Episode 40: The Secret to Keeping a Fresh Perspective in Life

Good morning! Man, a beautiful day, Christmas has just passed. I hope you and your family have enjoyed a wonderful time of Christmas. It is just one of those times of year that our family has the best memories, and has a wonderful experience for everyone. Hey, this is Jimmy Williams on Live a Life by Design bringing to you this Monday morning moment of motivation to help you be a bigger, better, and bolder you in 2020.

You know, I got to be honest with ya. I get far more than I deserve every Christmas. It’s not one of those things that I reach out and say, “Hey, I would like to have this or that, or this”. All I really want is for both of our girls to be home. I want time with family, I really want to see the kids smiling, enjoying themselves as we get to rejoin each other for a brief moment. As you know, they’re both out doing their own lives. And for me as a dad, this is just something that really makes my life grand.

I don’t want to focus on material things this time of year. I want to focus on those things that money can’t buy. You know, what we define as true wealth. True wealth are those things in life that money can’t buy, can death can’t take away. So today I’m going to focus, just a few minutes with you, on my secret to keeping a fresh perspective in life.

What I see this time of year is Christmas can be one of two things for a lot of people. This holiday season can be one of great joy or can bring a lot of misery. You know, my heart aches for some of the people that have such challenges in life that this time of year does not bring them joy. I really wish that everyone could read the mind that I have when it comes to giving out joy at this time of year. I want everyone to disregard all the sales pitches of the stores, the tv commercials. Whatever’s being given away as the most recent gadget of the year and just simply focus on those deep meaningful relationships.

So for 2020, why don’t we do something quite strange, I’m sure, to a lot of people. Why don’t we simply make this the year that you want it to be? Why don’t you get exactly what you want out of life and do so by basically doing what you wish to do in the manner you wish to do it. Yes, of course, I’m talking about setting up some goals, and I’m setting up accountability and the plan. The plan for the year is yours to make, yours to work, and yours to reap. You see, too often, people set themselves by which ever prevailing wind they’re in. What I mean by that is they simply get up whatevers thrown at them at the day is which direction they go. What a pitiful way to live if you ask me.

I think you ought to be proactive, positive, and powerful in your message of what you want the day to be. Too often we start our day with one of these, well, let’s turn on the news and listen for 30 minutes to all the negativity in the world, and then see what you and I can do about it. Well, I’ve got some news for you, there’s not much we can do about it. I’m not going to resolve the relationship between our country and foreign governments that are now in disarray. There’s just nothing I can do about that. Although I wish and I pray that we do have peace on the entire globe, there’s just not a lot I can do about that, personally.

But let’s get a little background and perspective in life for me. The challenges I faced in life have all been growing moments for me. Now I will tell you this. Sometimes growth is through pain. And sometimes, it’s through synergy. And what I mean by synergy is is the ones around you that caused you to grow, put the most pressure on you, really did you a service to help you see that you could fully realize your potential. And I look back over my 30 plus year career and I see people in my life that I thought at the time were being very cruel or being very hard on my or just trying to push me around because they had some leadership, if you will, title. You know, they may not have exhibited what I thought was leadership capability, but they had a title that was higher than mine at the time.

And I will tell you that the perspective that I had back then was not what I have today. You see, life gives you these challenges so that we grow in wisdom and it gives us a better basis for a new perspective. I hope you catch what I’m saying. So a better basis means that you have more knowledge, more wisdom now to draw from. You have learned from the past mistakes to know that as you move forward you don’t commit the same ones.

You know, perspective just keeping life’s most important matters at the top of your list of resource demands. That’s simply it. Your perspective is based on how you see the facts of the situation and ultimately then how you respond. And so what I’m saying is, is that it’s easy to allow the trivial of life to take priority because of urgency, not importance. So I developed and implemented 3 strategies that I use to maintain perspective in life. And these 3 strategies are so simple when you hear them you’re gonna say, well my goodness Jimmy, that is nothing new. I’ve heard this, I’ve seen this, I’ve read this, whatever, but you may not have implemented. I will tell you the best ideas in life fail because of implementation. No one picks them up to move forward.

So let’s look at strategy #1 about how I keep perspective in my life. First strategy, letting go. There was a couple of monks that were walking down a road, and it was raining, and it had been raining for quite some time. And these monks, as you know, are very quiet people. The two monks were then just traveling down the road, and they came across, at a corner, a young lady. Very lovely, beautiful girl. She was wearing a silk kimono and a sash. But she was unable to cross the intersection. One of the monks proactively walked up to her and said, “Come on girl,” lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud, setting her safely on the other side of the road.

Now his partner that was walking with him that day didn’t say a word at the time. However, later that night he couldn’t restrain himself and he asked, why did you assist the girl in crossing the street? The issue boils down to, we are monks, we are not to be around females. Much less a beautiful, young female such as the one you helped to cross the street. His partner looked at him and he said, well, the one thing is is we are here to help others in need. And I helped her across the street and I left her there. Why are you still carrying her?

You see the point of this was is his partner was so judgemental in the fact that he was doing something against the rules, so to speak, but his friend could not allow the rule to be bent in his own mind whereas the need of the monk that assisted the young lady was in his own mind just helping someone or meeting his demand of his service. So you see, letting go can be difficult. You know, you torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on to these types of negative emotions. You know, some of us have mastered the wielding of negative emotions so well that others do not wish to be in our presence.

You know, let me explain one to you. Many years ago in business, I had, at that time a mentor, and I’ve alluded to this on some previous podcasts that I thought had my best interest as well as his in mind. We had taken a business venture together that I thought had great promise. I will say to you though, that at the end of the day I noticed that none of the revenue from this business venture ever made it to my side of ledger. It seemed that every time there was some cash flow that came in, he had some overhead that he claimed would be that piece of cost of the program that had to be paid. So at the end of the day this kind of hurt my feelings, and so I finally said that this won’t work for me at the end of the day. After learning a $40,000 mistake, I learned then that I just have to let go of this. That I did carry it though for about two or three years after that. I haven’t spoken with the gentleman since then. I just realized that it was hurting me far worse than it was hurting him to carry this burden.

I learned from that mistake, and I’ve not made that same mistake going throughout my career. You know, I look at my goals in a way each year. As a challenge to me to be bigger than what I am in terms of the areas of the goal. So for example, I wish to be more charitable in 2020. We love to help others who are in need. And we do this from a sense, I think, of community. I particularly enjoy seeing that, if we give a hand out it’s far different than giving someone a hand up. And I prefer to give the hand up to those in need.

It wasn’t that many years ago that if several people in my life had not given me hands up, I wouldn’t be in the role that I am today. You see, one of the things that I didn’t realize back then was, these people had a belief in me that I may not have possessed on my own. This belief was that I had potential. I had accomplishment. I had untapped strength that I yet even identified that they could see in me and I’m thankful for those people this day.

So I look back, so far on my 2019 goals, as I went through my planner just the other day. And I did not reach 100% of my goals for 2019. I did, however, reach 85% of my goals and accomplished a tremendous amount of growth personally and professionally. Now I won’t sit down and focus on the 15% I did not accomplish. I Will do just the opposite. I’ve got news for ya. I never accomplish 100% of my goals I set each year.

Now some of you may say, now wait a minute, why do you even bother setting a goal if you can’t accomplish it? I will say to you the reason I do it, though, is because it’s not what I finally see as a result as a goal, it’s what I become in the process of attaining the goal. The growth to me is valuable beyond monetary comparison. You can not put a price on some of the growth I’ve experienced in 2019. Particularly in the areas of my personal life. It has been phenomenal. So I am celebrating the 85% of accomplishment today. And I ask you to celebrate with me. So the first one is basically, let it go. If you want to achieve perspective in life and keep a good perspective simply let it go.

The second strategy. Feed the good and starve the bad. There were two wolves fighting one day. An old Indian chief was teaching his grandson about life. And he said, you see those two wolves. And the young boy said yes. He then said those two wolves represent the good and the bad that’s going on in each of our lives. He said it’s a terrible fight and it is on going and it will continue throughout your entire life. So one is evil. That’s anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self doubt, ego. But he said the other wolf is good. It’s joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith. This same fight going on inside of you, everyday, is one you must conquer. The young boys now a little bit confused and looks at the very very wise grandfather and he asks, grandfather, which wolf will win? And the grandfather simply looked down at the boy, smiling very large, and he said the one you feed.

You see it’s no surprise that what we give in life is what we get in life. It’s been proven by science that proper nutrition is critical to reaching the potential of strength and endurance an athlete needs to play at their optimum level of performance. The same can be said for the emotional side of the brain. We all possess a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” battle within our psyche from time to time. One tool I use to keep “feeding the good” is to record each day in my Gratitude Journal. You’ve heard me speak of these before. By writing down 3 to 5 things or events that I am thankful for each day, I send a signal to my brain to focus its energy on the good. By reading something good each morning before tackling the events of the day, I am sending my brain the power it needs to maintain positivity throughout my day. This does not mean that every day will be sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. I only wish that were that easy.

However, it gives you a much better chance of success than starting your day watching or reading the daily negative news, as I call it, or as CNN I call it the certified negative news. Or listening to a gossip show on the way to work. Filling your mind with the pure, the powerful and the positive stories of the day will only increase your ability to focus because you have avoided your mind focusing on the negative items in the world that you can do nothing to resolve. Recently many people I met want to discuss the current political problems in the United States. I ask them a simple question. How can you effectively cause this challenge to be resolved by your efforts alone? The person genuinely looks puzzled at me and usually has one eyebrow up higher than the other and says, well, what do you mean? And when I carry on the conversation a little further, the person quickly understands that he or she is wasting valuable mental resources on matters he or she can not control to reach the desired outcome.

I am asking you today to focus on your world, where you can make exponential change and do not take on challenges of the world that are out of your current control. If you are not the Secretary of State of the United States, there is not much you can do to control negotiations with other countries. If you’re not the President of your organization, you have less control of the direction of that organization. What I say though is be the president of Jimmy Inc. That person, that body, those thoughts, that action, that reaction. Be in control of you. You are the only person that can control you, 100% of the time. And what I mean by that is, you, by controlling your mindset, your thoughts, your words, your deeds, will give you greater blessings and feelings and pride in yourself if those are positive outcomes then by you trying to solve the world’s problems which you have no control to solve. So number 2, feed the good and starve the bad. I did an episode on this, about listening to this negativity to the world and how to remove it from your life in earlier episodes. Encourage you to go back and listen if that continues to be a problem.

Number 3, or strategy 3 is to maintain a high EQ. No I didn’t mispronounce. It’s not IQ, your Intelligence Quotient. It is Emotional Quotient. You see, life is full of unexpected turns and twists that impact our lives in tremendous ways. When the results are good, we become elated and joyful. When the results are negative, we become depressed and anxious. This is one area of life we must all exercise to become mature. While you may work within your own God-given talents for intelligence, hence that IQ score, your EQ is developed by not only learning and understanding of your own emotions. But also the ability to identify emotions in others and to relate to them. When we need to gain perspective in life it is vital that we control our own emotions in the situations.

Let me take you back a few years to 1999. My wife and I were at Oklahoma City at one of the largest ballparks in our state, called Bricktown Ballpark, and we were there to watch the team play and I’m a big baseball fan. I’ve always enjoyed triple A baseball for sure. Our daughter was 3 at the time, and she basically was with my wife, I thought at the top of the section where we were setting. And I was setting down on the third baseline, in that section, so we’re having several rows between us. We assume that our daughter was just going to play in that area and I assumed, wrongly of course, that a child would do exactly what you told them at the age of 3, and that your spouse when you’re so involved in the game would be the ultimate party to watch them.

So I made a mistake that day, but however I came up to see my wife during one of the breaks in the inning, someone was changing out pitching or something. I go up and see her and say, where’s Alexandria. And she looks at me and she goes, I thought she was with you, and then all of a sudden my wife’s face grew as white as a ghost. Realizing that our child had stepped away from us in this ballpark that holds thousands of people, I became a little concerned beyond measure. So, what I did, I stayed calm, and I thought which way would she have gone? So we were near the third base side, so I thought, ok, I’ll take off looking toward the concession stand. So I go looking and find the first police officer I can find, and mention to her and show a picture of what our daughter looks like. And she gets on the radio and she announces to all of her fellow officers at the game that this child is missing, here’s what she looks like.

So I then reverse my plan and go back toward third base and I’m going toward what is left field, and so as I’m running toward left field, there’s an officer, I’ll never forget his name, from Oklahoma City Police Department, Jim Davis. Jim Davis has our daughter in his arms, and as I’m running up to them, and he’s walking toward me, as we get closer to left field. She just points her finger at me and says Dada, there’s daddy. And man I run up to her, and he asked is this your daughter and I said yes it is. And he said, found her right over here in left field, so I would have possibly found her if I had a few seconds more, but the point I’m making is that divine intervention had a role in this. I am certain. This nice police officer, picked up our daughter, saw that she was safe, and was bringing her toward the stands to see if we could somehow reconnect.

So what happened that day was a couple of things. My wife was busy showing another police officer several photos of our daughter, all wearing different clothing, different types of hats or hair bows, different hairstyles. I mean there was 15 to 16 different pictures. Meanwhile I showed one picture, gave her the dress she was wearing today or the outfit I should say, and her you know, size, age and so forth, and then I went on the look. Instead of staying with just the police officer I took things and put into action. That’s just how I function. I was very calm throughout this whole process. What I did see happen to myself, and I look back on it and understand more now, but when that moment came and I had my daughter safely in my arms, knowing what could have happened, the brain then goes into this oh my goodness what could have happened if you hadn’t found her.

You see I believe the brain has a sense of going, fight or flight. You know, it looks at things as say, oh my goodness, what could have been all the negative outcomes if this hadn’t been a positive one. And it finally hit me, I’m not ashamed to tell you. I just burst into tears when I got in the car and I had the baby all in her seat safely and we’re getting ready to leave. And it finally hit me how badly this could have turned out. The one thing I’m bringing this up for today is my emotional EQ. I’m the type of person, I don’t get excited at the moment. If there’s a tragedy I don’t let it rule my thinking. But boy after the tragedy has been resolved or time has lapsed and that issue of harm is past, it soaks into me and then I realize sometimes I’m not as invulnerable as I thought.

You know, what I do believe in life is that you control your emotions and the only way you can control them is by exercising them in real life situations. You know, it’s easy to sit here and say, oh well I would have done that differently. But until you have placed yourself in the peril that’s gripping that individual, we perhaps shouldn’t be so quick to judge the approach and outcome for that individual.

You know, Steven Covey, one of the greatest authors of 7 habits. I would like to quote one that I love of his, I quote all the time. His one simply strategy is this, “Seek first to understand then be understood”. You see, this would help us increase our emotional quotient, help us to be more in relationship of how others are feeling, doing, and how they’re reacting in their life based on their experience. It is so easy for us to sit here and judge others about their experiences without us having lived the same life. It is so easy for others to say a group of people are just wrong because the way they’re living without having known anyone of that group.

It is often done that we generalize or stereotype someone simply because what we think we know about them. Your emotional quotient will not be strengthened by that type of approach. You must do what is necessary to make sure you have an understanding of that person’s situation before you seek them to understand your own.

The top three things I want you to think about today, these strategies are very simple. Letting go, the second on is to feed the good and starve the bad, and the third one is maintain a higher EQ. Exercise that emotional quotient. The challenge this week is for you to try these 3 strategies during your week to see if your results leaving you feeling better about your situation. A new year is upon us, and you do not, must not suffer from life just will be what it is and I have no control over it syndrome. It’s kind of a long way to say, hey, life is what it is, right? You are in charge of you. Life will always give you something unexpected. That’s just how it works. If I know this, and I’m telling you it will happen in 2020. Something unexpected will occur. It always does. But if you know it’s coming, then you can mentally be prepared. Be that gratitude journal writer that knows where all the positive things are to reinforce it when you’re feeling bad. Go to that gratitude journal, open up a few days, read what you’ve written, and then just let go of the bad times and move forward. Sometimes you don’t live to get over things, you live to get through them. So let go of those past.

Get a positive mindset, 2020 will be a better year then you’ve experienced in the past. I know 2020 will be rewarding year for me, because that is what I am planning from the year. Seek out something exciting, something big in your life. Something on your wish list that if you had all the resources and time and power to make it come true, what would it be? And let’s work bigger and better and bolder to get that goal accomplished. Join us next year, which is actually next week when I share my secret to achieving greater goal success in 2020. I want to thank each of you for listening this year, to the Live a Life by Design podcast, it has been a tremendous pleasure bringing you this weekly episode. I want to personally thank tho, our engineering team at Happy Design Company, I want to thank Amy Cotton, our production assistant, our intern Brinlee does an outstanding job for us. Everytime she shows up things just get better, I can’t explain it. Just an incredible young lady. I want to also thank everyone that listens, gives a review, has been iTunes to rate the podcast. Because of your generosity, your giving nature, we’re continuing to climb in positivity, and we’re seeing numbers now in 23 countries. That is just incredible in my mind. So thank you all very much, and may each of you experience the happiest of new years.

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