Live an Inspired Life

Inspire – “to fill the mind, heart, etc., with grace …”  I previously talked about sharpening the saw.  I had discussed it from the physical life, tuning your body, regardless of what your job requirements are.  One has a mental, an emotional and a spiritual life as well.

Talking about the spirit is not in vogue these days for fear of being labeled a religious fanatic.  Part of my journey in this life has been to discover the being within me and a greater being I refer to as God. I came to God by way of a Christian tradition, but I do not pretend to know enough to say there is no other way to come to God.  I have been inspired by people who have walked other traditions as well as those who share my Christian faith.

Inspire from the Latin inspirare meaning to breathe upon or into.  To sharpen the spiritual saw, requires finding things that inspire you, that breathe life into you. There is beauty that impacts the senses. You have to take the time to appreciate it. And there are words that fill the mind and heart if you will but listen.

If you want to strengthen your spirit, you will have to seek that which inspires you. Find those who can speak into your life.

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The Seventh Habit – Sharpen the Saw

I came upon a man in the woods cutting down a tree. He was tired and irritable and when I asked him how long he had been there, he replied “all day”.  When I suggested he stop and sharpen the saw, he said “I can’t, I’m too busy cutting down this tree.” 

Pointedly obvious in its conclusion, this little story provides an analogy to what is wrong in so many of our lives. It is the seventh habit of  Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  It is about renewing yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

For me, the most difficult issue is the physical. My work is very sedentary (I’m an accountant), so there are not a lot of requirements physically. During tax season, I melt into my desk chair. In the past, my attitude has been like Mark Twain’s, “Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I just lay down until it goes away.”  As I approach 60, I realize what a toll it has taken on me.

So grateful for these days of Google, I found Mayo clinic’s web site on core strengthening exercises, and for the last forty-five days I have made a morning ritual of exercising. My body is not grateful that I have this new found passion after 57 years of letting it go, but it is slowly beginning to respond with some muscle tone and stamina. I started by gaining weight (it’s true that muscle weighs more than fat), but the last week has been somewhat more productive.

Still the issue is not losing weight, but strengthening my core. And I have found that as the core muscles strengthen, so does the support to many of the internal organs. Can we hear a collective “well, duh” from the medical community?  The point being that it’s never too late to elevate a neglected area of your life.

It’s an old corny cliche, but none the less it is still true, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”  So whatever you are waiting for to start an exercise program, to read or listen to or study what improves your mind, to take steps to make that relationship with your spouse or child or parent or whomever better, to embrace the person that you find inside, let it begin today.

Don’t Skip this One …

My original title for this was “My Summer Reading List”, but I’m pretty sure most of you would have skipped a reading like that.  Stay tuned,  I’ll make it worth your while.

Hopefully the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are here and we can find time to indulge in some great literature. I have to start off with Dave Ramsey.  I’m a particular fan of The Total Money Makeover and Entreleadership for business. If you prefer some audio, check out Entreleadership podcasts. It is the most subscribed business podcast on iTunes. The new book Ramsey did with daughter Rachel Cruze, Smart Money Smart Kids is an excellent read, well worth your time.

Along that same line, The Millionaire Next Door is a researched study of the people who have attained a real net worth.  While four out of five of us are “all hat and no cattle”, scattered in our presence are those who not only make their hard work pay off, but know how to retain it as well. If you want to learn their secrets, pick this one up.

Are you having trouble succeeding in life?   It may not be your I.Q. as much as it is your Emotional Intelligence as presented by Daniel Goleman in his book by that name.  My favorite preschool director focuses on bringing that to her school more than academics. And speaking of Focus, Goleman’s new book by that title is appropriately subtitled The Hidden Driver of Excellence. I have already added it to my list.  The upcoming millennial generation could take a lesson from Goleman’s Focus, as they try to multi-task their way through life.  To read more about this fascinating generation, grab David Burstein’s Fast Forward.

Also well worth including in your summer reading …
The Blessed Life by Robert Morris
Rhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander
Your Brain at Work by David Rock
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin (or really anything by Seth Godin)

It doesn’t all have to be such heavy reading. After all, some relaxation during the summer is good for the soul. Stephen King is such a great artist in prose, I look forward to his just released Mr. Mercedes. I may also visit John Steinbeck’s The Winter of our Discontent. It’s one I’ve wanted to read for a long time.

… and of course, continue reading the Family Dimension blog.  I am glad you are with me. Please comment below what you will be reading this summer.

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”  — Charlie Jones