Takeaways from the 2018 Winter Olympics

I’m one of those exuberant Olympics fans who puts everything on hold when the wonderful days of electric competition arrive. Winter or Summer. Doesn’t matter. I have my favorite sports in both seasons. The Olympics are more than competition. They remind us that everyone has the chance to be something great if we Dream Big Enough and Work Hard.

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What I took away this year:

  • Failure is not only an option, it is an absolute necessity in order to galvanize the commitment to your goals
  • Age is just a number. Older athletes ignored the “you can’t compete anymore if you’re over this arbitrary age” rule
  • Keep trying no matter how many times you fall down. The reward is worth it!

Things that made me scratch my head:

  • Why is Curling a thing?
  • Why have we allowed our current snarky and negative world views into the Olympics. They are out of place in this positive and life affirming environment
  • Why can’t we have more commentators like Scott Hamilton? The man has gone through cancer and other scary health issues, yet he remains one of the most positive and encouraging people on the planet. Yes – more of Scott Hamilton please.

I’m going to try to hold onto the Olympic Spirit for as long as I can. Limiting my evening social media and phone usage has helped me remain focused on enjoying the games. I’ve gotten back into the habit of listening to positive music rather than negative programming during the day. These are small changes, but they work for me. What about you? How will you keep the Olympic Spirit alive in your heart?

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And They Call It Book Love

Running my fingers across the rows of shiny spines, I slowly slide one out of its place among the other tantalizing covers. The aroma of recently cut paper and new print fills my senses. I absorb the words stretching across the back. Heart racing, I wonder what type of adventure this book will take on.

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Sorry Romance fans. Love is fleeting. Book Love is forever. Think about it. Whether you’re two or one hundred and two, a good story is always one of life’s greatest pleasures.

How to Find Your Next Love

Book Stores – Ask for staff recommendations

Goodreads.com – Check out their Listopia section with recommendations by readers just like you

Best Seller Lists – Amazon and B&N both have Best Seller Lists. I’ll be honest. I rarely pick from the best seller lists, because they distract from other (and possibly better) books

BookBub and Riffle – Books on these sites are vetted pretty well. And they feature the ones on sale. Big bonus!

Word of Mouth – Book clubs or Goodread Groups are a great way to discuss what others are reading

What I’m Reading Right Now:

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

 

Early Morning Epiphany

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“The Mind is Everything. What You Think You Become.” – Buddha

Life loves to throw challenges our way. This is how we learn and grow. Sometimes, it takes us too long to discover we are in the middle of a life lesson. Our health deteriorates. Relationships suffer. We become the diseased and miserable adult we desperately wanted to avoid as happy children. Creatives are especially vulnerable. We have to walk a thin line between our creative dreams and what society deems as “real life.”

Our creative minds are happiest when we create art, music and literature. BUT – we still have to pay mortgages. It’s easy to get wrapped up in inconsequential drama of life in the business world.

I wanted to share an early morning epiphany I had while meditating. Having spent almost twenty years pursuing a successful business career, I’ve come to realize I have out grown my business role. And that’s okay. Change happens. People grow. Time to let go.

So – Are you the Business person who likes to write or (fill in the blank)? Or are you the Creative who makes money being a business person? Which one makes you happy? Still not sure? Here are some steps to follow:

Spend time with yourself – Go to a quiet place without distractions (turn off the cellphone) and get comfortable

Meditate – Let your mind tell you what you need to know

Listen to what your subconscious is trying to tell you – Figuring out what you are trying to tell yourself can be challenging. It may require the use of a tool: free writing, a list of pros and cons, tarot, runes…whatever works best for your brain

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Pay attention to your dreams – sometimes, the only way our subconscious can communicate with us is in our dreams. Write them down. Take a look after you’ve had your coffee. Are they trying to tell you something?

Final Thought – Be the person you want to be, not the drone others try to force into an ill-fitting role. It’s your life. You are the only one who can make it a happy one.

Overcoming Fear and Rocking Success in 2018

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, Dune

The world is full of scary things: potential nuclear war, failing infrastructures, clowns (shiver). You can either let your fear overwhelm you or you can recognize the enemy within these fears. This conspirator creeps in the shadows of the unknown. It thrives in social media negativity. Worry and frustration are its greatest weapons. I’m speaking of Distraction. It’s coming for you and your creative dreams.

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Fight back! Don’t let your fear distract you from achieving those creative dreams. They’re

important. For every creative dream achieved, a new one is born. You are an inspiration to someone. They look to you to lead the way. Don’t let them or yourself down.

Let Go! Understand there is very little in this world you hold sway over. Focus on the things you can control: your emotions, your reactions, your creativity and will

Be Fearless! So what if you fail? Put a bandage on that scraped knee and try again. You are a warrior!

Resisting Time Wasters and Other Distractions

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I have a special gift. My creative brain is a master at dreaming up excuses NOT to write. Something about an underdeveloped outline sends my thoughts drifting. My intentions on meeting those daily writing goals are good. I just space off every once in a while.

Time wasters and distractions are the devil. These seemingly harmless saboteurs keep you from meeting your small goals. Miss those small goals and ultimately risk failing to achieve your dream. Avoid these saboteurs at all costs! Well – until you’ve finished your work anyway. Everybody needs some down time to relax.

Common Time Wasters:

  • Visual Enticements – Netflix, Hulu and You Tube
  • Mental Wastelands – Reality TV, FB, Twitter and other social media sites
  • Emotional Swamps – Gossip, office and other politics, participating in drama when you should be writing

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See those little devil horns and pitch forks? Ignoring them is hard, but necessary. Here are a few steps to help you stay focused. Full Disclosure: I’m not always successful at ignoring my own little devils. We all have moments of laziness or lack of commitment. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail. Try again tomorrow. Do better.

Waste Busters:

  • Plan daily goals
  • Set a time each day to work
  • Make a commitment to honor the promises you make to yourself
  • TURN OFF THE TV and STAY OFF THE INTERNET while you are supposed to be working

Which Bucket Will You Fill in The New Year?

Thoughts are like water buckets waiting to be filled. One bucket holds positive thoughts we use to inspire our dreams and give us confidence. The other bucket contains negative thoughts from the droning self-doubts we whisper to ourselves each day.

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Each thought, act or wish puts a little water into a bucket. As the positive bucket spills over, it washes us with creative energy. We accomplish our goals and feel good about the work we’ve done.

If the negative bucket fills first, we are drenched in dirty, putrid fluid. The stain upon our self-confidence is nearly impossible to clean away. It can take years to overcome just one splash from this bucket.

As we head into the new year, think about the words you whisper to yourself. Are they kind and encouraging? Or are you dragging the smelly bucket of negative thoughts into the new year?

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From me and mine to you and yours

Happy New Year,

C.R. Richards

Are You Sharing Your Truth?

Writers are given a sacred trust to share the truths we are given. Do we decide what those truths are? Nope. And sometimes it gets very uncomfortable putting our sacred trust out there. Not everyone wants to hear the truth.

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I’ll share one of my ultimate truths with you now: Words have power. They are neither good nor evil. Words are tools in the hand of the person who chooses to use them.  Intent is everything. This is why writers must be careful about how they use their words. Are you sending out messages that inspire and encourage? Or are you spreading falsehoods and hatred?

Words are ideas. They have the power to change lives. Use them wisely.

In this special season, I want to share a quote (and modernize it a bit to fit our world today)

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Peace on Earth. Good will toward ALL men, women, children, animals and most especially – our home, Earth.

From me and mine to you and yours,

Best Wishes for Peace, Hope and Joy

C.R. Richards