Life Lessons – Over Corrections

Life is a series of over-corrections

Comedy is the portrayal of life exaggerating both the circumstances and the human response to plausible situations. I don’t mean to show my age but I am reminded of the Carol Burnett Show and her sketch of the dysfunctional family or Tim Conway’s old man shuffling across the floor. Why did I laugh so hysterically at what may otherwise be considered sad or even pathetic? In all likelihood, I saw humor because I could relate to the absurdity of how hard I try to be perfect when deep down I knew I was just a human doing the best I can.

What I can take away from the recognition of my own absurdity is seeing that I attempt to star in a slap-stick comedy show of my own making. I exaggerate my misconceptions when I fail to acknowledge obvious flaws in the underlying rational I give for my choices. I try so hard to appear normal or “put-together” because I fear being criticized, or worse, ostracized. In the background, there is a gnawing uneasiness whispering to me that I can’t hide who I really am yet I continue the charade as if no one can see my subterfuge.

Here is where I experience the fear of being found-out. My anxiety about being exposed means that as soon as I feel someone sees through the masquerade, I immediately adjust. More often than not my nervousness causes the adjustment to be more extreme than necessary. I intuitively recognize my overreaction which adds to my feeling of ineptness. Still I continue to “shuck-n-jive” to maintain my image, all the while completely destroying any semblance of dignity.

If only I could laugh at myself. If only I could take a bow to an approving audience who saw my parody of life, not my sophomoric attempt to play-act. In the quiet of my inner being, I know I am a fraud. In my cognitive being, I construct a narrative that explains how my life really does support my mirage. In my social being, I spring into the next scene ready to show-off my brilliance and primed to manipulate any situation that would otherwise taint my image. And when unexpected exposure looms, as it always does, I twist myself into a contorted illusion and pretend to be what I am not.

In truth, I can’t think of anything more absurd, yet before I started my process of self-examination, I seemed to be incapable of stopping the ruse. Today life is not only easier and more satisfying but my relationships are so much more genuine. The ability to connect with others is so much better when I am myself without regret or defense for being anything other than “just another smuck”.

Describe your persona (the nature of your personality that is presented to others.) and indicate whether it is an image you work at presenting. If it is, explain why that image is important to you. What happens when you feel others are not seeing what you intend them to see?

For more information about developing a new approach to living go to or to acquire the book go to

Rigidly Holding onto My Beliefs

I may not be aware of it but I interpret everything that happens, directly or indirectly, through the lens of how I believe the world works. This belief system is continually reinforced because as things happen I see the outcomes from a preconceived perspective. In other words, I interpret things that happen as proving that what I believe to be true is in fact true. This circular logic blinds me to seeing the possibility that the cause and effect I assumed to be true can have a different explanation. If I don’t question my underlying assumptions, they render me impervious to change.

An illustration of this simple truth is discussed in Stage 2 of the book. A sketch that appeared on the PBS children’s program Sesame Street is referenced where Ernie is standing with Bert, who has a banana in his ear.
Ernie asks: “Why do you have a banana in your ear, Bert?”
Bert answers: “To keep the alligators away.”
Astonished, Ernie replies: “There aren’t any alligators on Sesame Street.”
Bert proudly asserts: “See, it’s working.”

Resolving misconceptions involves acknowledging that the world is full of contradiction, that a single preconceived set of beliefs is insufficient for consistent clarity. I accept that all things cannot be known, yet remain amazed that somehow the universe functions unabated and unaffected by my trivial attempts to explain or control. Understanding this enables me to see a potential solution, but only when I am open to the possibility that there exists a more meaningful way to live.

In her book The Work, Byron Katie uses an example to make this point.
“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want. If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, ‘Meow’. Wanting reality to be different than it is, is hopeless.”

Visit her web site at:

Close-mindedness can be overcome when I accept that the world operates in its own way and that superimposing a set of rigid beliefs is what makes life difficult and confusing.

Summarize when something turned out differently than you thought and discuss why this difference stems from the point of view of your belief system.

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit the web site or to acquire the book go to

Living in Reality

Some of us feel there is a disconnect between what is and what we want. This conflict presents its self as a gnawing dissatisfaction or a low-grade depression. This feelings seems to reside in our subconscious and color our outlook and attitudes. This is a feeling we try to hide by putting on an image of “success” or “I’m doing fine.” All the while it persists in the background and keeps our emotional equilibrium off balance.

This idea is fundamental premise of my book, in fact, it is stated as the opening paragraph in the Purpose section on page vi and reads:

“All of us have struggles that lead to a less than desirable quality of life due to a deep-seated feeling that something is wrong and can’t seem to be fixed. Because of the persistence of these struggles, a nagging sense of being defective, incapable, even unworthy begins to define us as something we don’t like and never intended to be. Over time, this condition develops into an internal reality expressed with resentment, negativity and withdrawal. We seem trapped and either fight against such unseen forces or resign ourselves to our helplessness.”

Many authors in the Self-Exploration genera of contemporary literature express a similar idea. Tara Brach is one such author who comes at the discovery process from a Buddhist tradition of meditation. In her book Radical Acceptance, in the opening chapter titled “The Trance of Unworthiness” she states:

“Feeling unworthy goes hand in hand with feeling separate from others, separate from life. If we feel defective, how can we possibly belong. It’s a vicious cycle: The more deficient we feel, the more separate and vulnerable we feel. Underneath our fear of being flawed is a more primal fear that something is wrong with life, that something bad is going to happen. Our reaction to this fear is to feel blame, even hatred toward whatever we consider the source of the problem: ourselves, others, life itself. But even when we have directed our aversion outward, deep down we still feel vulnerable.”

Visit her web site at –

Uncovering and dealing with these deep-seated beliefs and anxieties is a key objective of why I wrote the book. There is hope that we can find our way out of this self-defeating spiral. It starts with recognizing the problem and continues, in Stage 4, with an honest appraisal of how we attempt to manage our vulnerability as stated in the first paragraph of Stage 4 on page 36.

“This Stage has a very practical orientation. Regardless of perceptions, beliefs, rights and wrongs or any other cognitive interpretation, there is concrete clarity in what a person does. A person’s real actions are undeniable. And, it is equally certain that their actions resulted in real consequences. In Stage 4, accepting reality includes taking responsibility for your actions and their impact. First, it requires cataloging your behaviors and take a hard look at how extensively they exhibit your attitudes, thought processes, decisions and resulting actions. We gain clarity once we accept reality.”

Make a list of personality characteristics that accurately describe your behavior in stressful situations.

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit our web site or to acquire the book go to

Resolving Your Discomfort

You are the Cause Your Own Discomfort
Therefore, You are the Solution to Resolving Your Discomfort.

How many times a week are messages sent that should convey that you cause of your own discomfort? These messages come from that almost imperceptible tightening in your gut that you ignore or immediately dismiss. It happens each time you shade the truth in order to avoid some perceived embarrassment, each time you feel you are entitled to be heard, each time you express your opinion as if you know more than others in the discussion.

These momentary discomforts grow into persistent irritants when you are frequently called on your inconsistencies, when you are aware that others stiffen when you enter the room, when someone pushes back to something you say in a way that seems aggressive or out of context.

Over time you begin to sense an alienation toward others, you feel as though you need to be combative in order to be taken seriously or you need to defend and prove all the positions you take. This reactive behavior makes each succeeding situation more contentious and heightens your defensiveness.

For many continuing discomforts grows into a gnawing resentment that precedes an interactions and colors your expectations about how the situation will unfold. This unrecognized prediction is a construct of your own making and guarantees an unsatisfactory relationship. The good news is that all of this discomfort is within you own power to change.

The solution is to first become aware of your attitudes and actions that are causing discomfort. You must make a directed effort to modify your behaviors that bring about these discomforts. Secondly, when you find yourself acting inappropriately, quickly acknowledge what you did and indicate you are working on your behaviors.

A critical element of the solution is to keep the focus on your own behavior. It makes no difference how someone else act or reacts. When you take responsibility for yourself and act in a measured way, you benefit with less resentment. You are not saddled with the residual emotional hangover that comes with confrontation and are left with a sense of inner peace.

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit our web site or acquire the book go to

Why are we trying to be in control?

It seems like contemporary culture would have us constantly searching for change in our lives, to be better, to live better, to act better; but the question is, why? What are our underlying motivations for the change we seek in our life?
If our search for change comes from a place looking for acceptance and success, we may find ourselves never completely satisfied. Culture tends to look for change for this reason; the success. And while attaining a goal is indeed a great feeling, we can alternatively seek change from a place of humility to find sustainable satisfaction. If we constantly seek change for self-aggrandizement and the control to make the outcome we want come true, we are likely acting out of self-will, not humility.
Giving up control is one of the hardest, lessons that we must tackle as humans. Letting go may seem to be counter-intuitive and an insurmountable task. But sooner or later, that control does not bring the outcomes we seek or is not enough to satisfy what we desire. We find ourselves looking for change in all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. Instead, As stated in the book, “With a new approach, we come to recognize the uncontrollable complexity of situations…Surrender is acknowledging that our past impulsive actions were counterproductive and that a new attitudinal approach will yield better outcomes. It becomes clear that, without surrendering, change is difficult if not impossible.”
Follow on to read the related story on page 65 of A Process and continue on to complete related exercises beginning on page 72.

Have you ever experienced humility? If so describe the situation(s).

For more information on the concepts and methods of self-examination, please visit our web site or to acquire the book go to

Why is gratitude going to change your life?

Have you ever noticed that when we find ourselves in a seemingly hopeless down spiral, one in which the path to happiness appears to be unreachable, it feels like everything is physically heavier? We might tend to sleep a little longer, move a little less, and every task is exhausting. The weight of the world can feel as though it is truly on our shoulders. Is it possible to bounce back from this feeling, to break the darkness with some light?

The answer is gratitude. Showing gratitude towards someone, or often times situations or even inanimate objects, can bring a literal “lightness” to you. Being happy and grateful for things brings to us a sort of inner joy that is able to poke holes of light into an otherwise solum time in our lives. The key, when we find ourselves in a long stretch of unhappiness, is to find things to constantly be grateful for. Even if these things seem little and minute, that light will truly begin to shine and take away some of your heaviness.

Try this:

Set an alarm for once a day. When this alarm goes off, tell yourself, out loud, three things that you are grateful for that day. These can be simple things like the coffee you were able to have this morning to larger things like the relationship you have with your partner. Whatever they are, tell yourself, out loud, that you are grateful for them.
The key to this exercise to do it everyday. Practice makes perfect. When we are able to show gratitude to even the most minor aspects of our day, it trains our brain to look for good in every situation.

Let’s start now. What are three things you are grateful for today?