Only The Strong Survive

The strong don’t survive because they are lucky.

The strong survive because they know they must survive.

They plan to survive.

They anticipate successes and failures.

They see the big picture, making the small details all make sense.

They work day and night.

They hustle and grind.

They get back up every single time.

They live in offense mode.

They don’t accept any other outcome.

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Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Mastery Unleashes Creativity

Gaining mastery of a certain skill or task allows you to release your mind from thinking. You get to hit the auto-pilot button. When you get to ride out the storms on auto-pilot, you get to unleash the creativity that exists below the surface.

As an example we can all relate to, consider the task of shoe tying. Maybe you were so young that you do not even remember learning to tie your own shoes, but you can certainly see in your own children or in the children around you that basic shoe tying used to take all of your focused effort. Each of us once had to take our time, concentrate, start over and over again, to tie our shoelaces. Now, as adults, shoe tying is easy. We may do it several times a day without much notice. And, you may even think this is a terrible example of mastery vs. creativity because, c’mon, it’s shoe tying! However, we’ve mastered the basic skills of tying our shoelaces, and that allows us to even find creativity in that. Now, we add a double-knot, or we tuck the laces in, or we lace our shoes up different ways for reasons of appearance, efficiency, or even injury prevention. Some take their shoe tying creativity to even greater levels in designing new, better lacing options to keep shoes tied better or look more fashionable. Clamping devices are designed to make our shoelaces more secure, or accessories are added to our shoelaces so that we don’t have to go on a jog while holding our keys or people know our key identifying information in an emergency. This, my friends, is mastery unleashing creativity…even in something as seemingly basic as tying one’s shoes.

Consider, now, the countless tasks you have already mastered in your life, whether you’re 20-something or 80-something. Think of the ways you have naturally evolved that basic knowledge of how to do a certain task into the skill of doing it without thinking, and have moved beyond that skill to a level of creativity. Perhaps you are great at maximizing your efficiency of tasks so that the basic day-to-days don’t eat up most of your hours. Maybe you have seen a flaw or wished there was a fix for this problem or that frustration, and you actually came up with the solution, the re-design, the better model. Maybe you make the best pot of coffee every single time you brew because you’ve mastered it, you’ve balanced just the right ratios of coffee to water, you grind your own beans fresh, you blend a little of this region with a little of that, you use only distilled water and never tap, you do something that takes your coffee to the next level. You take your coffee beyond mastery, to creativity.

This concept–this truth–stretches across large and small things. You don’t have to cure cancer or paint the next timeless masterpiece to be creative. So, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as particularly right-brained, know that you are brimming with creativity which you uncover as necessity and focus evolve into mastery.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Life is Simple

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucious

Why do we as human beings live our lives bound and determined to make everything harder than it needs to be? Why aren’t we better at walking in a little bit of faith and really living in a way that “lets go and lets God?” Even for those who aren’t necessarily religious but work to live their lives in a way that lets life unfold before them, just to take firm control at a moment’s disruption. We’re the ones who make life so darn complicated.

Today, my goal is to continue to put one foot in front of the other, continue moving forward along the path I have set for myself, but to do so with mindful steps. While I am talking with my children about their first day of the new school year, I am going to be present with them rather than distracted and thinking of 10,000 other things. While I am sitting at my desk designing beautiful pieces of jewelry (which takes the form of staring at tiny details on a computer screen for hours at a time), I will focus completely on each detail of the design. While I am fixing dinner tonight or running on a trail, I will be there, then. For me, this is the first simple step in getting out of my own way, and allowing life to be a little more simple.

So, here I am with you now, encouraging you to also focus on being a smidge more “present” today, to get out of your own way and work on going a day without muddying the waters of life with stuff that doesn’t really matter or that will resolve itself in time if you will just insist on allowing life to unfold naturally.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Shake It Off!

Feeling a little dusty? Feeling a little bit blocked?? Feeling foggy in the brain??? The answer is simple: get outdoors! Shake it off!!! Walk around the block. Run up some stairs. Sit in the grass and breathe the fresh air. It doesn’t take much time to make a difference, and your productivity will soar when you return to it. So, go ahead, go outside and play!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Counting Down to Quitting Time?

Do you count down to quitting time every work day?

Do you dread Monday mornings with a sick passion?

Are you always wishing for a little more vacation time and a little  (or a lot) less work time?

I’m here to encourage you to create a life you don’t need to take a vacation from. If you hate your current job then you can’t shine at your job. If you don’t shine, you don’t feel that happiness, pride, and sense of accomplishment that makes you glad to be there, working and earning. There are plenty of other people who would love your current job, and there are plenty of jobs you would love that would also financially support your life and family. If you hate where you are, get the heck out of there and find the money-making source that feeds you, where you can feel necessary and critical, and that you don’t need a vacation from!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Sure, I’m 38 years old, but it’s never too late to think about the future.

When I grow up, I want to encourage people everywhere I go, every person I meet. I want to bring smiles to faces and pep to their steps. I want to live my entire life being everyone’s Head Cheerleader!

When I grow up, I want to dig into each one of the 50 states. I’ve lived in a hefty handful of states, already, and I’ve traveled to and through many more, but I’d like to live a life that allows me to spend real time in each state, getting to know the state, the people, and sharing joy as I go.

When I grow up, I want to read more than I watch. I want to feed my mind with positive messages and dig into learning opportunities though classic, tried-and-true philosophies and techniques. I want to remain a bit old-school.

When I grow up, I want to attend seminars! I want to travel to exotic places to sit for 12 hours a day while learning and growing and honing my natural skills with some expert in the field (think Tony Robbins, or the late Zig Ziglar and Dr. Wayne Dyer). I want to spend the big money these sorts of seminars cost and soak in all the knowledge I can!

When I grow up, I want to be outdoors more than I’m indoors. I want to be out exploring, camping, enjoying campfires, watching clouds and sunsets, running, cycling, and playing!

When I grow up, I want to live in a community where everyone is within walking distance, where I know everyone, and enjoy going and doing with the people I live life with everyday. I want to live in a community that enjoys the outdoors and maximizes life experiences.

When I grow up, I want to never stop looking forward to tomorrow. I want to never regret yesterday. And, I want to always treasure today’s lessons.

When I grow up, I want to have a space in which all are welcome and comfortable. Where people from all walks of life can come in, sit, visit, share, and be encouraged. Where we can enjoy hot tea, hot coffee, fresh pressed juices, and maybe a baked good or two. A place where people gather and become friends.

When I grow up, I want to continually look at my life and know that I am doing the most of what I can with the toolkit I was given. I want to maximize and enjoy life to the fullest, while also being productive, encouraging, and serving others.

Daily Cheer For ALL To Hear

Happy Monday, my friends! I’ve been allowing myself to be super distracted lately, and the result is that I’ve missed this website a great deal! Here’s a taste of a new thing I’m launching over on my YouTube Channel ( /marilynhortondotcom ) entitled #DailyCheer. It’s going to be a daily dose of encouragement and support to jump start your day (and MY day!) so jump on over there, please subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, and enjoy daily OR save them up for a lousy day when you need some extra pep in your step.

Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,
Mari!yn
(YOUR #OptimismGuru)

What’s Happening to Human-Kind?

DPD Memorial ShieldMy heart is so heavy with all the ways humankind is seeking to destroy one another every single day. I know this sort of hatred has often existed throughout creation, but it feels like it’s more “in your face” than ever with the constant streaming videos and instant everything. This Dallas PD badge represents one of countless examples of how humankind is no longer being kind to one another. This hits especially close to home for me, a cop’s daughter and one in the business of serving law enforcement and fire personnel, but it extends so much further. I pray for humankind, those who look like me and those who do not look like me, those who believe what I do and those who do not, those who are rich and those who are poor, those who have all they need and those who are struggling. My heart is heavy and my prayers come out as deep, pained groans, but I know God hears my prayers.

Comparison Really Is The Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  -Theodore Roosevelt

This famous quote is so easy to spout and so difficult to follow.

I can have  perfectly lovely day, spent exactly the way I would have wanted to spend my day with exactly the people I would have chosen to be a part of my day, but five minutes on Facebook can wipe it out and turn me bitter.

Why?

My mind starts going through all of the various comparisorial (yes, I make up words…but if it make sense, who’s to say it’s wrong?) joy-stealing monkey mind talk of:

“How in the world can they afford that vacation?”

“Another new car? Are you serious?”

“I can’t believe they’re still together. Everyone thought they’d be the first to split up.”

You know the comparisons you make as you scroll through the newsfeed.

It’s joy-stealing!

So, we have one of three choices to make:

  1. Keep doing what we’re doing and keep getting what we’ve been getting.
  2. Stop the judgmental monkey mind and learn to scroll without the constant stream of caddy self-talk.
  3. Stop looking at the newsfeed…at least, stop looking at the newsfeed without first going through some hearty preparation.

John 10:10 speaks of the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (ESV) When we compare, we are not only judging others (see Ten Commandments), but we are allowing ourselves to believe that what we are or what we have is not enough.

If you choose in this digitally socialized world not to completely excommunicate yourself from the rest of the world, I don’t blame you, I’m no social leper, either. But I do encourage you to take a moment’s pause before opening that app or clicking over to your browser. Take a moment to arm yourself to be genuinely happy for your friends, to not grumble that they’re doing this or that and you’re doing something less thrilling or expensive.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2, ESV) Don’t be dissatisfied with your own blessings just because you didn’t spend the day on the beach, read the latest best-selling novel, teach an art class, and learn a new language today. As you look through your Facebook feed (sorry to be seemingly picking on FB today…it’s just the most convenient for this purpose), make a list of all you “wish” you could have done in that day, then look over that list and realize how incredibly impossible and non-at-all relaxing that “perfect” day would have been.

Maybe you’re in a rough patch right now. Please resist the urge to compare your current rough patch to another’s moments of bliss. They’re not comparable. You may or may not see the rough patches when others go through their own. But either way, “count it all joy” when those rough patches come because that’s when the growth happens. And in going through these kinds of times (and not internally punishing others for not going through their own at the same time), and “Rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), you will thrive through this stage and have your own fun to post on Facebook soon enough.

All in God’s time, my friends.

Let’s be vigilant together, and not allow anything steal what God has blessed us in having.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn