Tag Archives: fear

I Am What I Am!

30 Jan

Or as Popeye the Sailor Man put it, “I yam what I yam!” But what does it mean when we use this simple phrase, or when someone tells us, I am what I am. To me it speaks volumes. It says; this is who I am. I cannot change. Either accept me “as is” or forget about it. To me it’s just another whine of the powerless.

Every living thing in the universe, from the tiniest microbe to us, the most sophisticated and intelligent animal on earth, have been created to evolve. To adapt to a changing environment. It’s built into our DNA. Without change no species survives.

So why do so many people, people we know and love, refuse to even consider changing, even when faced with a looming disaster, like the loss of a relationship or of a career. My belief it is fear. Fear is the strongest emotion we face and we face it on a daily basis. We fear rejection. We fear embarrassment. And most of all, we fear the unknown, the scariest fear of all. And change is nothing more than giving up the old for the new. Be it a new way of thinking, a new attitude or a new behavior.

As modern day people we live in comfort zones, doing only those things that make us feel safe and secure. Whenever faced with the prospect of doing something new we find ourselves pushed up against the boundaries of those zones. Immediately fear begins to flood our bodies and we begin to have self-doubts. What if I don’t succeed? What if I fail? What if I lose my friends and social network when I no longer agree with them? What if don’t like the person I become? And so, we allow fear to win and paralyze us into doing nothing. But whenever fear wins understand that we lose.

There is a basic law of the universe that says; nature abhors a vacuum. This means, that as soon as you let go of your old beliefs, attitudes and behaviors new ones will take their place. And, almost always, the new ones are far better than the old ones they replaced.

If you’re faced with a failing marriage, a rocky relationship with your kids or challenges at work, maybe it’s time to face your fears and make that conscious decision to change. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. But, I will tell you this; once you face and overpower your fears your life will become easier, and the joy and the happiness you have been seeking will begin to flow effortlessly to you.

Life is nothing more than a continuous series of choices. Therefore, choose wisely!

With Love,

Michael

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The Sea

27 Jan

A professor took his class on a field trip to the ocean. Once at the water’s edge he handed each student a cup. Some were tall, some were short, some were thin, while still others were stout around the middle. No two cups were the same shape and no two cups looked alike.

In addition, every cup was a different color although from a distance you could see that many of the colors could fall into distinct groups. Some had a darker hue and some lighter. The one thing that all the different cups had in common was the amount of liquid they held. Each, to the drop, held identical amounts of whatever was to fill them.

The professor then had each student walk to the water’s edge and fill their cup to the very brim with ocean water and then step back into line. When every student had filled their cup the professor asked them, “What’s in your cup?” Of course, the unanimous response was water. “Yes,” replied the professor, “but what kind of water?” Ocean water yelled the students.

“Good,” said the professor. “Now let me ask you this? What’s the difference between the ocean water in the ocean and the ocean water in your cup?” One young man quickly responded, “That’s simple. The water in the ocean has sea life in it, but the water in our cups is just plain water.” His classmates all murmured in unison because his answer seemed to make sense.

“That’s not quite correct answered the professor. It’s obvious that your cups are not large enough to hold a fish, or a squid, or even a starfish, but there is still tiny life in your cup that can’t be seen. The same life that fills every drop of this ocean no matter what distant shore it falls upon. So wouldn’t you agree that the water in your cup would be identical to the ocean, only on a smaller scale?” From the looks on his student’s faces he could see the beginnings of understanding, and he was pleased.

The professor then went on to explain the message he was trying to convey to his students. “This ocean could be compared to God.  Vast, powerful and without end. Loving and nurturing to all the creatures great and small that live within it. The cup is your human body. No two are identical. Each a different shape and color from the others. No one cup is better, more important, or for that matter worse than the others, only different in outward appearance.

Upon your birth God infused you with a small piece of himself. He sees you as his Greatest Miracle, the Greatest Miracle in the world. That piece of him is the spark of life which animates your body. Some may call it the soul, but it needs no name. It is your humanity. It’s what makes you and me the same.

So please remember this: whenever you harm another person, by your words or deeds. Whenever you bully another because you think you’re superior. Whenever you see another human being as less than you. Whenever you show a lack of respect for another, you aren’t doing it to them alone; you are doing it to yourself and to God. You see each of us is God walking around in cups of different colors, shapes and sizes.

And there is something else my students that I want you to know: God makes no mistakes and creates nothing but perfection. Therefore, you are perfect. And never let anyone tell you different! Oh, and one other thing, you were created for GREATNESS and not littleness. The choice is always yours.”

Luckman’s Law: With love you have everything. With fear you have nothing.

With love always,

Michael

Old? Who Said I’m Old?

21 Jan

I’m a Baby Boomer and I have something to say to my fellow Baby Boomers: Life is never over until you decide it’s over!

I am amazed by the number of peers I come in contact with that are “old.” Notice the quotation marks. Let me give you an example. Last September my mother died at 93 years old and in our tradition we sat Shiva for her at my sister’s home in Sun City, AZ. Since most of my mother’s friends had all passed on, and except for my sister no other children live in the Phoenix area, the majority of those paying their condolences were friends of my sister and brother-in-law.

These nice people are all around my age but I felt as if I was sitting amongst friends of my parents. These people were old. It was if we had all come to a fork in the road and the choices were: comfortable retirement or continuing to seek one’s life purpose. I went one way and they went another. But why do people even make that choice? Where is it written that just because the body ages our choices have to be limited?

You are probably wondering how I knew that the only thing I had in common with these people was chronological age? I listened to their conversations. Here is some of what I heard.

“Let me tell you about my grandchildren. I went to my granddaughter’s recital and the talent you wouldn’t believe.” My question to them is when did you stop participating in your own recitals? Or a more appropriate question, WHY did you stop going to your own recitals? Too old?

“When I was young there was so much opportunity. At this age life no longer offers those opportunities.” BULL. I’m 68 and I just started another business, wrote a book you can find on Amazon and iTunes and now travel doing speaking engagements. Harlan Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken with his first Social Security check. Think of all that wonderful chicken you would have missed if someone had told him, “Colonel are you crazy. At your age you should take up golf. Why open a restaurant?”

“I’m glad I’m this age. I don’t have to learn all that new technology stuff.” No you don’t. And you don’t have to communicate with your kids and grandkids. You don’t have to learn new things and you certainly don’t have to exercise your brain. But when your mind doesn’t work as good as it did, don’t blame it on old age, and please don’t email me a cartoon about those senior moments of forgetfulness. I’m too busy surfing the web acquiring knowledge to use in my writing.

This subject is very dear to me so look forward to my future blogs. But let me end today with a Luckman’s Law: The future is always there. You can dread it, run from it, or embrace it for the opportunities it holds. The choice is always yours.

Love,

Michael

When Did You Die?

10 Jan

Was it when you were in your early forties? Or, maybe about the time you received your AARP invitation at 50? Perhaps it happened when all the kids left the house and about the time the first grandkids came?

Oh wait, that’s not the title I wanted for this blog. I meant to ask, When Did You Stop Living? Because that’s what this blog is about.

Back when I was growing up many companies had a mandatory retirement age, it was 65. And although my grandfather owned his own business he too chose this age to “start taking it easy and enjoy the fruits of his labor.” He died two years later. And he wasn’t unique. The Chicago obits were full of names of men his age.

Recently my wife and I had dinner in Las Vegas with my first ex-wife Phyllis and her husband Jeff. Several years back they bought a beautiful home in the Del Webb retirement community of Sun City Anthem, and I bought a home in a typical mixed neighborhood. They love Sun City. It is full of their peers. So is mine.

During dinner I shared with them how 2013 had been a tough year for me. I had several physical problems to work through, my mother passed away and my new venture as an author and international speaker was slow in gaining traction. Phyllis, never missing an opportunity after 40+ years to mold me into this perfect man, asked me, “Why, at your age do you want to continue working, let alone start a new business? You should (how I love you shoulds), sell your home and buy in Sun City. With your Social Security and savings you can finally enjoy life.” The assumption being is that, for some unknown reason, I’m not enjoying life now.

This is not the first time someone has suggested to me that my lifestyle choices were wrong. This is how I responded to Phyllis and the others: When I go grocery shopping I want to see show girls on their day off, and not someone’s granny pushing a walker. Plus, I don’t mind walking from the back of the parking lot where the non-handicap parking spaces are. I’m not dead yet. (For clarification purposes: you can always spot a showgirl. They’re tall, stand as straight as an arrow and have this sort of regal presence as they push their carts down the aisle. I am sure you can picture the difference).

I have this overwhelming belief that each of us was created by our creator for Greatness. Greatness being your fulfillment of your life’s purpose. For some that greatness may come in their early twenties, for others their forties and for some, even in their seventies. Greatness does not have a “best by” date. Not unless you arbitrarily set one. Or, worse yet, allow others to set one for you.

This subject is very important to me, and I think to a lot of others as well. So here is your first homework assignment. For the ladies; go into the lingerie department and buy the skimpiest and sexiest underwear you can. Who cares if the thong gets lost. It will make you feel sexy and that is ALL that matters. For the men; get a prescription for an ED medicine. You probably aren’t going to bust many zippers, but knowing that your pencil still has lead in it will do wonders for how you see yourself.

Until my next blog on this subject remember this: There is no such thing as the inevitable. The inevitable is only what you create.

Love,

Michael

Give Me That Old Time Religion!

10 Jan

This is a conversation about religion. Yikes!

Often, just the mere mention of the word religion will get people to unconsciously straighten their backs and tighten their guts, while waiting for whatever is coming next. For me, I’ve lost count of how many people, once they discover I am Jewish, who want to share with me the simple fact that as soon as I make Jesus Christ my lord and savior I would be welcomed into God’s Kingdom of Heaven. Since Judaism is considerably older than Christianity, by, oh what’s that number, 3,760 years, I’ve often thought of all my dead ancestors and where they wound up after leaving their earthly bodies.

But interestingly I do believe in Jesus. But more about the historical Jesus as described in Reza Aslan’s bestselling book, Zealot. I am also very drawn to the Gnostic Gospels found in Egypt in 1945. Gnosticism being more about humankind’s individual relationship with God than it is about having a strict organized religion, created by men, to control men and women, boys and girls, with fear and damnation.

Even as a little boy in Sunday school, learning bible stories out of the Old Testament, I could not reconcile a loving, creative and merciful God with one who would smote (here is a word you don’t run across too often) you if you by chance angered Him, or for that matter, Her. If this was what organized religion was about, than I didn’t want any part in it. Immediately after my Bar Mitzvah at the age of thirteen, organized religion and I parted ways.

Now does that mean that I am against organized religion for everyone? Of course not. Just because I chafe at the yoke of religious dogma does not mean that that very dogma, and the organization that exposes it, does not bring enormous comfort to those who believe in it. And religion does more than just comfort our souls, it brings structure to our lives. But in my life it is my relationship with God, and God alone, that brings me even more than just comfort and structure; it brings me enormous joy and happiness, unconditional love for ALL my brothers and sisters, and the knowing that God has asked me to fulfill a function while in this body, a purpose so-to-speak, that will benefit all of mankind. I am hoping it is through the words I write.

The opposite of Love is not Hate, it is Fear.

We are all at the beginning of a brand new year. We each have the power to make of this year what we desire. We do it through our thoughts, the choices we make, and how we face and overpower our fears. So please remember this: God gave each of us free choice. He will never interfere. But he does ask two things of us; that we make no decisions by ourselves — and that we always choose wisely. Have a wonderful year.

With Love,

Michael

Giving Up the Old for the New!

20 Dec

The crucial element of the vacuum law of prosperity is that I must let go of the old, before I can ever make room for the new. ~From the book Born Rich

I’ve often thought about why it is so difficult for people to change, to turn their life around, even when it’s not going in the direction that they’d like? We all know people like this. It’s one disappointment after another. One catastrophe after another. One failure after another.

Because I am an expert on fear I’m going to submit that it is fear that prevents people from changing. But fear of what? Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Is it fear of failure? But this individual has already failed at things in their life. Is it fear of rejection? I’m sure they’ve already been rejected and not just once. Is it fear of embarrassment and humiliation? Perhaps, but everyone feels embarrassed and even humiliated at times, even those with high self-esteem and self-confidence. No, I’m going to suggest that it’s the fear of the unknown.

We, as modern day human beings, live in comfort zones. They make us feel safe and secure. But, it is our inborn fears that prevent us from venturing outside the limits of these zones. Even when, in our imagination we can clearly see the perfect person we long to be; one who is happy, secure, successful, self-confident and a winner, we are still afraid to take a risk and make changes to our lives.

I can understand why people would choose to live with the same old, same old. It’s known and it’s safe. To us the unknown is a very scary place. We believe in that old axiom, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” And so we don’t give up the bird in our hand, even though it may be sickly and dying (think of your job or relationship), to risk going after the two plumper birds in the bush.

There is a universal law that says that nature abhors a vacuum. What that means is that as soon as you give up one thing, another comes in to fill the void. And most often the new thing is better than the old thing you gave up.

The above quote is out of the book Born Rich and is a positive affirmation. As long as you hold to the fear that by giving up the old nothing new will come to you, you won’t risk making the changes that will bring you your perfect life. As you take the first steps on your journey the first old thing to give up is this old belief. And you do it by repeating the positive affirmation above. At first, your mind won’t believe it is true. But repeat it over and over to yourself daily and in time it will become the truth. At that point you will now be comfortable enough to give up the old you, for the new you. This new magnificent perfect you.

Love,

Michael

What Me Worry?

17 Dec

It’s been said that 97% of what we worry about never happens. And yet, for some of us, it’s seems almost impossible to put a stop to worrying. What is worry? The psychiatrist Carl Jung characterizes worry as a substitute for legitimate suffering. In other words, it’s neurotic, not helpful and a waste of time. Worry is when your thoughts run wild, sometimes to the point of being delusional and out of control. One negative thought attracts another, followed by another and so on until all you can see on your path is disaster. Everything is absolute, and everything is a catastrophe.

How does this happen? Why is worrying likely to cause a tailspin or downward spiral? When you start with one negative thought put out into the universe, the thought is like a magnet, attracting like thoughts. The level of vibration in a negative thought finds similar thoughts because they are vibrating at the very same frequency. Suddenly you have a bundle of worries, creating fear and depression. What you feel in any given moment is always the result of what you’re thinking at that moment.

Recently a friend of mine was selected to give a speech at an upcoming charity event. Betty is a highly intelligent and accomplished woman well known in her field, which is why she was asked to speak. Betty wasn’t thrilled, in fact she was petrified. Very much as I was when I was in New York to accept the Best Toy Store award for Magic Village toy store in San Jose, CA. And just like me this woman could think of nothing but catastrophe. What if I forget what to say? What if my voice cracks? What happens if I lose my place? What happens if I mispronounce a word, or worse yet, someone’s name?

In the weeks prior to the speech all she did was worry. Now think about this. She allowed herself to be consumed by fear and worry for weeks leading up to the event. Were these happy times for her? Of course not! Her worrying overshadowed everything she did in those weeks; her job, time with her family and friends, the pleasure in her romantic relationship, and her peace of mind. And, for what? Nothing. Worrying was a waste of her time, energy and happiness. Did she do well when she actually gave the speech? Absolutely, she was great. Did any of the things she worried about come to pass? Yes. Her mouth was a bit dry at the beginning and she felt a bit dizzy walking up the stairs to the podium. Then, she took a sip of water, took a deep breath and looked out at her audience. She suddenly realized she was just human, the same as everyone sitting in front of her. If she made a mistake, and she did, she still felt the thrill of getting to talk to so many people about why she supported the charity, and why the organization means so much to her.

Nobody asked for perfect, and you never have to show up perfect. We’re all human. We will make mistakes. It’s all part of life. I’ve spoken to hundreds of groups over the years and I will tell you this, not a one of those talks was perfect. I made mistakes. As long as I live I will continue to make mistakes. So what? Who cares? They don’t and I certainly shouldn’t.

Love,

Michael