I've heard some pretty silly expressions in my life. For example, "I am neither for nor against apathy," or, "I'd give my left arm if I could only be ambidextrous." Perhaps my favorite is, "people who think they know it all, are awfully annoying to those of us who really do!"
Trust me, there's not one of us who truly knows all there is to doing life effectively and well. We can all learn new information and better practices every day, every hour, in fact, if we're willing. I recently learned something I would have thought I'd have discovered years ago. Go get your box of Reynolds Wrap or aluminum foil and look on the side panels. Did you ever realize there are push in cutouts on the sides of the packages to lock the rolls in place so they don't come flying out when you tear off what you need? I didn't, but I do now, and neither you nor I will ever forget it.
There is just so much to learn about life, and I dare say that it is certainly true about marriage. It amazes me how many folks think they can do marriage just because they are in love or because they truly feel they have found their "soul mate." Well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that is just not reality. Marriage is an amazing experience when done right, and a horrible one when done wrong. What also amazes me is that so many folks are just unwilling to admit they do not know all there is to marriage and refuse to attend a class or read a book, which would raise their skill level.
I fear a tirade coming on so I'll switch gears and tell you of some recent information I have come across which is helping to make me a better person and, I hope, a better husband. My reason for sharing this information with you is to suggest that if each partner in a marriage will seek personal growth and development, he or she will have that much more to contribute to the marriage. It would be especially beneficial, though not essential, if both spouses could undertake the same or similar path towards personal development.
The first recent addition to my life skills arsenal is Caroline Leaf, author of "Who Switched Off My Brain," and "Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health." She is also the creator of the 21 Day Brain Detox program. Leaf has several listings on YouTube if you would like to find out more about her and her program. She is also reachable at www.drleaf.com.
A friend mentioned Leaf to me in early June, and I was enthralled with her premise that by taking charge of our thoughts we can actually change the physical structure of our brains. She makes the strong case that our thoughts hold tremendous power over our actions and behavior — including, of course, how we do relationships. She is adamant that far too many of us just allow random insidious thoughts to come into our minds and we dwell on them — much to our chagrin.
I have been doing her 21-day detox program since June 5 (I'm currently on day 17 of my third round) and have already seen a dramatic impact in my habits, actions and thoughts. Have I done the program perfectly? I probably don't have to tell you the answer is no, but perfection is not my goal. Growth and personal development is, and if you share that drive, I encourage you to check out Leaf's program and materials and decide what might be in it for you.
If you do check out Leaf, it will not take you long at all to discover that she is a devout Christian woman who places a very high emphasis on her relationship with God. For those of you who might be offended by anything promoting faith or religion or God, let me refer you to the book "Brain Rules" by John Medina. This book cites "12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School."
"Brain Rules" is a fascinating book which goes into great detail about how our brains work and what we can do to help them function for us or against us. While I do not know Medina personally, I did not have to read very far to know he is a staunch evolutionist who goes to great lengths to explain why the brain developed as it did over a span of millions, perhaps billions of year. I personally find his information so intriguing and so easy to read that I am willing to put up with what I consider to be academic garbage.
Permit me a very short editorial, if you will. I am not prepared to believe that a wristwatch, a television set, a car or even this newspaper you are reading just happened to come into being without a designer or creator. Therefore, there is no way I can accept that that could be true of man and woman, which are so much more complex. I just don't have enough faith to be an atheist or an evolutionist and accept that there is not a Master Designer and Creator behind our universe.
OK, I'm back from the op-ed page now, and I have one more suggestion for personal development that might be of interest to you. I recently came across Jason M. Gracia, the author of "The Motivated Mind" and creator of "Shifting the Balance," which he bills as "the Complete Guide to Discovering and Developing Life's Greatest Skill." I am only in the beginning stages of this program so I am not yet prepared to give it a full endorsement. I am intrigued, however, by his approach to change.
Gracia proposes that change hinges on four factors and the relative weight you give to each. Two factors — rewards of success and price of inaction — drive you to undertake whatever change you are contemplating. Two other factors — sacrifices required and fears confronted — immobilize you and deter you from making the change.
The course is said to help folks learn how to weight these factors in the direction you most want to bring about the change(s) you seek. Again, it's too early to know for sure, but check back with me in a few months and I'll let you know how it and I are working. You can check it out for yourself at www.motivation123.com.
For now let me just end with a challenge to keep growing as individuals and as a couple to achieve the marriage you truly want and deserve. To that end, I am happy to tell you that my guest on tomorrow's TWOgether as ONE radio program is Nancy Sisson, director of San Juan College's Center for Workforce Training. We'll be discussing various classes offered by the center for personal and professional development. The program airs on KLJH 107.1FM each Monday from 6 to 6:30 p.m. I hope you can tune in.