Friday, November 20, 2015

Circle of Envy - A Thanksgiving Tale

Not a bad view near Sisters Creek. 
Once upon a time, a man was fishing from a dock. The weather was beautiful and the man was peaceful and happy. Then he noticed a boater backing his little boat down the nearby ramp and into the water. He started thinking, “Oh boy, does that guy have it made! He’s not stuck on a dock, like me, waiting and hoping for the fish to come to him. He’s a free man. He can fish in one spot and if he doesn’t catch anything there, he can pull up his anchor and go somewhere else. I would do anything, just to have a little boat like that.”

The man in the little boat was feeling pretty good as he fired up his five and a half horsepower Evinrude and pulled away. He thought to himself, “I am the captain of this ship. I can go anywhere. I can do anything. If I don’t catch a fish in one spot, I can pull anchor and go somewhere else. I am invincible. Yes!”

After a while, a guy in a cool bass boat passed the man in the little boat. The bass boat was fully decked out. Swivel seats, a live well, all the gadgets, and ten times the horsepower on the pitiful little boat. The man in the little boat thought to himself, “That guy really has it made. If I could ever get my hands on a boat like that, everything would be beautiful. I’d be a happy man.”

A little later, a dude in a great speedboat passed the guy in the bass boat. The guy in the bass boat thought, “Oh baby, that is one sweet boat. He can fish off it, but he can also pull a water skier. And he can go anywhere twice as fast as I can in this old clunker. If only I had a boat like that, I would be so happy.”

Then the speedboat passed a cabin cruiser. The dude in the speedboat thought to himself, “Now that guy has it made. When he goes out on his boat, he can stay overnight. He doesn’t have to worry about being anywhere by dusk. If he’s still out when it gets dark, he can just throw his anchor over the side and let the water rock him to sleep.”

The boater in the cabin cruiser noticed the ultimate waterfront mansion. He throttled down to take a good look. The house was like something out of a fairy tale. Several boats were tied up at the dock including an oceangoing yacht, a huge speedboat, an incredible fishing boat, and a heavy duty boat. The boater thought to himself, “That guy has it all. He has a boat for whatever mood he’s in. And he doesn’t have to back down a ramp or drive to a marina. He just walks out the back door, down to the dock, gets in whichever boat suits him, and goes. What I wouldn’t do to have what he has.”

A little while later, the man in the little boat putted by the big house. The owner was looking out the window. He had a cell phone in his ear. His lawyer was on one line, his accountant on another line, and an unhappy client on yet a third line. As he watched the little boat go by, he reminisced about the good old days when he only had one small boat. “Life was so much simpler," he told himself. "Now things are very complicated. I have an unbelievable house with an unbelievable mortgage payment. I have very expensive toys but no time to play with them. And I have grown kids who are waiting for me to die so they can get their hands on my money. That guy on the little boat may not know it, but he really has it made! I would do just about anything to go back to being like him.”
This story is from Chicken Nuggets for the Soul and it's based on something from my life. One day, back when I had a small boat, I was at a boat ramp and got into a chat with the owner of a very nice bass boat. It had all the bells and whistles. I have to admit, I was a bit envious. I think the guy might have sensed it. 

"Want to know where I got my best fish of the day today?" he asked me.

Of course I wanted to know.

"Right under that dock," he told me.

True story!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Heroes on Board Flight 93

Flight 93 Memorial Plaza
by Danny Murphy

From the home of the brave and the land of the free,
There were heroes aboard Flight 93.

The beasts of terror barked and they bit,
But the heroes on Flight 93 would not sit.

Our heroes chose not to cower and cry,
They refused to lay down and die.

Those brave ones developed a plan of attack,
Then said their prayers and rose to fight back.

Forward they rushed and took back the plane,
Driving the Allah-kazis insane.

The jetliner dove and crashed in a field,
Far from its target, the bombers had failed.

Our heroes gave up their lives and their dreams,
To stop the enemy's evil schemes.

From the home of the brave and land of the free,
There were heroes aboard Flight 93.


Check out the Flight 93 National Memorial Website. 

Related articles across the web

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Positive Positioning - Right Place, Right Time.

Positive Thinking Technique
It's nice to be in the right place at the right time.
The day I got this pic was one of those times in my life.

By the time I turned twenty I was making a living and renting a place of my own. After finishing my first two years of college, I didn’t have the resources or the time to continue. There were bills to be paid. I started a small business moving and repairing waterbeds. The  money was OK, but the work was tough on my back.

After a few years, I began taking classes part-time at the University of North Florida. Fellow students joked that U.N.F. stood for, "You never finish," and it did seem like it would take forever. One day I got a call from a customer in a gated community who needed my services. It was Adam Herbert, the new President at U.N.F.

While I worked, I told him I was working towards a degree one class at a time. He encouraged me to stick with it. As I was wrapping up, he told me to let him know if there was anything he could do to help me in my educational pursuits.

I had already thought through what I would ask for if the opportunity arose. I said, “Mr. Herbert, if you have any scholarship money laying around, I could use some.”

He asked me what my GPA was. I had about a 3.5. He told me who to talk to in Financial Aid. Within a month I had enough scholarship money to go full-time. It only took a few semesters to finish.

At least three important elements came into play for getting that scholarship.
  • I had a respectable GPA which qualified me for the kind of scholarship Mr. Herbert could nudge forward.
  • I did a good job for my customer. Otherwise he certainly wouldn’t have offered to be helpful.
  • I was in a positive frame of mind, ready to ask for something when the opportunity to do so arose.
Occasionally, when you ask for something, you might actually receive it. However, the groundwork has to be in place and you have to be ready. Faithfulness in small things can put you into position to ask and receive.

If you got something positive out of this post, please share it with your friends.  The sharing buttons are below. 

What are some of the small things in life that people can do to position themselves for positive opportunities? What has worked in your life? If you have a tip or a suggestion, leave it in the comments.

More on Positive Thinking

Habitual Optimism

Prepare your mind for success

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Friday, July 3, 2015

One drip away from insanity. Nip that leak in the bud!

A dripping faucet in a tub can be surprisingly destructive. I left a dripping faucet alone long enough for the water to wear through the enamel and then the cast iron. Since the drip was in the kids’ end of the house, it didn’t bother me much. I periodically applied new enamel but I was treating a symptom rather than the cause.

Eventually, I replaced some parts and the dripping stopped. Before long it came back. There was a tiny part called a “seat” one step beyond what I had fixed. It had deteriorated and it was the cause of the leak. One tiny notch in a small bit of plumbing, like that seat, is enough to produce the type of drip that leads to nervous breakdowns. 

I had to buy a special wrench to get the seat out! After I screwed the new seat in and reassembled the faucet, there was no more drip. Unfortunately, by that time there was lots of corrosion around the drain. I called in an expert. The hidden damage was five times worse than what I could see. It was amazing!

A small problem like a dripping faucet can be very annoying. As I found out, that small problem was very destructive over time. Also, the hidden damage was far worse than what I could see. Spiritual problems can be like that. Although they might seem like small annoyances, they can cause serious damage over time. Beneath the surface they can be more like a spreading cancer.

For example, greed can lead to miserly behavior and criminal acts. Gluttony can lead to obesity and poor health. And a properly nurtured resentment can lead to an obsessive desire for revenge culminating in murder.

As Barney Fife might say, “Nip the drip. Nip it in the bud.”

Can you think of spiritual issues that seem small but which are in fact serious problems? What have you found to be effective as remedies for things like that? 

If you found this post useful, share it with your friends and colleagues. The sharing buttons are below. 

If you liked this tip about positive thinking, you might also like Murphy's Law Breaker: Positive Thinking for Pessimists. Check it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shaking Down the Highway with Positive Assumptions

Vasquez Rocks, CA
During a trip to Los Angeles, I rented an SUV from Fox Rental Cars. The drive to my destination was about two hours. By the time I got there, I could tell something was wrong with the steering. It wasn’t bad enough to make the driving dangerous. There was just an unusual shakiness which was very annoying.

I only needed the car for a week. Even though I knew I could change to another vehicle, I didn’t want to waste my limited time driving back downtown. In L.A. traffic, going back and forth would have taken half a day. 

My shoulder started to ache on the second day and the pain got progressively worse. I’ve had considerable experience with pain and it soon got to a point where I literally could not shrug it off. I obviously needed another vehicle. When I called Fox, the service rep told me, “No problem. We’ll get another vehicle out to your address and pick up the one you have.”

I had assumed that I would have to blow several hours driving to the city in legendary L.A. traffic, changing out the vehicle, and then fighting the traffic a second time driving back. Instead, a vehicle was delivered to my door in a matter of hours. All I had to do was ask.

Anticipation isn’t always a good thing. When making a negative assumption, if at all possible, test it. You might find out you’re wrong.

Can you think of a time when you had negative anticipation and got what you expected? Can you see the value in having positive assumptions? Leave a message in the comments section.

If you liked this post, you might also like some of Danny's ebooks. Check them out on his Amazon page. 

If you found this post helpful, share it with your colleagues and friends. The sharing buttons are below.

More articles on Positive Thinking

Habitual Optimism

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Positive Mindset

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Laughter is the Best Therapy

Laughteris the best therapy.
Brian King
A few years ago I wanted to check out a seminar called Habits of Happy People. However, I wasn’t getting enough work at the time and I didn't feel like I could afford it. I’ve done quite a bit of event photography and it occurred to me that I could try to trade event shots for admission.

For most of my life, negative thinking has been the norm. When I was in comedy my best schtick revolved around Murphy's Law. I told lots of, "You might be a Murphy if..." jokes.

If I had been in a negative thinking mode when I thought of bartering for admission to the seminar, the positive idea would soon have been followed by a thought like, “That will never work. Don't even bother.”

Fortunately, I had started implementing some positive thinking techniques and I was in a positive frame of mind. “This could work,” I told myself.

The speaker was Brian King, a comedian/psychologist. His motto is, “Comedy is rarely painless.” Oh yeah! I contacted him and he liked the idea of getting some fresh pictures. He agreed to my proposal.

The seminar was excellent. Laughter is the best therapy! I would recommend Brian’s seminars to anyone who is looking for ways to be happier and have a more positive outlook on life.

Has laughter ever helped you to get through a tough time? Share your experience int he comments section. 

Have you ever ignored one of your own good ideas? When you think of something positive, pay attention. It might open doors in your life.

If you got something out of this post, share it with your friends. The sharing buttons are below.

Further Reading

How to tell jokes

Remedial Sensitivity

Make America Laugh Again

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Defective shoes can sometimes be a perfect fit.

I once bought a pair of walking shoes off the clearance rack at a shoe store I had never been to before. It was a nice store with some of the better brands.The walking shoes were a perfect fit and the price was right at $80.

Within two weeks I noticed a spot where the side of the shoe was separating a bit. It was an insignificant cosmetic flaw. I went back to the shoe store to see if they would do anything about the shoes. While the salesman conferred with the manager, I tried on another pair of shoes from the clearance rack. They fit perfectly.

When the salesman returned, he offered me a choice of either a full refund or $60 if I wanted to keep the shoes. I liked the shoes so I took the second option and applied the refund to the pair I had just tried on.

I ended up paying $120 for two pairs of shoes that had previously retailed for well over $300. The way I was treated made me a customer for life. Why would I go anywhere else?

If I had been in a pessimistic thinking mode I never would have gone back to that store because I would have assumed that nothing good would come of it.

A positive outlook makes many things possible.

Have you ever had an experience where something wasn't quite right and it worked out very well in the end? Leave a comment. 

If you found this post useful, share it with your friends and colleagues. The sharing buttons are below.

You can find more of my writings in my ebooks, including Murphy's Law Breaker: Positive Thinking for Pessimists. Check it out.

More articles on Positive Thinking.

Habitual Optimism

Positive Positioning

The Mind Garden

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Switching from Negative Thinking to Positive

Positive Thinking
Florida Dream Home with open floor plan.
When my thinking goes negative, it can be difficult to shift gears. It’s like mental inertia. Thinking in motion tends to stay in motion, whether it’s revolving in a negative direction or a positive one. There’s no switch on the back of my neck to go from negative to positive. However, I have found that scripting a positive thought into my mind works a lot like a switch.

For example, if I’m anxious about a meeting or some event that’s coming up, my mind might bring up all the things that could go wrong. To change that, I handwrite affirmations like this: “I will speak well and present my ideas effectively. I will be able to handle whatever challenges this event presents to me.”

Although I’m capable of presenting well and handling challenges, I occasionally need to remind myself of that. The process is simple and it works because it engages several of the senses.
  • Coming up with a positive thought to write down is the beginning of a change in direction.
  • My brain instructs my hand to write that thought down.
  • As the positive thought appears on paper, my eyes are observing.
  • To nail the thought down more firmly, I read the thought out loud.
  • My lips are moving and my ears are hearing.
Instead of trying to think myself into a new attitude, several parts of my body are working together to produce a positive thought. Also, the thought is recorded by several of my senses including sight, hearing, and even touch through the actual writing.

I’ve written about this process in Words of Destiny which is available on Kindle. If you're interested, the preview on Amazon outlines many of the key ideas. Also, if you read on Kindle, the book is set up for free download through Sunday, January 3, 2016.

For more good ideas on positive thinking, check out this excellent blog post by Kristen Lamb. Life on Purpose—What to Do When Dreams & Goals Fizzle.

If you got something out of this post,  share it with your friends. The sharing buttons are below. 

If you've found an effective way to shift from negative to positive thinking, you can leave a comment  about that.

Related articles. 

Habitual Optimism.

Murphy's New Revelation.

Positive Assumptions.