I've recently had the great pleasure of reading a book on The Real Rules of Life

It reminds me, very much, of something I wrote previously – the New Rules For Life.  To refresh, when I looked at this – I defined four high level rules which essentially comprise our life:

  • You have this moment.
    Life is made up of our moments.  Moments – just like this very second, right now, that you are here, reading.  You have chosen how to use this moment.  And even when we are in a place that is not our choosing, we still (always) choose our response.  That response – ALWAYS – is yours.  In every moment. 
     
  • You are a spiritual being having a human experience.
    Stop.  No, really stop.  Stop and be still.  Silent.  Just you and your breath.  As thoughts come, just let them go.  How amazing is this!  This physical body of ours – bones, skin, muscles, tissues, organs – all make up your being.  There is just still so much more to you, though.  So much more than this physical body that you are in!  There is something just so much deeper about you – and who you are!  Your soul…that which makes you YOU!  It's not something we can see (like our fingers or toes).  Our soul…our spiritual being…that deep part of us that is both mysterious and known…beautiful and amazing…
  • Love matters.
    Do you have a pet?  Have you held a tiny baby?  In its purest form, these are beings that love.  And accept love.  Think about this.  Or, even more importantly – feel this.  Feel this in your soul.  That thought of holding a tiny, unprotected baby.  Love. 

    Now, feel that in everything you do.  In everyone you encounter.  In your being.  Love. 

    And imagine, if you will, for a moment – a world filled with this.  Love, which is already at our core,  Love…that connects, that breaks down barriers, that lifts up, that cares, that feels, that shows, that touches, that understands…that matters…
     

  • Everything else is negotiable.
    You make the rules.  This is YOUR life.  This life of yours – it is not the life of your boss, your lover, your parents, your employer, your customers, your friends, your foes, your government, your religion. This life – the one you are living right now – is for you. 

In the book The Real Rules of Life – author Ken Druck ties into all of this so wonderfully, and then expands these "rules" and really digs further into their meaning in our lives.  And he does this from a deep place of compassion – tying it into the loss he personally experienced when his daughter died unexpectedly while doing missionary work.

What I really liked about this book was it's focus – each chapter – on specific things we can do in our lives to bring these "rules" more fully into our being. 

If this idea of what the "true" rules are in life is something that resonates with you – Ken's book is a worthy read, and one that will be a guide for living a healthy (in all aspects) life.

~ Comments Closed ~


by Lance Ekum

Recently I witnessed a friend become open again to the possibility of dating. She had an unusually difficult past relationship where deceit played a major role. The friend chose to give up entirely on the possibility of a healthy, honest, loving relationship as a result.

Slowly, over the past few months, there were mentions of possibly considering dating again. Not actually doing it; just thinking about the possibility. There was one obstacle standing in the way of progress: it seemed overwhelming to make this change in her life.

What happened next was a continuation of casually mentioning the idea, but also working through the obstacles she identified. Her children needed her, she was busy, she had a great life just as it was, and it wasn't worth all the work involved are just a few of the reasons she felt it was a bad idea to try dating again.

I listened and gave a consistent message of encouragement as she mentally processed all that was causing her angst over dating. I never pushed too hard, but rather continued with a positive, pro-dating message to counteract the negative voice she was debating in her head.

What I realized after a few months of our back-and-forth discussions was that she didn't know how to proceed. Yes, she was fearful of being lied to and hurt again, but it also seemed insurmountable to make this life change after taking such a long break from dating.

So, how does one move forward, beginning a new search for a potential mate?

It's simple: by taking small steps.

My friend's greatest struggle with dating again had nothing to do with going out on a date with a new man. Her hesitation was wrapped up in the fear of being hurt by a deceitful, unfaithful man again. While this is a very real fear for her, it is not going to happen to her on the first step to dating again. It's impossible, actually.

By breaking it down into small, manageable steps, it becomes less scary. Here are a few ideas for the first step:

  1. Let friends know you are interested in the possibility of dating again. This might lead to a blind date or two.
  2. Create an online profile on a dating site. Keep it hidden if you are not ready for contact yet; just creating it is a great first step.
  3. Join a club or organization aligning with your interests. Like-minded people will also be in attendance, which of course means you will share common interests.
  4. Seek out singles' activity groups in your area. Meetup offers groups for single, separated, and divorced individuals.

These four ideas will simply lead to greater exposure and opportunity to meet someone. It doesn't mean anyone is on the verge of a long-term committed relationship with the potential for heartbreak. It is only a first step, hopefully leading to step two: meeting someone. The third step would be to accept a date. And the baby steps continue from there.

What is most important is taking the first, small step towards the goal.

Everything else will fall into place with time and a bit of courage.


by Kelly Sajonia

There are about a million different ways to begin a journey. You can dream, plan, plot, map. This is integral to the process.

And just like you, my head is filled with dreams, plans, plots and maps. Places I want to go, meals I want to prepare, books I want to write, canvasses I want to adorn, audiences I want to thrill, lives I want to touch and bellies I want to fill.

But there is no step is more crucial to the journey than taking the actual first step. You know: old-school. Foot on the ground. The next one in front of the other. Rinse and repeat.

Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to be in Portland, Oregon attending the World Domination Summit. A heavenly place for a sublime conference. It's the brainchild of Chris Guillebeau who is a well-loved and admired author, explorer and a kind and generous soul.

The purpose of the event is to gather folks with shared values of adventure, community, and service. The "world domination" language speaks to world service: contribution, engagement and influence. The theme centers around this delicious question:

"How do you live a remarkable life in an unconventional world?"

This question was the springboard for the speakers: authors, TED Talk-ers, activists and other Super Stars all doing truly remarkable things. It was also, of course, the genesis of conversation amongst attendees, and before any of us allowed ourselves to compare ourselves to each other and judge ourselves harshly with whether we were doing "enough", Brené Brown offered this in her keynote:

"The opposite of scarcity is not abundance, it is enough."

So, we all self-managed, didn't keep score of what we were (or weren't doing), enjoyed sum-zero judgment, good conversation and tons of inspiration.

Context: 2011 was the WDS's first year with 500 in attendance. In 2012, 1000 attended (5000 were on the waiting list). Incredible, really.

How in the world can I possibly be talking about Chris's massive feat in the context of "small steps" here at The Jungle of Life?

Because the World Domination Summit, like every book, masterpiece, song, project and journey began with an idea first, and then a step.

So here I am, back in my home, time zones and worlds away from the WDS experience, inspired and awed by the stories of feats and successes that I was treated to in Portland and a whisper of a quote haunts me:

"Inspiration without action is called entertainment."

I know I for one didn't travel 2000+ miles away from my family just to be entertained.

It's time for action. It's time to get those dreams, plans, plots and maps out of my head and into my life. And here's what I know:

1) Any step is a step: declare the goal and claim it. The honey lies in between commitment and activation.

2) It won't be perfect. WDS wasn't perfect and moreso, Chris KNEW it wouldn't be perfect. In the very first moments of the conference, he offered this: "for best results, just add flexibility." Perfectionism is really and truly just another way to procrastinate.

3) We don't need to go it alone. Ask for the help. WDS came together with the love, support and hard work of a dedicated team of ambassadors and volunteers.

4) Do not judge the length of your step. It is enough. I am enough. You are enough.

5) Your step will inspire the same in others. Action amplifies inspiration…just like magic.

6) Be generous. Look around you, and notice where you can support others with YOUR help as they take their own baby steps.

The love story starts with a wave.

The epic tome starts with a "There".

The masterpiece starts with a dipped brush.

The journey starts with a step.

Just start. From here.

Society teaches us to visualize the end result.

Imagine living in your dream house. Imagine having enough money to allow one parent to stay-at-home. Imagine having the funds to travel the world, launch a business, or retire young.

The problem with this exercise? Visualizing a grandiose dream can leave us feeling overwhelmed. "Enough money to travel the world? Are you kidding? I'm trying to visualize next month's rent!"

When we feel overwhelmed, we're likely to throw our hands in the air, declare "I can't afford it!," and resign ourselves to an unnecessary fate.

That's why I recommend concentrating on the small steps. I'm sure you've heard the expression, "A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step." Well, a journey towards a million-dollar net worth, a dream home, or a debt-free life, starts with the first dollar.

**

Back in 2008, I quit my job and launched a two-year trip around the world, traversing across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia.

My friends all asked me the same question: " How can you afford it?"

"I saved," I replied.

No one seemed satisfied with that answer. They knew I wasn't a banker or doctor or lawyer. I was a small-town newspaper reporter, a class of people who are known for earning low wages.

So everyone was a little befuddled about how I'd managed to save. They began assuming all kinds of crazy stories – that I'd won a lottery, or met a wealthy lover, or amassed huge debt.

The truth is a much simpler story. I took small steps. I saved one dollar at a time.

I rented the cheapest apartment I could find that was still within bike-riding distance of my job.

I biked to work, saving fuel costs.

I wore thrift-store clothes and used secondhand furniture.

I bought store-brand products.

I refrained from buying processed and packaged foods at the grocery store.

I exercised outdoors instead of at a gym.

I never dyed my hair or manicured my nails.

I gave friends and family homemade, heartfelt gifts – like cookies baked from scratch – rather than expensive gifts.

These aren't huge sacrifices. They're mostly simple acts. But they helped me save, one dollar at a time, until I reached the day that I could pour those savings into a one-way airline ticket across the ocean.

At moments of weakness, when I needed motivation, I'd visualize the major end goal: two years of travel.

In the meantime, I focused on small steps. And I journeyed far more than 1,000 miles.


by Paula Pant

Ten Effective Money-Saving Tips

by Lance Ekum

Many people are being forced to tighten their budgets in today’s economic climate. However, there are a number of tips people can follow to give their bank accounts some breathing room. Here are 10 effective ways to save money today. 1. Get rid of home phone service: Almost everyone possesses a cell phone these days, […]

8 comments Read the full article →

Small Rebellions

by Jason Kotecki

Adultitis is one of the biggest problems our world faces today. A bold statement, perhaps, especially if you’ve never even heard of the disease before. A condition that affects at least 75% of the world population, Adultitis creates conflict that keeps us from working together. It stamps out curiosity that could have found a better […]

19 comments Read the full article →

Proven Ways to Achieve Your Big Dreams with Small Steps

by Stacey Curnow

Here’s the thing: Human beings are wired to seek novelty and challenge. It may sound nice to live on the beach sipping fruity drinks all day, but the reality is that no one really wants to do that all the time. So we reach and stretch and find that we always have a little (if […]

15 comments Read the full article →

Small Steps

by John Spence

I love the idea of small steps. Consistent small steps in the right direction are a sure way to create a happy, joyful and successful life and career. And the great thing is; if you make a small mis-step – and step off the path, it is only a small step in the right direction […]

8 comments Read the full article →

The Pursuit of Happiness

by Jen Slayden

We have all read the articles about the importance of taking small steps in life, career, and even relationships. To try to reiterate what so many writers have said so well before would perhaps not entice you to read much past my first paragraph. So I will just take a bit of a different approach […]

6 comments Read the full article →

How To Improve Your View On Life With Better Personal Finance

by Lance Ekum

If you’re struggling to cope with a growing mountain of personal debt, the likelihood is that you’re not feeling too good, which is understandable. When you realise that your debts need to be paid back, it can be hard to find a way out of your situation. However, there is hope, as you can get […]

6 comments Read the full article →