Right sized problems 


If you want to change the world change yourself. 

I’ve always had an issue with being unorganized. I can still recall my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Razor yelling at me in front of the whole class and making me cry because I couldn’t find some work I had jammed into my cluttered desk. 

That was almost 35 years ago and I’ve struggled with organization and keeping my car and my room clean ever since. I just didn’t see the point in expending the energy do it. I’d suffered from several chronic illnesses and chronic pain for decades and I have limited energy to work with. 

That has changed this year. I’m not any better physically in fact this year has been one of my toughest years in a while in just about every aspect of my life. I’ve always been on the search for better ways to live and the advice that kept coming up over and over again was – 

  • when you are feeling overwhelmed or powerless in life the first step is to clean up and organize your immediate surroundings

As I’ve done this I’ve found my mind freed up to contemplate new ideas, have more mental clarity and mental energy.

It’s amazing how small actions like making your bed everyday or keeping your closet organized can help to create positive momentum that prepare you for tackling the bigger issues in life. 

Everyday the news inundates us with situations and problems around the world that 99.9999% of us have zero ability or opportunity to change. This can create a lot of negative emotions of fear, hopelessness, and anger. 

It doesn’t have to be just politics that generate these types of feelings. In the past I’d focus on my chronic intractable health issues andthose negative  feelings generated by inability to change that situation pervaded my whole life. 

This is a formula I’ve come up with – 

Awareness – Capacity = Hopelessness

Now my focus is on the right sized problems in my life that  I can tackle. Each time I do I’m increasing my  capacity to take on more and more complex issues and have the energy to do so as well. 

Awareness + Capacity = Hope

Hope is a powerful force and it gets reinforced every time I solve a problem in my life even though the bigger issues still exist. 

I listened to Professor Jordan Peterson on Stefan Molyneux’s podcast and he explained why it’s important to focus on tackling the right sized problems in your own life before you set out to tackle the problems of the world. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HcEJr8h_yGM 

He spoke of searching out these right sized problems which are problems you have the capacity to fix.  One year he gave an assignment to his students to do just that. 

The example he gave was about a student of his who lived with a bunch family members. The house was chaotic and groceries weren’t being purchased on a regular basis and no one was taking responsibility to cook, this all happened after  his mom passed away.

The student saw this local problem and he did something about it. He took responsibility for shopping, meal planning and cooking. It was difficult but he was able to fix this problem. He solved this issue that improves his life and also increased confidence and capacity to improve other aspects as well. his 

My right sized problem was getting organized and maintaining a system to stay that way. After I did this I began blogging consistently on my four blogs and I began producing video segments as well. 

There were other reasons that I began writing and sharing my ideas again but I firmly believe I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t exercised my capacity to impact my life in a meanigful and positive way by cleaning up my room. 

I’ve been sick and in pain most of my life. Because of this I’ve used it as a reason not to keep my living areas clean and organized. When I’ve felt horrible in the past I would think “what is the point of picking up my room or keeping the inside of my car clean, how could that possibly help me?”.

What I’ve learned is that it does matter. Takin care of seemingly small problems can have amazing and unexpected results. No matter how bad I feel now I always make my bed and make sure where I inhabit is clean and organized. Taking care of these right sized problems helps me to build up my capacity to take on bigger and more complex issues. Everyone can do the same thing. 

How much could people accomplish if they focused less on politics and more on solving their own problems? Once I started  spending less time focused on politics did I began seeing positive results in my life. Unfortunately it’s far easier to complain then it is to change your own behavior. 

A lot of folks want to change the world but haven’t even begun to address the smalll and big problems in their own lives. As you address the small issues you’ll gain confidence, increase your capacity for positive change and reinforce the idea that you truly are the hero of your story. I now think of taking care of the right sized problems in my life as heroic training. 

 The more responsibility I take for of my life the better my life becomes. 

When I become too focused on issues I can’t solve I use the following to go from helpless to hero: 

–  be aware of the right sized problems I have in my own life 

 – utilize my capacity to solve the right sized problems

– learn so that I can increase my awareness of my right sized problems and to increase my capacity to solve them

Brad 
Fellow Human 

Palm up or palm down?


How do you approach others? Is it with your palm up to offer something of value to them or with your palm down just to take? 

I can’t remember where I heard this first but it has really stuck with me. Everyone wants something and other people are the way to get that something. The question then is how  is the best way to get what they can offer. 

The way that I’ve found that’s works best is to approach others and the world with the palm up mentality, which is based on the idea of giving first before getting. Peaceful exchange that benefits both parties is the key to prosperity. And one person has to take the lead in this transaction. 

Benefits of giving first:

  • Reinforces the abundance mentality 
  • It is empowering 
  • Creates opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist 
  • Improves your ability to offer value to others 
  • Builds relationships
  • Creates a better world to live in 
  • Helps others get what they want 

Having a palm down mentality locks you in the position of always asking or conniving  for something because you are not providing value first. It creates anxiety, resentment and a feeling of entitlement. No one in this world owes you anything. 

Having a palm up mentality is a way to view everyone you meet as a person you can give to. This doesn’t mean making it rain with dollar bills on every stranger you run in to. It just means always be the one to extend the hand of friendship first,  to offer the smile first, and initiate contact with others. 

I’ve learned the hard way that waiting for the world to give you what you want doesn’t work. You have to actively engage with the world and make that first step. 

Value is the key to giving.  Discovering how you can deliver value to others makes life worth living. That is the essence of practicing the palm up mentality. 

Find a way in every conversation and every personal and business relationship you have to put into practice the palm up giving mentality. We can wait for others to give (you’ll be waiting a long time) or you can take the initiative and offer the other person value first. 

Commenting on blogs, liking posts, sharing articles and information to others is an easy way to put into practice this palm up mentality. How many blogs have you gained valueable knowledge from for free? That is a prime example  of giving before you receive. 

When you give to others often the return on that investment of time and attention is not immediate or apparent. This philosophy is not about the one to one return on giving, where you expect to automatically get what you want. 

In time the returns come in. The most immediate of these returns is that you feel better about yourself, you’re more calm, more focused on creating value and you improve your knowledge about how to navigate the world.  

The best way to begin integrating this idea into your life I’ve found is to practice it first with yourself. Self-improvement, eating better and sleeping more is a way to give yourself your time and attention and in turn your body will give you a strong capable vehicle to deliver value to the world in. 

The greatest gift you can offer the world is the best version of yourself.

Brad 

Instead of being “jelly” of the success of others use it as motivation 


“Never underestimate the power of envy and jealousy to destroy” Oliver Stone 

We all have heard throughout our lives not to be jealous or envious of the success of others. But rarely are we told how to change or eliminate these destructive feelings.

These are 7 steps I’ve found helpful to turn the power of the destructive green eyed monster into positive motivation. 

Here is what  I do when others in my life are achieving success. 

1. Be genuinely happy for their success. 

  •  Recognize that their success doesn’t preclude you from being successful
  • There isn’t a fixed amount of success in the world 
  • Another person’s success doesn’t limit your life 
  • Remember you want the people in your life to be happy and successful 

2. Compliment them on their successes.

  • Always be genuine – first rule of complimenting is to mean it
  • Tell them that you are proud of them for having a particular success 
  • Tell them why you think it’s amazing they accomplished something 
  • The more success you have in life the more you realize what it takes to achieve it

3. Inquire about it. 

  • Ask the person about their struggle, why they did it or how they accomplished it. 
  • Ask them about their mindset 
  • Ask them about their biggest challenge and their struggles they had to overcome
  • Every success story begins with struggle and continues in struggle 

4. Add what you admire about their success to help build your future story of self. 

  • By using this process you’ve now gained information that can help you achieve more success in your life
  • Use them as an example of someone who has figured out how to go from not having what they wanted to getting what they desired 
  • Incorporate elements of the mindset they’ve developed to achieved the success you admire into your own thought processes 

5. Look at the successes of your own life. 

  • Remember that you’ve already had plenty of successes in your own life
  • Have a list of these to call upon when the feelings of jealousy crop up 
  • Daily tracking of your small successes is also helpful in keeping at bay the feelings of jealousy 

6. Focus on what you truly want.  

  • You are not meant to be a copy of someone else 
  • Define your personal definition of success  
  • Write down what you want your future to be like 
  • Many times we feel jealousy toward the achievement of others because we’ve not figured out what we truly want

7. Take steps each day toward your goals

  • Jealousy can be an indicator that you’re not doing what you know you need to in order to get what you want 
  • Jealousy is a time waster and takes away from time you can spend on your own success 
  • Use the success of others as motivation for you to take action
  • Jealousy saps your energy and creates feelings of anxiety and resentment 

Be happy for the success of others around you. 

Be grateful you have successful people in your life. 

Let them know how much you admire their success. 

Learn from it. 

Clarify what you want to achieve. 

Take action based on information gleaned from your conversations with those who are successful to help you have more of what you want in life. 

The success of others can generate feelings of jealousy and envy or they can be an unending source of gratitude, admiration and motivation. The choice is yours.  

Brad 

Fellow Human 

Good deeds, knowledge and suffering 

“He who has more learning than good deeds is like a tree with many branches but weak roots; the first great storm will throw it to the ground. He whose good works are greather than his knowledge is like a tree with fewer branches but with strong spreading roots, a tree which all the winds of heaven cannot uproot” The Talmud

I read this quote in the entertaining and enlightening book “I never metaphor I didn’t like”. In the past to my detriment,  my learning far outstripped my good works. Because of this I’ve been uprooted by the winds of heaven far too many times. 

For me this quote crystallized the importance of performing good deeds, which reduces suffering in order to to build relationships to help me during times of distress. 

We are all social creatures that rely on our network of fellow humans to survive. Our good works are what keep and strengthen these connections because all of us want to be around those and to help those who help us suffer less.  

Humans will never be free from suffering. Our only hope is to lessen its sting and its frequency in our life and the lives of those we love. 

These good deeds don’t have to be grandiose to ameliorate some of the suffering our fellow humans feel. It could be as simple as cooking a nutritious meal for them, thanking them for something they’ve done for you in the past or paying them a sincere compliment. 

Learning to understand the world is important. But knowledge alone doesn’t lead to less suffering . Only by performing good deeds for your self and others do you build the foundation needed to whether the storms of life. 
Brad Miller 

Fellow Human 

Inquire, compliment, motivate 


Three steps you can take immediately to improve how you connect and communicate with those around you and make your world a better place to inhabit. 

We all want to heard, valued and encouraged. This is a fundamental aspect of being human. But like everything else in this world we must give in order to receive. 

These techniques are not about manipulation or deception and definitely not designed to make your conversations all one sided affairs.   They are merely tools that if used consistently during conversations  can help you to improve your knowledge of others and the world, clarify what you admire, and strengthen your relationships. 

 1. Inquire 

Ask questions. This seems like such a no-brained but how many conversations have you been a part of that consists of two people spouting declarative sentences at each other? These type of conversations are not the best way to connect with others. 

What can separate you from the masses is to ask relevant follow up questions based on the answer of your conversation partner. The more you are knowledgeable about many different subjects the better questions you can ask. Never stop learning. 

This active listening during the conversation helps to curb our tendency to focus on what we are going to say next without understanding what the other person is really saying. The better we understand others in our life the better our life becomes. 

Take away:

If you want to to be heard you first need to hear others.

 2: Compliment

We all want to be complimented. Unfortunately most of us don’t receive compliments on a regular basis. This can be demoralizing and explains a lot about what people post on social media. You may not be able to illicit compliments on demand but you can pay others compliments without it costing you a dime. 

When you are interacting with another human being, consciously seek out the qualities, actions, successes, attributes, personality traits, and aspects of their style that you find admirable or appealing. 

People are starving for sincere compliments. Don’t lie about liking their dress when you don’t. People can detect this as bullshit. 

Make a point to confidently give your compliments to others.. Look them  in the eye pay them the compliment and then tell them the why behind the compliment. 

Telling a girl her dress is nice is better than nothing. A better option though would be telling her why she looks amazing in that dress. Make it personal and meaniful. 

Takeaway:

Paying a sincere compliment to someone is one one of the best gifts you can give them and it costs you nothing. 

3. Motivate

Everyone needs a consistent intake of vitamin M (motivation). Be that source for the people you spend time with. Feelings of doubt, fear, and inferiority are part of the human condition. Help those that you love and those you encounter receive their daily dose of vitamin M.

Takeaway: When we motivate others we motivate ourselves as well. 

Our relationships are our life. Learning how to better connect and communicate with your fellow human beings is the simplest, cheapest, and most efficient way to improve the quality of your life, the life of those you love and as a result make the world a better place to inhabit. 

Brad Miller

Fellow Human 

Small wins add up to create a bigger and better future 

 Small wins throughout the day add up to create powerful positive consequences for your future. Too often we neglect to fully appreciate the power of these small victories. 

The story we tell ourselves about who we are can be made more believable and clearer by tracking the small wins we have each day. There is a mantra for screenwriters and that is “show don’t tell”. The same holds true for you when you are  building the believable narrative your future.  

It’s hard for us to believe positive stories about ourselves if all we have in our heads our negative events supporting a limiting narrative. Your story of a bigger and better future becomes more and more believable to yourself when you begin making the choices and taking the actions necessary to win those small battles with yourself we all have to wage. 

What is a small win? It’s any choice or action you make that supports the positive narrative that you tell yourself about who you are now and who you want to be in the future. I look at the concept of small wins, as wins over apathy, anxiety, fear, feelings of inferiority, and self doubt. Wins over my lower self. 

If you have time to check social media throughout the day you’ve got the time to track and review your small wins. Find the way that works best for you to write down or record the actions that are wins according to you. Personally I use my phone and the notes app. As I take actions that reinforce the  postive narrative I’ve created about myself I jot them down. 

This record keeping of the small wins  is a tool that helps me make better choices. It encourages me  to go for the win when the temptation to give up or give in shows up. Each time I don’t give in or give up it feels great. Winning feels good. Set up the story of yourself and your life so you can have as many wins as possible each day. By keeping track of these small wins you can see them adding up to a bigger and better life.  

No actions are too small or trivial to be added to your small wins list. By focusing on my small wins for the day I can see that I’ve made progress and that my story of a better future is becoming a reality. 

The power of small wins is more than just completing a task. It goes way beyond that. All of your small wins for the day interact with each other, support each other and amplify each other. You can not imagine the positive unexpected powerful consequences that the totality of you small wins will create. 

I’m currently recovering from a flare up of a chronic health condition that had me basically bedridden for the last three weeks.

My small wins may seem trivial or not even wins to mostpeople. But that doesn’t matter. For me they are something to be proud of. 

1. Walk this morning for 15 minutes 

2. Deposited money at two different banks Banking done

3. Got gas

4. Didn’t eat flour, sugar or veggie oil for lunch 

5. Didn’t allow the fear of not knowing the exact steps I’ll need to take to create my future I desire spiral out of control and ruin my day. Instead focused on the small wins I had already had for the day and that I will figure it out. 

6. Interacted in a positive way with people in my circle that I’ve not seen for a while

7. Talked to the lawn guy

8. Made my bed 

9. Bought organic chicken breast and veggies 

10. Grilled veggies and chicken and cooked my enhanced version Carraba’s broccoli 

11. Made mom’s green smoothie

12. Got 20 minutes of sunshine 

13. Ate lunch at the table with Mom 

14. Utilized – inquire, compliment, and motivate 

15. Came up with six ideas for future blog posts

16. Swept the kitchen

17. Took trash out 

18. Paid cc bills online

19. Set up auto payment for cc I don’t use and that I’m paying down

20. Didn’t eat sugar flour or vegetable oil for dinner 

21. Took second 15 minute walk after dinner 

22. Wrote three blog posts 

23. Watered garden 

24. Read 30 minutes 

25. Zero tv before 10pm 

Documenting small wins is a tool that helps to reinforce the fact that  you have the power to shape your reality in a positive way. Too often we focus on our failures and regrets.  Having a list of small wins gives you something to focus on instead and allows for you to feel like a winner because you’ve been racking up wins all day long.

Do this tomorrow and leave a comment below about your results. 

Wishing you more and more small victories each day. 

Brad 

Fellow Human 

Hero wanted

Are you the hero of your story?

We are all storytellers. We cast ourselves as the hero or villain, sidekick, supporting cast or victim in the stories we tell ourselves. Out of those choices who do you want to be? In the past without even being aware of it I wasn’t casting myself as the hero and in fact most of the time I felt as if I was just an extra in the story of my life. Over the last few years I’ve had a mindset shift that has led me to rewrite the story of my life, which includes how I view my past present and how I want to live in the future. Below are some of the ideas and techniques that help you own the story of you and become the hero of your life.

If you only have a minute or so please watch this video.

 

We all act or don’t act by the stories we tell ourselves. Are we going to be defined by our past mistakes or we going to cast ourselves as the hero in the story of our life? Are we going to be propelled by the story of us a hero embarking bravely and boldly toward what we desire? Or are we going to be paralyzed by the story we tell ourselves about how we are only our failures of our past?
Why is it important to take control of the stories you tell yourself?

1. Life is short – we are all on borrowed time – every movie you’ve ever seen or book you’ve read had a run time or a page count. Your story does as well.

2. You have the power to control, edit, change and alter the story you tell yourself about your past, present and future. By doing so you can create a more peaceful, powerful and productive you in the present which is much more capable of created the future reality you’ve written for yourself.

3. Either you are the hero of your story or someone else is. If you are not the hero you are the victim of external forces which you have no hope of overcoming and you are waiting on a hero to save you. This is the danger of politics and toxic relationships. You are a helpless victim and they are here to protect you from the villains and the world you are not prepared to encounter because you are according to their story that you accept, incapable of being the hero of your own life.

4. We love epic movies because we are supposed to be living epic lives. Recast yourself as the hero. Reimagine your origin story. Create a clearer narrative about your future story and right now envious yourself as a king who believes that his destiny is his to write. Each morning set out upon your white horse of ambition in the armor of courage holding the shield of truth and the sword of decision. The crown you wear is your own. You need no one to tell you that you are worthy to where the mantle, it is your birth right, your obligation and your responsibility.

Guy Ritchie does a great job explaining what it means to be the king of your domain. Everyman is a king and should have dominion over his kingdom. He isn’t talking about dominating others he’s talking about taking extreme ownership of yourself. While listening to the podcast he got me so motivated I bought the book Extreme Ownership while I was listening to the podcast. I’ll post a review soon.

This editing of your life’s story is not meant to be a means of ignoring physical reality or the consequences of past or future actions. However I do believe that the narratives we tell ourselves to explain the workings of the world and the role we are cast ourself in our own story are far more powerful than any circumstance we may find ourselves in. Your narrative doesn’t protect you from the fallout from your mistakes or physical reality. Just as the mighty hero of a great sci-fi- epic, you are not immune to slings and arrows of fortune, but just like every great hero, you have decided to go after what you desire no matter the circumstances you currently find yourself in. By casting yourself as the hero king of your story you are creating the powerful image in your mind that you can overcome, learn from, and turn to your advantage any mistake or oversight, or misdeed or misfortune to your benefit. A hero takes his lumps but he doesn’t stop. He gets back up after being knocked down and he continues on toward the promised land.

 

 

You can check out more of Jordan Peterson’s approach to scripting your life story at his website: https://selfauthoring.com

Now as you write your narrative of your life be careful who you cast as the Villain in your story. It’s extremely dangerous to cast a person as the villain of your narrative. The political dissension is a perfect example of two groups of people who have cast polar opposites as their side’s villain. In other words the stories about reality that they are telling themselves is the opposite of what the other group is telling themselves. What both sides are missing is that the people within each faction should cast themselves as the heroes of their lives and begin acting accordingly. Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program is designed to help you take charge of the narrative of your life and crafting your future reality as well.

You own your past and can tell the story how you see fit which best serves your ability to act with confidence today. Start thinking of your past as your origin story. We all have the most powerful piece of machinery yet known to exist and it resides inside our cranium. Our imagination is the story generating tool that constructs the narratives we live by. The narrative of who you are is not fixed. That is to say within certain parameters. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t lie to others. But that doesn’t mean you have to paint yourself in the worst possible light for your origin story. Those events that occurred and the choices you made in the past got you where you are today. Every great super hero story begins that way. Your origin story is your’s to create.

Along with the powerful origin story every hero wants something. Use your future reality generating machine – your imagination – to craft the story of your future. Tell that story to yourself often. Don’t worry about nailing it all down at once. Focus on the emotional states you want to experience more of and begin creating the scenarios in which you would feel those. The hero wants the girl because of how he thinks he’ll feel when he wins her heart. We all want things or the affections of others, or a vacation or money to feel a certain way. Knowing what emotional states that you want to experience more of will keep you from being disappointed by achieving your goals. Your real goal as the hero is to create a freer, more prosperous, more just, safer, and happier world for yourself and those that you love to inhabit.

You can be the villain, the victim, the supporting cast or even an extra in the story of your life or you can be the hero you were born to be. Claim that today. Claim your dominion over your kingdom. Take full responsibility of your domain. Create your origin story that empowers you to act in the present with confidence and boldness, in order to overcome the internal and external struggles that are necessary to make the story you’ve crafted for your future, becomes a reality.

Brad Miller