Category Archives: Lifestyles

Stress or No Stress, Life Goes On

bryan_goldenBryan Golden
Author
“Dare to Live Without Limits”

“Sometimes my mind is like a sponge. Sometimes my mind is like a sieve. It doesn’t matter, either way I live.” —Frieda Feldman

Life doesn’t always go in the direction we hope for or want. Circumstances vary. Sometimes situations are perfect. At other times they are less than ideal. Although we go through cycles, life always goes on.
It’s easy to get caught up with what is happening to you at the moment while losing track of the bigger picture. People get hung up on both large and small issues. It’s normal to have good and bad days when it comes to memory. Some things are easy to remember, while others are elusive. There is no point to worrying about it. If you are more forgetful than you would like, write those things down you need to remember. No biggie!
Do you get stressed when you forget something? If anything, stress impedes your memory because it preoccupies your brain. Whether you have a good memory or not, life goes on. You’ve got to work with what you have and adjust as necessary.
Regardless of any frustrations you are struggling with, life does indeed move forward. It doesn’t matter how you feel, what your attitude is, or how tired you may be. The earth keeps turning and tomorrow will always arrive. (Test that one tonight: it works!)
You must move forward even if the solution isn’t ideal. No one is thrilled when their memory isn’t as good as they would like. What’s the big deal if you have to write more things down than you used to? John returned to college after 20 years. He quickly discovered he had to spend more time studying than most of the other students. If he wanted to pass, John needed to adapt by simply putting in the additional effort required.
The incomes of Mary and her husband Fred were lower than they had hoped for. Although they were comfortable, Mary and Fred couldn’t afford the bigger apartment and newer car they wanted. Finally, they realized that stressing out accomplished nothing except weakening their relationship. They cultivated an attitude of gratitude for what they had—while exploring various options to earn more money. They did what they could with what they had!
Dave was always athletic and loved participating in sports. Now in his 50’s, Dave was dismayed he didn’t have the same stamina or ability he had in his 20’s. Being sedentary wasn’t an option for Dave, so Dave did what he had to do: He spent more time warming up, didn’t play quite as hard, and gave his body more time to recover. You have to formulate a strategy to deal with whatever you are facing. You can find a solution, take mitigating steps, change your direction, or remove yourself from the situation. Understand that…and you’ll feel better, and live better.
Visit www.BryanGolden.com; Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o The Resident.
To post your comments, visit www.theresident.com or follow us on twitter @Resident_News.

The Struggle of Influence vs. Image

bryan_goldenBryan Golden
Author
“Dare to Live Without Limits”

Which is more important to you; how you actually live your life—or how others perceive you?  The issue is the difference between “influence versus image.”  Those who follow a core set of internal beliefs that influence, or guide their actions—based on what they understand to be right—aren’t distracted by how they may appear to others.
Image-conscious people are just the opposite.  They make decisions based on how they will be perceived.  Other’s opinions govern their actions and associations. Their life is based on the reaction of those who see them, rather than a foundation of a firm set of personal convictions.
It’s easy to become overly image-conscious.  Image has become a media obsession.  The news, magazines, newspapers, commercials, and movies all give the impression that public image is of primary importance in determining one’s success. People whom the media say have the “right” image are lauded.  Those with the “wrong” image are adversely sensationalized in the headlines.  It’s easy to confuse your personal goals with those which are pressed upon you!
Who makes your decisions—the style of clothes you wear; the kind of car you drive; where you go on vacation; the type of house you buy, where it’s located, and how you decorate it?  You compromise who you are when you are excessively concerned about how you are perceived.
Furthermore, people generally don’t really care about what you do.  Opinions, solicited or not, flow freely.  Given the fickle, unpredictable nature of “acceptance,” do you want to always be chasing approval?
Rather than gearing your behavior to impress those around you, why not live by your core values, immune from criticism and condemnation?  Additionally, you will have a lasting impact on those around you by living an exemplary life, one you can be proud of.
Yes, you may receive criticism for not following the crowd.  Peer pressure is powerful…but don’t give in.  It’s well worth the effort required to stand firm in your beliefs.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Demonstrate, by your conduct, the value of following your inner voice instead of jumping to embrace the utterances of others.  By so doing, you define your life by influencing others rather than by being swamped by opinions.
Even though you are only one person, don’t underestimate the power of your example. When you have a positive influence on another person, there is a ripple effect.  Just as someone will follow your lead, another person will then follow their example. When you behave in a way that influences others, you make a real contribution.  Those who lead image-oriented lives continually have to alter course, following fickle winds. Buck the trend, live life on your terms.
Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o the Resident
To post your comments, visit www.theresident.com or follow us on twitter @Resident_News.

Two Big Words: Keep Going!

bryan_goldenBryan Golden
Author
“Dare to Live Without Limits”

“For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.”
– Mary Kay Ash

Tough times can knock the wind out of you. Any aspect of your life is a possible target for adversity; personal, social, professional, or economic. What effective strategies can you employ to keep going?
When first hit by hardship, a feeling of discouragement is common. You don’t know how to respond. You may wonder why this is happening to you. You question why you are being singled out.
Experiencing a loss of energy and enthusiasm is common. You may be resigned: “Things will get better at some point,” you say to yourself. You initially feel powerless to do anything. These are normal reactions have no positive effect and actually do you a disservice. When knocked down, you must get back up. It’s imperative for you to keep plowing forward, resolute to overcome whatever you are facing.
Irene and her husband, Jim, both worked in order to cover their monthly expenses. During an economic downturn, Irene was laid off from her job as a department manager. This was a big financial blow; additionally, they had very little in savings.
Understandably, Irene and Jim were apprehensive. The ranks of the unemployed were swelling as many businesses were laying off workers. After several months of searching, Irene had no success in finding another management position.
Irene realized she had to formulate some plan of action. Even though it wasn’t an ideal solution, she took two, part-time jobs. Her income was less than it had been…however, Irene brought home more money than if she did nothing. By cutting back on non-essential expenses, Irene and Jim were able to scrape by, make ends meet, and keep their heads up.
Harold and Carol had been married 26 years. They had two daughters, one in college and one in high school. One day, out of the blue, Carol announced that she needed her independence and wanted a divorce. Harold was devastated. He was happy with the marriage and did not want it to end.
There wasn’t anything Harold could say or do to change Carol’s mind. For months, Harold was dejected and downcast, spending most of his free time alone at home. He finally accepted that there was nothing he could do about it, and at first hesitantly started getting out and socializing. He joined a health club and enrolled in some adult-ed classes, which he found he enjoyed. One of his close friends, who had been through the same circumstances, told Harold that the direction of his life was up to him, that other people had found happiness after divorce and Harold could also. Life began to improve!
Regardless of the hell you might be going through, the only way out is to keep going. Inaction leaves you stuck where you are; waiting doesn’t work. But there is an alternative: Think. Decide where you would like to be…and then take action to get there. Don’t give up.
Bryan Golden is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o The Resident
To post your comments, visit www.theresident.com or follow us on twitter@Resident_News.

Dream Big, Formulate Goals

bryan_golden

 

Bryan Golden
Author
“Dare to Live Without Limits”

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream… It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim, is sin.”
— Benjamin Elijah Mays

Failure is a label stained with stigma. Early on we are imbued with such a fear of failure that avoiding it becomes a quest. Risk-aversion limits us from even attempting any endeavor in which success is less than virtually guaranteed.
As a result, you shun any objective, regardless of how desirable it may be, where there is a measurable chance it will flop. This causes you to miss out on so much! People without goals never run the risk of failure—if you don’t want anything, how can you be disappointed?
Imagine you have a high-performance sports car worth $1 million. You car is capable of incredible performance and handling. Your beautiful car is safely stored in the garage. Every day you spend some time admiring your car.
As much as you love the car, you refuse to drive it. The fear of getting into an accident, or even a fenderbender, keeps the car parked in the garage. And not only will you never experience the joy of driving your car, it will eventually become inoperable due to lack of use!
Now let’s consider a different scenario. A wealthy friend offers to give you a sports car he no longer wants. It won’t cost you a dime. Yet you turn down the car. You don’t want the responsibility of owning it. Additionally, you don’t want to be tempted to use it. Your own fears would prevent you from enjoying your dream car.
You probably consider these scenarios ridiculous. However, this is exactly how people treat their dreams, which are like the sports car. As a result, they never experience all of their own vast potential.
What if Thomas Edison had not attempted the invention of the light bulb? It was certainly a long shot. After all, no one else ever succeeded in creating a working bulb. It took Edison 10,000 tries to invent a functional light. Who would have criticized him if he abandoned his quest after 9,000 attempts?
Likewise, the Wright Brothers certainly faced long odds in their quest to construct a heavier-than-air craft that could actually fly. Throughout history, countless numbers of people had failed before them. What chance did they have in succeeding?
Our great country would not exist today if the founding fathers chose to avoid any chance of failure rather than risk dreaming of the birth of a free nation. Who in their right mind could think there was any possibility of a band of untrained farmers defeating the most powerful army in the world?
Don’t hesitate to dream. Formulate goals and pursue them. It’s such a waste to have no aspirations. Shoot for the stars! If you fall short you will reach the moon.
Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. Email Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o The Resident.

True Leadership Has Many Styles

Bryan Golden 

Author of “Dare To Live Without Limits”

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden

The typical view of leadership is one person in charge of many. “But” there are many forms of leadership and leading takes place at many levels. You begin leading your life by taking a proactive approach to what you do. A leader makes things happen rather than waiting to see what happens.</span>
A leader doesn’t look for problems. A leader seeks to find solutions rather than complaining about issues. Successful leaders become experts at overcoming obstacles. Additionally, a leader inspires others to also take control of their own lives.
A leader doesn’t blame others for his or her situation. He or she takes full responsibility for succeeding. If something doesn’t work out as planned, leaders don’t give up. They endlessly persevere, adjusting strategy when necessary.
One can lead more effectively by asking questions rather than by making statements. The power of a question lies with its request for input. Conversely, a proclamation is more likely to cause a defensive reaction. When a person provides an answer, it is as if they thought of an idea themselves. Questions enable leaders to encourage cooperation instead of dictating.
Leaders are excellent listeners. They invite input and pay attention when someone else is talking. Leaders understand that listening is essential for effective communication. They can only offer a meaningful reply after they have heard someone else’s thoughts.
A leader develops their strengths while working to overcome weaknesses and helps others to do the same. Every person has specific aptitudes. Everyone has areas that need improvement. These are opportunities to grow, not limitations.
Leaders always keep an open mind. They are receptive to new ideas. They understand the reasoning, “that’s the way things have always been done,” is not legitimate justification. Leaders recognize the power of innovative thinking and constantly search for better ways of doing things.
A leader understands the importance of education. They recognize that learning is a life long endeavor. Regardless of how much someone knows, there is much more waiting to be discovered.
Leaders are receptive to dissent. They listen to a variety of opinions. Leaders recognize the value of ideas, understanding one person can’t think of everything. Although they may not agree with all they hear, leaders are constantly looking for pearls of wisdom.
A leader is always courteous and polite. They say please and thank you. Leaders respect others and make every effort to help people feel good about themselves. A leader will praise in public but criticize in private. They never belittle others.
Leaders earn respect, they don’t demand it. People gravitate to leaders because of the way they treat others, their attitude, their actions, and the positive energy they radiate. A leader doesn’t step on others to elevate themselves. Instead, a leader helps others to attain more.
A leader brings out the best in the people around them. They set good examples, act decisively, are sincere, and live by their own words. Leaders motivate through their actions.
We can learn a lot from the great leaders throughout history. Their actions are an inspiration to all. Leaders don’t have anything unique within them. Inside you, is the same potential. It’s a shame that more people don’t tap into their own capabilities.
You lead your own life. Regardless of your age or occupation, you are a leader. There is no limit to how many leadership traits you incorporate into your life. Act like a leader, and you will experience more satisfaction and happiness.
NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit <a href=”http://www.BryanGolden.com” target=”_blank”>www.BryanGolden.com</a> or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. © 2008 Bryan Golden

Work With What You Have

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden
Author of “Dare to Live Without Limits”

If you wait until all circumstances become ideal, you will shortchange yourself. There are several reasons for this. First of all, things are never perfect. You will always be able to identify some element which is lacking or needs improvement.
People who fail to take action explain they are waiting for the right time. Acting too hastily, they argue, would only doom their efforts to failure.
You may feel today is not ideal. Resist the temptation to wait. It’s too easy to keep pushing action off until tomorrow. Then, before you know it, the years fly by without any accomplishments.
Here is a better approach. Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are, and start now. This means you should begin moving forward from your current position today.
Where are you now? How much education do you have? What is your financial situation? How much free time do you have? Whatever your answers, you need to start right away. You can improve on any deficits as you move forward.
To acquire more knowledge, either learn it yourself or utilize the expertise of others. Improve your financial picture by increasing income, reducing expenses, or both. If you feel you don’t have enough free time, track how you use your discretionary time. Many people find they can fit more in by setting priorities.
Imagine you are on journey in a 30-foot sailboat. On board you have a finite amount of food, fuel, sails, and clothing. You also have nautical charts for any place you might want to go. However, you are not happy with some of your conditions.
You would really prefer to be on a larger boat. The food isn’t that great. There is not as much foul weather clothing as you would like. What do you do? Is waiting for conditions to improve before you continue your journey an option? Of course not. Nothing would change and you would run out of food. You must sail on to your next port.
A sailor embodies the philosophy of always doing what you can, with what you have, wherever you are. On the sea, this principle isn’t an option. Rather, it means the difference between surviving and perishing. It’s not magic, just attitude and determination.
Although life doesn’t have the same daily risks as an ocean voyage, your success and happiness is just as dependent on working with what you have right now. As you do so, keep your aspirations in sight, as they will help keep you motivated.
As you move ahead, make improvements as needed. Working with what you have doesn’t mean you should stagnate. The purpose of taking action is to improve and ultimately arrive at all the destinations you desire.
Take inventory of all your personal assets and attributes, pick your direction, let out your sails, and get underway. Tomorrow you will be glad you started today.
To post your comments, visit www.theresident.com or follow us on Twitter @Resident_News.

Lifestyles: How to Deal With Frustration

Bryan GoldenAuthor of  “Dare to Live Without Limits”

Bryan Golden
Author of “Dare to Live Without Limits”

Frustration is something you have to deal with on your road to achievement.  The journey is rarely smooth or as fast as you would like.  If life were perfect, frustration wouldn’t exist.  Although life is great, it is not perfect.  So you need to work to ensure frustration won’t get the best of you.  Let’s first look at the causes of frustration and then cover some strategies for coping with it.

One basis for frustration is impatience.  Today, more than ever, people expect instant results.  We have become so used to high speed technology like computers, the internet, cell phones, email, text messages, that we want all aspects of life to be just as fast.

Although we are surrounded by modern marvels which function at a breakneck pace, the basic principles of achievement operate at the same rate they always have.  There is a certain amount of time required to make progress.  Exactly how long something will take is not always known.  Frustration is exacerbated when you set a time limit that is unreasonably short.

We get frustrated when comparing what we have to others who have more.  There’s nothing wrong with ambition.  It’s motivational to want to achieve more.  It’s when you feel you are in a contest with someone else that frustration grows.

Obstacles, especially unexpected ones, frequently generate frustration.  Obstacles have the tendency to emerge at the most inopportune times, thus magnifying their impact.  They demand extra energy that we usually don’t have.

Always wanting more, without an appreciation for all you have, leads to frustration.  Those who are never satisfied find happiness elusive.  Unhappy people are frustrated people.  These people are like a dog chasing its tail; regardless of how fast the dog is, the tail will always be out of reach.

Here are some suggestions for coping with the above causes of frustration.  Succeeding takes time.  Focus on enjoying life and savoring the journey.  Keep your eye on the destination while enjoying the scenery along the way.

It doesn’t matter what other’s have.  You aren’t in competition with them.  A surprising number of people who have the outward appearance of success are very unhappy.  Don’t be jealous of what you think they have.

Take the necessary action to work toward your goals.  Action goes a long way to reducing frustration because you are not just waiting for something to happen.  Obstacles and setbacks are unavoidable.  There is a solution to every problem.  You have inside you what it takes to keep going.  If you stumble and fall, get back up and keep going.

It doesn’t matter what other people say, think, or do.  You don’t need their acceptance to be successful.  Appreciate all you have.  Develop an attitude of gratitude.  When you are thankful for the good in your life you will always have more than you need.  Although you can’t eliminate frustration, you can minimize it.

Lifestyles: How Do You Define Yourself?

Bryan GoldenAuthor of  “Dare to Live Without Limits”

Bryan Golden
Author of “Dare to Live Without Limits”

Who are you?  Do you strive to be liked by everyone?  Do you seek other peoples’ approval before you make decisions?  Do your beliefs always reflect popular opinion?  Or do you have a set of principles that are based on what you understand to be right and good?  And do you stand fast on your principles regardless of what is happening around you?

Your character is defined by what you stand for.  Your reputation is how others view you.  Character doesn’t vary.  It’s not based on current events, your perception of what others think, whatever is in vogue, or the actions of other people.
True character is set in stone.  It gets stronger the more it’s tested.  True character doesn’t require anyone’s approval.  When things get tough, true character gives you direction, keeping you from getting lost.

People with character don’t choose a course because it is easy.  They take the route they feel is right.  Not only is this far from the path of least resistance, it is usually rife with challenges.  Those with character can’t be bought for any price.
Do you know who you are and what you stand for?  You should.  If you don’t, you need to spend some time examining your values and beliefs.  No one is perfect.  Although we all have flaws, character emanates from basic convictions.

Where does your character come from?  It begins forming based on the examples you see growing up.  Your parents, siblings, friends, and others you come into contact with all have an impact.  You can also be influenced by role models in public life.  However there are other factors at work.

There are many examples of people emerging from an imperfect upbringing with a stellar character.  Conversely, there are numerous instances of people growing up with the best influences, yet developing without character.

Regardless of where your character originated from or when, you can reinforce or modify it.  Your character is based on your thoughts and actions, all of which you control.  Therefore you control your character.  There are no excuses.  If you don’t like who you are, then change.

Your character is like steel; it is forged by heat and pressure over time.  The more experiences you have, the more problems you solve, the more obstacles you overcome, and the more adversity you go through, the more your character deepens.

People with a solid character know who they are and what they stand for.  They don’t need to decide where they stand based on their circumstances.  They have no problem looking in the mirror or sleeping at night.  Their conscience doesn’t eat away at them.  They don’t need someone’s approval for how they live.

People whose lives are directed by their character may be criticized, mocked, or shunned.  Although such treatment can be uncomfortable, they don’t allow it to change who they are.  These people understand that if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.  So make sure you know who you are and live by it.

Brave Discoveries Herald Happiness

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden
Author of “Dare to Live Without Limits”

Great discoveries are made, and breakthroughs take place, when directions are not followed or instructions are ignored.  This is because directions and instructions are based on what is understood at the time.  It’s impossible to give guidance on how to venture into the unknown.

This creates a dilemma since we all seek guidance in order to maximize our chances for success.  There is also a measurable level of comfort derived by staying within familiar boundaries.  It feels much safer to follow an existing path rather than blaze a new one.  This results in a fear of doing what has never been done before.

Your discoveries don’t have to change the course of history.  There is much room for personal discovery that impacts your quality of life and future.  These types of discoveries positively influence the course of your journey.

As we grow up, we are given many directions as to how we should live.  Much of the advice is worthwhile.  But we have to distinguish those suggestions that limit our discoveries.  You’ve probably heard some of the following: “Be realistic,” “Don’t rock the boat,” “Stop daydreaming,” “Find something secure,” “Limit your risks,” and “Don’t take chances.”  Let’s examine each one.

“Be realistic.”  Realistic is subjective.  What’s realistic for one person is restrictive for another.  Being “realistic” is usually used to discourage your aspirations.  Something is considered unrealistic only when it has not yet been attempted or it is not yet mainstream.

“Don’t rock the boat.”  Shaking things up gives you a new outlook.  Often a different perspective is required to uncover hidden opportunities.  You rock the boat when you move around and even hang over the side.  If you are not rocking the boat then you are just sitting there.  The result? Nothing will happen.

“Stop daydreaming.” Day- dreaming leads to aspirations.  It stimulates your imagination, creating a mental vision your mind will work on to make a reality.  Daydreaming has no limitations.  It gives you a sensation that anything is possible, which it is.

“Find something secure.”  Security is equated to a guarantee.  Nothing in life is guaranteed, especially when you depend on someone else to provide it.  The only person you can depend on is yourself.  You control your thoughts and actions.

“Limit your risks.”  Exactly how much should you limit them?  What are risks anyway?  Each person has their own understandings.  You take risks whenever you leave your home.  You don’t want to be reckless where risks far outweigh any benefits.  But risk is required to reach a desired destination.

“Don’t take chances.”  This statement associates chances with failure.  The implication is that by taking chances you have the chance of failure.  Failure is only something that didn’t work out as planned.  As long as you never give up, you never really fail.

There are limitless discoveries awaiting you.  Learn from those who have gone before you and then blaze you own path.  You have to write your own operations manual.  Ignore any discouraging instructions.  You will be venturing into unexplored territory so there won’t be any map.  Great happiness awaits those who are willing to make discoveries.

Lifestyles: False Justifications – Wrong Beliefs

Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden

False justifications are erroneous beliefs that are used to support specific behavior.  When your actions are based on an incorrect understanding, you will either limit yourself or go down the wrong path.  Your mind directs you based on your beliefs.  It doesn’t care whether or not a specific tenet is correct.

Throughout history, human progress has been hampered by erroneous concepts.  Prior to the exploration of Columbus, ships would limit their travels for fear of falling off the edge of the earth.  Today, it seems ludicrous for anyone to have ever thought the world was flat.  However, at the time it was accepted science.

Another false premise of the past was the idea of the sun revolving around the earth.  As another example, many civilizations throughout history panicked during a solar eclipse, fearing it signaled the end of the world.

Just as false justifications impacted societal progress, the ones you hold affect your accomplishments.  You have to be careful what you convince yourself of.  As far as your mind is concerned, your outlook is the truth, even when it is based on a flawed assumption.  Let’s look at some often used false justifications.

“I can’t do it.”  This is probably one of the most used justifications for failure. It’s also employed to avoid any attempt at all.  The truth is that you can do whatever you set your mind to.  With enough of a burning desire, there are no limits to what you can accomplish.  Replace “I can’t do it” with “I can do it.”

“There is no solution.”  Everyone encounters problems and there is a solution for every problem.  When you don’t believe this, you abdicate control over your life by feeling and acting like a victim.  Solutions may be elusive, but they always exist.

“I don’t know how.”  There isn’t any way to know everything.  There will always be more you don’t know than you do.  You always have two options.  You can acquire the knowledge you need or you can utilize someone else’s expertise.  Regardless of the subject, the information you need exists.

“I’m too busy.”  Why do some people accomplish so much more than others?  Their key is setting priorities and working toward their goals.  Those who aren’t as productive lack focus.  By devoting time to that which is most important, you will achieve more than before.

“I’ll be criticized.”  So what?  It doesn’t matter what other people say, think, or do.  All that matters is what you do.  Every person who has accomplished great things has always done so in the face of criticism.  If you are criticized, you are in the company of the greatest minds in history.

“I’ll fail.”  In order to increase your success rate, you must increase your failure rate.  Besides, you only really fail when you stop trying.  To succeed, get up one more time than you fall down.  Failure is nothing more than the discovery of something that didn’t work as planned.

“I’m too old.”  You are never going to be as young as you are today.  If there is something you really want, get started now.  What are you waiting for?  Life isn’t a practice run.

Don’t waste any effort justifying why you are not attaining all you want.  Examine your beliefs and make the necessary adjustments.  There are countless examples of people accomplishing everything you think is not possible.  Get off of the sidelines and get on the path to achieving your dreams.

Always Something to Stress About

Bryan Golden

A stress free life is a goal for most of us.  Ideally, each day should be perfect, without any problems.  The reality is much different.  It seems as if there is always something to stress about.

Often, as soon as we solve one problem, another emerges.    Ironically, there is no shortage of information on how to manage, reduce, or even eliminate stress.  Yet, it can feel like a constant struggle to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Our minds become conditioned to look for things to stress about.  It’s almost as if we feel uncomfortable if life is too smooth.  When all is too quiet, we can think we must be overlooking something.  Our thoughts automatically focus on a new issue to stress about.  Even if there is nothing wrong, we are adept at seeking out a troubling perspective.

Sources of stress range from the mundane and inconsequential to major events.  A stain on a shirt, a rude remark from a stranger, or a bad hair day might be sources of anguish.  Even while being stressed, we have all thought, “why am I getting so stressed out by this?”  Still, it’s difficult not to get caught.

There are those people who appear to have the capability to let just about everything role off their backs.  They evoke jealousy as we wonder how they do it.  Granted, only a few have this capacity.  Many others hide the stress they internalize.

It doesn’t matter how others deal with stress.  What’s important is how you handle your circumstances.  You can’t always control what happens but you can control your reaction.  This reality is the key to avoid getting caught on the stress treadmill where you continually hop from one issue to another.

How do you stop finding things to stress about?  Start with recognizing how pointless stress is in the first place.  You can devote as much energy as possible.  It won’t accomplish a thing.  Besides, stress is exhausting and doesn’t make you feel good.

When you find yourself stressing about some issue, decide which of the following categories it falls into.  Either there is some action you can take or the situation is out of your hands.  If there is something you can do, by all means do it.

Don’t sit there and fret.

For circumstances you have no influence over, let it go.  This advice may not be so easy to apply at first.  With practice you will make progress over time.  Be diligent and catch yourself whenever you begin to stress.

You can substantially reduce the number of things you stress over by maintaining a positive perspective.  Constantly question whether the event at hand is even worth your attention at all.  You will quickly find that much of your stress is caused by quickly forgotten issues blown out of proportion by your mental lens.

It’s difficult to stop stressful thinking.  Much more effective is displacing these troublesome thoughts with a focus on the good in your life.  You take many things for granted that deserve regular recognition of gratitude.  Put your energy into identifying them rather than stressing.

You have to act proactively to break the cycle of stress.  You are probably more used to this habit than you realize.  Although some level of stress is a normal part of living, it is usually too elevated.

You will be amazed how much better you feel as your stress level drops.  Break the pattern.  Don’t look for something to stress about.  You will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Searching for Gold

Bryan Golden

“Men are developed the same way that gold is mined. When gold is mined several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt-one goes in looking for the gold.” – Andrew Carnegie

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go for a walk and find piles of pure gold waiting to be gathered?  No effort would be required.  All you would have to do is shovel as much gold as you wanted into buckets.  However, if gold were so abundant, it wouldn’t have any value.  The aura of gold is linked to its exclusivity.

What makes gold so expensive is that it is so difficult to come by.  Mining gold takes a great deal of time and effort.  First a mine has to be discovered.  Several mines might have to be dug before gold is reached.  Next, extensive digging is required.  All of the many tons of excavated dirt have to be carried out of the mine.

Even when gold is found, it is not in usable form.  Raw gold is very crude, a far cry from the metal we see in jewelry or coins.  Before it can be used, it must be melted down in order to remove the impurities.

Because of all the work involved, gold is one of the most desirable metals.  You will never hear someone say, “I don’t want gold, it takes too much effort to get it.”  However, when it comes to achieving dreams, “It takes too much work” is a commonly heard mantra.

Anything worthwhile takes effort.  Whatever is readily available doesn’t have much worth.  Gold is a perfect example of this concept.  Reaching your goals is no different from searching for gold.  The reason more people don’t live their dreams is because it requires hard work and dedication.

Taking the easy route may be appealing from an effort standpoint, but the destinations easily reachable don’t have much value.  Going into the woods and gathering rocks is easier than finding gold.  However, no one will be willing to pay you hundreds of dollars per ounce for the stones.

Developing yourself follows the same rules.  It takes effort to enhance your value.  People with more knowledge typically earn more than those with less.  Knowledge can be obtained from many sources, not just formal education.  Continual learning should be a lifetime endeavor.

In addition to education, you have numerous personality attributes you can continuously enhance.  Your character traits are just as valuable, if not more so, than what you know.  Individuals who are trustworthy, hard working, dependable, honest, pleasant, friendly, kind, and motivated are considered invaluable.

Your search for gold within yourself is a never ending pursuit.  It’s a journey, not a destination.  You can always dig deeper inside with the objective of further self-development.  Each of us has flaws that can be corrected.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are.  It’s never too early or too late to begin your internal prospecting.  To start, look in the mirror.  What you see is your gold mine.  There is a virtually limitless supply of riches within you.

How far or how long you have to dig is irrelevant.  Time goes by regardless of what you are doing.  Why not devote your energy to going for gold?  You can live your dreams.  Get started today.  You will never have any regrets you did.

NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.