The 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Of All Time…John Page Burton

We live in a world where making excuses is commonplace, especially among the truly complacent. Excuses limit our possibilities and stunt our emotional growth. Many of us are unaware of just how many excuses we are capable of delivering in a single day. I challenge you to pick one day this week and consciously take inventory of how many times you find yourself making an excuse. If you’re like most of us, you may be surprised at how many times you find yourself making excuses and just how subtle some of them are. Excuses keep us stuck! If we truly desire to grow personally and professionally, we must quit making excuses.
I have compiled a list of what I believe are the 5 most ridiculous excuses of all time and why we need to move away from these limiting beliefs.
The 5 Most Ridiculous Excuses Of All Time….
IT’S TOO LATE…In reality it’s never too late to pursue our dreams. For example, countless senior citizens are going back to college and earning degrees, the average age of a first time millionaire is 56,  a 93 year old women recently completed her 1st Triathlon and the life expectancy for men and women worldwide has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. “It’s too late” is an avoidance strategy that is keeping far too many of us from taking risks and enjoying a rich, rewarding life. It’s only too late when we’re dead!
I DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT LOOKS…Madison Avenue has done a masterful job of portraying success  as bright lights, fast cars and hot bodies. In reality, looks often open doors, however, it’s our work ethic, ingenuity and persistence that will determine how far we go. If you happen to consider yourself aesthetically pleasing, thank your creator but don’t use looks as a barometer for success. Looks can be deceiving. 
I’M NOT AS GIFTED AS HE/SHE IS…We are all blessed with specific skills and talents. It is entirely up to us whether we CHOOSE to use them or not. I always encourage my clients to focus on their strengths opposed to their weakness. Our weakness is another person’s strength and vice versa. Identify and exploit your unique gifts.
I DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS…Making connections and building networks takes time, effort and a great deal of patience. Be mindful of the law of reciprocity which basically say’s…If you help enough people achieve what they’re seeking, those same people will help you achieve what you’re seeking. Givers gain.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN LUCKY…Luck has very little to do with success. Preparedness and timing play a far bigger role than luck. If we are relying on luck to determine whether we succeed or fail, we will be disappointed most of the time. Our job is to create a success plan and follow that plan. (A good coach can be very helpful) When we are focused, determined and willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, the right people and resources will appear. This is a function of being immersed in the success process rather than being lucky. Hard work trumps luck!
We all have doubts and fears! We become truly empowered when we trade in our excuses for meaningful ACTION. 

REVENGE…It just feels good! John Page Burton

For many of us, thoughts of revenge feel pretty darn good! “I’ll get even with that no good jerk, nobody is going to wrong ME and get away with it” is a common utterance of someone immersed in a revenge mindset. Thoughts of getting revenge tend to get our blood pumping and give us a new sense of purpose, one which enables us to summon all of our plotting and planning skills and formulate a misguided strategy to right the “perceived wrong”. We are determined to channel all of our frustration and anger into one big, tightly wound ball of hateful energy and let it fly! It feels GREAT to visualize the misery we will inflict on that no good, scum sucking weasel! Sound familiar?

At one time or another all of us have harbored thoughts of revenge. For some, these thoughts have become all consuming and are clearly effecting a person’s physical and mental health. Fortunately, most of us fail to act on our thoughts of revenge or else our prison system would be more taxed than it currently is. We create a great deal of internal turmoil each and every time we harbor thoughts of revenge. Let’s be honest, people do things to us that make us angry. They may hurt our feelings, cause us financial harm or in many cases they subject us to significant physical and emotional abuse. We want our perpetrator to feel the same degree of pain “they have caused us”. We repeatedly visualize how good it will feel to “give them a heavy dose of their own medicine”. Thoughts of revenge allow us to seemingly regain the power that has been taken away from us. The Ego is LOVING every minute of this drama and is more than willing to add more fuel to an already raging fire. Revenge is a verb. Revenge is action! The Ego unconditionally supports our feelings of anger, rage, hurt, jealousy and disappointment.

Revenge presents itself either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit revenge is action based and immediate. For example, your dog just bit my kid. I am going to load my gun and shoot your dog. Implicit revenge is the most common form of revenge and thankfully for humanity it remains primarily in our mind. We consistently visualize what we will do to the person who “wronged us” and we create imaginary scenarios that depict the suffering and humiliation they will endure from our callous acts of revenge. Explicit revenge is clear and concise with an eye for an eye being the only rule of this game. Implicit revenge is a slow and painful emotional process that causes the person who is immersed in thoughts of revenge to relive their drama over and over. In the end they put themselves through twice as much emotional pain as anything inflicted by the perpetrator. The object of “implicit revenge” is oblivious to how much energy is being devoted to them and therefore the only person continuing to suffer is the person consumed with the thoughts of revenge. “The wheels on the bus go round and round”. Implicit revenge rarely leaves the planning stage. Over time, the intensity usually wears off and the person seeking revenge moves on to their next psychological drama.

3 questions that can help us manage our thoughts of revenge…

Did they really do something significant to us? Asking ourselves this question causes us to pause and ponder. This process can bring us to a more reasonable state of mind. Nobody is worth ruining our physical or mental health over. It is also a good idea to ask ourselves if the object of our anger is really just a trigger for something else that is lurking below the surface? On several occasions I have placed a target in the middle of someones chest for no other reason than they were available in the moment. My anger and frustration from another “perceived wrong” had been lying in wait, impatiently waiting for the perfect moment to strike!

Will I become a better person if I act out my revenge? The answer is always a resounding NO. Revenge never has a positive outcome. Revenge is an unhealed response that fosters more negative energy. The only way can we can truly grow and become better people is to take the high road and move on. If someone steals from us we can press charges and let the legal system take it from there. If our spouse cheats on us we can choose to seek marital counseling or we can hire a divorce attorney. Taking the law into our own hands and dealing out the punishment of our choosing is not a wise option. NEVER ACT OUT REVENGE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL!!!

What would happen if I simply let it go? We must trust the universal law that says… what goes around will come around. It may not come around the way we want it to but it eventually will come around. Letting go is hard to do because of the Ego’s need to control. As I wrote in my book, Wisdom Through Failure, I experienced issues with a neighbor over the non stop barking of his dogs. Eventually our HOA manager was able to get it to stop. We recently arrived at our mountain home (neighbor with barking dogs) to find that 3 of our upstairs windows had been shot out with a pellet gun. I can’t prove that he was involved, however, none of the other homes in our neighborhood had any pellet holes in their glass. Being that he is the only person who I had any type of conflict with, the odds seem reasonably high that he knows something about it. It’s his Karma. I filed a police report for insurance purposes and released it to the universe. FYI…I am human and had a wealth of vengeful ideas rolling around in my head but chose to not act on them.

Thoughts of revenge are a normal response when we feel we have been wronged. Holding onto these thoughts for any length of time is unhealthy. Carrying out acts of revenge is not only unhealthy but can have dangerous results. When we were children our parents encouraged us to count to ten when we were angry. The purpose of this exercise was to allow us to pause and ponder rather than respond impulsively. I contend that this is still some very solid wisdom each of us should strive to follow.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.
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The Secret to Surviving The RIPTIDES of Life…John Page Burton

If you have ever spent time around the ocean you have more than likely heard the term riptide. Hopefully, you have never experienced a riptide while enjoying a swim. If by chance you have, you know that getting caught in a riptide is a terrifying experience. A riptide occurs when the sand suddenly shifts on the ocean floor, creating a canal that is approximately 8-10 yards wide. If you are caught in this canal the receding current will begin pulling you out to sea. For many of us, our immediate inclination is to begin swimming toward our “comfort zone” which in this case is the shore. As we exert our energy swimming toward the shore, the tide is exerting it’s own energy pulling us away from the shore and back out to sea. If we continue to fight the current, we will eventually use up all of our energy and drown. What we resist will persist. The secret to escaping the pull of a riptide is actually quite simple…CHANGE DIRECTION. By swimming approximately 15 yards to either side, a person is usually released from the pull of the riptide.

How many of us find ourselves valiantly fighting something or someone only to find ourselves being pulled further and further into a sea of drama. Our riptides occur at work, in relationships, friendships and for many, our internal riptides have pitted us against ourselves for as long as we can remember. We forcefully defend and justify our positions as we continue to frantically swim toward shore. If we would be willing to change our strategy and start swimming in a different direction we could be released from the bondage of our emotional riptide once and for all. Lets take a closer look at some of the ways we can avoid the push-pull in our lives.

COMMUNICATING OUR TRUTH IN REAL TIME. For example, if we really don’t desire to go to our sisters house for dinner, we need to tell her! Rather than “go anyway” and be miserable we must learn to be all right with asking for a rain check. When we express our true feelings in REAL TIME we can’t help but feel empowered because we are being true to ourselves. Many of us have conditioned ourselves to “go along to get along” for so long that at first “honest communication” may seem odd. SWIM TO THE RIGHT, it’s worth it! Our truth will indeed set us free!

STAY AWAY FROM GOSSIP. Gossip is unconscious, immature communication that never has a positive intent. When you find yourself in the pull of this disturbing current it’s time to SWIM LEFT, FAST!

MAKE COURSE CORRECTIONS WHEN NEEDED. When we recognize that something doesn’t feel right or simply isn’t working it is ALWAYS in our best interest to make a course correction. Trying to force things to work is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it isn’t going to happen. Far too many of us are trying to “make” an abusive marriage work, “get through” another miserable week at work, “force” a sibling to finally “respect” us or “demand” that a parent be proud of us. Rather than continue to slowly drown in expectations, SWIM TO THE RIGHT! Our ability to be proactive will release us from our emotional riptide.

SURRENDER The Ego desires us to see ourselves as the end all be all. It is empowering to have a healthy sense of self worth and it is admirable to be willing to lead the charge but there are also times when we have to recognize that it is time to get out of our own way. Surrender comes in different forms. It may be to our creator or it may be to a spouse, co worker or friend. We should never feel shame in surrender. Surrender is a conscious acknowledgement that we have given our best but recognize our limitations in a given challenge. Rather than fight the current, we must SWIM TO THE LEFT!

Riptides are scary. Once we know how to release ourselves into safer water they will no longer hold power over us. Having a healthy respect for nature is always a good idea but having a healthy respect for ourselves is where the real magic happens. Here’s to swimming in the ocean!

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

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.

10 Ways To GUARANTEE Failure…John Page Burton

During any given week, the vast majority of us are exposed to hundreds of “motivational” messages. If we are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, overweight, spiritually lost or our relationship has lost its zeal, someone has a solution for us. All we have to do is log onto our social media stream and we can find a plethora of motivational messages courtesy of any number of individuals who are more than likely just as challenged as we are. But what about the person who doesn’t desire to be “fixed” or “uplifted”, the person who simply wants to live a “low exertion lifestyle”? You’re in luck, this message is for YOU! I have compiled a “fool proof” checklist guaranteed to help you remain a chronic underachiever. These tips should serve you well as you continue to travel down the path of least resistance.

Ten Ways to Guarantee Failure…

 Establish extremely vague goals. Use phrases like “I think I want a new car” or “It would be cool to go on a nice vacation somewhere”. The vaguer your goal the greater the odds are you will never achieve it!
 Strive to NOT visualize your goals. Remember, if we stay focused on anything long enough it just may come to fruition. Be mindful of what you focus on. Step away from your dream board!
 When you verbalize your goals make sure to use negative language. THIS IS CRITICAL!!! Using words like CAN’T and TRY will help kill your goals before they have a chance to gain any traction. “I can’t ever lose weight” or I’ll give it a TRY” are highly effective goal killers!
 Don’t establish any type of measurement system. Your objective is to remain inactive! Having a plan or measurement system will just complicate this process. There is no need for you to feel that you should have to stretch and grow, just keep being you.
 Take minimal action. Talk about your goals, but under no circumstances should you move toward them. Action is a fatal mistake for the underachiever.
 Make sure the timing is never right. By implementing this strategy you will always have an “out”. For example, “I will start dieting after the holidays” or “I’ll wait until after the kids go back to school” are excellent excuses for anyone who is wavering about starting a weight loss or exercise program. The key is to always have an excuse or justification on speed dial.
 Don’t hire a coach! Accountability is the under achievers worst nightmare. The last thing you need is a success strategy or a coach holding you accountable for your results. Be the lone wolf!
 Make sure you have plenty of distractions. The more distractions you create the less time you will have to focus on your objectives. Be creative, distractions should be fun!
 Think small. The smaller you think the less you have to worry about. Owning a larger home, driving a nicer car or planning a dream vacation is just going to heap more responsibility on you. Your little box is warm and cozy, DON”T ROCK THE BOAT!!!
 AVOID personal growth! It is imperative to shy away from motivational books, CDs, speakers or uplifting blogs.
Inspirational messages will only confuse you. Remember, YOU are an underachiever, the world needs you. Don’t fall for the hype!

Hopefully you have found this message uplifting and helpful. I know that with just a TINY bit of effort and commitment you can easily remain within the confines of mediocrity!

Are We Living Up To Our Labels? John Page Burton

At one time or another all of us have been affected by a negative label that some “well meaning” person assigned to us. These “well meaning” people may have held the misguided belief that their “worldly” input was somehow going to be invaluable as we made our way through the ups and downs of our formative years. Many of us had some rather unhealthy labels attached to us, labels that we still identify with today. In all fairness, most of us were also the recipients of some very empowering labels. Most of our fear and insecurity as adults can be traced back to a label we “accepted” during childhood. The same can be said of the areas in our lives where we exhibit extreme confidence. Unhealthy label = insecurity and fear. Healthy label = confidence and daring.
In my coaching practice I have the privilege to work with a diverse group of clients. Many of my clients have been the recipients of empowering messages that have left them with a profound sense of self-worth and they take an upbeat, confident approach to life. Conversely, I have other clients who received a plethora of negative, discouraging messages which they have allowed to keep them stuck in the emotions of inferiority and fear. To them life is a scary place that consists of “winners and losers”.

Below are five of the most common labels that were handed out during childhood. Remember, if we hear a message long enough we are likely to believe it’s true.

* ”Quit acting so darn stupid”. The message many of us internalized was that we were not smart. Many of us have held this belief since childhood and we have chosen to routinely under perform in every area of our life.
* ”You look fat, chubby or too skinny”. These insensitive labels may have been the catalyst for our negative self-image around weight, our distorted relationship with food and often contribute to a variety of unhealthy practices that support the belief that our body is not “good enough”.
* ”You never do anything right”. The message taken away from this “gem” is that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves and that someone else will always “have to fix our mess”. Because we fear that we will do it incorrectly, many of us have created the habit of avoidance and procrastination.
* ”Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother”. The take away from this “timeless classic” is that we are not good enough. Many of us go through life constantly comparing ourselves to others and we routinely avoid competition or scenarios in which we may be put in a position where we could lose and “look bad” doing so.
* ”Keep your mouth shut, unless you have something important to say”. Silenced at an early age, many of us have chosen to remain silent for a lifetime. We fail to speak up when we see injustice, we tolerate abuse, we routinely look the other way when we know something is wrong and we refuse to speak up for what we desire. We may also be unclear as to what actually constitutes “something important”.
Some of the people we received these messages from included parents, siblings, teachers, clergy members, coaches, friends and relatives. Many of us have internalized these messages to such a degree that we might as well just declare to the world, “I am nothing more than a fat, stupid loser who never gets anything right and I am obviously going directly to hell because of the error of my ways. I should have just kept my mouth shut and been more like my brother Earl”. Now that’s a positive self image!
In order to live a truly rich, rewarding life, it is imperative that we stop identifying with false, unhealthy labels and begin telling ourselves a new, empowering truth. It is not up to other people to write our life story…IT IS UP TO US!

Some things to consider regarding LABELS…

• Limiting. Labels are limiting. As long as we are living up to our “assigned” labels we can never truly expand and grow. The Ego knows that a “mind expanded will never return to its original size” and therefore it will fight hard to keep us trapped in our comfort zone.
• Adversarial. Labels offer two opposing sides. There is the truth and there is the Ego. The Ego wants to hold us hostage in our negative labels and the truth wants to set us free. Which side will prevail? The one we feed!
• Belief. Labels represent an outdated belief system. The labels that most of us have been carrying around were “assigned” to us during our formative years. As adults it is important that we speak the truth about ourselves to ourselves and adopt a new set of beliefs. For example, when I look in the mirror I am more than capable of determining whether I am a healthy weight, under weight or obese. I do not let someone’s “opinion” from 30 years ago determine my true self image.
• Excuse. A label can become an excuse for not taking the action necessary to reach our true potential. When we encounter a challenge do we seek a breakthrough or do we revert to an outdated label that allows us to conveniently justify our lack of courage?
• Lies. When we attempt to live up to a negative label we are consciously choosing to live a lie. Yesterdays’ label does not define who we are today. For example, I was labeled an average student with below average communication skills. If I had lived up to this label you would not be reading this article or hearing me speak at one of my seminars. I knew that my “assigned” label was false and that it was necessary to develop a new belief system that was congruent with my inner truth.
• Stories from the past. Do we desire to live in a world of make believe or in a world of truth? Labels keep us stuck in stories from the past. Living our truth gives us permission to live in the present moment. Living up to our labels means that we are choosing to let someone else determine the rules of OUR GAME. Living our truth means that we have made a conscious decision to take complete charge of our life.
What negative labels are you hanging onto that are costing you happiness, prosperity and a true sense of self worth? We must choose what labels serve us and which ones