Today, as the nation and the world pause to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., something sinister is happening across the globe and in America – symbolized in the person of President Donald J. Trump – that would make even the most ardent King enthusiasts (including this writer) shudder: anti-immigration populism is threatening global democracy in a manner reminiscent of Nazism in the twentieth-century.
We must return to the ethic of peace and justice for all people, as exemplified by the work of Dr. King.
Hard nationalist and xenophobic politicians across Europe are gaining popularity as sections of their society become afraid and angry over immigration. The Economist calls it the march of Europe’s ‘little Trumps’.
Donald J. Trump, though, is a new kid on the block when it comes to the brand of immigration populism we are witnessing across the globe.
Despite his racial pronouncements against Mexicans, Muslims and, most recently against “shit-hole” countries such as Haiti, El Salvador and the continent of Africa, Trump has only recently tapped into the same sinister thinking in America that has given rise to movements worldwide.
As far back as 2007, long before Trump became a candidate for president of the United States, poll results unearthed simmering, anti-immigration sentiment. For example, in 2007, Italians overwhelmingly said that immigration was a big problem in their country and those immigrants – both from the Middle East and North Africa and from Eastern European countries – were having a bad impact on Italy.
Today, it’s a good time to embrace King’s vision of the beloved community, a society based on justice, equal opportunity and the love of one’s fellow human beings. It was, for Dr. King, a society in which all are embraced and none discriminated against – including immigrants.
We know that Dr. King categorically invoked the truth that all humans ought to be treated with a sense of dignity and that he stood for a just cause, although those who support anti-immigration policies have also drafted his positions to support their ideologically-based activism.
In his sermon, The Good Samaritan, which he preached in 1966, Dr. King says, I choose to give my life for those who have been left out…This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way…If it means dying for them, I’m going that way.
The epicenter of xenophobia, bigotry and intolerance is, regrettably, the White House. Now peoples from all over the globe may take their cues from Donald J. Trump, leader of the so-called free world.
It’s important that we do two things as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy. One, we move past his I Have a Dream speech and rediscover his more radical philosophies on the interconnectedness of humanity. This will force us to re-evaluate our position in relation to the rage festering in large pockets of the global population.
Two, we must use King’s platform to mount a counter-surgency to the vitriol and virulent anger that is spreading across the world – including the racially-antagonistic rhetoric directly threatening American ideals of democratic governance.
It’s a good time to be King.
1. You didn’t have a plan
Most exercise efforts come to naught because most people fail to devise a plan. You had absolutely no idea of what you wanted to accomplish; you just wanted to be in shape – but no plan to get there! A plan is the ‘what’ i.e. what do I wish to accomplish with this exercise program?
Devise a plan! What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to lose weight, gain greater flexibility, and improve your cardio conditioning? All of the above? Determine the answers to ‘what’ and you’ll be off and running!
2. You didn’t have goals (if you had a plan)
If you did have a plan but your exercise program failed, it was likely due to an absence of goals. If a plan is the answer to ‘what’, goals answer the questions ‘how’, and ‘by when’? For instance, how many pounds do you want to lose and by when? Having a plan with no goals is like the skipper of a cruise liner who takes his hand off the wheel and hopes to drift to his destination.
Set goals! Be realistic yet dream big. First determine where you are – what’s your body fat, body mass index – then it will be easier to determine the ‘what’ and ‘by when’. Most of the major fitness firms offer free assessments. If they don’t, find a reputable personal trainer in your area who will.
3. You didn’t know how to use the equipment
At any given time, in any given gym in America, up to eighty percent of the people who are using equipment are doing it wrong. Including you! The gym can be overwhelming for most people, including beginners. When you don’t know how to use something, you get frustrated and you quit. And heaven forbid you should ask anyone for help!
Get some help! Stop acting like you know what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Most gyms have experienced personnel who will gladly show you. Again, ask about a free assessment!
4. You underestimated your conditioning level
The day after your first workout, your muscles were sore as hell! You made the mistake millions of people make when they decide to launch a fitness program: underestimating how out of shape you are. Oh sure, you tended to get out of breath when climbing a flight of stairs; you always feel irritable and tired throughout your workday. But those were more the results of mental fatigue than anything else. When you’re out of shape, it’s whole different ballgame.
Resolve to push through it – sore muscles and all! You didn’t get out of shape overnight and you won’t get in shape overnight, either.
5. You didn’t see instant results and gave up.
You have two choices when launching a fitness program: the long, slow grind to success or instant gratification. Most people opt for the latter – including you! Twenty-five pounds in two weeks? Really?
Stop looking for the easy way. Think four, eight, and twelve: 4 weeks for you to begin to see minimal changes; 8 weeks for friends and family to see it and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Settle in for the long haul – you’ll appreciate the results it even more.
Here’s the good news! You can dust off that exercise program and still accomplish your fitness goals! Follow the above tips and I guarantee you totally solid results!
Reach me at: http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com
Millions of people will flock to gyms across America with one goal in mind: the body of their dreams. Some hope to overcome debilitating injuries or a pesky health issue; others will ultimately hope to shed unwanted pounds.
However, there is a penultimate consequence of exercising one’s body that few people understand: that of exercising one’s faith.
Is there a correlation between faith and fitness? The New Year stirs in most people a desire to be better, to do better and to live better. Faith is no exception. How many people promise themselves they will go to church more as a resolution?
I suggest it’s more important to grow closer to God than merely increasing one’s church attendance, although going to church is important.
Can pursuing greater health lead to more intimacy with God? Can one attain a closer relationship with a Higher Power with a commitment to fitness? I believe so! Here are three reasons why fitness shapes our faith.
The Bible Implores Us to Care for our Temple
Physical health is a biblical mandate and is a viable necessity for deepening one’s faith. Virtually throughout the Holy Bible we are admonished to honor the sacred nature of our physical body. Saint Paul writes in I Corinthians 6: 19, 20: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you? Elsewhere, the writer of John in the New Testament salutations include, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. Elsewhere, Saint Paul also urges young protégé, Timothy, “bodily training is of some value”.
Even the Woman of Proverbs is lauded for her commitment to her physical beauty; She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. (Proverbs 31:17)
We Are at Our Best When We Live Holistically
If we have not been unfortunate to have suffered some catastrophic event at birth, we have an imperative to live as healthy as we possibly can and that means we understand our lives holistically.
We are not merely physical specimens; we are, in the words of Patrick Glynn, a ‘piece of heaven and a chunk of earth’. We are body, mind and spirit and our sum experience on earth hinges on our willingness to honor the miraculous way in which those dimensions interact on a daily basis.
Living holistically brings greater clarity to the need to care for our Temple and thusly increases our faith. We are tasked to meet the demands of our physical environment; therefore, it requires of us a diligence to increase our stamina and endurance in the physical realm.
Fitness Gives Us a New Perspective on Faith
In 2008, I made the decision to improve my health. At that point I was almost 200 pounds – which at five-feet and nine inches in my forties – wasn’t healthy! I made a plan and stuck with it; watching with utter amazement at how my body was literally transformed when I began training to become a personal trainer in January of 2009. I also discovered how my spiritual and mental well-being began to take on new meaning. Not only did my body change, my life perspective began to change, too. I was training my body, but I was also training my life.
We cannot get the best from life if we are unhealthy, if we are forced to live with daily negative health realities such as diabetes, metabolic issues, heart disease etc. This does not mean we don’t do the best we can, it just means the healthier we are, the more joy and fulfillment we experience.
Make a commitment to be your best self in the New Year!
How do you relax and take your mind off things? Most would say a long walk or a good workout. Both of these are great ways to achieve relaxation. But did you know there are other, even more effective ways of achieving mental paradise?
In our twenty-four hour news cycle, where we are deluged with information, advertising and bad news without end, it’s imperative that we work to achieve a mental posture aligned with peace, serenity and inner-sanctum.
If we fail to do this, we often find ourselves disgruntled, irritable, and bordering on depression. We have the power to change this dynamic by simply making time to relax our mind and achieve mental equilibrium.
Any successful program in this regard must have a multi-faceted approach; it must be physical, mental and spiritual oriented. Here are three ways, among many, we can achieve mental relaxation.
High Intensity Cardio
Cardio is a very effective way to relax your mind, mostly because it’s a stress-buster. We accumulate stress from our environment virtually all day, whether from our boss, our spouse or our children. An aerobic workout literally takes the stress out of our day. If you are new to exercise, don’t start off with high-intensity aerobic exercise; work your way up to it. Start out with low-impact movements such as walking or gardening. Once you are ready, you can move up to elliptical or treadmill workouts. Or simply elevate up to power walking. If you are really ready, try some sprints!
Do a Television Fast
Achieving mental relaxation not only can come via working your body, but also by working out your mental faculties. One of the biggest impediments to mental peace is what someone referred to as the “one-eyed monster” – the television. Invariably, the most common response I get when I ask the question ‘What are you doing?’ is “Watching TV.”
Like most things, it’s not the quantity of the activity as much as it is the quality. We owe our brains – and therefore our mental peace – some measure of distance from the murder, mayhem and maliciousness being served via network and cable programming today. Do a television fast; turn it off for a couple of hours. Don’t watch television after a certain time at night. The more bad television we watch near bedtime, the more toxic our spirit becomes as we move into slumber. Doing a television fast can potentially be the best thing you’ve ever done for your peace of mind.
Speaking of peace of mind, practicing some form of mindfulness is the ultimate mental relaxation technique. Mindfulness is a “mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.”
Mindfulness also involves acceptance without judgment and resisting whether something or someone is “right” or “wrong”. Mindfulness is an absolutely worthy and effective technique in achieving a level of mental relaxation.
Mindfulness can be achieved quite simply. You can begin by simply paying attention to your breathing rhythm; listening to how your breath courses through your body; paying attention to how your body responds.
Another way to practice mindfulness and acceptance is to make it a point not to respond to a certain stimuli such as your manager or spouse or children – when they present with negative vibes. Simply choose to select the ‘ignore’ button.
Any program for mental relaxation must be physical, mental and spiritual oriented.
Reach me at: http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com
When you look at a beautiful building, you may wonder how it all came together and where it began. Our life is similar: often we wonder how we got to where we are, good or otherwise. But, like the beautiful building, it started somewhere and it came together in many different ways.
It’s been said that it takes twenty-one days to form a good habit and rid ourselves of bad ones. You can literally alter or improve your life in that time-frame with a few easy and practical steps and little bit of discipline.
A very wise person said we all came from somewhere and we’re all going somewhere: the Architect of the Universe didn’t build a stairwell going nowhere.
Consider these four attitudes to improve your life in twenty-one days or less.
Take Massive Action
If you look at the people who have experienced the most success with their lives, you’d notice they all share one trait in common: at some point in their lives they took massive action, whether that action was in finances, love, health or work.
‘Massive’ is big; earth-shattering, gargantuan change. It probably reads 10.0 on the Richter scale in terms of its life-shaking quality. For massive action to happen, one must never mind one’s fears and just do it.
Throw all of your caution to the wind; take a colossal leap of faith. Find an area in your life which, after careful analysis, you’ve determined is a prime candidate for massive action. Then just do it!
Break Bad Habits
We are prisoners to bad habits, habits that are non-productive and lead to nowhere. Most of our bad habits show up in our personal and leisure life. Three of the biggest bad habits that tend to dominate our personal life are procrastination, boxed-in thinking, watching TV and caring too much about the Jones’.
Make a list of your top three bad habits. Then develop an action plan to gradually eliminate those habits from your lifestyle.
If watching television is your worst habit, for example, make it a point to limit that activity to sixty minutes or less per evening.
Acquire Good Habits
On the other side of bad habits are good habits. The problem with good habits is that they are not acquired as easily. In fact, acquiring good habits is one of life’s most difficult undertakings. The reason is bad habits are easy to follow. Three of the biggest good habits we can acquire are planning our day the night before, lifting a negative from a positive and learning to compliment the work of others.
List your top three desired good habits. Maybe one of them would be saving money. Find an old jar and begin to collect your coin change on a daily basis. Then watch in amazement how this one simple habit will revolutionize your finances.
Increase Your Value
What is your life value? It’s not your monetary value I’m speaking of here, although that is of considerable importance. It’s your life value that I’m pointing to: your value to your family, your social network and friend and to your work.
Your family value is most important. Do something special with your family at least once per week. Rope off that time and allow absolutely zero interruptions. For your work, learn more about what you do and how it impacts another person or persons – perhaps on the other side of the world!
Conduct you work in a thoughtful and enthusiastic manner; understand that it is a blessing to work. In your social network, be an authentic friend and lend a listening ear. Be careful, though, not to become a dumping ground for trash and other types of negativity.
Taking massive action, breaking bad habits, acquiring good habits and increasing your life value can potentially change your life in twenty-one days or less!
Reach me at: http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com
What does success mean to you? How does success look? What have you been successful at doing? The truth is success means many things to many people. For one, success could be improving a bad test score; for another, it could mean just making it to graduation day. One thing we know for sure, success cannot be explained – it must be experienced.
In our society, there are many images of success and ‘successful’ people. But we can’t always trust what we see when it comes to examples of success. Is a person successful if he or she cheats on a test and receives a passing grade?
Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.
Most often, success is learned and valued according to how we have been exposed to it. Here are three perspectives on how we view success and how we experience it.
Success is Transient
By ‘transient’ I mean it’s here today gone today. Success does not last, at least not long enough. What we were successful doing one day does not guarantee us remaining successful the next. Often, we aren’t in possession of success long enough to enjoy it. Lotto winners, for example, are notorious for this principle. Studies of those who have won millions via the lottery show that upwards to ninety percent end up broke within months, and there is also a high degree of suicide present.
You don’t have to have won the lottery to appreciate the transient nature of success, though; think about the time you or someone you know got a promotion with its attendant raise. Chances are the headaches associated with the promotion far outweighed the gain in pay.
Success is Not Always Quantifiable
A pro player signs a record contract for millions of dollars. A start-up attracts hundreds of venture capitalists who line up to invest in millions into the business model. Someone cashes in on stocks and bonds. All of the above examples tend to make one very rich – in numbers. If were judging success by a greater principle, though, numbers become murky.
Success is a feeling and feelings cannot be quantified. Is a person who makes millions of dollars from playing professional sports ‘happy’? Are success and happiness necessarily harmonious or do they make for strange bed-fellows?
From the lottery winner example, we know that lots of money does not equal lots of happiness. There are people who are very happy without money as there are those who are very miserable with it.
Success Comes in Disguise
I have always wanted to be successful and make my dreams come true. For years I would toil in my pursuit of success and do everything I could do to attain it. Yet I never felt ‘successful’. I had the drive but the realization of it seems elusive.
And then I discovered I was more successful than I imagined. I was doing everything I had always dreamed of doing; I was hitting and realizing goals on a daily basis. Success had indeed come to me – but it had come in disguise. I was successful and hadn’t even realized it.
We have come to expect the accouterments of success – nice cars, lots of cash, a big house – but we often forget that success is an inside job. It finds its meaning in value, in a job well-done and in seeing others succeed as well as ourselves.
Success cannot be explained, it must be experienced.
Reach me at: http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com