Conquering your Mt. Everest

by Mike Aux-Tinee

What’s towering in front of you seems immovable, majestic and utterly impressive. The longer you stand and gawk the more you feel a sense of inferiority. This is a very unnerving feeling. You think to yourself, ‘I’ve chewed off more than I should have. I’m in way over my head. Maybe it’s better to tuck my tail between my legs and run and hide.’

The thing is you need to get to the other side because something is pushing you forward. The brain goes to work examining all the possibilities to overcome this obstacle. It dawns on you the only way is over the top. Your worst nightmare has just become a reality.

Bring on the one man rain delay. You stall hoping a better solution will present itself. Or maybe your fairy godmother will come along wave her magic wand and presto you are transported to the other side. Let’s be realistic. Whatever delusion you come up with is not going to happen. It does nothing more than provide a temporal escape for your brain. All the while you experience a brief and false sense of happiness or euphoria. But don’t fall for it, your Mt. Everest is still there, snubbing its nose at you, knowing all too well, who the badass of the two of you really is.

You sigh, which is a sign you are not committed. Hey, let’s give it the old college try and when you fail (because if you aren’t one hundred percent committed to conquering what is in front of you, you will fail.) you can walk around, spouting out jingoistic babble as to why things went wrong. Always pointing the finger and lying blame everywhere else other than where it really belongs – which is you. It’s nothing more than a façade and the prettier yours looks the more you will be able to bullshit the masses.

All the while, your Mt. Everest is still there, maybe even getting bigger as time passes.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

The problem will never go away until you take the first step, then another and yet another. It’s time to find out what you are made of and make a mole hill out of a mountain. And here’s how you can do just that.

1. Clear your mind

We have a lot of background noise that filters in and is distracting.  You need to shut it all out. Finding a sanctuary where you focus is very important. This is the place that will provide you the time you need to think, rest and marshal yourself for what you are about to do.

2. Take inventory of abilities

Jumping out of the gate without having the knowledge or skills that will be imperative for your success is going to lead to your failure. You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and prepare accordingly.

3. Establish realistic goals and objectives

You cannot run before you learn to crawl. Chances are the task in front of you will demand a great deal of time, patience and change before it’s eliminated. Having short term and achievable milestones to reach will keep your motivated.

4. To error is human, expect to make some

You are going to experience some setbacks. So it’s best to expect them right from the start. But the strength and courage your muster to pick yourself up and keep going will help you achieve what you’ve set out to do.

5. Adopt the never surrender mentality

To be successful, you must absolutely, beyond a reasonable doubt become tenacious. Let hell or high water come before you quit. When you look at successful people, the one trait they all possess is the determination to complete what they set out to do. A great example is Thomas Edison, do a little homework and check out how many tries it took him until he invented the light bulb.

6. Never ask for advice, only someone’s help

Everyone has an opinion and is very willing to give it to you. When you ask the question, “What do you think?” You are giving the other person enormous power and stating to them, you are smarter and I am not. And their advice may not always be the best course of action.

7. Even though you’ve reached the summit, push past to the next horizon

All cylinders have been firing and you’ve knocked the stuffing out of your Mt. Everest. Stopping at the top may seem like the no brainer. Your life is better. You’ve gained a great deal of self-confidence, self-reliance and hopefully more independence. The thing is there is something that’s very cool just waiting over the horizon for you to come along and discover.  Now is the time you can explore more of what life has to offer, which you could not do before you started.

While this is a rather broad outline, it is a place to start. Take what I have written and customize it to fit your circumstances. Go forth and conquer.

Peace dudes!

Inspirational quote of the week.

by Mike Aux-Tinee.

“We have guided missiles and misguided men.” – Martin Luther King

Our priorities speak volumes about us, both individually and collectively.

We talk a good game. We come up with catchy jingoistic phrases to mesmerize, to wow and to give a warm fuzzy feeling that something is being done – end of discussion.

Time marches on. So does the score: the sum of our accomplishments minus what slipped through the cracks. History will be the final judge and there is no automatic booth review.

This is the number of people hungry in the world:

Imagine if we would spend more on feeding people than trying to kill them, what this world could be like and how history will sign our accolades.

Peace Dudes!

Mike

Inspirational quote of the week.

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

“It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”-Henry David Thoreau

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and I cannot wait. There is so much that I am thankful for – for what I do and do not have. I am thankful to be healthy, to have a very cool and caring band of family and friends, and to be able to pursue my interests. I am thankful that I do not have a mountain of debt, a job that does not inspire me and the stress and anxiety that goes along with it.

What really doesn’t mean one thing to me is the start of the holiday shopping season (what I like to refer to as the silly season) beginning with Black Friday through the end of December. Without fail, there will be a story of someone who is injured trying to get into the store or someone using pepper mace to keep others from taking what they want to buy.

We have forgotten what Thanksgiving is all about. Now, many will be able to rattle off a few token meanings, but when you get right down to it, it’s become all about shopping. And for so many people, they are shopping for things that they really do not need and are making those purchases by whipping out the credit card and not paying cash.

So I have to ask you, what really matters in your life? I bet if you were or are one of the millions of Americans who have lost everything during hurricane Sandy, what is important to you today is much different than before the storm hit. Things are out, being alive is in.

It’s time to reset our priorities, to not get so caught up in the mindless consumption of more and more things and to focus on what really matters – having good health, being surrounded by our friends and family and for many on the East Coast, being alive.

Peace dudes!

Mike

Simple activites to create inner peace

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

One of the things I wanted to achieve was to create more inner peace. I had several reasons for wanting to do this. One of them was because I was tired of being angry. I do not remember exactly when I stopped being happy and began to carry so much anger with me. I realized that my anger was holding me back from achieving so much more. I was not as happy as I knew I could be and I wanted that to change. The second reason, I felt so much stress and anxiety that I had a difficult time trying to relax.

The first thing I want to emphasize, is that there is no right or wrong way to find inner peace. What may work for me may not even register for you and that is alright. I do not want you to take what I am going to write and take it as the only way to achieve inner peace. Rather, I want to share what I have done and then you can take it as is or modify it to fit your life better. However –  Whatever –  I am happy that you read my post and it can help.

Here is what I did to help further inner peace and you can too.

Find/Create a sanctuary.

This is a place that you can retreat to for peace and quiet. For me, I have a favorite park that I head off to when I need to let things go. One thing I would like to stress though, if you do find a place outside, make sure you have some shade! The sun makes it difficult for me to calm down. I found being cooler helps out!

When I am here, I let my eyes wander over the green space. Not sure why, but looking at glass, concrete and so much metal does not help calm me down. I have found that the trees, white puffy clouds, grass waving in the breeze and the birds flying around are very mesmerizing and I am able to relax. If a park does not work for you, maybe there is a quite place in your house where you can do the same thing.

The important thing is to change what you look at and allow your mind to adjust to the softer images.

Focus on what is important.

When I am in  my sanctuary, I put all technology to rest. My cell phone is turned to vibrate or down to a lower ring setting. When I start off, I take some deep breaths to begin the off-gassing process. It helps me begin the transition from my hectic life and begin the transition to a calmer one.

As I begin to relax, I clear my mind. I think about nothing but what I am looking at. To sit and watch Mother Nature at work comes first, then after some time, I will usually think about something that I am working on, that is bothering me or an idea I have for another book or post. I do not think about anything else, just one thing at a time and I may even stop thinking about it and let my senses take over for a while. It just depends on the day and how I feel.

Learn to be content with your life.

One of the things I have discovered when I wanted to bring about more inner peace into my life, was that I was not happy with who I was, what I had and why I did not have more. I realized that I was not content being just Mike. Instead, I was more worried about trying to live like everyone else that I completely lost sight of who I was.

Spending time in the park, I have recognized and rediscovered that who I really am is not all that bad. That while I do have limitations –  I will never be an MLB pitcher, there are so many other things about me that are completely limitless – like my ability to write. It’s time that I learn to accept those limitations and redirect my energies onto something that I can be successful at and let go of what I will never be.

Simplify your life.

Sitting in the park – in my sanctuary, I came to understand that my life was too complex,  more than was good for me and that had to change. I was having trouble sleeping, concentrating and getting things done. There was always more on my to do list than I could actually knock out and many things would be put off until tomorrow. No surprise, this happened everyday and I never achieved what I set out to do.

I began to think about what was important and what wasn’t. I came up with a list of things that were absolute necessities; like paying the bills, eating…etc… and what wasn’t; how many more things I could own. I decided it was time to focus on and establish priorities. It was alright to let somethings go and that I did not need to micromanage every moment of my life. Once I convinced myself to do this, my stress level dropped and I regained more control over my life. Too bad Henry David Thoreau was not around!

Working on having more inner peace has helped me relax, become calmer day to day and I now take the time to stop by and spend time in my sanctuary. It’s something that you can do as well. If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the good of everyone else, please do so… I am sure they would like to hear what you have to say!

Peace Dudes!

Mike

A review of the books I have read lately.

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

Below are several books that I have read lately.

I picked up this book after Tammy Strobel from Rowdy Kittens wrote a review about it on her blog.

There is much to like about this book from the first to the last page. It’s more than a run of the mill rah-rah inspirational book about writing. The author, Brenda Ueland, not only is she an accomplished writer but she also spent considerable time tutoring her students; helping them become better writers and inspiring them to continue writing. She feels that everyone can write and has something important to say. Throughout the book, she mixes in stories to support her points and you get the feeling that you are sitting in the room listening to her lectures.

I was on the fence about if I should continue writing, once I was finished with the book, I felt that it was something that I should not stop doing.

This next two books are a departure from the first one and are about history. I know, history is boring,.. or at least that is what we have been told. Maybe you had a very boring history teacher, the class was tedious and you did not see the point and how it would make your life better.

There is a line, that history is written by the ones who won. But there is and always will be two sides to the story. Often, there are facts that are left out that are rather inconvenient and are best left to die on the vine.

I liked both of the two following books about American history during our colonial period.

An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean

Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution

Walden, or Life in the Woods

This is a departure from the last two books and should be no surprise that it’s here. I had to read Walden twice. The first time, I did not completely understand what the point was. I picked it up again and read it slower this time and I caught much more than I did the first time.

The Winter of Our Disconnect

This last book I found very interesting. Susan noticed how her family was moving farther apart and one of the causes was technology. As an experiment, she cut the cords on technology and unplugged her family. She is heavily influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and it shows.

I really liked this book and every parent should pick this book up, read it and then do the same with their family. You may reclaim your family like she did.

If you have any book suggestions, please pass them along for the greater good!

Peace Dudes!

Inspirational quote of the week.

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. ~Andy Rooney

Have you ever met a person that’s always happy to see you at any time of day or night?

When you are about to leave, does everyone in your family rush to the door and hope you take them along?

If there is a ball nearby and a  mysterious breeze comes along and moves it, the only one that seems to notice is a dog, who thinks you did it and want to play.

At the end of the day, sitting there at the door, wagging it’s tail is a dog, happy to see you.

To a dog, there is only three times in a day: play time, meal time and nap time. Evey thing else can be put on hold.

There are no expectations of lavish gifts, just the gift of love and friendship.

To a dog, you are a stranger only for the shortest time, until you pet them. Then you are a life long best friend.

There is so much we can learn from dogs and I think we should pay close attention to them and take notes.

Peace Dudes!

Do you have an ‘in’ list and more importantly do you have an ‘out’ list?

By Mike Aux-Tinee.

Someone comes along and proclaims that this thing, activity or lifestyle is either ‘in’ or ‘out’. You know what I am talking about, it starts off with, blank…blank is the new happy, or this color is the new black and XX is the new twenty-thirty-forty. So many of these proclamations are posted on the internet or crammed into an article in some (ahem)… fashionable magazine. The writer for some reason believes they are the epicenter, the know-all-be-all, an oracle whose every word is an earth-shaking philosophical revelation.

Yea about that.

You would think, after being exposed to so any of these ‘opinions’ that we would become numb to them and pass over them like we do articles about how this or that presidential candidate is leading in some poll.

Ah!  Wouldn’t that be nice! Then maybe whoever is wasting their precious productive time would get the hint and move onto something that society could really benefit from (like coming up with a solution to this nation’s run away deficits!). Well, in reality, that does not happen. Instead, the mindless masses just jumps on the bandwagon and rides off into oblivion…

What is even more confusing, as independent as so many pretend to be, no independence is exerted, not one time is any self-reliance displayed and our own list of what is ‘in’ and ‘out’ is consulted.

Tisk…tisk…tisk!

So…this is not going to surprise you much, I think those who bellow out these statements and many others like it are full of the hot and steamy stuff that the cow leave behind.

One of the things that I wanted to accomplish when I was going through my debt elimination program was to develop more self-reliance and independence. More specifically, my goal was to not rely on others for financial help, use their talking points as my own or change my opinions because someone I have never met says so. Humm.. can anyone say halo effect? 

I needed to make these changes if my life was ever going to get out of the Grand Canyon sized rut it was in and onto something better and different.

So… drumroll please… I came up with my own ‘in’ and ‘out’ list!

As I will share with you, this list was not about mindlessly following along with the rest of the pack. Rather, it’s about defining who I am, who I wanted to be and more importantly, how I wanted to live my life. Because after all, it is my life, not anyone else’s.

I stated off with a little day dreaming and came up with all of the things that I wanted ‘in’ my life; from being healthier, spending more time with my family and friends, having a career that I liked to traveling the world, just to name a few. Once I had my ‘in’ list, I then spent time thinking about the things that I wanted to eliminate from my life. Coming up with my “out” list was rather easy. The things that I wanted out of my life included: debt, my not so great eating habits, negativity and anger.

With those lists in hand, it was time to set the wheels of progress in motion. But before I began making wholesale changes, I needed to come up with a plan to adopt what I wanted to do. It was better for me to make a small change rather than go the cold turkey route and risk it being around for a little while and then dying on the vine.

As we all know, Rome was not built-in a day and adopting a new behavior is going to take some time to incorporate. Not only does the old behavior need to be scaled back, but the new one phased in to take its place.

I know, a lot of hard work and the uncertainty if this is worth the trouble.

The first change I made, changing the what-when and where I ate. Over time, I phased out eating at fast food restaurants. I was too dependant on eating at them and there was an inverse relationship between weight and money. The more I ate there, the bigger my weight was getting and I had less money for other things.

It was time to start heading back home to eat or to bring my lunch to work with me. When I did bring my lunch, I would exclude things like potato chips and include items like organic greek yogurt and fruit.

The second change was to stop relying on other people. While there are times we need another person’s help (like when we move), there are so many instances where that help can come along with strings attached (think of your parents paying for your wedding!).

I did not want to be put into a position where someone could control and exert influence in my life because I needed their help. So, I decided to pay off my debt, saved my money and learned how to do things myself. It was also time to turn off the television and not listen to the pundits and so-called experts to tell me which way I should think on a particular subject. I know what is right and wrong and will not accept those beliefs to be altered by anyone (especially politicians, musicians and special interest groups).

The third change I made, was to recognize that my life was too complex. It needed to be simplified, down-sized and reorganized.

I noticed that I was running around, always doing something else. There was always more on the to do list than I could actually accomplish in any day. What always happened, my list from yesterday would be commingled with the list from today and doing so was keeping me from having a life.

I took off the rosy colored glasses and decided what was important, how I wanted to spend my time and what I could really live without. One source of inspiration came from Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden. Simplicity is a theme throughout the book and he explained where he made cuts in his life and why. The outcome was to spend part of his day working and being able to spend the rest of his day doing something else. He was able to do this because he understood what he really needed and didn’t. Having more was not making him happy and it required him to work more, expand his life and take on more debt.

Following Thoreau, I cut my expenses, paid off my debt and recognized that I did not need to have the latest and greatest version of whatever gadget that required me to sit in line for weeks to buy.

Making these changes were not easy and there were many times I thought about tossing in the towel and giving up. Each time I did that, I took a look at my life and could see things getting better. I was moving a way from my old life and towards my new life.

Alright, no more towel throwing! I wanted something different and you can have a different life too. It’s not something to be afraid of or worried what others will think of you. Rather, having your own in and out list will provide more clarity, simplicity and you will not spend every waking moment chasing someone else’s ideal life and try to incorporate it into yours.

Trek off and see what your life can be like on your own terms!

Peace Dudes!