experience almost pleasant (except for the hefty fine and license points). Not what I expected.

As he handed me a ticket, I decided to thank him for his kindness. This was not a tactic to have him rip up the ticket; I knew that wasn’t happening. I was sincere. I wanted to give this man, who could have easily been a rude turd, some positive feedback on a job well done.

After I drove away, at a legal speed on cruise control, I realized the import of what had just happened.

I had made no excuses. The incident was my fault and I took full responsibility for my actions. I didn’t blame my son for his sleepless night. I held myself accountable and exercised some integrity (in a surprising way). Since the ticket, not once have I thought (or said), “that jerk, why’d he give me a ticket? Moron!” No, he was doing his job and holding me accountable for my actions.

The real point of the story has nothing to do with me. It’s about all of us. It’s about the choices we make, how they shape us and what kind of example we set for our kids.

If we can turn a speeding ticket into a positive experience, brimming with integrity, imagine what we can do with the rest of our lives. Whether you know it or not, your integrity is there. It’s just a question of if you’re listening when it speaks.

And remember, you are not alone…

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Being Grateful Makes You Full of Greatness…

Thanksgiving week always brings about talk of what we’re thankful for in our lives.

Of course there are the basic answers like family, friends, food, a place to live, indoor toilets and any opportunity to eat massive amounts of pizza from NY.

The other day, as I tried to go beyond my usual list of things I’m grateful for, my thoughts turned into a question…

What are the results of being grateful vs. the results of being ungrateful? What are the different “side effects” or manifestations that occur on a physical, emotional and a cognitive level?

To clarify, when I say “ungrateful” I mean active complaining or ingratitude — in other words being negative.

“What you are thinking about, you are becoming.”
                                                 – Muhammad Ali

When we’re being ungrateful, we’re keeping in mind something that we’re not happy about  something negative, unwanted, bothersome or just plain annoying.

In this state of being, we get stuck in the mucky-muck of negativity. We use our energy dwelling on something we’re unhappy about instead of using that same energy to find solutions. And in doing so we help solidify what we’d really like to change.

When we’re grateful, the outcome is very different. We’re being positive, freeing up & refreshing our energy to move forward instead of holding ourselves back. Sure, there may be things we’re not happy about, but when we’re focusing on something positive, we’re letting go of being negative about something else.

I’m not saying to pretend to be grateful for something that just plain sucks. But why not think about something that doesn’t suck? Why not make a plan to make that particular issue less sucky, instead of just dwelling on it? Are humans so driven to misery that we can’t do this simple thing?

Muhammad Ali said it so beautifully. What we think leads to what we speak. What we speak leads to how we act, and in turn the reality we create.

There was a time when I was so unhappy with my job that I became physically ill and almost died. I was so ungrateful for everything good in my life that my personality became very negative, my soul spiritless. And in turn my body started failing me (I had Crohn’s Disease).

Getting sick turned out to be one the greatest gifts of my life. It woke me up (which was my body’s intention in the first place) and empowered me to make the changes I needed to make.

Although I am aware of the benefits of being grateful, that doesn’t mean I always am. It’s a constant battle to remain mindful about my thoughts (no pun intended).

I’d like to leave off with a question:

Can you allow yourself to be greatness? I’m not talking about ego here, but the greatness that comes with being grateful, positive and true to who you really are.

Anything is possible. The simple choice of being grateful just might change your life.

And remember, you are not alone…

Related links:
The Road to Nowhere: It’s Not Too Late to Recreate Your Reality
The Magic Quarter: Creating Your Own Reality
Anything is Possible
Out of Energy. Out of Time. Out of Luck?
Can You Let Go of the Need for Control? The Sedona Method, Part 3