Provision #325: Top Ten Wisdom Pathways

Laser Provision


We’ve reached the end of our conversation about wisdom, particularly as it relates to the pursuit of health and wealth. Once again, in a final recap of our three-part series on how to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, I have assembled here our Top Ten Wisdom Pathways. Properly followed, these pathways can assist anyone to reach optimal well-being.
 

LifeTrek Provision

My initial research and writing on how to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise” is complete. In early March, I finished our work on health with a summary of the Top Ten Wellness Pathways. Of course they started with desire. If you don’t want to be healthy (or wealthy or wise), you never will be. The Pathways then went on to cover all the health essentials, including nutrition, hydration, exercise, recovery, rest, relaxation, hygiene, and happiness.

From health we turned our attention to wealth, which proved to be a more challenging topic. Unlike health, which can be successfully pursued as an end in itself, wealth comes only to those whose ambition in life is larger and more purposeful than to “die with the most toys.” When more than enough money is the object of the game, there’s no way to win. The pursuit of more is a self-defeating quest.

This caveat notwithstanding, there’s no virtue in being financially uneducated. Optimum financial well-being • my definition of wealth • included consideration of consumption, savings, debt, work, networks, business ventures, investments, and philanthropy. Failing to plan in these arenas, as in most areas of life, is planning to fail. The Top Ten Wealth Pathways, summarized in mid-June, hopefully made financial planning less intimidating and more enjoyable.

Since that time, we have focused on wisdom or simply “optimum well-being.” Henry David Thoreau once said, “It is the characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” Unfortunately, when it comes to health and wealth, many people operate from a position of desperation. They wait until things get so far gone and so out of control that they flail around and try just about anything, often making matters worse rather than better.

But this is not the way of wisdom. Wisdom proceeds on the basis of knowing and being. It involves learning and releasing things until life comes together in a beautiful, organized whole. Here are the Top Ten Wisdom Pathways that we considered, along with ten distinctions that illustrate and move us forward on the path:

1. Learn What. Distinction: Proficiency vs. Deficiency. This may well be the most obvious of the Pathways, but may also be the most often the neglected. If we want to be healthy, then we need to learn and master the body of knowledge that relates to health. The same holds true for wealth. How can we get where we want to go, if we don’t know what it takes to get there? Learning the “what” of health and wealth leaves us proficient, rather than deficient, in two critical areas of life. Read the literature. Go to school. Attend workshops. Get a coach. Do whatever it takes, but master the subject if you hope to move forward.

2. Learn How. Distinction: Competence vs. Impotence. If “learning what” represents the body of knowledge in a particular field of interest, then “learning how” represents body knowledge. Head learning is not enough. Body learning is what enables us to move from knowledge to mastery. Engineering schools are discovering that many students, in the age of virtual reality, lack body knowledge. They have a virtual view of how things work from the inside out, but they lack the experience that enables them to take that knowledge and actually build things in the real world. So too with health and wealth. If we want to be competent, rather than impotent, then we experiment and play with the body of knowledge until it gets inside our skin and becomes second-nature.

3. Learn When. Distinction: Kairos vs. Chronos. When people say they would rather be lucky than good, they are illustrating the ancient Greek distinction between two kinds of time. Chronos, from which comes the English word and “chronological,” refers to the steady of passage of time as measured by clocks and other time pieces. In this kind of time, we better be good. But there is another kind of time, which the Greeks called “kairos” and which is captured by the English words “opportunity,” “critical moment,” and “season.” What may appear to others as luck, may actually be learning to notice when the time is right. Instead of being “too late,” luck comes in “the nick of time.” That’s kairos. Keeping just the right amount of tension on the line is the secret to catching more than just fish. It’s the secret to being healthy, wealthy, and wise as well.

4. Learn Enough. Distinction: Eager vs. Meager. Lest we find the discussion of learning what, when, and how to be overwhelming, wisdom reminds us that we don’t need to learn the whole body of knowledge before we take action and start moving down the path. On the contrary, taking action on the basis of what we know now is an essential part of learning and a prerequisite to mastery. Do you feel as though your knowledge is too meager and sparse? Then chances are you suffer from a tentativeness that limits and restricts both your action and creativity. Do you feel as though you know enough to get going? Then chances are you feel eager to take action and learn more. The process of life-long learning is exciting because although we can never know it all, we can always know enough.

5. Release Entitlement. Distinction: Endowment vs. Achievement. “The Declaration of Independence of the thirteen united States of America” suggests not that people have achieved, but rather that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and “that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The distinction here is subtle but important. Endowments are gifts to be enjoyed, cared for, and defended. Achievements are deeds to be asserted, claimed, and demanded. The former leads to an attitude of gratitude, that we would be so blessed as to receive such gifts. The latter leads to an attitude of entitlement, as though the world owes us a living because of our great accomplishments. But this is not the way of wisdom. Release entitlement. Be grateful. Learn to accept and enjoy the gifts of life, whether large or small.

6. Release Anger. Distinction: Outrage vs. Enrage. To quote an ancient verse, it’s possible “to be angry, but to sin not.” The secret lies in understanding the distinction between “outrage” and “enrage.” The former arises in response to social injustice, and it leads to productive action. The latter arises in response to selfish indulgence, and it leads unproductive whining. It also leads to Type A Behavior with all of its negative health and wealth consequences. Do you suffer from low self-esteem, a chronic sense of time-urgency, and free-floating hostility? Then you may be headed for a heart attack or a pink slip. Rage is no more attractive at the age of 30 than at the age of 3, but it is less developmentally appropriate. Fortunately, one can learn to release this anger and to be gracious under fire. That is the better part of wisdom.

7. Release Fear. Distinction: Comprehension vs. Apprehension. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the nation on March 4, 1933 that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” he was speaking of “apprehension” • that “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Even though the Great Depression was in full swing, Roosevelt chose to speak from the big-picture comprehension that “our distress comes from no failure of substance,” that “nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it,” that “happiness still lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort,” and that “our true destiny is still to minister to ourselves and others.” Wisdom was speaking through Roosevelt that day. Apart from times of clear and present danger, fear does not help us move forward and keeps us from being generous. Better to trust in the invisible hand of the Great One.

8. Release Impatience. Distinction: Persistence vs. Insistence. I received more reader replies to this distinction than to any other of the Wisdom Pathways. Persistence is the key to all significant accomplishments. “Hang in there!” is the motto of all successful people. Even lucky people have been shown to hang in there longer than unlucky people. Perhaps that’s why they’re lucky. They wait long enough for their luck to turn around. Unfortunately, many people confuse “persistence” with “insistence.” While “persistence” is “holding firm to a purpose, state, or undertaking despite obstacles, warnings, or setbacks,” “insistence” refers to “asserting or demanding something vehemently.” In other words, while “persistence” has to do with determination, “insistence” has to do with demandingness. Are you impatient, demanding, and critical? Wisdom counsels a kinder, gentler way of life if we want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.

9. Release Apathy. Distinction: Empathy vs. Apathy. Unfortunately, in the pursuit health and wealth many people become quite self-centered and self-absorbed. Even health can become a problem if it is pursued without regard to others. I have known more than one marriage to end when one person lost a lot of weight, became addicted to exercise, and got on a health kick. Wealth, too, can obviously be a problem. We think about our gain without regard to the gains and losses of others. This cutthroat way of going through life is neither wise nor productive. In a so-called dog-eat-dog world, it may seem that looking out for number one is the best way to get ahead. But in reality, looking out for one and all is the only way to go. Empathy means that we are filled with feeling, interest, passion, and caring for life. Apathy is the exact opposite. It literally means caring less about life. Don’t be that way! Instead, distinguish yourself with love.

10. Release Aimlessness. Distinction: Vocation vs. Vacation. Here we saved the best for last. If we want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, then we need operate from a position of knowing who we are and what we have to contribute to the world. We need a sense of purpose that goes beyond our own private health, wealth, and wisdom. We need a sense of purpose that’s large enough to encompass the very mystery of life itself. The distinction between a “vocation” and a “vacation” is instructive. When we go on vacation we empty ourselves of our every day concerns and leave (or at least try to leave) everything else behind. “It means no worries!” as Timon and Pumba sing in The Lion King. That’s what vacations are for, and I can enjoy a good vacation as much as anyone. But that’s no way to go through life. To be successful and fulfilled we need a “vocation,” a calling, or a sense of purpose. We need something compelling than can fill our lives with meaning and direction. Releasing aimlessness may be the most important pathway we can follow, both for our own well-being and for the well-being of the world.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you healthy, wealthy, and wise? Are you on the way? What steps can you take this week to move forward in the right direction?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I enjoyed your Provision on the topic of purpose, but I didn’t get much direction on how to find it. (Ed. Note: You could always retain a LifeTrek coach, of course, but you could also work your way through the recommended book of the week, Answering Your Call. It contains excellent material and exercises.)


I’m sending you my new e-mail address so that that I don’t miss any Provisions. I really enjoy them. (Ed. Note: Thanks, I will take care of this, but readers take note: you can automatically manage your own subscription by sending any email to Subscribe@LifeTrekCoaching.com (to subscribe) or to Unsubscribe@LifeTrekCoaching.com (to unsubscribe) or by using our online subscription mangement page (Click).


I just wanted to thank you for your weekly Provisions. I have to say that talking about nutrient is one key element that I love to hear people talk about. Thanks.


Sometimes people wake up in the morning with “the malaise of aimlessness and despair” because they know their purpose and are more than a little weary from the combat required to work toward its accomplishment! The world isn’t always welcoming to one’s purpose, you know, especially if it’s not part of the routine surface materialistic consumer mainstream! And especially if one doesn’t “fit in.” (Ed. Note. In my experience, the struggle to persistent in one’s purpose does not contribute to “the malaise of aimlessness and despair,” although it can be quite challenging and even intimidating. Thanks for the note.)


My husband and I really enjoy your weekly Provisions. They are very thought provoking. In fact, I will use one of them as my subject at our next faith at work meeting at my house, next week. Thanks!




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy. Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #324: Release Aimlessness

Laser Provision

We may have saved the best for last. To be healthy, wealthy, and wise we need to operate from the position of knowing who we are and what we have to contribute to the world. Each of us has a special life purpose. To go on vacation from this purpose is to lose our very reason for being. To hear and follow the call, is to be filled with the very mystery of life itself.

LifeTrek Provision

This is the last, and yet in some ways the most important, of all our considerations when it comes to wisdom. There’s simply no way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise unless we release aimlessness, which goes to the core of who we are as persons and of why we bother to get up in the morning and do anything other than lay around all day.

What is your reason for being? Do you have a life purpose that you can put into words and that guides your life from day to day? If not, don’t be discouraged. We live in a world filled with distractions. Our consumer society spends trillions of dollars a year to keep us thinking about the shallow things in life: what we wear, where we live, how we look, and who we know • to mention only a few. It doesn’t want us to slow down and take stock of what’s important, why we live, how we behave, and who we are.

Perhaps a final distinction in this series will help us to understand the concept and grasp the importance of releasing aimlessness. What’s the difference between “vocation” and “vacation?” On a shallow level, the difference is but a single letter. But on a deep level, the difference is between having and not having a life purpose.

We all know what a “vacation” is, of course. It means to get away and play for some much needed rest and relaxation. On a good vacation we have no worries and no responsibilities. We just let ourselves go in easy repose.

These positive associations derive from the root meaning of the word “vacation,” which literally means to be “free from occupation.” It also means to be “empty,” which may be fine when we are literally on vacation but which poses some problems when it characterizes our entire way of being.

Aimless people are empty people. They are on vacation from their life purpose, which just isn’t a fun place to be. Have you ever reached the end of a long vacation, yearning to go home and to sleep in your own bed? That’s what aimlessness does to people. It wears them out, exhausts them, and makes them want to go home.

“Vocation” • not work, effort, and busyness • is the opposite of “vacation.” It literally means to be “called to occupation.” It also means to be “invited,” which is the antidote for emptiness.

To rise each morning, as David Whyte has written, with the knowledge that “we are not a troubled guest on this earth,” “that we are not an accident amidst other accidents,” and “that we have been invited back to life from another and greater night than the one from which we have just emerged,” is to be on “vocation” rather than “vacation.” It is to treat the day as though we belong and have something special to contribute.

In his excellent book, Answering Your Call: A Guide for Living Your Deepest Purpose, John Schuster writes that the most fundamental aspect of living with a sense of vocation, purpose, or call is to “mightily believe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that you have one to begin with.”

He uses the word “mightily” to emphasize how difficult this can be. Life puts up many distractions, roadblocks, temptations, explanations, and excuses to keep us from the things that matter most. Schuster calls this “social noise,” which must be filtered out. “You must mightily believe,” he writes, “that beneath the noise is a call to a deeper life that only you can respond to in the unique ways that your gifts allow and your life path has led you.”

Do you believe this? It is clearly audacious to believe that each of the more than 6 billion people on planet earth have something special to contribute, but Schuster believes just that. And he wants us to internalize it on a very personal level. He wants each person to believe this about himself or herself.

Do you believe that that you have something special to contribute? It doesn’t always have to sound magnificent. Sometimes it can just be a matter of how you approach very mundane tasks and activities. Perhaps you know someone like that. Literally or figuratively, they whistle while they work. Their very presence makes the work lighter. And when they enter a room, everything looks brighter.

Other times, of course, our sense of purpose is magnificent. Just read some of this week’s Reader Replies in response to last week’s Provision, Release Apathy. From politics to religion, from careers to health, many readers were moved to write eloquently about the sense of purpose that gets them up and going in the morning. Our world is a better place because these people live, struggle with, and embrace their life purpose.

What about you? Can you identify your life purpose? Or do you wake up in the morning with the malaise of aimlessness and despair? Whether you believe, as I do, that our purpose is a gift that comes from God or a self-generated decision, one thing is clear: life is empty and barren without a sense of purpose.

So release aimlessness. When the doldrums of life set in, as they inevitably will, remember that it’s within your power to receive that gift or make that decision. Be gentle. Call yourself back to purpose without being harsh, demanding, or disparaging. Experiment with various “what-ifs” until one develops momentum and a life of its own.

The important thing is to not lose sight of the core belief that we all do have something special to contribute. When we make that unique contribution, when we play in that sandbox, we will find energy, happiness, and resources beyond compare.

Coaching Inquiries: What is the meaning and purpose of your life? Do you live from a place of “vocation” or have you gone on a permanent “vacation?” How can you get back on track?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Your last Provision, on empathy vs. apathy, really speaks to me. I find myself in the place of discovering my passion (or one of them) • and perhaps one of the reasons I’m here on earth • and a phrase for it came to me this morning, like a gift: “to help people achieve a sense of well-being and wholeness in their lives”. I’m not sure what that looks like, but it may involve a number of different avenues. I thought it meant being a life coach (for me), but have found that that may not be it • or may not be enough. My job is ending at the end of the year, and I want to use this phrase as a guide toward what’s next.

And wow, you quote David Whyte, who is one of my heroes! His recording, “The Poetry of Self-Compassion” very much helped me through a difficult period in 2000, and since then I’ve heard many of his lectures, and read his books. Currently reading “Crossing the Unknown Sea”, which again is powerfully speaking to my own process and experience. Like you, Mr. Whyte has been a gift in my life. Thank you again for your thoughtful, heartfelt, and insightful reflections!


Excellent anti-apathy message; would you had it in chocolate-flavored, add-to-town-drinking-water-supply form, with time-release focus on GET OUT AND VOTE!!


I used to be apathetic. I just didn’t realize how much better than others I had it, despite the problems I was going through. At the time, it seemed each problem was more insurmountable than the last. I didn’t take into consideration that I had dealt with the other problems the best I could, and that they were not problems anymore. Somehow, though, I got through the new ones, and went on. I didn’t realize, until I survived quintuple bypass surgery and some serious operational set-backs, just how serious problems could become. This was different, however, I awoke each day with determination to make it.

At first, it was pretty difficult. After less than a year, I had a heart murmur and they said none of the grafts took. But, they couldn’t operate again, because I had no arteries or veins to give them. So, it was pretty much up to me. I could give up, collect disability, and passively await an early death, or I could enjoy the time, and work on the problem. After all, the heart builds it’s own arterial system, and heals itself.

So, I worked at it. I parked farthest from the store, shopped the whole store, gardened, and walked, and danced, and sang, and painted. I lost some weight and kept on trucking. Eventually, eight years after the surgery, the heart murmur went away and I seem to be doing just fine.

Attitude had a lot to do with it. I smile as much as I can, I laugh as often as I can, I have a painting business that I love, I have cats and kittens I am fostering, and dogs I am helping care for, and have met more people and am attempting to socialize. Each day is a new adventure. I also rest when I am tired. I make sure not to over-do to prove anything. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, least of all myself.


As usual, your current Provision is full of sound advice, wisdom, and, encouragement. I have been thinking a lot lately, “what is my meaning and purpose in life, who am I supposed to help and impact in this world?” I know that when I stand before Christ on Judgment Day, I want to hear the sweetest words that one will ever hear,” well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Master.” I do not want to be one that weeps and gnashes their teeth, who because of either fear, laziness, indifference, etc., did not obey what their Master told them to do.

So my wife and I have gotten serious lately about building our business here in New Zealand. So many of our dreams and goals depend upon our succeeding at this, and, a lot of those dreams and goals are of a philanthropic nature, but, if we do not get our own house in order, most of the goals and dreams that we have will be nothing more than wishes and fantasies.


Thanks for the good reflections on passion. I’m interested on your reflections on the relationship of enthusiasm and passion if you have time and interest. Envy your star-gazing. 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #323: Release Apathy

Laser Provision

To be healthy, wealthy, and wise we need to be concerned about more than just ourselves. Looking out for number one, without regard for others, actually undermines the success and fulfillment that most people seek. We stand a better chance of getting where we want to go by looking out for others. Caring makes us, and the world, go round.

LifeTrek Provision

If you are reading this Provision, then you and I share at least one thing in common: we both woke up this morning. The more interesting question is, “Why did we wake up this morning?” Here our paths may diverge.

For example, if your answer is, “I don’t know why I woke up this morning. I just woke up.” Then you and I live in very different worlds. I always wake up with something on my mind. There is, as David Whyte likes to say, an invitation that calls me back to life “from another and greater night than the one from which I have just emerged.” Take this morning as an example.

After a delightful two days visiting the Outer Banks in North Carolina, including a nighttime visit to a deserted beach on Cape Hattaras island with enough stars, a sliver of moon, and a luminous Mars to occupy the attention of every astronomer on earth, my wife and I woke up this morning in Virginia Beach.

I woke up at 4:00 AM, because I was running the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon at 7:00. My routine before a race includes eating breakfast three hours before the start of the race, taking a hot shower, getting dressed, and stretching. At 5:15, I met a friend in the hotel lobby in order to drive to the shuttle buses that took us to the start of the race.

Why did I wake up this morning? To run the half marathon! Why did I want to run the half marathon? Let me count the ways:

  • Because I can, and that means a lot to me.
  • Because it keeps me healthy, training for and participating in endurance events.
  • Because it’s fun. I mean what’s not to like about 15 live rock bands, an equal number of sensational cheerleading squads, Elvis impersonators, cross-dressing old-man rhythm-and-blues dance troupes, and thousands of encouraging fans • including all those little kids eagerly looking for their mom or dad to go by so they can scream, “Go Mom! Go Dad! You can do it! We love you!”
  • Because it’s a meaningful and moving experience to be part of that sea of personal ambition, where 15,000 runners and walkers face off to compete against no one but themselves.
  • Because it’s on my training schedule, as I approach running the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2003.
  • Because I knew my wife would be waiting for me with a high-five at mile 9 and again at the finish. She really is the best fan in the world. (That, by the way, was part of why she got up this morning • to support me and thousands of other runners.)
  • Because it’s a great way to clarify and organize my thoughts.

So I ran the race, finished in a respectable 1:50, and came home to write this Provision about the importance of finding something to care about in life. There is a huge difference in the quality of life when we live from a position of passion and purpose rather than going through the motions of getting up and going through the same-old, same-old routine.

Which is it for you? Do you have things that you care about in life? Do you have things that you look forward to in life? Do you have things that invite you back to life from the treasures of the night? Does your life have meaning and purpose? If not, then it may be time for a change.

Many people come to coaching because their life isn’t what they want it to be. There’s always an identified gap that people want to close. They may want to stop procrastinating, eliminate clutter, or lose weight. They may want to make more money, change careers, or start a business. They may want to be a better parent, deepen a relationship, or find a new life partner. The list of coaching projects is as long and as diverse as the list of coaching clients. Everyone has their own story to tell and their own inherent ambition.

But guess what? No one makes progress until they get passionate about their project. It’s not enough to say, “I want to quit smoking.” One has to really want to quit smoking, and one has to have a reason to quit smoking, before a person gets into the project and the project gets into the person. Playing in the field of passion is, in fact, what coaches do. We awaken the passion that lies within in order to get people moving toward good things in life.

Perhaps another distinction here will begin to clarify the situation. Consider the difference between “apathy” and “empathy,” The first term, “apathy,” gets no one moving. It literally means to be careless about life. One has no feeling, interest, passion or concern about much of anything. No wonder “apathy” is so often accompanied by lethargy, sluggishness, depression, and despair. Why bother! That’s the motto of the apathetic person.

When it comes to “empathy” we immediately encounter very different connotations. This word has the power to arouse, both for and against. What a difference a few letters make. “Empathy” literally means to be careful about life. Instead of being without feeling, “empathy” means that we are filled with feeling, interest, passion, and concern. We are connected to another’s pain, pleasure, or passion in ways that make us more fully alive. Through “empathy” we care enough to get moving and make a difference.

Do you care enough to make a difference? If not, it may be because you feel overwhelmed. That’s easy to feel in this day and age. Gone is the easy optimism of earlier generations, which took for granted the inevitability of progress. Today we recognize the complicated, difficult, and interconnected  nature of the world in which we live. In the age of instant information, we are bombarded with daily reminders that things don’t always work out.

These reminders can easily take us to the apathetic assumption that things will never work out, which of course becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether you assume that things will never work out for yourself personally or for the world at large, this assumption will all but guarantee your apathetic demise.

There are many other reasons for not caring enough to make a difference. We may be so self-absorbed that we fail to notice what’s going on around us. We may have adopted a bootstrap philosophy that argues, on principle, against offering a hand up. We may also be so sick or poor as to have no energy for others.

Whatever lies behind our apathetic moments, it’s time to recognize that this is no way to live. It not only hurts others, but it hurts us as well. Apathy isolates us from the world like a caterpillar in a cocoon. There may be life on the inside, but not much. Only when the caterpillar comes out of the cocoon with butterfly wings does it discover so much more of what the world has to offer. Bright colors. Fragrant aromas. Luscious nectars.

These are the things that make life worth living, that make us healthy, wealthy, and wise, and that we too will discover when we give ourselves permission to feel “empathy,” “sympathy,” and “antipathy.” Develop a personal philosophy that allows for these and you too will discover a reason to get up in the morning. To even become aware of this possibility is to be on to something. And, as Walker Percy observes in The Moviegoer, “Not to be on to something is to be in despair.”

Coaching Inquiries: What is the meaning and purpose of your life? Have you picked up the scent of empathy or do you suffer from the curse of apathy? How could you make things better?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I’ve just come home from the first Million $$ Coach intensive with Chris Barrow. I thought of you a few times during the 2 days that we were all sitting in the room at the San Mateo Marriott … listening, learning and interacting with Chris and one another. You stand out as one of those rare coaches who is building a practice from your center of authenticity, with love and patience, and going big to reach many. Also, you have made the decision/choice to allow a very large piece of who you are and what you do so well (your running) to be an integral part of your practice. This is magnificent and so many people at the conference talked about their desire to infuse their passions in to their practice … as foundation. You are a model for us all and I appreciate your work, newsletters, and you.


Just received information today on LifeTrek Coaching. We are dealing with some “interesting” challenges related to a building project at our church. Our chairperson made reference to last week’s Provision, “Release Impatience.” I found it very enlightening and would like to subscribe. 


I have been unemployed during the last 6 months. It is true that I may not have searched for work in the most excellent manner. However I have replied to hundreds of advertisements and had very few interviews. But even the little interviews that I had were not successful. Now my unemployment insurance is coming to an end. My marriage is strained, I lost self confidence. However I still have faith and believe that God will provide.

When I was young I used to knock at a company door and after a brief interview I had a job, even though it was general labor. Today there are many interviews before one is hired. Companies want the best of the best. If one is a bit too nervous during an interview, or if one does not answer the human resources person’s questions precisely to his/her satisfaction, one will not be hired. Why are there such tough pre-screening interviews? Why does one have to have exact qualifications and skills to be hired? 

Why don’t organizations realize that work is the means that God has of providing each human being his/her daily bread. Are only the healthiest, fittest, most perfect of today entitled to their daily bread? Does one have to be excellent to be entitled to his/her daily bread? Is one entitled to work only during peak economic times? (Ed. Note: Thanks for sharing so well the pain of today’s economy. Excellence is certainly in demand, and I would encourage your pursuit of excellence, but the absence of excellence is no excuse for poverty. Let’s hope and work for ways to keep everyone employed.)


I was a little saddened when your fifth paragraph speaks of how “We seek health, wealth, wisdom” but fails to mention “faith” or “discipleship” in what we seek. Has your subscription list become so completely secular that you cannot include faith as an essential part of identity? Keep the faith. (Ed. Note: Although it is true that LifeTrek Provisions is a secular publication I, for one, believe that “wisdom” encompasses “faith” and “discipleship.” 


I want to make the transition from demanding to patiently determined. 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
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Provision #322: Release Impatience

Laser Provision

Many people who want to get things done in the world become impatient and demanding. They know what they want and take no prisoners along the way. But this aggressive posture is neither the only nor the best way to get things done. A kinder, gentler approach holds out more hope for the future.

LifeTrek Provision

This week’s Provision comes in the third major section of our series on health, wealth, and wisdom. Although I wrote two weeks ago about the importance of releasing entitlement, I want to separately consider a related and even more common problem: impatience. We may live in a “mad, mad, mad” world, but it really is time to get off.

To understand the problem of impatience, we can begin by getting the distinction between “persistence” and “insistence.” Like the distinctions of the past two Provisions (“outrage” vs. “enrage” and “comprehension” vs. “apprehension”), the former is productive and helpful while the latter is destructive and hollow. Impatience comes with a substantial cost and often fails to get us where we want to go.

Persistence, on the other hand, is the key to all significant accomplishments. The old adage reminds us that, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And you can bet there were quite a few setbacks along the way. But with persistence, things get done. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all.”

Many an author has written about the importance of persistence. Brian Tracy concludes his bookGoals! with a chapter on persistence. After all is said and done, after all the goals are set and all the plans are made, after all the success systems have been put in place, one thing is certain: we will experience disappointments, setbacks, obstacles, and adversity along the way. In fact, as Tracy notes, “the higher and more challenging the goals you set for yourself, the more disappointments and adversity you will experience.”

This is the paradox. We seek health, wealth, and wisdom. Yet they so often come only as we contend with disease, devastation, and death. What’s the difference between those who make it through to the other side and those who do not? Persistence!

In studies of lucky and unlucky people, or those who think of themselves as lucky or unlucky, a clear pattern emerges: lucky people hang in there longer than unlucky people. In other words, they hold on to their dreams long enough for luck to find them. Instead of stopping just short of the goal, when the going is the toughest, they persist all the way through to the score.

There is a critical difference, however, between persistence and insistence. While “persistence” refers to “holding firmly and steadfastly to a purpose, state, or undertaking despite obstacles, warnings, or setbacks,” “insistence” refers to “asserting or demanding something vehemently.” In other words, while “persistence” has to do with determination, “insistence” has to do with demandingness.

Are you more noted for your determination or for your demands? Of course quitters may not be known for either one. But let’s assume that you have the stick-to-itiveness to see things through to the end. How do you make things happen? Chances are, if you are known as an impatient and demanding person, then you are more about insistence than persistence and you are not as healthy, wealthy, and wise as you otherwise might be.

That may not, at first, appear obvious to you. Perhaps you can recount stories of how your impatience paid off. You wanted something done, and done now, so you made a pest of yourself until it happened. Like the proverbial bull in a china cabinet, you blustered and blew without regard to the devastation you were kicking up all around you. You were focused on one thing, and one thing only, to the exclusion of all others. You may even have come to equate your desire with God’s justice, which can take that demanding spirit to a whole new level.

Remember the ancient story of Job? He was healthy, wealthy, and wise • or so he thought. Then one calamity after another fell upon him until he finally demanded that God explain and relieve his suffering. “Oh, how I miss those golden years,” Job reminisced, “when everything was going my way and nothing seemed too difficult. But no longer. Now God has undone me and left me in a heap. What did I do to deserve this? Isn’t calamity reserved for the wicked? Isn’t disaster supposed to strike those who do wrong?”

“Apparently not. God has proof of my integrity. I’ve been faithful to my wife and fair to my employees. I have neither ignored the needs of the poor nor turned my back on the indigent. I have never set my heart on making big money nor boasted of my wealth. I have never exploited the earth for my own profit nor dispossessed its rightful owners. I have never crowed over my enemy’s ruin nor gloated over my rival’s bad luck. But still I suffer. I demand an answer from the Almighty One. I demand a hearing with God!  I’m ready to present my case.”

Do you see how Job’s experience of adversity exposed the reality of a demanding heart? Job was sick and tired of chronic pain. Job had had enough of poverty and loss. Who could blame him! Times had gotten very tough. But instead of persistence, Job responded with insistence. Instead of remaining steadfast he shook his fist at God, demanding both an answer and a solution.

No wonder God answered him from the eye of a storm so violent that it brought Job back to his senses. “I’m speechless and in awe,” Job responded in humble adoration. “I should never have opened my mouth! I only muddied the water by becoming so demanding. I was babbling about things far beyond me. I am content now to trust your purposes. I’ll never again raise my hand to you in defiant impatience.”

Hopefully we don’t have to go through the devastation of Job to let go of defiant impatience. There is a distinction here we need to get. We can be persistent without being impatient. We can be gentle without being weak.

I remember a colleague who mastered this distinction. She could say the hardest things in the most pleasant way. Her feedback, whether positive or negative, was always honest, sincere, and on target. But she never lost sight of the person in the process. She could be firm and direct without being rude or dismissive. Her commitment to the cause was unflappable but so was her consideration of the company.

She had learned how to be persistent without being insistent. This is yet another distinction between Type A and Type B Behaviors. It’s not that Type A Behavior gets things done while Type B Behavior goes with the flow. Both Behaviors get things done, they just do them in very different ways.

Type A Behavior is insistent. It demonstrates a perpetual sense of time urgency and impatience. There is never enough time to get things done. “This impatience,” writes Meyer Friedman, “frequently becomes so intense that it creates and sustains a chronic sense of irritation or exasperation.” It should come as little surprise, then, that Type A Behavior often gets things done at the expense of others and one’s own personal health. One never ends up being as successful as one might hope because of the cost associated with this impatience.

Type B Behavior is persistent. It knows the goal but it also knows the process. There is always enough time to get things done because there’s no illusion of having the time to get all things done. Like the tortoise and the hare, Type B Behavior is content to move forward slowly but steadily. It’s patience is exemplary. When mistakes are made, it learns and corrects with loving kindness. No wonder people live longer and enjoy working this way. The results often far exceed the expectations because of the synergy it creates.

Which kind of person are you? The tortoise or the hare? Both kinds of people get things done in the world, but the persistence of the former will out do the insistence of the latter every time. Some would even say that this underlies some of the problems in the space shuttle program. People had become more insistent than persistent, more demanding than determined, more impatient than intrepid.

If you want to shine beyond measure, then maybe it’s time to adopt the gentle attitude of persistence rather than the hostile attitude of insistence. It’s never too late to change.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you known more for your determination or your demands? Are you more of a Type A pusher or a Type B puller? How could you make the shift to patience and persistence?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I appreciate your reminding us of the context for Roosevelt’s famous reflection on “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”


I have found that whatever I have freely given has been returned to me 100 fold! Maybe not in dollars and cents but in other, often tangible, ways. Jesus said it is in giving that we receive. So true. 


After our children’s bedtime prayers, we’ve gotten in the habit of asking 2 questions: (1) What made you happy today? and (2) What made you sad today? The second question gave us insight to things we needed to address, but had been unaware of up to that point.


Don’t forget the great muscle relaxing technique used on the old Bonnie Prudden exercise record at the end of the exercises (to Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady”!): lie still, flat on your back, eyes closed, and starting with your toes, visualize the musculature (as seen in picture books/anatomy-biology class) or even just the outside of the body parts, and “watch” them relaxing, easing out of their knotted state. Try it. It’s fascinating, and also a great way to induce sleep if that’s being evasive after a long, knotty day . . .


I want to thank you for this week’s Provision on releasing fear. It speaks to my own experience as I am starting my own business as a sole practitioner in a new and unfamiliar discipline and land. My wife talks to me a lot about my past experiences as a base for present confidence. I haven’t felt that they were a guarantee of success in this endeavor, but you’ve offered some good confirmation. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.


It’s validating to hear someone else use driving as an analogy for life. I’ve spent many years on the road, and have invested countless hours pondering the meaning of life as it relates to people’s driving habits. People seem to display their true character behind the wheel. Gee, who knew I was so deep? 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #321: Release Fear

Laser Provision

Do you worry about the future? In this, the age of anxiety, it’s almost impossible to be completely unconcerned. But worry has a way of taking over and killing the host who feeds it. This Provision will coach you through the process of moving beyond worry to a position of generosity and strength.

LifeTrek Provision

In last week’s Provision, Release Anger, I wrote about the distinction between “outrage” and “enrage.” We feel “outrage” when we become aware of justice delayed or denied. We feel “enrage” when we fail to get what we want, when and how we want it. Those who care for infants know “enrage” all too well! Whereas “outrage” is productive, and even has the power to change the world, “enrage” is counterproductive and debilitating to health, wealth, and wisdom.

This week I invite you to think about the distinction between “comprehension” and “apprehension.” Once again, the former is productive and positive while the latter is counterproductive and negative. And again, once we get the distinction, we can develop the strategies and practices that will enable us to be more successful and fulfilled in life and work.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on March 4, 1933, in his first inaugural address spoke those famous words, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself,” he was speaking of “apprehension.” When Roosevelt took office, the Great Depression had really taken hold after a roaring decade of high-flying economics. As many today have watched their retirement funds dwindle in value, many then had watched them disappear altogether. “Apprehension” was in the air; but Roosevelt spoke from a position of “comprehension.” Listen to some of what he had to say:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself • nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

“Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.”

“Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of human goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.”

“So the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. And we may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to others.”

Roosevelt demonstrates the difference between “apprehension” and “comprehension.” “Apprehension” is that “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes.” “Comprehension” is the empowering recognition that “our distress comes from no failure of substance.” The sun still rises! “Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it.” “Happiness still lies in the joy of achievement and in the thrill of creative effort.” “Our true destiny is still to minister to ourselves and others.”

One way to capture this distinction is to recognize that “apprehension” has to do with worrying about the future while “comprehension” has to do with seeing the big picture of the present. There is certainly a time and place for fear: namely, when we face danger in the present moment. That’s when fear can motivate us to constructive action.

But most of the time, fear has nothing to do with a clear and present danger. We worry about what’s going to happen in the future, either tomorrow or ten years from now, provoking not only the paralysis spoken of by Roosevelt in 1933 but also the health problems associated with Type A Behavior as described by Meyer Friedman in 1959 and subsequent decades.

“Type A Behavior individuals,” wrote Dr. Friedman in his last book on the subject, “suffer from a constant apprehension of future disasters that they may encounter. This feeling persists even when such a person has just secured a triumph. Although they can easily manage exigencies, they live in dread of possible contingencies.”

Such fear, combined with the other Type A behaviors, results in a significantly increased risk of coronary artery and heart disease. It also results in less effective action. Worrying about tomorrow is like rocking in a rocking chair. No matter how hard we rock, we never end up getting anywhere.

The antidote? Friedman gets people to replace “apprehension” of the future with “comprehension” of the present and past. “If a vocational career,” writes Friedman, “can be likened to a triangle whose base is composed of remembered past successes and accomplishments and whose apex is composed of new or future enterprises, the Type B person, always consciously remembering his or her past achievements, knows that whatever in the future may damage the apex of his or her triangle, its intact base will prevent its toppling.”

“Not so with the Type A Behavior subject. His or her triangle rests on its apex composed of future enterprises. It is his or her constant fear that if one such enterprise fails, its damage to the apex of his or her triangle will cause its total collapse.”

In many respects, Roosevelt’s address was an attempt to set the triangle back on its base for Americans and others around the world going through the Great Depression. He was able to comprehend the strong foundation upon which civilization in general and American life in particular was based. Although it would be many years before the Great Depression finally ended, Roosevelt’s leadership enabled people to release fear and to capture generosity.

I have written before about the importance of generosity for those who would seek to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. What keeps you from being generous? If anything, it probably has to do with fear. I know one person who told me that he didn’t want to join a church because they ask you to give away too much of your money. And he was afraid that he just might need some of that money down the road.

So the money piles up, as do the worries, until one day death evens the score. Perhaps that’s why Jesus once said, “Do not store up selfish treasures. Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear. Can you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? Of course not! So relax. Don’t be so preoccupied with getting. Instead, respond to God’s giving. Be generous. Get yourself a bank that can’t go bankrupt. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Almost two thousand years before anyone had heard about Type A Behavior, Jesus recognized the importance of relaxation to a long and happy life. He also made the connection between fear and generosity. When we live in apprehension of the future, life can never be good and we can never really share ourselves with others. Don’t do that! Instead, comprehend the present and the past, take it all in, recognize the base upon which life sits, and move forward from this position of strength.

Generosity is the mark not only of wealth but of health, and we don’t need to wait until our financial balance sheet reaches a certain threshold before we start giving. On the contrary, such anxious waiting will negatively impact the present moment and keep us from getting where we want to go.

Better to embody the generosity of spirit that both Jesus and Meyer Friedman recognized as critical to health, wealth, and wisdom. Such generosity gives us an open orientation rather than a constrained, clenched, and closed outlook on life.

Friedman used to talk about the importance of “pets, plants, and persons” for those who would seek to break out of their Type A Behavior pattern. Pay attention to these, give them your attention and love, spend your energies nurturing the growth of others, and it won’t be long before your triangle too is sitting solidly on its base.

Coaching Inquiries: Does the triangle of your life sit on a solid base or a precarious point? Do you function more from “apprehension” or “comprehension?” What could you do to anchor yourself in the present moment and to be filled with peace?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I am a PDA reader and have become addicted to your positive articles. Over the last 30 years I have found that practicing the martial arts is an excellent way to shed aggressive and angry behavior. The strenuous workout is a practical form of exercise relieving a great deal of stress, and the philosophy opens your mind to the Zen experiences you often describe. I look at this as a life sport. You are never too old to learn something new and there are no seasons. Some think that the martial arts fuels aggression, but actually just the opposite happens as you mature with the responsibilities that come from an awareness of your ability and mortality.


I am definitely a Type A personality but have with age learned some self-discipline and control. I have found that meditation helps. (Ed. Note: It is certainly possible to change our behavior patterns through a variety of techniques. I consider myself a recovering Type A personality as well. Many of my coaching clients would say the same about themselves.)


I enjoyed Christina’s segment on bedtime prayers. I think it’s great that faith-issues are addressed here • keep it up. Blessings to you all!


Just a note to tell you how much your newsletter blesses me (spiritually, mentally, and emotionally). Thanks for giving.


Can you imagine the amount of “good” you are doing?



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #320: Release Anger

Laser Provision

Although the movie “Anger Management” recently made fun of the problem, many people suffer from a chronic sense of time urgency and free-floating hostility. They are, consciously or unconsciously, mad at the world. This posture takes a toll on both our health and our wealth. Fortunately, it’s possible to make changes here. This Provision shows how.

LifeTrek Provision

Do you understand the distinction between “outrage” and “enrage?” The distinction is subtle but critical to success and fulfillment in life. It explains, among other things, how one can be “productively angry” or, to quote Christian scripture, how one can “be angry but sin not.” It also explains, for example, why an infant can be “enraged” but not “outraged.” And it follows directly on the heels of last week’s Provision to release entitlement.

Entitlement is the simple notion that we have a right or claim to something. In Western civilization this notion is well established and even codified in documents such as the US Bill of Rights. People have the right, for example, to practice their religion, speak freely, bear arms, privacy in their homes, due process of law, a speedy and public trial, trial by jury, and not suffer cruel and unusual punishments.

These rights form the basis of many modern, civilized societies and I am not advocating that we abandon them in our political economy. But I am concerned that entitlement, when it becomes a personal attitude rather than a political doctrine, proves to be counterproductive and ultimately destructive of the very rights it seeks to claim.

The distinction between “outrage” and “enrage” captures and illuminates the paradoxical nature of entitlement. We feel “outrage” when we become aware of a human rights violation. When someone suffers, for example, for practicing their religion, speaking freely, doing something benign in their own home, or being treated unfairly by the government, we may become outraged to the point of action. And there’s nothing wrong with this kind of anger.

When Margaret Meade said that we should “never doubt the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” she was testifying to the power of outrage. That’s where the commitment to change the world comes from. We see something that isn’t right, get angry, and get busy at rectifying the situation.

There’s also nothing wrong with the kind of anger that many people experience when they suffer the violation of their physical space or personal boundaries. This is outrage at the micro level of human rights which is frequently essential to the therapeutic process of remembering, reconstructing, and moving on.

“Outrage,” whether it be personal or political, is a very different kind of anger than being “enraged” over not getting what we want, when and how we want it. This is the purview of the infant. It is not developmentally possible for an infant to feel “outrage” because they have no concept of fairness, justice, or human rights. These come along later in the grand scheme of things.

But they have no trouble being enraged, multiple times a day. “No!” is one of the first words many children learn. They know what they want as well as what they don’t want, and they loudly make their desires known until either their desires are satisfied or they lose the power struggle with their parents.

Screaming and crying are par for the course when it comes to being enraged; bold, decisive, therapeutic action is more likely to come from being outraged. That’s why “outrage,” in the hands of a small group of people, has the power to change the world while “enrage” frequently generates little more than whining, complaining, and bitterness. We end up angry and impatient over small inconveniences or a sense of being entitled to special treatment.

These are the traits we need to release if we hope to find our way to health, wealth, and wisdom. Simply put, they aren’t pretty and typically won’t get us where we want to go. It’s far better to be gracious than to be angry, impatient, and demanding.

We see this all the time in how people drive. Some have suggested that driving habits are the best way to diagnose and treat Type A personalities. Fifty years ago, doctors Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman identified the Type A Behavior Pattern as including “a chronic sense of time urgency and an excessive competitive drive or free-floating hostility.” They also documented the association between this Behavior Pattern and heart disease, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. But they failed, at the time, to prescribe behavior modification to their patients.

Proper diet? Yes. Exercise? Yes. Cigarette smoking? No. Medication? Yes. But stress reducing behavior modifications? Never. It was not until the 1970s that these pioneering researchers began to ask their patients with Type A personality traits to practice Type B behaviors in order to lower their incidence of heart disease, high blood pressure, and death.

Type A driving is a behavior that can easily be identified and worked on. Are you consistently late or early? Do you rush to get to places just in the nick of time or do you leave the house or office with time to spare, just in case of unanticipated traffic delays? Do you drive defensively or offensively? Do you put your seatbelt on before you start the car or after you’ve driven a couple miles? Do you scream and shout at stupid drivers or do you distance yourself from their irresponsible behavior?

When you look at your driving, it’s not hard to know whether you exhibit Type A or Type B Behavior Patterns. And it’s also a great place to start learning how to morph from one to the other. Think of the driver’s seat as the place where you can embark upon the quintessential “sitting practice.”

This term, taken from Zen Buddhism, often refers to sitting for hours in silent meditation with controlled breathing. But the driver’s seat provides a unique opportunity for a “sitting practice” of a different sort. Here we can release anger and practice gratitude for brief periods and, on long trips, for hours at a time.

Turn off the radio. Silence the cell phone. Forget the newspaper, the laptop, and all other distractions. Focus on driving, and driving alone. Leave 15 minutes early whenever possible. Then drive with the intent of enjoying the drive instead of reaching the destination.

As someone who has plenty of Type A driving behaviors himself, I can testify to the power of this practice. When I leave 15 minutes early with no distractions, my driving and stress level is instantly transformed from when I leave 5 minutes late Trying to get one more thing checked off my to-do list.

Studies document that turning off the radio or CD player, even on long trips, will make you arrive more rested and ready to go than when you have these things playing in the background. As enjoyable as they may be, the drone of the news and the beat of the music tends wind people up while silence tends to relax us and to give us time to ponder the flow of life.

What kind of person are you? Are you more known for angry, aggressive, and enraged driving? Or for gracious, patient, and considerate driving? The answer not only predicts much about your chances of being involved with an automobile accident; it also predicts much about your chances of being healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Gracious, patient, and considerate people are made not born. There is not a genetic determinant for our attitude. There are, rather, practices and influences that make us who we are. And as we get older, these practices and influences can be freely chosen in order to move us in the direction we want to go.

Do you want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise? Then give up your hard driving, time critical, and hostile ways. Learn to be gracious, patient, and considerate. If you want to enjoy the good life, make time for all that makes life good.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you demonstrate more Type A to Type B Behavior Patterns? Do you want to learn how to release anger and become gracious? What could you discover and learn about this in the driver’s seat of your car?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Loved your mention of Chautauqua. My family and I spend two weeks there each summer. The kids are pushing for three weeks next year. Miss those early AM runs along the lakefront. Keep up the good work!


It was good meet you at Chautauqua and to receive our first newsletter on Sunday. I was staggered to read that I was the idea for your newsletter. I’d better be careful what I say in future!!! Thank you for calling me “wise.” I don’t always feel very wise. (Ed. Note: Spoken like a truly “wise” woman!)


I enjoy your “Provisions” on several levels, not the least of which is running. I’m training for the Seattle Marathon in late November. I’ve gone from total couch potato in May (unless you count downhill skiing) to a long run of 10 miles. This weekend we do 12. I’m participating in Seattle’s incarnation of the USAFit program (www.usafit.com); it’s a great program. 


You mention dairy products as a good source of calcium. Research also says milk clogs the system. Can you clarify? (Ed. Note: In addition to those who are lactose intolerant, dairy products can cause other digestive problems. For that reason, I minimize dairy, and stay with low-fat cultured products such as yogurt and kefir. I also take calcium citrate as a supplement.)


Americans (and perhaps others) have long been afflicted with the vice of keeping up with the Joneses. While not taking pleasure in anyone’s misfortune, it is unusual and unfortunate that few ever consider whom they are better off than. My wife and I are not doing as well (financially, anyway) as many of our friends and relatives. In that small arena, we are ‘struggling.’ Compared with most Americans, even though I have been out of work for over a year, we are still doing quite well. And compared to the world population, we live incredibly well. We are healthy, we are warm in the winter and cool in the summer and we never worry about where our next meal is coming from. No, we can’t now live in the house we’d like, but hopefully someday • soon? • we will. It’s all perspective. 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
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Provision #319: Release Entitlement

Laser Provision

To be healthy, wealthy, and wise we need more than to gain some knowledge and learn some skills. We also need to release some attitudes or approaches to life that interfere with our becoming all we can possibly be. For starters, we need to release a sense of entitlement and adopt an attitude of gratitude. Being gracious is a key to true success.

LifeTrek Provision

I’ve spent the past week basking on the porches, taking in the lectures, listening to the concerts, and enjoying the grounds of The Chautauqua Institution: a 130-year-old community on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in western New York State which annually hosts a 9-week summer season of inspiration, education, recreation, and the arts that is unique beyond description.

My family and I have gone regularly to Chautauqua, for one week each summer, since 1994. It is a week we look forward to with great anticipation. (If you want to learn more about Chautauqua, visit them online at http://www.ciweb.org.)

On the last day of the week, my wife was painting a picture while I was reading a book on one of those Chautauqua porches when Shirley, a wise woman we had gotten to know over the course of the week, suddenly looked up and said to me: “When you first met your wife, what was the first thing you noticed?”

Now I first met my wife a long time ago, almost 30 years ago to be exact, but without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “Her eyes.” “Good,” Shirley shot back, “I just wanted to be sure you remembered. Because your wife has some of the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.”

And indeed she has. Many a person over the years has noted my wife’s eyes. And I can remember, just as clearly as if it happened yesterday, standing in Hoos Drug store in Evanston, Illinois back in 1974 looking into those beautiful blue eyes and feeling my heart go pitter-pat.

It’s been said that the eyes are not really a separate organ from the brain. They are, in fact, so integrally connected to the brain and so close to the surface that they can well be viewed as outcroppings of the brain itself. No wonder we say that eyes are windows to the soul and that looking into someone’s eyes establishes a spiritual connection. The longer we look the stronger the connection.

Our friend on the porch was picking up not only on this remarkable feature of my wife’s anatomy; she was also making sure that almost 30 years of relationship and marriage had not led me to take those eyes for granted. My quick, definitive reply was the assurance she sought. And as someone who gets to look into those eyes a lot, I can testify to the fact that they continue to bless my life and make my heart grow fonder.

This, it seems to me, is not only a critical component of a happy relationship or marriage (when was the last time you spent any significant length of time looking into someone’s eyes?), it is also a critical component of health, wealth, and wisdom. We need to recognize and celebrate all that makes life good, if we hope to attract and enjoy all that makes for the good life.

Last month I wrote about the many things we need to learn if we want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. We need to learn the what, the how, the when, and the why of what goes in to health and wealth. These things are not secret mysteries made known to only a select few. These things have a body of knowledge that can be learned, tested, and mastered by one and all.

But it would be a mistake to get the idea that all we have to do is to gain some knowledge or learn some skills in order to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Remember my earlier mention of a Zen saying: “Knowledge is learning something new everyday; wisdom is letting something go every day.”

For the next month, we are going to conclude this extended series and precursor to my book by focusing on the things we need to let go of in order to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. I started this shift last week when I wrote about the importance of knowing little, or of reaching the “not knowing that we know stage” of personal mastery.

When we reach that stage, we let go of knowing that we know. There is no semblance of being puffed up with pride or impressed with our physical or financial prowess. There is only the doing of what we do and the being of who we are as we move forward on the trek of life.

One of the ways to describe this condition is to speak in terms of our having released entitlement. People who know that they know how to be healthy, wealthy, and wise expect things to go right because they are doing, saying, and thinking all the right things. That is why, according to Robert Farrar Capon, people don’t enjoy health, money, and love. These sought-after conditions come with a quid pro quo that ultimately proves unsustainable and oppressive.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. And one of the best antidotes is simple gratitude. Instead of feeling entitled to health, wealth, and wisdom, we can feel thankful for whatever comes our way. And in the spirit of what goes around comes around, the more thankfulness we feel and express the more goodness comes our way.

This principle plays itself out in all areas of life. Take running as an example. Many a runner has ruined his or her enjoyment of the sport by demanding peak performance. Sooner or later injuries get in the way, which can interfere not only with enjoyment but even with the ability to run at all.

Better to treat every run as a gift than as a performance. A couple of years ago I suffered through a 9-month period of running with chronic soreness in my right gluteal muscles. With this soreness, I was unable to run fast, sought frequent therapeutic interventions, and would grumble about a condition that never did stop me from running.

How silly! It’s no coincidence that the soreness finally broke when I shifted to an attitude of gratitude for being able to run at all. And since that time, with every run, I find myself celebrating the opportunity to run pain free for another day. It is an incredible gift that puts the exertion of running into a totally different perspective. Instead of pushing myself in rigorous training for peak performance I find myself being pulled into peak condition by the attitude of gratitude itself.

That’s why it’s so important to release entitlement if we hope to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. A sense of entitlement turns us into demanding, impatient people — which is 180 degrees opposite of where we want to be. A sense of wonder and gratitude turns us into gracious, attractive people • which lies at the heart of all true success.

Unfortunately, a sense of entitlement lies at the heart of many cultural ills. Western cultures, with our notion of “inalienable human rights,” boast many people • at both ends of the economic spectrum • who act as though life owes them a living. It has become commonplace in the Western world.

But there are other ways to approach the concept of human rights. What works for society at large does not, necessarily, work for individual attitudes and approaches to life. In this case, the two move in opposite directions. Our demands in the political arena, made on behalf of society at large and, perhaps, of dispossessed peoples, do not sit well as expressions of personal self-interest.

Here we do well to follow the tack of gratitude and grace. Instead of demanding our individual entitlements, we do far better to recognize our individual blessings. Many find it helpful to write them down in a journal. I like to pause before each meal to give thanks. One of my clients has the habit on his walks of saying, “I’m so glad that…” for as many things as come to mind.

However we do it, finding ways to feel and express gratitude both amplifies our enjoyment of the good life and mitigates the impact of difficult circumstances. No wonder it forms the basis for health, wealth, and wisdom in life.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you come more from a position of entitlement or gratitude? How could you nurture a gracious spirit? What fills your heart with joy?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I met you last year at the Baltimore Marathon. You were a real inspiration that day. You continue to be an inspiration in your LifeTrek emails. I always pick up a tip or two. The best one so far is how to swallow lots of big vitamin pills at one time. So simple!! I’ll let you know how I do at my next marathon. We are on track with our training.


In the final time trial of the Tour de France, Tyler Hamilton finished 2nd which boosted him up into 4th place overall at the end of the tour!! 4th place in the Tour de France is a great finish. Doing it on a broken collarbone is an incredible achievement… doing it on top of finishing a race in Italy (the Gyro de Italia if memory serves) under similar circumstances points to a man of incredible grit, determination and pain tolerance.


I thoroughly enjoy your weekly Provisions. I find them enlightening and refreshing in this fast-paced world we live in. I couldn’t agree with you more on the importance of exploring alternatives when it comes to our finances. Thanks. 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #318: Know Little

ahead and how much there is to learn when it comes to health, wealth, and wisdom. There will always be more than you can ever know. But when you break it down into bite-sized chunks, you can learn just one thing • like blogging • before going on to the next.

The process of lifelong learning is an exciting one because there’s always so more to learn. It never ends. People ask me how I come up with something to write for LifeTrek Provisions every week,  and my answer is always the same: “I write about what I don’t know anything about. And since I don’t know about a lot of things, there’s never a shortage of material.”

In giving that answer I’m not being flip. Provisions really is an intimate part of my learning process. I write from a place of not knowing that I know. I write about what I want to learn about. And knowing little is enough.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you intimidated by how much there is to learn and know about health and wealth? Do these subjects seem beyond your ability to master? How could you become that knowing little is a good place to start?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Thanks for your coaching tips, always helpful and enjoyable. Here’s a quip you may want to consider. A wise rabbi once said: “Be yourself. Be your best self. But if you’re a schmuck, be someone else!”


So glad to hear that your daughter is settled in medical school. I am glad that she is reaching forward toward the completion of her dream. I thought that this provision is one of the best yet. I know that you are having a wonderful day by day adventure with living life to its fullest. 


The “Be Yourself” Provision is so timely for me, as I learn to better listen to the inner voice of my being (Being) to know “who I am”. Thought-provoking stuff. I’m exploring “what’s next” for me in terms of career or vocation, and am being coached to do this through “allowing”, rather than striving. That is, what is showing up in my life. Coming from this place is not necessarily new for me, but I am learning to listen to it and trust it more. I came upon a quote today from the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, that really speaks to where I am right now:

“You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth, for the hour of new clarity.”
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How exciting, Bob, that your daughter is at Emory Medical School • and you share so proudly and joyfully! Thanks for sharing. I’d love it if you have time to sort out how to apply this week’s reflection to the situation of an inner-city kid trying to decide if joining a gang will help his chances of long-term survival. (Ed. Note: It would seem that the discovery of one’s true self is as important here as anywhere. Gangs are the refuge of those whose sense of self needs to be bolstered. By engaging in dialogue with this young man about the choices he faces, you are assisting him to refine his sense of self.)
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Many thanks for the lovely “Be Yourself” piece, that a colleague alerted me to.
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Excellent article on being yourself. I have been working/playing with a question about my values and who I am (my identity). I’ve discovered that while there is a core ME (as I’ve believed) there is also a ME that has some roots in security and safety, and these priorities seem to move farther up the food chain when I’m in ‘compromising’ situations. I hope to make some more peace with this and build a relationship to the fear that comes up surrounding this. Sometimes fear unrealized is a block, or worse, a catalyst for new and unhealthy accomplishments. Does this make sense? I would rather feel the fear, be aware of it, and include it my honesty about WHO I AM and BE, rather than attempt to move it in to my accomplishments. Top




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #317: Be Yourself

Laser Provision

To be healthy, wealthy, and wise we need to learn what we want, how to get it, and when to play our hand. But we also need to learn who we are and what we’re about. Being anchored more in identity than accomplishment is the key to success and fulfillment. By letting the future go, we can enjoy and even do better in the here and now.

LifeTrek Provision

I have just returned from a full three days, assisting my daughter to move to Atlanta, Georgia where she will soon begin her course of studies at the Emory University Medical School. In addition to the move itself, there was the inevitable setting up of technology and support services in her new apartment. When school starts on Wednesday (yes, they really do start medical school in July), our daughter should be settled in and ready to get started on the next chapter of what has been a lifelong dream.

Since the time our daughter was four years old, fearlessly and curiously engaged with the white-coated woman who was drawing her blood, she has talked about becoming a doctor. Although there have been several iterations as to exactly what kind of doctor she wants to become, the core dream has never wavered. She has known herself to be a doctor, and life has organized itself around her accordingly.

That, it seems to me, is a much better way to describe what’s been happening here than to suggest that she has been pressing to achieve a goal for the past 20 years. There has been no press, although there has been plenty of work. Rather, there has been the joy of self-discovery, self-realization, and self-expression. Bryn is just being herself. And as with the past three days, it’s always a pleasure to be in the presence of someone like that, watching life unfold along the way.

Do you remember a time like that in your life? A time when you felt young enough, hopeful enough, and ambitious enough to pursue a dream or make a statement in the world? It’s certainly contagious to be around. The energy associated with authentic self-expression is palpable. And it isn’t restricted to adolescence and young adulthood. When we allow ourselves to stop pressing and to be ourselves, at any age, we become epicenters of fulfillment and success.

This too is something we can learn. It’s not the exclusive purview of a select few. It is, instead, the way the world works. By applying our hopes and dreams to the dust of life, we function like radio stations, broadcasting our purpose into the world, and like magnets, organizing the dust into dynamic patterns.

When people know who they are and what they’re about, they become healthy, wealthy, and wise. Why do we bother to get out bed in the morning? What gifts do we have to share with the world? How does our heartfelt desire express itself in everyday life? The answers to these and other such questions of ultimate meaning reflect our worldview and influence the course of life.

Right now I am reading Jakusho Kwong’s new book, “No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen.” It is a delightful collection of teachings from the founder and abbot of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center outside of Santa Rosa, California. Chapter 12, “Confidence In Your Original Nature,” speaks eloquently to the mystery of authentic self-expression.

“A monk once said, ‘No creature ever falls short of its own completion. Wherever it stands, it does not fail to cover the ground.’ This means that just as you are, with your original nature, you are complete • fully equipped. You are a fully realized person. The only thing that this is required is to realize it. The depth and wisdom, your own compassion and purity, are already there within you. But you must know it’s there by direct experience.”

“This notion • that each of us is fully equipped, that no creature ever falls short of its own completion, that wherever it stands it does not fail to cover the ground • expresses the Dharma principle that we are already full of life and endowed with this life that fills us. Included in this life is everything we need, right here and right now. We are already rooted in the great peace or repose that is our original nature, beyond any circumstances or conditions that may arise.”

“Having confidence in our original nature is at the heart of the traditional Zen spirit. In traditional Zen spirit we don’t emphasize the stages in meditation practice or anything we think we’ve gained. We emphasize having strong confidence in our original nature. That’s the spirit of Zen, and this confidence unfolds through the cultivation of practice.”

“Most people think that if they practice for a certain number of years, they will gain enlightenment. This is not the traditional spirit of Zen. We shouldn’t say, ‘If I do this or that I will get this,’ because after five, six, or seven years of practicing with this gaining idea in the back of your mind, you will be completely discouraged. My teacher always used to say, ‘Be careful of your gaining idea.'”

“Of course, if you have a gaining idea to benefit all sentient beings, that’s a pretty good one, but the traditional Zen spirit is not to gain, not to practice for a long time, with the idea that then you will attain enlightenment. This is a big mistake. It’s better to look at practice like night and day.”

“Right now it’s daytime, but actually the stars are out. Already nighttime is here, but we can’t see the stars. And day doesn’t just • ta da! • become light. But this is how we think. We miss the wholeness of each moment and think, ‘This is black, this is white, and if I practice this long, then •ta da! • enlightenment!’ But right now if you just watch nature, you’ll see that in the middle of the day there’s some dark. Night is already here. I hope you see this well and understand.”

The Christian theologian, Robert Farrar Capon, expressed many of the same thoughts in his 1990 book, “Health, Money, and Love & Why We Don’t Enjoy Them.” The problem, Capon argues, is that we turn health, money, and love into religions. We expect them to do, produce, or gain something for us such as happiness, control, or eternal life. We turn them into attempts “to establish a right relationship between ourselves and something outside ourselves • something we think to be of life-shaping importance.”

But this gaining idea is precisely what spoils them. There’s nothing wrong with health, money, or love in and of themselves; but when we turn them into meal tickets for something else • something that we want to happen in the future • we miss the beauty of the present moment and press too hard to achieve our goals.

This reminds me of the standing joke about avid long-distance runners such as myself. “The good news is that running can make you live longer; the bad is that you spend all that extra time running.” Unfortunately, there are even runners who laugh ruefully at this joke. They train to set a personal best at their next race, or to be healthy, or to live longer. Then they wonder why they no longer enjoy running and why they end up suffering injury or even death for all their efforts.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! We don’t have to turn running, or anything else, into a religion. We don’t have to live with that gaining idea. Instead, we can simply be ourselves and marvel at the mystery of how life unfolds • regardless of any condition or circumstance.

I have seen this truth playing itself out in my own life, in my daughter’s life, and in the life of many others. We  know what we want, how to get there, and when to play our hand • the subjects of the last three Provisions • but we also know who we are and what we’re about. Being more rooted in identity than accomplishment is the secret to being in the world but not of the world. We are less focused on tomorrow and more focused on today. We are getting things done without investing them with undo importance.

Coaching Inquiries: Are you more focused on what you can accomplish or on who you are?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I really enjoy your Provisions. They have come to me at a time when I need to make some changes in my life. I am finding that your insight is helping me to be come a reflective practitioner of life.


Some of the remarks you made in this week’s Provision I’ve found in what I feel is absolutely the best Tape/CD set available. “Infinite Possibilities” is the name of the tape set by a guy named Mike Dooley. I’ve listened to them 3 times over and will never tire listening to them again and again (and there are 12 hours of tapes in his set!!!) You’ll pay about $130 for the set, but if you want to hear the most profound, yet fun and down to earth synthesis of philosophies, meaningful religious insights, scientific yet metaphysical applications, etc. it is WELL WORTH the cost!!! I just love these tapes.


While not rising to the level of national disaster or Provision, I am once again “paying tuition” at the School for Hard Knocks. Reader’s and you will no doubt recognize that institution as the only one that fools will learn at. I use the expression “paying tuition” to describe the agony of having key data locked away on a non-functioning machine. And all the fun that goes along with it. All I can say is it is not my fault. But who else can take the blame? As an IT professional in the financial industry, I have head the canard “Backups don’t!” more times than I care to remember. Professionally, I have seen careers ruined by people who forgot the maxim. Personally, I have been burned several times by it. Having just been burned again, I am writing this on my PDA, which is still working, to remind others to learn from my mistakes. Try the backup before you need it; you may be surprised at what is there.


Don’t forget “rainy day funds.” For example, refinance your mortgage and hold out a minimum of one year’s “run rate” to ensure that losing your job doesn’t equate to losing your house. Debt and savings are not mortal enemies, just part of the ebb and flow of life. When you are on the “swell” (or crest) of the wave, don’t forget there is ALWAYS the inevitable “valley” (or trough). The bible says something about putting away in the fat years for the lean ones. In today’s world, we seem to forget about everything • including the lessons of history. “Rainy day” funds are in my humble opinion the most overlooked topic. 


Picking up the pace can also apply to everything in our everyday lives • those many chores that fill our time but must be done. This tip reminded me of a time when my daughter was still wearing diapers. She needed a change and it was time to leave my in-law’s house. My Mother-in-law (MIL) was excruciatingly slow at diaper changes and I wanted to leave right away so I volunteered to change my daughter’s diaper. My MIL volunteered to help which ended up being nothing but holding the dirty
diaper. I had my daughter’s diaper changed so fast that my MIL couldn’t believe it. I had been practicing at changing diapers (a very necessary but not so pleasant task) as fast as possible • to speed up I sped up.


I love your article and your writing! You are sure hitting the mark with me this week regarding jumping from knowing what to knowing how. I’m flying out to Portland, OR (from Santa Cruz/San Jose) tomorrow for 3 days to work with one of my business partners. We’re working on/writing about ‘stuff’ we both know about Leadership (from many different levels based on our own experiences with working with our top-drawer ‘leader’ clients).

Writing about what one knows is such a critical step in moving the pieces of the puzzle from the mind on to a different medium so that one can see self objectively. At least this is my perspective. Once the internal knowing has been shared out loud and written about, the puzzle seems to click in to place and the picture becomes much more clear. I think an authentic ‘core-self’ knowing is so powerful and impactful when it’s lived out loud … radical aliveness. 




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: (Click)
Correspondence: (Click)

Provision #316: Timing Is Everything

Laser Provision

“Buy low and sell high,” is the age-old maxim of successful investors. But no one knows how to time the market consistently (and watch out for those who say they do). Better to hook up with those who take the long view and know how to live graciously in good times and bad.

LifeTrek Provision

Before diving into this week’s Provision, I thought I would mention that we went over the 40,000 subscriber mark in the past week, including 15,603 subscribers on handheld devices and almost 25,000 subscribers by email in 129 countries (we just added Papua New Guinea). Thanks for your continuing support and interest in the exploration of life’s trek. We look forward to serving you faithfully for many years to come.

In the past two weeks, we’ve written about the importance of knowing what we want and how to get there if we want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Say we want to lower our risk of cardiovascular disease. First we need to know what this entails. If we don’t know, for example, that trans-fatty acids are a major risk factor then we’re already at a major disadvantage.

But it’s not enough to know the what. How, for example, do we identify the presence of trans-fatty acids in the foods we eat? This past week, the U.S. government took steps to make that easier. By 2006, all nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods are required to list the trans-fatty acid content. But 2006 is a long way off, and we could already have died of cardiovascular disease by that time!

It’s important to learn how to lower our risk of cardiovascular disease right now. That entails learning not only how to identify the presence of trans-fatty acids in the foods we eat, but also how to eliminate them from our diet. When we get used to eating one way, we develop habits and preferences that can be hard to change. Knowing how encompasses the entire gambit of human development.

Or say we want to pay off our mortgage in seven years. Once again we need to know what this entails. If we don’t know, for example, that principal pre-payments leverage the amortization table in our favor then we’re already at a major disadvantage.

But knowing what we need to do is not enough to get the job done. How, for example, do we find the money to make principal pre-payments? Once again, the government has made things easier by lowering interest rates to near record levels. With the appreciation in property values, it may be time to refinance with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage and to eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance in the process.

This too is better done right now, since mortgage rates can’t go much lower and they won’t stay in this range forever. But we also have to learn how to make those principal pre-payments (early and often!) and, perhaps, how to make investments that will supplement our cash flow and produce sufficient capital gains to pay off our mortgage in seven years’ time. Once again, long-standing habits and preferences can be hard to change.

These are two of many examples that illustrate the importance of knowing what and knowing how. But it’s also important to know when. When is it not a good idea, for example, to make principal pre-payments against our mortgage? Consideration has to be given to many factors, including credit card debt, retirement savings plans, and the potential for higher-yielding investment alternatives.

Or when is it not a good idea to eliminate trans-fatty acids in the food we eat? It might be worth tabling this concern, for example, when you go out to celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary. And my uncle, who is about to leave for Europe as he celebrates his 90th birthday, tells me that he no longer pays attention to trans-fatty acids at all!

Timing is everything when it comes to living a healthy, wealthy, and wise life. It’s not that we can always “buy low and sell high,” as some investment advisors are wont to claim. There’s no way to do that! But we can always count on life to time things perfectly for our continued learning, growth, evolution, and development. Once we understand and accept this fact of life, things gets a whole lot easier.

I have a friend who likes to say that my wife and I are the luckiest people she knows. “Everything always works out great for you guys,” she exclaimed recently. She wasn’t being jealous. She was just happy to see the universe at play.

One reason she was happy is because she knows that everything has not always gone our way. We have started ventures that didn’t work out. We have lost our shirts in a real estate deal. We have been robbed on numerous occasions. We have lost jobs that we dearly wanted to keep. We have suffered our share of accidents and illnesses.

In other words, we have lived in the same universe as everyone else! But when bad things happened, we maintained our composure and seized the moment in order to turn things around. In fact, if some of the bad things had never happened we would not be where we are today. They have all moved us forward in life.

Another reason she was happy to see the universe at play, is because she’s learning to play along. Good fortune is not the exclusive purview of a select few individuals. It is imbedded in the nature of life itself. Things work out more often than not, or the evolution of life would have long ago come to a screeching halt.

Whether you believe, as we do, that God has a hand in how things work out, or that life simply works out more often than not of its own accord, recognizing the universe as benevolent makes a huge difference in our way of living. In bad times, we can resist less and relax more • trusting that something important, remarkable, and useful is going on. In good times, we can boast less and enjoy more • trusting that something larger than ourselves is going on.

Learning to play along with this process is the secret of success. More than 2,000 years ago, Archimedes said: “Give me a lever long enough, a fulcrum strong enough, and a place to stand and I can single-handedly move the world.” Those who understand how time works have found that long lever, strong fulcrum, and solid place to stand. No wonder they move the world!

One day I went swimming at the ocean and picked out a hotel where I thought I would turn around. Everything went fine on the way to the hotel, when I was swimming with the current. Turning around, however, I found myself swimming against the current and making very little progress. Eventually, exhausted, I swam to shore and walked back to my towel on the beach.

Perfect timing is not always getting everything right. It’s more like swimming with the current. You still work in order to move forward, but perfect timing enables you to go a lot farther a lot faster with a lot less effort. Perfect timing is also like a martial art, which uses the energy of the opponent to one’s own advantage. You still encounter difficulties, and even enemies at times, but you’re no longer defenseless in the face of danger.

Successful people understand how time works. They take the long view in order to go through the ups and downs of life with gratitude and grace. Anyone can choose to look at life in this way. And from what I can tell, choosing to do so makes all the difference in the world.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you remember a tough time that worked out in the end? What adjustments had to be made? Do you remember a great time that caught you by surprise? How could you master the art of perfect timing?

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


Your latest LifeTrek Provision prompts this (I joined you at #126). Speaking of Virginia, education, birds, self education, and amazing connections with living your dream, I invite you to look at the organization my husband founded at age 50 and let him help you enjoy your surroundings even more. If you wish, just go to his website and sign up for your own free newsletter:www.windstar.org


A VERY good Provision, Bob. Thank you. Hope you are doing well • and that the book is coming along.  




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258
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