Words of Wisdom

I often come across what I call words of wisdom, those little jewels that inspire, inform and offer hope to us all. I offer the following ones as a reminder to those who know about them and as a way for others to discover them. They are timeless.

Empty Your Cup:

This phrase illustrates the necessity of cultivating an open mind.  You cannot expect to ever learn new things if you are unwilling to “empty your cup” (mind) of your own opinions and speculations. I even love this following story so much, I put it in my book, “The 231 Club”.

As the story goes, a Japanese Zen master was visited by a university professor who came to learn about Zen. The professor wasn’t really interested in learning about Zen; he was more interested in trying to impress the master with how much he knew. So at one point the master suggests that they have tea. He then poured some into the professor’s cup. And when the cup was full the master simply kept pouring. The professor could no longer restrain himself and asked the master “Why are you continuing to pour tea into a cup that is full?; the cup can’t take in anymore.”

The master then said to the professor “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Seize the Moment:

Live in the present. Your focus should be on what you can effectively do today.  If you do that, you will not waste energy.  Dwelling on the past (regrets) or worrying excessively about the future (anxiety) are the two things that dissipate energy.  They are also two things that can result in depression and cause a standstill to your life.

Multiple Options:

When an unfavorable event occurs in your life, react to it without undue emotion or haste.  Realize that in nearly every instance you probably have more alternatives than you think you have. Hold still a moment before acting or reacting and consider the alternatives.

I competed in a shooting competition and after taking my turn at the course, I was walking back to my car where I saw one of my club members throwing a fit, tossing his equipment to the ground amid a long stream of profanities. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he had made a stupid mistake that had cost him many points that he needed desperately for a chance to win his class.

I told him that this would be a good test of how well he does in choosing his options.  Option 1: get angry and learn nothing.  Option 2:  learn from the failure and become a better competitor as a result.  He calmed down and I left him with “being a champion is more than placing at the top of a scoreboard. 

A champion sees failures as stepping stones on the path to success.”  The guy starting doing so well in the following matches he won his class championship.  I guess he was listening.

A Mind Full of Bricks:

Trying to take on too many projects at one time along with thoughts about the bad weather, the traffic jam that caused you to be late to work, thoughts about not making enough money are all piling up in your head and will create an overload. And when you’re overloaded, stress is created and stress leads to anxiety and depression. You’re going to end up with pain in your mind or your body.

Here’s an example of something I teach that helps people understand that they need to take on only as much has a can handle. And by the way, “multitasking”, the idea of doing more than one thing at a time, is a fantasy. You might be doing more than one thing at a time but your brain is quickly switching from one to the other which after a while well create a short circuit/overload.

Imagine that you have a large pile of bricks in your front yard, each weighing 10 pounds,  and you have to move all the bricks to the back yard.  It you try carrying 4, 5 or 10 bricks in one trip you are going to hurt yourself, maybe even causing yourself extreme harm.  But if you carry only one or two bricks at a time you can handle the task without difficulty. 

Well the same thing applies to your mind.  Taking on too much mentally can overload your your mind just like too many bricks can overload your body.

You might be able to handle a large load of bricks for a few trips but eventually something’s going to give and you will definitely feel pain in the body.  Same thing with the mind but the pain will be in the form of anxiety or depression. You must, therefore, learn to pace yourself.

Thoughts From Others:

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”- Albert Einstein

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

”Developing expertise is more important than any weapon modification.” – Jim Boland
Well, the last one might seem a bit odd to the general public reading this, but it reflects the idea that your own skills are of more worth than having to rely on tricks or gadgets.


Now, let me leave you with two final thoughts.

“The only currency that you alone can devalue is your integrity.”

“Faith should be tempered with logic and reasoning.”

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