Tag Archives: Success

My Quest 4 Understanding

I’ve explored and tried to understand religious thought of a fairly wide variety of well-known religions. Understandably, I’m most familiar with Christianity, since I grew up in America, however I have read materials, religious texts, and tried to understand Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Scientology, and Mormonism. I grew up as a Lutheran, attended catechism as a teenager, joined the Mormon Church (officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) at age 20. I served in various lay capacities of that organization for over 25 years, and after learning more about its inner workings and the beliefs of the LDS religion, I left it behind before the turn of the 21st century. I consider that good, but far too long to learn a basic truth. This is my indictment on the dishonesty of religions.

True believers of any one faith usually believe that their own scripture is the truth, whereas they regard all other holy books with suspicion or accuracy.

christ-headAt first introduction into most of these organizations, and for many people who become committed to their teachings, the religion of choice, looks harmless and to many seems to provide personal benefit. It appeals to people who are seeking answers to complex questions of who we are, how did we get here, finding our way through competing ideas and personal identity, adopting a moral code, and where we end up after death. Over a period of time, while learning more, testing the ideas and logic of said organization through objective examination, you may find that some of your most closely held beliefs and self-identification, are formed by the purveyors of myth and perversions of intellect.

A religion or sect most often will appeal to fear or threats of rejection, requires the individual to become obedient / subservient in acts of self-hatred, isolation from contrary resources or people who may alter your commitment, aggression toward others outside the group, renunciation of family and friends in order to prove commitment to satisfy peers or arrogant, arbitrary and controlling leadership.

Another hallmark of many of these belief  systems are the subtle and not so subtle methods they employ to keep you in the group. These include, but aren’t limited to, repetitious readings, group meetings which encourage people to give talks and presentations about their commitment to the religion and it’s leaders, and only reading or viewing materials which promote the religious group. Many unique phrases or words are used or words redefined to carefully construct and enhance the individual to group identification and involvement. Some organizations have cleverly institutionalized  mind & emotional control by making the patron purchase materials as steps in a never-ending scheme to perfect themselves. Words like training or study guides are euphemisms for indoctrination as an outcome. People may later learn to find themselves so embedded in a religious culture through personal associations, family, and routines, they don’t see how they can ever give it up.

behaviorial-change-intention-chart

Examining beliefs and intentions can help us understand the impact they produce.

Understanding these beliefs and the intentions they produce can provide clues on how to impact behavior change.

“Lip service” of those who profess belief are usually put to the test by the prompting of lay leaders or clerics through several types of heinous acts, such as martyrdom, polygamous marriages, debasement of women, sacrificial denial, and patronage through large donations. Acceptance of bogus and ancient myths over rational and provable thought is the hallmark of those who eschew testable and accumulated scientific knowledge.

Promises of great reward are most often made for those with the deepest commitment to the clever machinations of manipulative, egocentric, charismatic leaders. They most often demand that you give up your hopes, dreams, enjoyment of life, to enhance theirs, under the guise of pleasing some remote entity that neither can be seen, or doesn’t have agreed upon attributes and purposes. bhagvadgita-images

Those with the strongest group identification will have a foundation built upon the writings, teachings, visions and prophecies of people who have a questionable history or nebulous past. A cult will impose their will on your researching other sources for information, sometimes in more subtle ways through ostracism, reprimands, or peer criticism. Close examination of who these leaders are or were, or if they even existed as described, is officially frowned upon, and sometimes grounds for corrective (private judicial group proceedings) action by the group through expulsion, re-education, or in some extremes  death.

After leaving the LDS church, I’ve never been happier. My life’s purpose has been enhanced through continuing my own education. The artificial group think, the control, and redirection of my life through the limited vision of other people has been eliminated. I’m not advocating other people live their life in a way that is acrimonious, or makes them unhappy with their culture and friends. I’m just unwilling to turn my life over to people who think they know what’s best for me, but have a such limited understanding of reality.


Work – Are You Looking in the Right Places?

According to MSN Money, these are the rankings of best and worst places for employment.

Here are all 50 U.S. states as ranked by their working conditions in the 2014 MoneyRates.com analysis: higher learning chalk board formulas

1. Washington
2. Texas
3. Minnesota
4. Colorado
5. Utah
6. North Dakota
7. Virginia
8. Nevada
9. Oklahoma
10. Nebraska
11. Illinois
12. Delaware
13. Georgia
14. Maryland
15. Iowa
16. Arizona
17. Wyoming
18. Massachusetts
19. Kansas
20. Indiana
21. Ohio
22. Montana
23. Tennessee
24. Wisconsin
25. North Carolina
26. South Dakota
27. Louisiana
28. Kentucky
29. California
30. New Hampshire
31. Vermont
32. Michigan
33. Florida
34. Idaho
35. Maine
36. Pennsylvania
37. West Virginia
38. Oregon
39. New Mexico
40. Missouri
41. South Carolina
42. New Jersey
43. Arkansas
44. Alabama
45. Alaska
46. Connecticut
47. Rhode Island
48. Mississippi
49. New York
50. Hawaii

college debt financial burden of tuition
The lifetime earnings differential between a college degree and a high school diploma is about $1.1 million. Of course that depends on the value of the degree.

Financial benefits of a college education are smaller than you’d think.

Since 1985, the overall consumer price index has risen 115% while the college education inflation rate has risen nearly 500%.

Even with the lower interest rates on student loans that President Barack Obama signed into law, students are eyeing bills that are growing on just about every line.

President Barack Obama, surrounded by college students at a White House event, signed an executive order on June 9, 2014 一 making it easier for up to 5 million people to pay off college tuition debt. This executive order only covers loans made after 2007.

The Senate on June 11, 2014 一 voted not to move forward on a bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would have allowed an estimated 25 million people with older student loans to refinance that debt at current, lower interest rates.

Success comes to he who waits, so long as he who waits works mightily while he waits.

Imagine – Research – Pattern for Success

Developing care for ourself, living in the context of who we are is more than a set of words. We must find a way to make our life work effectively for us.

Getting stuck in ways that are ineffective or counter-productive aren’t part of a plan which are written in stone. We don’t have to accept the slogan, “that’s the way we roll”, when that way ends in frustration, damaged, in trouble, impoverished or in a failed relationship. Today is different from the day before. Sure, some of the things you do one day carry over to the next but each day can be unique. We aren’t required to be automatons to behave or look the same each day.

What if you were someone other than who you are? You may be perfectly satisfied with the way you live or who you are, however for “the purpose of this mission Mr. or Ms. Phelps”, you need to pretend you’re someone else.

Take the time to think it through and examine the consequencesExamine for a moment, what situations or conditions will your imaginary character face? To help with this day-dream, let’s use real world conditions or problems most likely to be experienced. Keep it real. This imaginary person isn’t someone in a video game. Examine the personal traits of the character or person you have now become. How would you like them to react to the problems faced by this imaginary person?

To begin with, how would they dress? What manner of grooming, style of speech would they possess? How would they walk into a room or building? What business or job would they be in?

If someone argues with the imaginary person, what would you like this person to do or say? What triggers or gets a negative response? Would they be unflappable and simply walk away or would they have some pithy comeback?

realizing the value of self

click on this image to find out how to care for self

Now you may think this is ridiculous and not worth your time but there are several reasons for this and here are a couple of examples used by successful actors of the past.

Have you ever watched John Wayne movies? You don’t have to be a big fan to notice how “The Duke” walked. His walk was distinctive and acquired over time. He used it because he wanted to portray someone who knew where they were going and nothing was going to stop them.

When Archibald Leach changed his name and altered his speech and mannerisms to fit in with the mid-Atlantic landed gentry, he became a different person. The new name, vocabulary, pronunciation, grooming, and tailoring all became part of the cool, suave and sophisticated, Cary Grant. Grant once said, “I pretended to be a certain kind of man on-screen, I became that man in life. I became me.

It’s not necessary to take on an entire new look or behavior, but if for example, you find the actions you take, the words you use aren’t providing the results you desire, perhaps it’s time to examine how you think. Evolution of self begins in small ways, imagine how this life can be different. Envision the end result, find examples of people who implemented a plan and work through it mentally until it becomes part of your new pattern for success. Expect setbacks and accept some failing along the way. Just don’t accept failure as the end result. Dust yourself off and get back to pursuing thoughts, actions and habits which lead to personal success in whatever you are doing.

Decide on the outcome and then work toward that dream. Don’t give up because it looks too difficult or impractical. Life is a journey and the steps we take along the way create our destiny.

A movie comedy came out in 1993 called Groundhog Day. In that movie, the lead character portrayed by Bill Murray, was a not very likable, selfishly motivated TV weatherman on a short, simple, assignment. A human interest story based on the folksy lore of weather prediction by a ground hog each 2nd of February. During this entire movie, “Phil the TV weather man”, begins his day in the same way, waking to his radio alarm clock and finds himself living the same day over again. Phil is the only person seemingly aware of this condition and eventually catches on to the idea of trying to get what he wants by altering his methods. In the end he obtains a successful way to stop the day from repeating by educating himself, acquiring positive habits and helping others. It’s entertainment without preaching that a positive attitudinal change can net a positive day in our life.

develop a self-image that breaks from conformity