Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Passion Party #543 - Listening

As a music major in college
I spent four years developing my knowledge of music and sense of hearing.
I learned to differentiate melody lines
and to tell if something was in or out of tune.
I developed "selective hearing" -
the ability to focus in on one sound while totally ignoring others -
(kind of like binoculars for your ears).

But the four years of developing my hearing
did not help me become a better listener.

Listening means giving complete attention for the purpose of understanding.
It is the difference between "I hear you" and "I get you."
It means paying attention to another person's thoughts, feelings and ideas, and not dismissing them because you don't agree or you did not think of it first.
It involves holding thoughts at  distance in order to respect the other person's point of view,
reacting only once you have put yourself in that person's shoes.

We often spend all day talking
and "being interesting"
rather than listening
and "being interested".

Just stop
the hum of the heater
the tick of the clock
the bird outside the window
the ring of the phone
and then listen
to what the other person has to say.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Passion Party #542 - Would You Let Your Music Go Unheard?

Many years ago, violinist Itzhak Perlman gave a performance in New York. During the concert one of the strings on his violin suddenly broke. The crowd gasped at the sound, which could be heard throughout the entire auditorium, and the music abruptly came to a stop. 
The crowd waited patiently for Mr. Perlman to replace the string. However, much to everyone’s surprise, Perlman didn’t rush to find a new string. He took a moment to gather himself before he motioned for the conductor to begin playing again where the orchestra had left off! For the remainder of the concert, Perlman played the music that should have been played on four strings on only three.

As Itzhak finished playing, for a moment, time slowed and silence filled the air then the audience rose to its feet to offer a standing ovation for this incredible feat. Perlman smiled and humbly raised his bow. “You know,” he told them, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

In life, when something breaks, does the loss stop us or do we continue making music with what we have?
With creativity and persistence!
-George Kahn

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Passion Party #541 - Patience

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day." - A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Patience is a lost art.
To stop and wait while life swirls around you
trusting that  something hidden here will be revealed,
this is the gift that patience brings.
Patience is like water:
It takes the shape that you give it
and in the end, if set free, it will always go where it wants to go
and nothing can stop it.
In time, it can find a way around most any obstacle.
In time, it can create something as incredible as the Grand Canyon.
I think back to the summer of 1972, when my friend Rick and I rented a cabin on the
Wyalusing River, where for four weeks we did nothing much
but watch the river flow by.
Always there, but in every moment
always different.
Like putting a bird feeder in your back yard - 
you put it up, and put the food in,
and then you can do nothing but wait.
Patience brings the gift of the birds
Patience is the gift.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Passion Party #540 - Persistence

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more com- mon than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.- Calvin Coolidge 

It seems like such a simple idea:
Pick one thing, and keep doing it
whether it is exercise, or practice, or study.
It is the obstinate and continuous course of action that in the end creates results.

There should be an easier way
but in the end the task does not get easier,
what gets easier is our ability to perform it.

Pick one thing, and keep doing it.
There are days that I just don't feel like it
I am not motivated, or inspired.
But motivation does not produce results.
It is the action, the persistence,
the morning ritual that you do because,
well, because you do it every day.

Persistence has made it a habit.
And now it is easy to see that
the answer is not out there,
but in here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

PASSION PARTY #539 - Money and Energy

It takes energy to make money.
They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but if you plant an orchard and work at the harvest, money can grow on trees.
The relationship between time, money and energy:
Money does not equal energy.
If it did, day laborers would be rich.
Knowledge does not equal money
If it did, librarians would be wealthy.
But knowledge, combined with time, energy and action, can create money.
I think of money as congealed energy.
Each day I exchange my life force energy, which is formless
for money, which is solid and tangible.
And in our society, money is also an accurate measurement for the amount of value
I am bringing to the marketplace.
So the secret of making more money is not
to spend more time
or to  exert more energy
it is to give more value to more people
and build systems and teams to expand my capacity to receive the fruits of my labor.
Then the money takes care of itself.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Passion Party #538 - You Are Not Pefect

You are not perfect.
If you were perfect, you would not need to read this.
Do not judge yourself based on what you cannot do.
Feel the enjoyment of your accomplishments
your expression
your talent
you have a gift
and people deserve to hear it, to see it, to live it with you.
Being judged by others is bad enough
you do not need to join the panel of experts who want to tell you what to do.
Remember, they are just people too,
with good days and bad days
and their own dirty dishes to come home to.
Bring your humanity to the party
come prepared
and then - let go.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Passion Party #537 - Getting Started

I have my 2015 date book
I have my Passion Planner
I have my business plan workbook
I have my daily to do list
I have my smart phone
I have my Google alarms
I have my Outlook calendar

So why do I feel so disorganized?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Passion Party #536 - Danger and Courage

There is danger everywhere
and there is danger nowhere.
It takes a lot to be courageous
and all it takes is getting out of bed in the morning.
Danger and courage are not for someone else,
someone more courageous,
a big risk-taker with medals on her lapels.
Danger and courage is given to all of us
Life is full of danger
and living life to the fullest is a courageous act.
The fight-or-flight instinct,
the reptilian mind may want you to hide under a rock
or become invisible because it feels easy and safe.
It feels easy to play small, just punch the clock, just do the least to get by.
But if we must face danger
(and we must, every day)
it feels better to play by one's wits,
to play with courage and an open heart -
the courage to lead
the courage to accept my responsibility
the courage to choose my next action.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Passion Party #535 - Busy-ness and Worthiness

"Let's stop the glorification of busy.  We don't need to use our busy-ness as a measure of worthiness."
- Jennifer Pastiloff

We have certain addictions in our society
that are acceptable.
Its bad to be an alcoholic
but its acceptable to be a workaholic.
Being addicted to poverty is bad
but being addicted to money is good
(of course, who's to say how much in enough?)

In a way, we are addicted to "busy".
We worship at the Temple of Busy
and we teach our children Busy
We fill our time with Busy
and many of us get paid based on how busy we are.

"Busy" does not make you a better person, it just makes you a more busy person.
Perhaps the questions to ask are,
"Does my busy-ness add to the solution or add to the problem?"
"Does my busy-ness make me a better person?"
It is time to stop measuring worthiness
based on how busy the person is
and start finding time to ask the important questions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Passion Party #534 - Another Year

There is no keeping up with it.
We can do our best to hold on
but the carousel keeps speeding up.
The excitement and fear
that you may be thrown off the horse
as we race around the track.
It is the home stretch now
rushing into the holiday season
holding on for dear life
take a deep breath
remember 20 acres of desert
the vistas and space
There is space for us all
and I have the choice to dismount
and just walk.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Passion Party #533 - The Biggest Regret

Life is short, a moment in time
and so you must grab the moments as they come.
A life lived to the fullest
will have few regrets.
There may be a wonder about
where other paths may have led,
but I have no regrets for where I am
or what I should have been.
I stopped "shoulding" on myself a long time ago.
My biggest regret
is that my Dad died in 1989, 25 years ago,
and I never got to tell him how much I really loved him.
There was a lot of pain and misunderstanding in our relationship.
I was the estranged son,
living 3000 miles away,
fumbling about, trying to find myself.
It was not until many years after he died that I learned the lessons he was trying to teach me.
Don't wait.
Tell the people around you that you love them.
Life is short, a moment in time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Passion Party #532 - Peace and Abundance

It continues to amaze me
 that what you think about you talk about
and what you talk about you bring about.
For years my wife and I have had our private morning affirmation,
"Our life is rich, our life is full,
another day of potential and opportunity!"
Often we say it in jest
or between gritted teeth,
but somehow
our lives have turned out to be rich
with potential and opportunity.
Last week, as I hiked in the Santa Monica mountains
looking out over the Los Angeles basin,
I realized I live in the center of peace and abundance.
Now, one can argue that L.A. is not a peaceful city - 
just ask any police officer here.
And I am not discounting the tens of thousands of homeless people
that inhabit the county of Los Angeles.
And yet...
I love the thought
I live in the center of peace and abundance
and I allow it to come to me, and through me.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Passion Party #531 - A Collaborative Community

I just set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
It is so "out of the ballpark"
that I can't even see how it can be achieved
but I know others have been able to accomplish it.
I have a vision of what it look like in the end,
and one thing I know
is that I can't get there by myself.
It will require character traits that I still need to develop:
But most of all, it will require
a collaborative community,
united in the vision, trusting each other,
all working together to
make the dream a reality.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Passion Party #530 - Quarterly Goals

I love quarterly goals.
I love creating goals that are measurable and achievable.
It is so much more fun
than long term goals that I never seem to reach,
losing the weight
or having my first million dollars in the bank...
90 days is a good amount of time.
I can see the goal line
and I can easily make up an action plan
chunk it down
one day at a time
one week at a time
And if I set 3 goals for myself
in the next 90 days
and I take action on all three
but I only achieve one...
what a huge success!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Passion Party #529 - Failure and Endurance

We all face failure.
In the real world everyone does not get a trophy.
People keep score
and there are winners and losers.
Fear of failure can stop many a dream.
If you don't try, you won't fail
but you also kill the chance for success.
I went through the early part of my life
taking jobs that taught me what I did not want to do.
It did not feel like failure
it was more a situation of learning form my mistakes.
Over the years I learned endurance.
Life should not be a sprint,
its a marathon
and I want to be one of the people
that can run 100 miles;
then it is not about winning
it is about personal achievement.
When failure is just a lesson learned
then endurance is often the key to success.

*Come join me tomorrow, at Main Event Masters in San Diego
on Wednesday night at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA