That’s Your Problem

“The best years of life are the ones where you decide your problems are your own.” -- Albert Ellis Oh yeah. I love it when the problem is mine. Sure, it can be lots of fun to point fingers and heap blame on other people. It’s nice to imagine that we are perfect and that the only thing standing between us and whatever it is we want are all those other annoying people. Or our parents. Or the government. Or society. Or The Man. Or whatever other scapegoat we have chosen to keep ourselves from success. But there’s one big problem with that approach: You can’t change anyone else no matter how much you whine or rant or rage. The only thing that each of us has the power to change is ourselves.


Arguing with Audrey Hepburn

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible." —Audrey Hepburn Nothing against the lovely, late Audrey Hepburn. I love her movies, her look, her philanthropy. But this motivational quote? Not so much. This is one of those clever sayings that sounds great until you really think about it. Nothing is impossible? OK then—flap your arms and fly. No, not even Audrey Hepburn could do that.


Don’t Look Back: The Corrosive Power of Regret

"I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both." --Soren Kierkegaard A friend was struggling with regret. I have strong feelings about regret, but found myself tongue-tied. I couldn't find the words to express my distaste. I don’t do regret. When I was about 16, I wrote a poem: No regrets. Not cold, but cool. Regrets in life make bitter fools. Very teenage girl, but it’s knocked around in my head so long, it’s become my little credo. I’m impatient with regret. I would rather get on with things. Take a lesson and don’t look back. Regret is dangerous, a suffocating morass that only sucks you down. It drains energy and motivation and has no cure if you let it take hold. Regret is no good, no good at all.  But how how to wave someone back from the edge of the abyss?


Wish All You Want, It Can’t Hurt

"Be careful what you wish for." “I hate that one,” a friend said. “Life is so difficult already, and they’re saying you’re not even supposed to wish?” That little aphorism is so old and musty and familiar, I never gave it much thought until my friend said that. But now that she mentions it…what the hell? What kind of crippling curse is that to put on someone? How can you wish for anything when you are told that there’s a damn good chance that wish will blow up in your face?


Why You Should Suck at Everything You Do

"You’ve got to dare to suck in order to be great”—Ricky Martin As I said before, you never know when you'll stumble on wisdom. You remember Ricky Martin, don’t you? Formerly of the boy band Menudo, had a hit with Livin’ La Vida Loca, swiveling hips, cute as a button, bubblegum pop star? Yeah, that Ricky Martin. Not exactly Socrates. But I came across this quote in the newspaper many years ago, cut it out, and posted it on the bulletin board over my desk because it’s so damn wise.

Health and Fitness

What Works for Workouts?

"Suit up and show up." This is a widely used mantra to get yourself to exercise. I even have a fitness-related blog with that as its title. Theoretically, it’s a good motivational mantra. No matter how much I don’t want to exercise, if I force myself to put on my workout clothes and get started, I’ll get a good workout in. Suiting up + showing up = working out. If only they were magical words, though. If only correlation was causation. If only suiting up actually caused showing up. But it doesn’t.


Speak For Yourself

"One conversation at a time." I was talking to a friend recently about a complicated situation and doing my usual over-thinking thing, trying to figure out what I would say and what he would say and what that would mean and then what I should say about that thing he said and then what he would probably say about that and what that would mean and whether it would be a good thing or a bad thing and what it might lead to and how I should address that and how me might react and so on and so on and so on until finally my friend told me to slow down. “One conversation at a time,” she counseled. That certainly shut my mouth. In a good way. Being thoughtful and analytical about my own actions is not a bad thing, if I don’t get carried away and descend into pointless rumination. But talk about pointless--writing scripts for another person’s side of a conversation doesn’t do me, the other person, or the situation any good. And jumping three conversations in the future, before I even know how the first will resolve, is counterproductive.


Life As A Seductress

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. --Anais Nin Ah, sultry Anais Nin. This is a come-hither quote if ever I heard one. From her lips, it's seduction. Life is a temptress; are you man enough to take her on? From the lips of, say, Dr. Martin Luther King, the words would sound very different.  They might make me puff up my chest and stand ready to meet the future. The late Christopher Reeve might make me nod with somber understanding. From Tony Robbins, the quote might sound canned. But Anais Nin…that’s different. She sounds like she is opening a door from a nice room to a miraculous garden, bigger than the world, with flowers the size of hubcaps and rivers like diamonds in the sun. She is holding the door and looking at you expectantly. Do you walk through the door? The garden is lovely. But you’ve never seen it before. And maybe there are tigers hidden in the woods. Or you might get lost. Or end up Soylent Green.


Motivation and Inspiration In A Nutshell

"A short saying oft contains much wisdom."—Sophocles

Who knew there was a pithy quote about pithy quotes? Perhaps Sophocles was a fan of that Aesop guy, who may or may not have existed. Maybe Sophocles had “Slow and steady wins the race” chiseled into the bulletin board over his writing desk. Haven’t you hung motivational quotes where you can see them when you need a nudge? I have. Lots.

I love those short sayings, when...