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1. Have an Affair
I thought the title of this strategy would grab your attention and would be a great place to begin this book!
Okay, not that kind of affair!
The kind of affair I'm talking about is a love affair with life. If there's one thing I've noticed that seems to be lacking in many men, it's a passion for life. It seems that many of us have lost that sense of wonder and awe for the incredible gift of life itself. We've become lost in the multitude of responsibilities, ambitions, drive, and commitments. We've become very serious and heavyhearted. Many of us have lost our sense of humor and our perspective. We've lost our compassion, as well. Instead of marveling at it all, we take life for granted. We become stuck in the mundane and succumb to boredom. It's as if we're doing nothing more than putting in time and going through the motions.
Life is slowly passing us by. Without a genuine sense of enthusiasm, a zest for life and a lighthearted spirit, we take our problems and obstacles too seriously. We become uptight and a drag to be around. More than anything else, we start sweating the small stuff. Life starts to bother us instead of amusing us. People are seen as burdens instead of as gifts. Challenges are dreaded instead of seen as opportunities.
The solution to all of this is to have an affair with life. The idea is to reignite your passion for living, and to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Remind yourself how precious and how short this adventure really is. I read a great book called A Parenthesis in Eternity. What a great way to think about the duration of your life — as a blip on a passing screen. We're here for a moment in time — and then we're gone. Why waste one second on self-pity, frustration, irritation, and all the rest? Our lives are so much more important than that.
It's shocking what happens to the quality of your life when you put it into this perspective. All of a sudden, the things that seemed so big seem small. And the things that seemed so small — and the things we postpone and take for granted — seem so big! We see that, for the most part, we usually prioritize in reverse order. But we can change all that in a moment. We can make a shift right now.
The things that we so often attach importance to are important, but it's a question of degree. Success, perfection, achievement, money, recognition — you can have them all, but they're not everything. In fact, without a passion and appreciation for life, they don't amount to much.
I was talking to a group of men about this subject. A few days later, I received a call from one of them that sums up the essence of this strategy. He said that while we were talking, he had thought that my "intentions" were good, but that I didn't really understand how serious and important his "role" was to everyone.
As fate would have it, while driving home that evening, his life changed in a single moment. He was nearly clipped by a huge truck on the freeway. He wasn't hurt, but it was a very close call. The near miss brought forth the insight that he hadn't spent virtually any time with any of his three children in several years, and that they were growing up very quickly. For the first time in years, tears came down his face as he realized that he was missing the point of life — as well as his chance to live it. When he arrived at home, he sat down with his family and told them that he was going to be making some changes in his life, beginning with appreciating his family. He had had a major change of heart.
Although this type of realization often has to do with family, it's not just about family. It's even larger than that. Recognizing the miracle of life — and having an affair with it — means that you being to attach great value to the moments of everyday life. The people you live and work with — and, for that matter, go grocery shopping with — all take on far more importance. Nature appears more beautiful, life is more precious, "things" and conveniences are more appreciated. You become, not less effective, but less demanding on others and on yourself, because you better understand the relative importance and significance of the events around you. Things won't get to you so much, and you won't be sweating the small stuff — at least, not as often!
An affair with life is real, and it can happen to anyone at any time. All it takes is the commitment to reflect upon the miracle of life itself and to remember, each day, how lucky we are to be alive. Think about what it means to wake up in the morning and have "another day to live". Some day, that won't be the case. In the meantime, live each day like it really matters — because it does.
One final note on this subject. Needless to say, an affair with life will never get you into any trouble with your wife or girlfriend. On the contrary, they will appreciate your change of heart as much as you do. So have fun.
Copyright © 2001 Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
|1.||Have an Affair||5|
|2.||Make the "Peaceful Assumption"||8|
|3.||Spend More Time with Your Kids||11|
|4.||Take Your Wife's Advice||14|
|5.||Avoid the "S" Word||16|
|6.||Don't Know the Answer||19|
|7.||Have a Special Cause||22|
|8.||Be Able to Laugh at Yourself||25|
|9.||Don't Let Your Competitive Nature Get the Best of You||28|
|10.||Learn About Life from Golf||30|
|11.||Grant Yourself One Hour||32|
|12.||Don't Jump Ship||35|
|13.||See It as a Test||38|
|14.||Flash Forward for Instant Perspective||40|
|15.||See Stress as Nonsexy||42|
|16.||Share Your Dreams||44|
|17.||Be a Part of the Solution||47|
|18.||Give 'Em a Break||50|
|19.||Keep Your Perspective||53|
|20.||Spend Time with Your Buddies||55|
|22.||Look at What the Cat Dragged In||61|
|23.||Do at Least One Really Nice, Small Thing for Someone, at Least Once a Week||63|
|24.||Avoid "As If" Assumptions||66|
|25.||Be Careful of the Comparison Trap||70|
|26.||Take Up Yoga||73|
|27.||Schedule Time for Yourself||75|
|28.||Get Out of the Serious Mode||78|
|29.||Think "Maybe So, Maybe Not"||81|
|30.||Don't Let the "Turkeys" Get You Down||84|
|31.||Rid Yourself of a Busy Mind||87|
|32.||Create an "Easier Life" List||90|
|33.||Keep in Mind that the Fantasy Is Often Better than the Reality||93|
|34.||Read Your Audience||96|
|35.||Have Conflict Without It Having You||99|
|36.||Take the Quirks with the Perks||102|
|37.||Find a Place to Park||105|
|38.||Avoid the Pursuit Trap||108|
|40.||Eliminate Entitlement Thinking||113|
|41.||Learn from Fellow "Sweat"-ers||116|
|42.||Be For Something Rather than Against It||118|
|43.||Blow Off Steam||121|
|44.||Avoid the Excuse, "That's the Nature of the Business"||124|
|45.||Be Aware of the "Taken Away" Trap||126|
|46.||Have a Beginner's Mind||129|
|47.||Don't Do It Yourself||132|
|48.||Engage in Less Picking and Choosing||134|
|49.||Keep in Mind that No Decision Is a Decision||136|
|50.||Memorize the Words, "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather--Only Different Kinds of Good Weather"||138|
|51.||Try the "Pause and Come Back to It" Technique||141|
|52.||Remember that Sometimes Less Effort Is Better||144|
|53.||Ease Up Behind the Wheel||146|
|55.||Have a Spare Set||151|
|56.||Anticipate the Best||154|
|57.||Be Sure You're Mad at What You Think You Are||156|
|58.||Experience the Power of Being Present||159|
|59.||Identify Your Stress Signals||163|
|60.||Become More Accepting of Change||166|
|61.||Reflect on the Power of Prevention||169|
|62.||Redefine the Word "Emergency"||171|
|63.||Develop Some Nonnegotiables||174|
|64.||Avoid Overidentifying with Your Role||177|
|66.||Have a Change of Heart||181|
|67.||Honor the Humility Factor||184|
|68.||Acknowledge Your Inner Intelligence||186|
|69.||Use Hindsight to Create Foresight||188|
|71.||Calculate the Number of Things that Went Right Today||193|
|73.||Let Go of the Past||200|
|75.||Think "Yeah, So?"||205|
|76.||Try Not to Be Frustrated When It Might Be More Appropriate to Be Grateful||207|
|77.||Consider that "Needing a Vacation" May Not Be the Real Problem||210|
|78.||Avoid the "Caught Up" Trap||212|
|79.||See the Irony of "Striving" for Balance||215|
|80.||Check Your Blind Spots||218|
|81.||Open Your Heart to Compassion||220|
|82.||Live by the Motto, "It Is as It Is"||222|
|83.||Don't Miss the Fun!||225|
|84.||See Things from a Distance||227|
|85.||Prevent Little Things from Becoming Front-Page News||230|
|86.||Use Compliments as a Stress-Reducing Tool||232|
|87.||Keep in Mind that Practice Doesn't Make Perfect--Perfect Practice Makes Perfect||234|
|88.||Be More Generous||237|
|89.||Let Others Be Right About the Little Things||240|
|90.||Apply the "One-Year" Standard||243|
|91.||Extend Compassion to Your Daily Life||245|
|92.||Stop Broadcasting Your Thoughts||247|
|93.||Practice the Rule of Two||250|
|94.||Become a Health Nut||253|
|95.||Have a Favorite Cause||256|
|96.||Respect the Law of Diminishing Returns||259|
|97.||Be a Quitter||262|
|98.||Remind Yourself--One More Time--of the Mood Factor||265|
|99.||Ask the Question, "If Not Now, When?"||267|
|100.||Deepen Your Perspective||269|
Posted September 18, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted July 31, 2011
No text was provided for this review.