The word warrior radiates dynamism, action and risk. A warrior is someone on a mission he or she is willing to die for. In everyday life apart from war, most warriors are not expecting to or wanting to die in achieving their mission. They are often men and women in business who are engaged in a continual battle with competition and all the other obstacles hindering their attainment of what they have determined is important. Other warriors are battling what they consider as injustices. In some countries they become involved in real life or death struggles and bear arms to enforce their demands. In most countries they are using legal and peaceful means to achieve just ends.

In the following excerpt from Evansing we find an example of what it means to be and think like a warrior:

“Edwin chose to ride up front with the chief scouts to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. A half mile or so down the road Edwin noticed an unusual sight. Crows were sitting in the trees about a hundred yards on either side of where their entourage was going, but none appeared to be sitting in the area directly ahead near the road. He mentioned this to the chief scout who dismissed it as being the way it was sometimes. To him no possibility existed of there being a serious threat along this path. Edwin, however, had the advantage of not being lulled by the familiar. He knew for crows to do that must mean something or someone waited ahead. His experience as a hunter as well as a warrior had sharpened his senses to the unnatural. He mentioned his concerns again to the chief scout and said he felt it important to stop the procession and check out what lay ahead. The chief scout, sensing the urgency and also considering the respect Edwin held as a warrior, decided he would do as advised. He and Edwin and the other scouts rode back to the party some seventy-five yards behind them and advised the King they had some concerns.  They felt they should be investigated before continuing further. The King rather impatient to get going was tempted to dismiss it as being too cautious. However, he had high regard for Edwin’s judgment so he agreed to stop the journey and have fifty or so troops go on and check it out.”

We see how Edwin’s experience as a warrior and as a hunter heightened his ability to notice the unusual. This ability saved lives and probably saved the life of King Erith. Without him the whole Evansing mission to unite Ireland into one kingdom would have come to a halt.

Some men see themselves as noble warriors in a battle to protect and support women and children. Others see themselves as warriors when playing sports or when engaging the world of business. A warrior perspective stimulates a battling heart-set which energizes a person to another level of determination of achievement and success.

Visualizing the outcome you want to create can help to create that warrior determination and confidence.

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Willingness to Do the Hard Thing – Part 2

Willingness to Do the Hard Thing – Part 2

Sometimes the hard thing comes in very mundane situations. For example you are in the midst of trying to get something done that you have kept putting off. Then you get a phone call from a close friend or family member. They are in a bad place and they want to talk. Do you continue to try working while sort of listening but continually wishing they would say good bye? Or do you set aside your work and give them your wholehearted attention? When they hang up and the thought comes to you to consider doing something more; like going to keep them company or bringing something to cheer them up, do you ignore that thought telling yourself you are too busy? Or do you respond to it by doing an act of kindness? These are major hard things or so they seem at the time. However when we miss the opportunity and reflect upon it later we realize how we blew it. We need to grow in awareness when we are passing up a key opportunity to deepen an important relationship. They don’t often come at times that are convenient. That is why we need to heighten ourselves to greater sensitivity to those moments so we can rise above our emotions that want us to ignore someone else’s problem and focus on our task at hand. This is especially challenging for those personality types like Dominant Directors and Cautious Thinkers who tend to be more task oriented. They need to find ways to curb their natural inclination and step back and recognize the importance of their relationships. If we compared the value of what seemed to be so important to the value of the relationship, we would be appalled at our short sightedness. That relationship investment will pay dividends for years to come. That seemingly important task will be long forgotten.
In Evansing there is an incident already noted in chapter 8 which I am repeating here to spell this out further:
“Edwin! You are going to have to focus more time on the wedding preparations. I have done most of it already, but there are some things you and I need to discuss. Besides I want it to be us deciding not just me. We can decide together on your outfit. What are you doing this afternoon?’
‘Well I had this afternoon free, but Percival and I have just received some news about the Druid we’ve been looking for. We need to meet with your father and discuss a plan of action.’
‘Hmm, it figures. You know sometimes you have to put us first.’
‘Greer, this is a matter of top state security. What would your father think if I were to miss this meeting to go check out a wedding outfit?’
‘I don’t care what he would think. There will always be something which has to be attended to. This wedding has to hit the top of your priority list or else there won’t be a wedding.”
Hard things in marriage are often overlooked. An outsider would consider it as hilarious or tragic sometimes as to what we consider too unimportant to invest an extra few minutes of effort to accomplish. Unfortunately those things we neglect can often create cracks in the relationship so that when something really difficult shows up the relationship can’t handle the extra weight. In other words there were no regular deposits in the emotional bank account to offset the withdrawals. This has often resulted in a spouse leaving a marriage when everything appeared to be okay. The spouse being left behind can often be bewildered at what to them has been totally unexpected.
In parenting doing the hard thing could involve incorporating a meaningful discipline even though it makes us unpopular with our children. It is so easy to get caught up with wanting to be popular with our children. It is a temptation that needs to be resisted. After all we are their parent not simply their friend. We have a responsibility to ensure our children become responsible and successful adults with all their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual capacities intact. As ancient wisdom says, “Train a child in the way he (she) should go and when he (she) is old he (she) will not depart from it.”
In business there are many opportunities to do the hard thing. If we postpone letting someone go because we don’t want to be the “bad guy” then we are foregoing our responsibility. We don’t benefit our business or them to allow them to continue in a position that is not suited to their genius. We can still be compassionate and assist them in whatever way is appropriate to get new employment. In Europe there have been instances where governments did not raise the possibility of cutting wages and pension benefits for fear of creating an unpopular backlash. They maintained the status quo and allowed the fiscal morass to get ever larger and more intractable. Now those countries are stretched to their max as to how they are going to finance even the basics of what their citizens expect to be provided. Both the business and the government examples demonstrate the perils of making decisions with only the short-term being considered. Truly wise decisions also consider the long-term. A person’s life reflects the quality of their decisions made with the long-term in view. Steven Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of the Highly Effective Person” describes this as making a decision with the end in mind.

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Unlimited – Anything is Possible – Chapter 1

Unlimited – Anything is Possible – Chapter 1
Unlimited - Anything is Possible

Chapter 1

There is a very basic requirement for a successful life. It is awareness. It is mandatory for  creating solutions in life which will move us forward. The concept in life of awakening and becoming aware is a very foundational truth. It is essential to growth. Until a person knows there is a better way of doing life, he or she will have no motivation to change or even a capacity to know change is necessary. As well, a person must have at least some basic belief in their ability to achieve the desired change and a willingness to take the necessary steps. The flip side to truths are lies. We all have them. Passed down to us generationally, in our family of origin, faulty interpretations of childhood experiences and the molding by an imperfect society. Lies act to impair our ability to identify what is true and know what are necessary changes for a successful aware life. To be willing to admit the possibility that some of our beliefs are lie based can be a very big step and a necessary step in order to start creating awareness. Indeed it may be the first and most important step of awareness.

Familiarity with someone can interfere with our ability to see them with eyes of truth. In other words it can keep us from experiencing new awareness of them changing. They may have done a one hundred and eighty degree change from who they were before, but we may still see them as the misfit we’ve known them to be.

What is awareness? It is a new accurate way of looking at things we never considered before. It may be something very mundane that literally shocks us when we realize we have believed a lie. Other times it could be something much more serious. For example a friend who gave me permission to share this, once believed he had contributed to his father’s death. This tormented him for a period time. When he shared this with me I simply told him he had swallowed a lie. He looked kind of surprised and then said, “Yes, you are right I have swallowed a lie.” The torment left him.

Of course not all blocks to our awareness are so easily identified and removed. For deeply rooted issues created by painful experiences, especially if in our childhood, can take a prolonged effort to develop the level of awareness we require to live life well. When children suffer scars in their psyche it can leave them with a plethora of influences impairing their awareness which stays with them even as they become adults.

The hero in Evansing, Edwin, had suffered such a childhood.

“One morning after a particularly fitful night’s sleep and almost non-stop nightmares, Edwin decided he needed to do something different. As hard as it was to imagine life being any different or somehow better than now, he determined he had to at least try.”

The above excerpt from Evansing illustrates awareness. In this case the awareness is at a minimal level, but it is nevertheless awareness. Edwin had been experiencing a high level of dissatisfaction which fueled his realization of needing to do something different. This new awareness now made possible the next step.

An essential requirement for becoming awake and aware is teachableness. Whether it’s from an external source, such as an expert on some subject or simply an internal stirring, there needs to be a willingness to acknowledge that one’s present course or beliefs may be erroneous or at least need an adjustment to ensure a better outcome in some aspect of one’s life. A major block to teachableness is pride. When we believe we know everything and nobody can tell us anything, that is pride. When we are endued with this quality it can create disaster in our finances, relationships and even our health. As the Bible says, “Pride goes before a fall.” Pride can be a major inhibitor to a person’s capacity to recognize they are in error. A person who never acknowledges a need to learn more is likely experiencing a serious pride issue. In coaching circles it is called the ‘I know.’ When someone’s automatic response to a piece of information is I know, then you have someone who struggles with teachableness. The reality of life is that no matter what the subject matter there is always another level of truly knowing and understanding, or to put in terms of our topic, there is always a greater measure of awareness to be gained.

“The bird was telling him his thoughts of going to the monastery were good and he was to ask for a particular monk called Percival. As Edwin pondered what was going on he started to experience something else he had not felt before. He believed it must be what is known as hope.”

Here we have an important result of awareness, hope.  When a person has been released from a limitation that has robbed one of hope, it invariably brings hope. This new hope makes one able to experience even more awareness. This is due to hope’s powerful capacity to empower a person to expect good things. This opens a person to believing anything is possible and therefore willing to act in ways not previously even considered.

Awareness is of no use if a person does not respond in some concrete way, either to begin something new or to quit doing something contrary to the well-being of self or others. There must be courage to take steps to implement the required change. This can be very difficult, especially if there is a lot of investment tied into the previous belief and behavior. There have been examples of military commanders still going ahead with battle plans even after new intelligence indicated that the plans would not work. Their ego investment would not allow them to change and the results were disastrous with many lives needlessly lost. Of course even everyday opportunities to change can be ignored simply because it’s uncomfortable. Quite often this is due to some sort of fear of the consequences of the change, even when it is apparent it will lead to better long-term benefits. People can have fear of failure or even fear of success. This will result in a person staying in a dead end job or abusive relationship because it’s familiar and even in a perverse way, comfortable.

It is worth investing a little more in the topic of fear. I once heard in a movie trailer that ‘fear rots the brain.’ That is a very succinct and accurate representation of the effects of fear. It distorts our thinking. Fear blocks ones awareness or at least can impair our willingness to acknowledge the new awareness trying to take root in our consciousness. This can frequently be due to the new awareness being costly in some manner. Perhaps it will affect our finances or maybe we need to release a relationship. Whatever the cost it is important to recognize the awareness that has arisen and be willing to not let the fear of loss influence our decision. All true awareness has the purpose of improving our long-term well-being even if there is a sacrifice in the short-term. Of course this raises the question of accurate discernment as to what appears to be a new awareness. In the event of a serious consequence it is wise to get counsel from someone we trust or go to an authoritative source able to give us a definitive answer.

Let us be people who are open to the possibility of being wrong in even some of our most cherished beliefs and actions. Let us be people with the courage to take steps to implement necessary changes.

“Edwin gathered his paltry belongings… The Ireland he lived in required its men to be warriors. There was no other way to be a man except for those strange monks and priests, which now Edwin was going to visit. The nearest monastery was almost fifteen miles away. He went with a spring in his step and an expectancy of something very different but good awaiting for him there.”

Often and perhaps always when awareness sparks new action there will be resistance.

“Up ahead he could see two men standing by the side of the road. They looked menacing.”

Edwin overcame that challenge. It occurred in the course of him pursuing a new life sparked by his growing awareness.

To develop greater awareness a person must start asking themselves questions as to why they are choosing to take a particular course of action or choosing to react or respond in a certain way. We often simply choose to do something without appreciating the reason for it. A good habit to develop is to pause and consider the courses of action that are available to us. Especially when there is potential for consequences beyond the obvious. The objective is to evaluate the best possible outcome. When we have already made decisions a useful exercise is to review the reasons for our decisions and ask ourselves if a better one could have been made.

Other questions to ask ourselves are of a more personal internal nature. Questions such as: Why do I think what I think? Why do I do what I do? Why do I believe what I believe? Why do I expect what I expect? Answers to these questions may well lead to deeper questions as to values and unresolved wounds from past experiences. In other words how are those values and unresolved wounds influencing me?

An important thing to keep in mind is to be patient with the process of growing in awareness. A useful exercise is to keep a journal where we write our thoughts about decisions we are considering. We can write down the above questions and their answers. By having these written down we are able to review them and more readily determine patterns about ourselves that will help us in being understanding about what makes us tick. For example we may notice how we have made a number of rather impulsive decisions. Then we also note that each time there was a fear fueling that decision. When evaluating the outcome of those decisions we note also that they were always less than satisfactory. This new awareness should give us cause to pause when we feel fear for we know we are now susceptible to a less than ideal decision. Then we need to ask ourselves why we feel afraid and if it is valid or not and how to resolve it?

To encourage our growing awareness it is important to nurture it with gratitude. The act of giving thanks for each new awareness will spark even more awareness. The action of expressing thanks inspires even more action responses to our new awareness. This directly leads to a more satisfying life in alignment with our purpose. As we start to envision the new life being birthed in us, it creates the desire necessary to propel us toward that life we know we are intended to live. As we are actively engaged in being thankful for what we have we are growing in faith for even more blessings coming to us in the future. It activates attraction of the right good things into our life which in turn empowers us to actively be engaged in taking those steps leading us to the fulfillment of our life goals.

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