Today is the last day in May, a month that, for me at least, is full of life markers. It’s the beginning of my favorite time of year — late spring and summer; the Kentucky Derby runs the first Saturday of May — my annual Derby Party made it’s triumphant return celebrating its 18th Anniversary this year; and my birthday is in the dead center of the month — May 15 (celebrated with an annual Birthweek). And of course, there’s Mother’s Day and my mother’s birthday — two days full of conflicting emotions — happy remembrances mixed with great sadness that my time with her was cut so short.
In any event, this month has been quite a whirlwind and, once again, I find myself on Friday without a draft of a blog post. My focus this month has definitely been tested to say the least! However, I do have something for you. My intention was to present a thoughtful and interesting article by Dr. Travis Bradberry for you today. And despite the late hour, I’m going to do just that.
In his article, 10 Fundamental Truths That Will Change Your Life, Bradberry writes about many topics that I cover regularly in Persephone Rising, and given my focus-issue this month, it is a perfect refresher to get myself back on track for June. Each one is a gem but if I had to pick my top 4, I particularly love #1, #4, #5, #10. I hope you find it helpful as well.
10 Fundamental Truths That Will Change Your Life
By Dr. Travis Bradberry
It’s surprising how easy it is to lose sight of the important things in life. Busy schedules and regular routines have a tendency to put the brain on autopilot.
When things aren’t going quite the way you’d like them to, it’s often because you’ve lost focus on what really matters. But focusing on life’s fundamental truths can be difficult, especially when they remind you that you’re heading in the wrong direction.
The best things in life don’t come easily, and failing to observe yourself carefully is a sure path to mediocrity. I believe that Socrates said it best:
“The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”
Socrates’ observation also applies to business. When Eric Schmidt was CEO of Google, he famously said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”
Life and business run on questions, not answers. You should be asking yourself regularly if you’re headed in the right direction.
Many of life’s essential truths need repeating. We need reminders that help us to stay focused on them. Keep these truths handy and they’re sure to give you a much-needed boost.
1. Great Success Is Often Preceded By Failure
You will never experience true success until you learn to embrace failure. Your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed by revealing when you’re on the wrong path.
The biggest breakthroughs typically come when you’re feeling the most frustrated and the most stuck. It’s this frustration that forces you to think differently, to look outside the box and see the solution that you’ve been missing.
Success takes patience and the ability to maintain a good attitude even while suffering for what you believe in.
2. Being Busy Does Not Equal Being Productive
Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy — running from meeting to meeting and firing off emails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level?
Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus — from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively.
You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output, not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.
3. You’re Only As Good As Those You Associate With
You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be a part of your life?
Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.
4. You’re Living The Life You’ve Created. You Are Not A Victim Of Circumstance
No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to your values and aspirations.
The circumstances you’re living in today are your own — you created them. Likewise, your future is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams.
When it’s time to take action, remember that it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of one you don’t.
5. Fear Is The #1 Source Of Regret
When it’s all said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.
The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.
6. You Don’t Have To Wait For An Apology To Forgive
Life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life.
The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge create a stress response in your body, and holding on to stress can have devastating health consequences. Researchers at Emory University have shown that holding on to stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease.
When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.
7. Live In The Moment
You can’t reach your full potential until you learn to live your life in the present.
No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. It’s impossible to be happy if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.
To help yourself live in the moment, you must do two things:
- Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and, in doing so, it will create your future.
- Accept the uncertainty of the future. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
8. Your Self-Worth Must Come From Within
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you.
While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.
9. Life Is Short
None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Yet, when someone dies unexpectedly it causes us to take stock of our own life: what’s really important, how we spend our time, and how we treat other people.
Loss is a raw, visceral reminder of the frailty of life. It shouldn’t be.
Remind yourself every morning when you wake up that each day is a gift and you’re bound to make the most of the blessing you’ve been given. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing is the moment it will start acting like one.
After all, a great day begins with a great mindset.
10. Change Is Inevitable — Embrace It
Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates.
You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away.
After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Life doesn’t stop for anyone. When things are going well, appreciate them and enjoy them, as they are bound to change. If you are always searching for something more, something better, that you think is going to make you happy, you’ll never be present enough to enjoy the great moments before they’re gone.
Bringing It All Together
Staying focused and asking the hard questions can be extremely uncomfortable. But we don’t learn and grow by sticking with what’s comfortable.
This essay concisely encapsulates so much of what I've written about over the past two+ years. My hope is that it challenges you to think differently about the path you’re on and enables you to make any life adjustments that are required to achieve what you desire the most.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Cooking for Joan
In my last post, I gave you a recipe for an appetizer that I served at my Kentucky Derby Party. By request, I'm offering another one of my appetizers that also made it on to the Trader Joe's Demo Tasting menu (well, without the roasted garlic, sadly).
My menu included grilled polenta with avocado mousse, Marzano tomatoes, and cilantro; mushroom cap pizzas; sugar snap peas and carrots with a spicy peanut dip; pistachio chocolate chip cake; Sweet and Sour Meatballs, a staple of cocktail parties from the 70s, and today's offering: roasted garlic, cambozola and chutney!
I’ve made this appetizer for many years and it's always a huge crowd-pleaser. I don't remember how I came up with the recipe but it's such an interesting and flavorful combination, that I return to it time and time again.
Roasting garlic removes the strong pungent flavor and it becomes a slightly sweet, savory, caramelized delight. Served with creamy yet tangy, salty, and sharp cambozola — a Camembert/Gorgonzola hybrid (think brie and blue, if that helps) — and the spicy, sweet/tart, sticky flavor of the chutney is a perfect trio of flavors. Give it a try!
Roasted Garlic, Cambozola, and Mango Chutney Appetizer
Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 40 min | Makes: 20+ | Difficulty: Easy
- 3 heads of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Herbes de Provence
- French baguette, sliced
- Large wedge of Cambozola cheese
- Jar of mango chutney
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected
Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves
Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves
Season with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence
Wrap the garlic individually in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age
Let the garlic cool slightly
Press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of it's paper and then serve
Pre-assembled the appetizer or create a "do-it-yourself" platter
Spread a garlic clove on a slice of bread, followed by a layer of cheese, finish off with a dollop of chutney
**garlic can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months
Speedy roasted garlic trick: While less visually stunning, separating the head of garlic into individual cloves will make the cloves roast more quickly. Leave the cloves intact and covered with their paper skin, toss with olive oil, and roast in a foil packet until soft.