The “Magic Wand” Fallacy, 3 Reminders For Maintaining Our Perspective…John Page Burton

Life sure would be a lot easier if I had a crystal ball and a magic wand! By being able to look into my future, I could avoid all types of pain, angst, misfortune and regret. All of my decisions would be painless and profitable. If by some off chance my crystal ball malfunctioned, I would simply wave my magic wand and POOF…everything would be restored to my new normal.

If you are over the age of ten and have a pulse you have probably figured out that there is no such thing as crystal balls or magic wands. This is the stuff of Harry Potter. We live in a survival of the fittest world in which a great deal of pain and suffering has been thrown in for good measure. I may be rattling some of my “new age” friends but I encourage you to bear with me and read on. By understanding that bad things often happen to “good people” and conversely, good things often happen to “bad people” we can begin designing a vision for what we desire our world to look like and then set out to manifest this vision.

3 Reminders That Keep My Life In Perspective…

*Everything is temporary. By remaining grateful for ALL of my circumstances I am able to maintain a current perspective. When things are going well I am grateful, when things go south, I can remain grateful. Is it challenging? YES! However, I realize I am leasing my time on Earth and it is up to ME to make it count. Nothing in life remains the same. Embracing the temporary nature of things makes my journey far less frustrating

*Someone is always worse off than I am. On my worst day, someone is having a more challenging day than I am. When I am knocking on deaths door someone else will have died. If I lived in a 450 square foot apartment in the worst neighborhood in any town in America and I was only able to eat one meal a day, I would still have a higher standard of living than 95% of the world. This is a powerful reminder of just how good my life really is. Anything I create above and beyond this example is “icing on the cake”!

*I control my thoughts. This is an absolute game changer. What we think about, we have the power to bring about. Senator John McCain was held as a prisoner of war for five years. During that time he was beaten, tortured and deprived of even the most basic tenets of human decency. When he was asked how he was able to survive and keep his spirits up, he said, “I knew that I controlled my thoughts”. We all have the ability to control what we think about and what we choose to focus on. I know that when I began to change my thoughts from scarcity (what was missing in my life) to thoughts of abundance (all that was possible) I began to truly grow as a person and recognize all of the opportunities that were available to me.

We may not be able to wave a magic wand to make our circumstances change but we do possess the power to determine what we focus on. None of us have access to a crystal ball allowing us to gaze into our future but we can condition our mind to recognize that everything is temporary and that life’s storms will eventually pass. When we become consciously aware of the world around us, it becomes much easier to navigate through both our favorable and unfavorable experiences.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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Constructive Chaos…John Page Burton

We have all gone through chaotic periods where everything around us seemed to be blowing up, changing form, dying off or simply no longer served us. The irony of chaos is that it presents us with the opportunity to see things more clearly. In what I once described as the “worst year of my life”, I lost my father to Cancer, went through a divorce, closed my business and moved to a new city. Chaos was my constant companion. A decade removed from this set of challenges, I can now clearly see how these experiences provided me with the “constructive chaos” necessary to move me to the next level of my personal development. Not only did I learn and grow from my chaos but it propelled me toward the amazing life I enjoy today!

LIVING IN A CHAOTIC STATE…

Disorder- Whenever we go through a chaotic period, things tend to fall into disarray. Many of us are so engaged in the chaos at hand that we end up creating additional chaos in other areas of our lives. For example, our eating, sleeping and exercise habits may be effected which in turn creates chaos in our bodies. Our inability to explicitly communicate our feelings may cause chaos in our relationships. Disorder feeds off of chaos.

Confusion- Common to chaos is an initial state of confusion. Our world has been significantly disrupted and we’re not quite sure what is going on? The recent Boston Marathon bombing illustrates chaos and confusion on a grand scale. Whenever a traumatic event occurs in our personal lives, most of us find ourselves in a temporary state of confusion, followed by a degree of chaos. The greater the trauma, the greater the potential for chaos. Trauma of any kind represents a “bomb” going off in our lives, leaving us with a profound feeling of disorientation.

Turmoil- During chaotic times, it is common to experience both internal and external turmoil. Little things can agitate us for no apparent reason. We may become agitated by a familiar scent or an off hand comment from a well meaning friend. During periods of chaos most of us are wound pretty tight and it doesn’t take much to ignite our fuse.

Sadness- Whenever our world has been turned upside down it is normal to feel a profound sense of sadness. Our dream of the perfect marriage, long term career, “forever friends” or a healthy body may have been shattered. When this happens we are bound to feel sad and then many of us get MAD!

Anger- Anger is a common emotion in the world of chaos. Some of the more common subjects of our anger include, God, spouses, employers, doctors, siblings and friends. At first, we are likely to blame them for the confusion and chaos we are experiencing. For example, if we receive a less than favorable health report regarding ourselves or a loved one, we may become angry at the doctor and then transfer that anger toward God and then begin expressing anger toward ourselves. Our life has been turned upside down and we are pissed off! Anger is a natural response to feeling out of control.

SURVIVING & BENEFITING FROM CHAOS…

Experiential growth- Chaos can be very enlightening, provided we learn from our experiences. Because we have “survived chaos” we are better equipped to handle future chaos and believe me, it will come!

Communicating our true feelings- A chaotic period of time or a specific experience often makes us better communicators. For example, having recently lost a close friend to a tragic accident, I now make it a point to always tell my friends and family how much they mean to me. Prior to my friends accident, I took a casual approach in sharing my feelings of love and appreciation.

Profitable- Some of the most chaotic periods in my life have also been the most profitable. The wisdom I gained and the lessons I learned during the chaos caused me to make better life and business decisions.

Change agent- Chaos is almost always a catalyst for change. Chaos is uncomfortable and when we get uncomfortable most of us tend to start moving about and when we start moving about we discover the bigger life that lies outside ourselves.

Paying it forward- As a “chaos survivor” we are now in a position to provide encouragement to others. I have built a very successful coaching practice because of the skills and strategies I have learned as a “chaos survivor”. Everyday I have an opportunity to to share what I have learned with those who are seeking answers.

CONSTRUCTIVE CHAOS…

Earlier, I shared a very chaotic period in my life. During this particular period of chaos I learned to practice compassion. My dad and I enjoyed a chance to finally connect on a heart level and when he transitioned we were at peace. My divorce effectively ended my run as a serial rescuer. I created the space to connect with my authentic self which opened the door to meet the incredible women I have spent the last six years with. Although at first it was emotionally and financially challenging, closing my business allowed me to determine what I truly desired to do. I followed my passion and now earn my living as a writer and life coach. I survived the chaos, gained clarity, grew as a person and during the process I learned how to show myself some grace. In short, my chaos turned out to be a very constructive period in my life.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!

5 Reasons We Visit Our “Unhappy Place”…John Page Burton

My friend Mark always seems to be unhappy with someone or something. His “little dark cloud” follows him wherever he goes. All of us know someone who is chronically unhappy and quite frankly they’re not much fun to be around. Lets take a closer look at five of the more common causes of unhappiness…

1. Expectations. Most of us go to our “unhappy place” when our “expectations” are not being met. When we EXPECT people to act a certain way and they don’t, we are disappointed. One of life’s most profound truths is that people are going to do exactly what they want to do regardless of what we EXPECT them to do. The key to our mental and emotional well being is to turn our expectations into preferences. In short, I prefer that the outcome look a certain way but if it doesn’t materialize, I can live with it. The challenge for most of us is to release our death grip on expectations and turn them into preferences.

2. Comparison. If I look around long enough, I can always identify someone who “appears” to be better off than I am. MY journey has been custom designed to present ME with the precise opportunities and lessons necessary to get ME where I am supposed to be going. When I am focused on the results of someone else, I am effectively selling myself short. Our challenge is to run our race and let others run theirs. FYI…In the world of human interaction, rarely are things as we perceive them to be. Regardless of how well disguised, EVERYONE is presented with their own unique set of challenges and limitations.

3. Limited vision. The grander our vision, the less time we have to visit our “unhappy place”. Once we have established a grander vision for our health, wealth and spiritual growth, we usually find that we no longer have time for feelings of discontent. On the other hand, when our vision is limited, everything effects us and we become prone to judgement and blame. Our challenge is to create a grander vision for our life, one that leads us toward a compelling future. The grander our vision, the more inspired we will become.

4. Fear of rejection and failure. Fear based people are unhappy people. When we run our lives based on a fear of loss rather than on what we stand to gain, we set ourselves up for a great deal of disappointment. Failure and rejection are necessary for our growth. (I recently wrote a book entitled Wisdom Through Failure which takes an in-depth look at the positive role failure plays in our lives) Our challenge is to confront our fear when it comes up. What we perceive as rejection is rarely about something “we did” but rather about the other person’s programs.

5. Lack of true faith. I can personally attest to the fact that talking about unwavering faith and actually practicing it are two different things. It is easy to “have faith” when things are going well but can be quite challenging when we are smack dab in the middle of the tornado. Those who truly have faith find it hard to be “unhappy” because they realize that the adversity they are currently experiencing is part of their creators master plan. Our challenge is to embrace and not question adversity. This is what it means to have true FAITH.

And there you have it. Time to “turn that frown upside down”. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!

The W.E.A.L.T.H. Creation Process…John Page Burton

When we hear the word “wealth” many of us view it from a lifestyle perspective. We visualize cars, homes, boats, exotic vacations and other pleasures seemingly reserved for a privileged few. Others hear the word “wealth” and experience it from a much different perspective. For them, the word wealth represents greed, betrayal, excess, power, oppression, control and separation. This perspective fueled the recent 99% movement. Still others view the word “wealth” from a religious perspective. Some actually believe that it is “sinful” to yearn for monetary “wealth” and many religious zealots will refer to scripture in order to remind us that a “rich man getting into heaven is far more difficult than a Camel passing through the eye of a needle”. They may also exclaim that “money is the root of ALL evil”. It is safe to say that each of us will define “wealth” based on our current perspective.

Creating “wealth” is a growth process. Money (or the lack of) is a bi-product of this process. Who we BECOME as a person during our “wealth creation” process determines whether we die rich or poor. Each of us must define what “wealth” means to us. One person may desire to create a $10 million dollar fortune while another desires to maintain $10,000 in savings at all times. For someone else, “wealth” may be described as living a debt free lifestyle. Your definition of “wealth” is entirely up to you and will be in direct proportion to your beliefs around “wealth”.

What We Learn Along The Way Is What Matters Most…

Willpower. Achieving significant results in any endeavor requires willpower. Willpower is “staying power”. How long we “stay in the game” will depend on how badly we desire to achieve our goals. 15 years ago I quit smoking cigarettes. Every time I craved a cigarette I had to summon the willpower to get me past my urge to smoke. Eventually, my willpower overtook my cravings and I developed “staying power”. I have not smoked a cigarette in 15 years. The same “staying power” is necessary if we desire to reach our financial goals. Our old friend, Benjamin Franklin said…”spend a little, save a little and give a little to charity”. Ben was a wise dude! One of the key questions I ask myself before making a purchase is…do I NEED this item or is it something I simply WANT? Asking myself this question has routinely enabled me to harness my willpower and re-direct my spending habits.

Ego Management. We live in a world of plenty. The “toys” available to us today are bigger and better than ever! Our Ego is screaming at us to TAKE THE PLUNGE and buy it all! The Ego is very clever in it’s ability to convince us that to truly be a person of value we must portray a certain image. Many of us go into debt trying to live up to this illusion. In order to create true wealth we must take our Ego out of the decision making process. Our objective should always be to create a new stream of income before we open up a new line of credit. If not kept in check, our friend the Ego will drive us down a very undesirable financial path.

Accountability. It is not enough to establish financial goals, we must be willing to hold ourselves accountable to their achievement. I recently read an article that stated by the year 2020 the average cost of a 4 year college education will be approximately $400,000. That’s $100,000 per year. It’s mind blowing to say the least! Multiply this amount by the number of kids you desire to send to college, subtract a few thousand dollars of potential scholarship money and the remaining balance is your reality. In order to reach our financial goals we will need a rock solid financial plan and we will have to become extremely accountable to our spending and saving habits.

Leverage. As we move forward on our wealth creation journey, we will undoubtedly learn the power of leveraging our time and resources. It is always wise to seek professionals who can provide us with the expertise necessary to maximize our time and resources. Many of us will choose to allocate a portion of our time to create an additional stream of income. Others will leverage their time to earn an advanced college degree enabling them to command a higher salary/ benefit package. Others will allocate a portion of their salary toward a retirement plan and countless others will leverage the stock market. Leverage is a key component of “wealth creation”.

Transformational. Regardless of the size of our financial goals, anyone who is engaged in the “wealth creation” process is bound to be transformed. In other words, who we were when we started our journey and who we became in the end will be vastly different. The skills we acquire, the habits we form and the philosophies we adopt will become new guiding principles around “wealth creation”.

Habits. Our habits are a direct reflection of our beliefs. For example, if we believe that health is important we tend to adopt and practice healthy food and exercise habits. If we believe that financial security is important we will develop and maintain healthy spending and saving habits. Our habits effect our results. If we are over weight our diet and exercise habits are usually a contributing factor. If we run out of money before we run out of month our spending and saving habits are more than likely a major factor. Changing our habits will almost always improve our results.

Everyone’s journey will be different. These are some of the things I have learned and continue to learn on my journey. The first step toward any goal is always the hardest but once we start moving forward a sense of purpose kicks in and we find the energy to keep moving on.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

SEEK & You Shall Find…John Page Burton

As a child, I enjoyed playing the game of hide and seek and I would not stop until I found everyone! Most of my friends got bored and gave up, not me. As an adult, I continue to believe that whatever we seek for long enough we will eventually find. Sometimes we may even find more than we bargained for. I know that my theory has proven true in my work life as well as my most intimate relationships. Everyone’s search is different. Many seek fame and fortune, others seek to serve. Some seek advanced knowledge, others seek opportunities to share what they have learned. Some seek travel and adventure, others stability and tranquility. The most important thing is that we remain true to our journey. Here are several guiding principles that can serve us along the way….

*Follow your heart. Do what makes YOU happy. Most of the “miserable” people I know tend to run their lives based on what they believe other people expect them to do or be. For example, I have a friend who is a dentist. He routinely complains about how much he hates his job. I recently asked him why he chose to be a dentist? His answer illustrates my point. “I come from a family of dentists and that is what my dad expected me to do, it’s to late to turn back now”. Our goal (regardless of our age or the time we have invested in something) should be to seek out careers, people and experiences that truly make us happy. Anyone who try’s to tell you that following your heart is impractical or selfish is more than likely living an unfulfilled life.

*Trust your intuition. I believe that intuition is the instructive voice of our creator. Whenever I follow my intuition I am right 90% of the time. When I fight my intuition I almost always garner less than favorable results. I believe we are created in the image and likeness of God and that God wants what’s best for us. From where I stand, it makes perfect sense to follow his voice. Again, trusting my intuition has proven fruitful 90% of the time. As they say in baseball…it’s hard to argue with the numbers!

*Remain committed to your core beliefs and values. In short, our core beliefs and values are principles we stand for. For example, I believe that we should treat all people with respect and dignity. I carry this belief into my interactions with others. Other common core beliefs include; honesty, kindness, accountability, forgiveness and philanthropy. We hold ourselves and others accountable to what we stand for. Wavering or making exceptions to our core beliefs will impede our search. Standing firm in our convictions will help us find what we are truly seeking.

*Run YOUR race. Each of us was uniquely created. We were born into a custom designed set of circumstances, conditions, strengths and limitations, all unique to us. When we spend our time comparing our progress, success or perceived failure to someone else we are wasting valuable emotional energy. Our assignment is to run our race and most importantly to cross the finish line!

*Be willing to make course corrections. Sometimes life happens when we are making other plans. Many of us have a death grip on things looking a certain way. We must be willing to let go when things change form. Our career may no longer serve us, our marriage partner may no longer choose to honor our vows, a friend may betray us, we may face a significant health challenge or we may have a difference of opinion with a family member. When things change form we must be open to making the appropriate course corrections and give ourselves permission to continue toward what we are truly seeking.

As an adult, the game of hide and seek has changed form. I no longer hide but I continue to seek and have found that the game keeps getting better and better!

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Men SUCK!!! John Page Burton

“All I can say is men SUCK and I’m through with them”! This loving answer came in response to my question…”so tell me, how was your weekend”? Kathy (not her real name) is a client who has worked her way up through the ranks of corporate America and currently commands a mid six figure salary. She also competes in iron man events and sits on the board of a national non-profit organization. Kathy is a type A personality and has never been married or had children.

As this particular coaching session evolved, it became obvious to me why Kathy was having such a hard time meeting “Mr. Right”. Her “MUST HAVE LIST” (great for real estate, bad for dating) is a mile long and although she views it as a list of the “qualifications” her “perfect partner” must possess, in reality it is a detailed “list” of justifications she can conveniently cite as reasons for disqualifying a potential suitor. Like millions of others, Kathy uses her “list” to keep from opening up and allowing herself to become vulnerable. By systematically disqualifying her potential suitors for any violation of her “unspoken expectations” she can continue to tell and maintain the LIE that men SUCK!

MEN DO THE SAME THING…

For some men, cosmetics play an important role in their “disqualification” process. Because a lot of men place an emphasis on a females appearance, many miss the opportunity to connect with a wealth of truly amazing women who don’t happen to fit into the anorexic, super model. porn queen image they have determined a female partner should personify. *Men, you know it’s true, that’s why you are laughing! Men often trade “must have lists” for “cosmetic lists” which they conveniently use as a “chicken exit” to escape from their FEAR of vulnerability and commitment. *In fairness, many women are also quite adept at playing the appearance card.

BECOMING THE PERSON WE SEEK TO ATTRACT…

We will never be able to attract the “right person” into our lives until we BECOME the person we desire to attract. “Must have lists” or “disqualifying” people based on physical, racial, religious or other “perceived flaws or differences” is an avoidance strategy hand delivered by the Ego to keep us in bondage to our FEAR of vulnerability! There is always going to be some level of risk when we give ourselves permission to be vulnerable, however, it is a risk we must be willing to take. My client, Kathy, is comfortable in competitive environments but way outside her comfort zone when it comes to intimate relationships with men. We are currently exploring her past and confronting the roots of her fear around getting “to close” to a man. Once Kathy experiences her breakthrough her “list of demands” will become very short.

TIME TO THROW AWAY OUR “MUST HAVE LISTS” AND REPLACE THEM WITH OUR “MUST BECOME LISTS”…

Here are a few suggestions for our “must become lists”…

*Become a person of compassionate understanding. Rather than judge others based on appearances, get to know them as people. In other words, check out their soul and base your decision on that experience.

*Become a person who is fun to be around. We live in a high tech, fast paced world in which far too many of us have forgotten how to have fun! Rigid, uptight people are “buzz killers”, don’t become one!!! Laugh often and laugh hard, it can add years to your life or make the time you have left far more enjoyable for those around you!

*Become a person of kindness. Random acts of kindness are good for the soul. I know that when I give of my time, treasure and talent, I feel great! I know that those who benefit from my random acts of kindness also experience a similar feeling of happiness. This is what it means to live a win-win life!

*Live FREE from expectations. The majority of our pain comes from unfulfilled expectations. We expect others to conform to our way of thinking. We expect them to understand what we are feeling, acknowledge our pain and we expect them to conform to what is most comfortable for US. At the first hint of resistance many of us become angry, upset and quickly banish “the offender” from our lives. This is a highly unconscious way to live.

THOUGHTS…

If you want to attract fun people into your life BE A FUN PERSON!
If you want to attract honest people into your life BE HONEST!
If you want to attract compassionate people into your life BE COMPASSIONATE!
If you want to attract acceptance into your life DON’T JUDGE OTHERS!
If you want to attract kindness into your life BE KIND!

OPPOSITES ATTRACT IS NONSENSE!!!

If this theory were true then it is safe to assume that if I am a kind, honest person, I would be attracted to a mean spirited liar. In reality we attract who WE have become.

As always I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!