Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge. Says Who?

Picture1Albert Einstein once wrote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge, medications for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world.” Did Einstein get this one wrong? It’s true that without imagination there would be no discoveries; but does it mean that knowledge is only a distant second in terms of importance? I question whether imagination leads to knowledge or if it’s the other way around. In the application of knowledge we are often led to new insights and these insights invite us to apply our imagination to create new combinations and possibilities. Learning and building on these insights adds new dimensions and ultimately contributes to additional insights, tadalafil increased knowledge and new discoveries.

Sometimes knowledge is more important and practical. If you were injured, would you want a medical response team that is highly knowledgeable in treating your medical condition or a team who had to imagine what treatment to administer? Not likely. Knowledge, in this case, is more important than imagination. Sometimes, imagination is more important. When we’re looking for solutions or need to make changes or we’re looking to create something entirely new, the ability to imagine is the most important skill to apply. While imagination helps us to create new ideas, new products or services and to discover new possibilities; knowledge helps bring these ideas to life, to take action and solve daily problems. Imagination focuses on future possibilities and discoveries while knowledge is tangible and available to apply to today’s challenges and opportunities.

The process, then, is a circular one where imagination leads to knowledge which fuels the imagination which leads to more knowledge. Knowledge that is acquired through past experience helps create for today while imagination helps us to imagine possibilities for tomorrow.

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Is Balance Possible In A 24/7, On-Demand World?

scan0015It seems everyone I talk to these days is afflicted with the “overwhelmed” virus. I hear it in their voice and see it in their body language. Feelings of being overworked and stressed out are almost as common as a cup of java in the morning. Has life sped up to a point where we’re completely losing balance? Are we unknowingly joining a not so exclusive club of the walking living, troche those who are going about the business of life feeling spiritually dead inside, decease shells of individuals who were once vibrant and full of life? More and more, help we find ourselves going through the motions, feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled. There is no denying life is more complex and unpredictable. In a 24/7, incessant on-demand world, we are more connected than ever with smart phones, tablets, laptops and social media.  A connected world implies that we are available, anytime, anywhere.  Yet, a recent survey found that we are lonelier than ever. The virtual world and modern technology, it seems, are poor substitutes for human connections and happiness.

In addition to these incessant demands, change has become a constant companion. We are being forced to start over again through job losses, changes in relationships, tragedy or financial pressures. Because of the constant pressure to achieve, multiple priorities are ruling every minute of every day, while activities that bring us the greatest fulfillment get pushed aside. Joyful, less structured activities pale in importance compared to everything else that needs doing. At the end of the day, we go to bed mentally and emotionally exhausted with a long list of activities that didn’t get done.  We feel like we’ve failed because we couldn’t do it all and the vicious cycle begins all over again the next day.

Intuitively you know that many of these activities that keep you so busy do little to enhance relationships or contribute to reaching the most important dreams and goals you have; but you feel a sense of obligation that isn’t easily shaken. It’s time to slow down or get off this crazy, incessant treadmill. Listening to the urgent messages within and re-aligning your everyday activities with your most important goals is a good place to start. Commit to a process of disengagement from your busy schedule to focus on re-engaging in more balanced and mindful activities. These ten steps can help you get there.

Park low value added activities on a “Stop doing…” list to lighten up the load. Consciously recognize which activities are self-imposed and stop doing them.  You’ll gain more focus on doing the activities that are important.

  1. Make a “Start doing more of…” list and include only the meaningful activities that will bring you closer to your goals. Focus your energy on getting those activities done and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Give yourself the luxury of a few minutes each day to brainstorm possibilities for your life without letting your negative self-talk censor any idea. Cultivate the possibilities and make intentional changes in your life.
  3. Create and align one goal with your most important dreams and focus on one goal at a time.
  4. Plan to take 1-3 baby steps, every day, to reach your goal.
  5. Connect more often with family and friends. They are your anchors.
  6. Make time every week for reflection and pay attention to what you want.
  7. Exercise to stay fit and take time for leisurely activities to help release stress.
  8. Take frequent 1-3 day mini vacations to rejuvenate your spirit and to give your mind a rest.
  9. Celebrate the small victories as you move closer to a more balanced life.

These actions will reduce your risk of becoming a member of the barely living and spiritually dead club. When you make a conscious decision to turn off the incessant demands and focus on what really matters, you will find a renewed sense of clarity and balance. You will no longer feels like you’re adding more activities on an already overcrowded to-do list; rather you will breathe new energy into your life and gain you a clearer sense of purpose.

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12 Signs Your Stress Has Reached The Highway To The Danger Zone

Stress is at an all-time high and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it is reaching epidemic proportions and it’s time we pay attention before we reach the highway to the danger zone. Stats Canada’s  2012 report on Perceived Life Stress found that up to 30% of the population, aged 14-64, is experiencing high levels of stress. The Sunlife Canadian Health Index research found that as many as 77% have of the people they surveyed had at least one source of stress that is either at an uncomfortable level or excessive. The index showed that we experience stress for a variety of reasons including financial pressures, relationship issues, pressure to achieve in our studies, workload demands, health issues and not having enough time the day to do everything that needs doing.

In one scene of the movie Top Gun (1986)1 Tom cruise tells him mate, Anthony Edwards: “I feel the need for speed”.  The two guys climb in their aircraft, fly at top speeds and carry out various maneuvers to the Kenny Loggins song:  Highway to the Danger Zone. Their spirits are flying high as they blow enemy planes out of the sky. One might easily assume by watching this movie that the danger zone is an exhilarating, fun and stress free place to be. Then again movies are quite different from the realities of everyday life, aren’t they?

While a certain amount of stress is healthy and needed to perform effectively, the problem arises when stress reaches the point where it begins to affect your physical, psychological, social and intellectual well-being.  The twelve signs below are sure indicators that your stress levels are too high and that you are heading towards the danger zone. Trip Out West May 2011 123

  1. Your energy is much lower than normal and you have more unexplained aches and pains.
  2. You’re not eating well and the guilt is mounting.
  3. You’re sleeping more than usual because it’s the only way to unplug.
  4. You find yourself withdrawing from social situations and have an increased desire to be alone.
  5. You have no energy for your friends and family or for romantic relationships.
  6. You feel emotionally spent most of the day.
  7. You’re losing your sense of self.  You look in the mirror and ask: Who is this person?
  8. You feel disconnected from your community.
  9. You have trouble feeling and showing empathy for others.
  10. You’re finding it difficult to concentrate and process basic information.
  11. You see your grades or performance at work slipping.
  12. You feel confused and forgetful, more than usual.

If you found yourself checking off a number of these symptoms, you may have unknowingly drifted onto the highway and reached the danger zone where your stress levels are too high.  These warning signs are there to tell you to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on in your life.  You can start by eliminating the activities that are nice to do but not critical.  You can also

  • Pay attention to your physical symptoms and take action to deal with them before they become debilitating.  Start by taking small steps to deal with the symptoms instead of trying to change too many things at one.  You’ll accomplish more and feel less stressed.
  • Reconnect with your friends and family or rekindle romantic flames, even if it’s only for a short period of time at first. Start with one or two connections each week and add others as you begin to feel more social.
  • Find an organization where you can volunteer a couple of hours each month. Giving back to others provides a fresh perspective on what’s truly important and increases your level of empathy of others.  Writing down what you’re grateful for to recognize what’s positive in your life.
  • Take time to unplug intellectually, to shut down your busy self-talk.  Find the place where you feel most relaxed and begin a daily practice of 5-10 minutes of complete silence.  Add a few minutes each week until you reach 20-30 minutes.  Use this time to allow your mind to relax and gain clarity at the same time.

Paying attention to your stress levels when the danger warnings are present is the best investment you can make in your well-being. If you need help getting started, you can work with a coach to clarify your goals and identify steps to manage your busy life more effectively. But if you find that your level of stress are increasing and coping is become difficult, seek professional help before you reach the point of burnout. With stress now a constant in our lives, managing it has become as critical to our well-being as feeding our bodies with healthy foods and staying active.

  1.  Top Gun was produced by Paramount Pictures in 1986, directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.


Success On Your Own Terms

Strength 2What is the true measure of a successful life and is there only one way to measure it? Is it having a corner office, viagra sale earning a six figure income and owning a five thousand square foot home? Or it is more personal? Maybe it’s surviving a serious illness; the joy you get from seeing your child score her first soccer goal or solving a problem. If you search the word “Success” on Google, you’ll get about 28 million hits. Success is measured in as many ways as there are people defining it and happens each and every day, in the small and big moments. Success is using the lessons of the past to intentionally plan for the future while living in the present moment and making the most of the precious time we have. It is embracing the world around us and the unknowns that are yet to be discovered. Success begs us to set our imagination free to find our true passions and cultivate the abundant riches within ourselves.

Success is determined by our beliefs and truths. It is defined by our attitude, the choices we make and the actions we take. It is experienced through all our senses and by taking the journey that leads us back to our heart. Success in not determined by our external self and we know this because beauty defined from the outside is subject to too many differing opinions and does little for our sense of self-worth. When we accept who we are, our limits, our shadows and all that is glorious about being alive, we are successful.

Success is accepting that doing our best is enough, even when others say it isn’t. It is the quiet time we allow ourselves for reflection and contemplation to re-ignite the imagination and rejuvenate the spirit. Success is being willing to seek answers while keeping an open mind. It is trusting that our heart will guide us on the path we were meant to follow, even if it is off the beaten path.

Success is time spent with friends and family, to nourish each other’s souls, warm the heart and laugh every chance we get. It is sharing our love with those whose heart is closed. Success is being able to free the heart from unhealthy attachments that keep us imprisoned. It is the expression of our authentic self, regardless of what others may think and say. Committing acts of kindness and giving for the pure joy of making the gift is being successful. It is never giving up in the face of adversity by calling on our inner resilience and courage to face fear head on. It’s about creating a legacy that only we can and believing everyone has something to teach us. It is living with zest and with a commitment to becoming all that is within our realm of possibilities.

Success is all, some or none of the above. Because it is intensely personal, only you can define what success means to you. If you want to get a real appreciation of all the successes you have achieved in your life, get into the habit of keeping a journal of your accomplishments. You’ll astound yourself when you realize how much success you already have achieved.

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Retire on Purpose

Perspective 3When Fred decided to take an early retirement option after spending his career managing a branch of a large corporate bank, pill he looked forward to more golfing and enjoying endless leisurely activities.  About a year into retirement he realized he was not ready for this lifestyle, pharmacy not to mention he was driving his wife crazy.  He needed more purpose in his life so he took a part time, sales role to add dimension to his retirement lifestyle. Fred is typical of today’s retiree.

For so many years, the insurance companies promised Freedom 55 and we believed it. We even built our plans around it, but not many were successful.  In fact, recent research shows that as many as 75% of boomers do not have the financial resources to support their lifestyle in retirement. The financial industry collapse in late 2008 didn’t help either. And heath care costs continue to rise as our need for these services increases. It’s looking more like Freedom 75.

Fortunately, boomers are living longer and healthier which means that many want to continue to work, at a reduced schedule perhaps. With baby boomers retiring in large numbers, organizations are struggling to fill the void that is left. There are simply not enough workers in the younger generations to replace all these boomers. Some estimate that 3 in 7 or 42% of boomers will not be replaced. Organizations are paying attention. This means that opportunities will be there and can be a great alternative to supplement retirement income for those who want to work.

Retirement is a bit like winning the lottery. Every time someone is asked what they would do if they won the lottery, they say three things; they will buy a house, buy a new car and take a vacation.  It’s difficult to think any bigger. Looking at something new is never easy. Imagining retirement is no different, especially with few role models to show us the way.  Let’s face it; there are only so many golf games to be played and trips to take.  For many, the idea of looking at the final trimester of their life as a new beginning is a bit daunting. We are so conditioned to look at it as an ending.

In the first trimester of their lives, dubbed the hippie years, boomers were busy making love not war, learning about themselves and idealistic about changing the world. During the second trimester, the yuppie years, boomers were busy making a life, raising families and building careers.  In the final trimester, boomers will be busy reinventing themselves and turning the concept of retirement on its head. They no longer see retirement as the swan song of their life.  Instead, they see an opportunity to re-imagine their life, try new things, take risks, make a fresh start, embark on a new journey, start a new career and travel the world. Idealism is still very much alive, albeit tempered with a dose of wisdom.

Being idealistic means we have tons of ideas about what retirement can look like. The question then becomes; what’s possible.  Like any major transition in life, we need a new plan. We need a financial plan to support the lifestyle we want and a plan to reorient ourselves psychologically as we redefine what retirement means.  We are fairly good at financial planning and have access to tons of information to help us manage. We have fewer resources to guide and support us through the psychological transition of retirement. A coach can support you through your transition and it may be the best investment you make in yourself.

Begin scratching the surface by taking a look at different aspects of your life and make a list of the goals you have in each area. In my research I have found 12 unique aspects that lead to a balanced life and they are grouped below in four categories. Think about what you’d like to be doing in each of these aspects during your retirement years.

Social life – life partner, family and friendships.  You will be spending more time with your partner so what common interests do you want to pursue together? What are your plans to pursue individual interests? How much time do you want to spend with your family? Do you want to live near them or visit regularly? What common interests do you have with your friends and are there projects you’d like to pursue together?

Physical life – vocation, health, leisure and financial.  Are you planning to continue to work?  How many hours are you interested in working each week and will it be the same type of work that you are doing now?  What goals do you have to maintain or improve on your health? Do you want to make adjustments to your nutrition and physical activities? What leisurely activities are on your bucket list and are they realistic?

Spiritual life – community, spirituality.  How much time do you want to give to your community through volunteer work, sitting on boards or other activities? Are you more globally oriented and thinking about volunteer work in poorer countries? What more do you want to achieve in your spiritual life?

Intellectual life – knowledge, environment and sense of self.  What will you do to keep learning (courses, skills, etc.) and growing? What activities will you engage in to stimulate the mind?  You can only read so many books. What type of home do you want and in what location? So often we assess our sense of self through our careers. When work is no longer a major part of our everyday activities, it’s easy for our self-worth to be impacted.  What will you do to maintain positive self-esteem? Having a list of activities to look forward to everyday is a good place to begin.

These are not easy decisions and trying to make them all at once will surely overwhelm you.  Set time aside to consider each aspect on its own and seek professional help if necessary. No one says you have to do it alone and it’s always more fun working with others. A clear plan will give you confidence that you’re on the right track psychologically as well as financially. Think of the amazing legacy you will continue to build for those who matter most to you. And in the process, you can look forward to checking off every item on your bucket list.

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Live With Passion, Purpose, Possibilities

IMG_0831Adopt an abundance mindset

Believe that your instincts will guide every step

Create opportunities when none seem possible

Deliver in small and big moments

Embrace life for all its wonder

Faithfully do what you need to do

Give compassion when life gets tough

Hear whispers from the heart

Invent yourself every day

Joyfully embrace for all of life

Keep promises to yourself and others

Live a life rich in meaning and purpose

Make every day count

Never give up no matter what

Open your heart to love

Purposefully live every day

Quiet the mind to listen to the heart

Realize that success is a life lived authentically

Surprise yourself in the beauty that abounds

Trust that the intuition knows best

Understand that life is the greatest teacher

Voice your feelings and ideas

Wisely build on every experience

Xpress yourself by expressing your unique creativity

Yield briefly to reflect and move forward

Zestfully live every day of your life

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What Possibilities?

Possibility is…Reflection

 Planting seeds to grow talent, prescription abilities, gifts

Opening your mind to possibilities in every day ordinary

Seeing the possible in daily struggles

Sensing a life lived as intended

Imagining all you can do

Belief in the powerful combination of the heart and mind

Intuition behind the words and actions

Living and creating your dreams everyday

Improvisation to create new options

Taking time to develop and nudge new ideas

Intention used as fuel to bring dreams to reality

Expression of actions to create cherished moments

Surprising yourself at every turn

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What is Purpose?

Purpose is…Trip Out West May 2011 123

Planning to live life to its fullest

Uncovering and sharing your unique gifts with the world

Recognition and appreciation of all you’ve accomplished

Planning consciously for success

Orchestration of a life that is meant to be

Success on your own terms

Expressing your gifts in concrete actions  

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What is Passion?


Possibilities 3Passion is…

Passion is the elixir of life

Amazing and powerful in its simplicity

Sensing the magic of possibility

Striking gold in everyday actions

Inspiring actions to become our best self

Ordinary turned into extraordinary

Now and always an exercise of the heart

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Dare to Dream

PerspectiveDream and awaken your soul
Dream and see what your heart desires
Dream and your imagination flourishes
Dream and your mind is set free
Dream and passions unfold before your eyes
Dream and magic appears before your eyes
Dream and see beyond the horizon
Dream and see what you’re capable of
Dream and follow the rhythm of your heart
Dream and be filled with hope
Dream and embrace the possibilities of each new day
Dream and life becomes an adventure
Dream and abandon the limits of your mind
Dream and feel the music your heart makes
Dream and hear the wisdom of your heart
Dream and life unfolds on purpose.
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