Posts tagged 'change'

The Get To Holidays

November 22, 2021

Ready or not, here they come … the holidays 2021! As we head into "the season," I have some questions about looking back on the year: Was it a Get To time for you? Did you find the good in the bad, the opportunities amid the challenges, the rainbow in the rain? Or were you stuck, not able to pull out of the pandemic funk? Like me, I would imagine that it was a mix of both.

As I look back, I realize that for many, it was a time of reflection. For me, the thinking, in my solitude each day, was, "What the hell is this all about? This life, this experience we have before we die, what is it? What's the purpose?" And the answer that kept coming back to me: Get out of the madness created by thought. Just be present to what is going on right now in my consciousness. Yes, stay safe. Yes, give help where you can. Have compassion and appreciation for others. After all, just like me, everyone is just trying to find peace and happiness. But really, through meditation, prayer, saying "I Get To," or simply smiling, just be here in this moment, quiet, smiling. This thing, this appearance of life, is a miracle. Wow!

But it's not always easy. I was invited to be a guest on a podcast a few weeks ago to talk about the power of Get To, and how it can change your life, how it can help you come to the present moment. The podcast started ok, the host asked how I had fared through Covid (not bad considering), and I explained the benefits of saying Get To and living a Get To mindset.

But then she dropped a bomb on me. And it was tough:

She said, "What do you say to my sister, who has been battling cancer for the last year, with chemo and other drugs making her constantly sick? What do you say when she doesn't know if she is even going to make it? Do you just say, You Get To be happy?"

I stammered, “I am so sorry.” I then asked for everyone listening to the podcast to send prayers and love her way. I said there are times when there is no answer, no Get To can help. Life sometimes is hard. And I felt for her.

But I could have done better. Yes, sending compassion and love, offering prayers and blessings is fine. In fact, I wish I did then but will do now, offer her, and anyone reading this, the Buddhist Meta (loving kindness) Prayer:

  • May you be happy
  • May you be well
  • May you be safe
  • May you be free from suffering and find peace

From my heart and soul I send this blessing to her.

But I would also have liked to push her just a bit to use the Meta prayer for herself.

  • May you be happy
  • May you be well
  • May you be safe
  • May you be free from suffering and find peace

I also wish I had encouraged her, as I am to anyone reading this now that is feeling out of sorts, eking out just one "I Get To". You see, no matter what state we're in, no matter what life is throwing at us at any moment, moving from distress to ease, from stress to peace, is something we can do volitionally. We choose. It's a muscle, and, like any muscle, you can use it to enjoy the benefits of choosing how you feel. You, the self beyond the senses, the self watching the play of life unfold, can make a choice, amid anything, and use your muscle to say, "I Get To." With that, you start, even if just slightly at first, to feel a shift in how you are "being" in life. You move from the victim of "I have to" experience this, to "I Get To," and you feel a sense of peace. A realization that, "Wow, this is it. THIS IS ME." And you can smile.

So, as we head into the holidays, I'd like to offer some Get To light in what can be an incredibly stressful time even in the best of years. As I've discussed in other posts, Get To is a mindset. It's moving from the victim viewpoint of saying "I have to" into the powerful, proactive viewpoint of saying I Get To. Doing the dishes? Yep, you Get To. After all, how much starvation happening on the planet do you need to think about before you realize how lucky (and if you just had a good meal, you are lucky) you are to be doing dishes? Going to work? Yep, you Get To. Think about the many people and companies that lost jobs and business in the past 18 months.

And as for the holidays? Buying holiday presents for your family – yep, you Get To. And what if, like many things, what you want to get someone is out of stock? Well, you Get To get creative. We're all in this thing together so there is a lot of Get To we're going to be doing that are different than we might like. But stretch that muscle, move from being a victim to life and into the collective, I Get To. And with that, you'll begin to feel the holiday spirit in a more meaningful, present way.

Happy Holidays!


-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

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If not here - where are you?

September 6, 2021

Are you ready?

Life can be so fun in the present moment. But with our attention on the past or the future, and thinking about ourselves and others, we often forget where we are. We fret over something that happened in the past, or worry about something that may happen in the future. As you are reading right now, are you here? Or are you thinking of something else, in the past or future? If you feel like I just caught you, laugh out loud. That’s what we tend to do.  It’s ok. We also think a lot about ourselves, how we look, how we portray ourselves. Did I say it right? Did I look good? Was that a stupid thing to do? And there is, of course, worrying about what others think. Why aren’t they calling me back? Do they hate me? Screw ‘em, I don’t like them anyway. Ah, the mind.

So if you simply don’t think about the past, or project into the future, and don’t think about yourself or others, you’ll be in the present moment and have fun. “Yeah, right,” you might be thinking “give me a break, Buddha boy, that’ll never happen.” But I promise it can using the Get To Mantra (check out blog #1).

Recently, I was feeling mad at my almost-13 year old boy. He hadn’t done his homework and was watching one of his irreverent YouTube stars. As I stood at the kitchen counter watching yet another pot spaghetti boiling, I said to myself, “I get to be mad”. I automatically thought how lucky I am to have a healthy boy, who may only eat spaghetti, but has plenty of it. He’s in a school that cares about him, and we’re working together to get going on his homework. I stood there in the steam and smiled. And my mind was quiet. I was present. Then I walked over to him and said, “Hey bud, let’s talk.” And you know what, it got better. Of course there’s teacher involvement and Beth (my wife) working with him – it’s a group effort. But I got present and felt peace. It happens often these days.

Use the Get To Mantra and you will smile. Things will change.


-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

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The Keys to Happiness

March 16, 2020

When I recently did a search for “Keys to Happiness” on Google, there were over 54 million results. Wow! That’s a lot of keys to happiness. And although any key to happiness is probably a good key, 54 million keys can feel quite overwhelming. In The Get To Principle, I share four keys that I find are most fitting in finding happiness. In this blog, I’m going to focus on the first one: Having purpose.

As I’ve contemplated and looked at my life over the years, I’ve realized that I feel happiest when I’m just being me. When I’m not searching for something or trying to do anything or be anything that I’m not right now. My purpose: Just be me.

Once I’ve found a sense of happiness in that feeling, I’ve also found that when I am doing something positive - with a direction, with a goal - I also feel happy. It’s like a secondary purpose. Be, and then do. When I’m pursuing a goal such as studying Japanese, playing my guitar, or playing with my kids, I feel alive and happy.

It starts within yourself, reflecting on what you, as a being on this planet, are wanting to achieve, to experience, to feel. Sit for a moment and think, “What do I want in this life?” For many, if not most people, one purpose is simply having peace of mind and happiness. I love that and have it as one of my top goals in life. For others, their purpose might be to raise children to be successful adults. Or maybe it’s to create a lot of money and things. (In my experience, material wealth doesn’t usually bring happiness, but if that’s a purpose for you, go for it. I’ve met some pretty miserable rich people, but I’ve also met some really happy rich people as well.)

Regardless of your secondary purpose (and we can have many), it is important to keep in mind the following definition of life:

“The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

Continual change. Life is full of ups and downs, struggles and joys, sun and rain, tears and laughter. Change is life. The expectation that, poof, you have peace of mind and happiness, your children won’t get sick, or that your stocks will keep going up and up, and you’ll live happily ever after is, I believe, the biggest hindrance to getting happy. Acknowledging that bad things happen, and that you are going to have good days and bad days, is a way of helping you stay on purpose.

For example, along with being happy, one of my purposes is raising healthy, well-rounded children. I have two teenagers. For the most part, this goal feels fantastic and on point. But, needless to say, there are times when it doesn’t feel so good, where my parenting is not up to par or, in their exploration of life, their choices aren’t the best. But remembering that this is all part of change, part of the flow of life, keeps me on the path of happiness.

The question is always, what do you want to experience and who do you want to be during this lifetime? Start with just being you. I take my own advice often, referring to The Waking Up meditation app by Sam Harris. He has a way of having you point your finger back at yourself and realizing there’s no one there to be pointed at. You are just you. Everything is just arising in consciousness, including all of your thoughts. You are just you. It’s pretty fantastic.

From there, having goals is a great way of enhancing that happiness. Recognizing that it comes with all the other stuff, too, is paramount to actually experiencing it. Accepting it all, the good and the bad, keeps you on track to staying on purpose: Being you. And in the end, being happy.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

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The Magic of the $10 Million Mindset

March 9, 2020

I'm all about waking up. Not in the sense of waking up in the morning, although I love that, too. I'm talking about waking up to what is really going on in life. Waking up to the present moment as it is, without distraction from the movie in your mind of regret (of the past) and worry (of the future). When you say, "I Get To," in that millisecond, you wake up with compassion for others and a feeling of being grateful for what you have. And tapping into the powerful force of gratitude can change how you are in the world and bring you to experiencing the present moment, just as it is. The mantra is, Get To – Smile – Do it. Say it enough times, and you wake up more and more.

But there is also another waking up I want to share. It's about waking up from the limitations that we put on ourselves regarding the goals that we have. There's a great quote from Richard Bach's book, Illusions: "Argue for your limitations, and they're yours."

If you say you want $1000. You'll usually, with some struggle and time, get $1000. When someone asks, "Why not go for $10,000,?" you might say, "$1000 is a lot already. I can't get $10,000." Argue for our limitations…

In the chapter, The Magic of the $10 Million Mindset from The Get To Principle, I talk about a way of creating more than $1000, more than $10,000, more than $10 Million, more than whatever it is you currently want. It's about creating a mindset of who you need to become to get what you want to get. It doesn't matter how much or what it is. The point is to create beyond what you think you can.

One way to do this is to increase by ten times the amount you "think" you can get. Let's say you think you can make $1000 a month. You then say I'm going to go for ten times that. In this case, it would be $10,000. As soon as you think, "I make $10,000 a month", you might hear yourself thinking or even saying out loud to yourself, "No way, I can't do that" or "Who am I to want that much money?" But here's the thing: as uncomfortable as it is, just by saying it, creating that larger goal for yourself, on some level, your mind automatically starts to make plans for you to get it. You begin to BECOME who you need to be to make $10,000. You could make your goal $10 million. It doesn't matter. Whatever you want to experience, state it, believe it, and it will start to create for you.

When I first heard of this idea, that 'what you think creates your reality,' I was pretty negative about it. "It just doesn't work that way. Those crazy 'new-agers,'" I thought, even though I pretty much am one. But when I started exploring it, it made sense. Here's a simple way of looking at it: When you say, "I want x," you start looking for ways to make x appear in your life. Even if you don't believe it, your mind, on some level, begins creating that.

Let's say you want to play the piano. When you say, "I want to be good at playing the piano," your mind kicks in: you buy piano books, get a teacher, (of course buy a piano if you don't have one), and get to practicing. If you keep at it, before long, you'd be good. It is that simple. You think it; you create it.

But where the $10 Million Mindset comes in is when you go to the next step and instead of saying, "I want to be good at playing the piano," you say, "I want to be a concert pianist." Nothing really changes: In the moment of saying, "I want to be a concert pianist," your mind will visualize you up on a stage, and you'll start doing things to get you there. The difference is because it's outside of what you're comfortable with, your mind might also say, "No way! I'll never be good enough. Why try?" But here's the thing: Saying "I am a concert pianist" creates a mindset, and you start looking for ways to make it happen. Get through the negative thinking, and you start becoming who you need to become to be a concert pianist.

So what's the key? Decide, and then stick with it. No matter how long it takes, no matter the battle in your mind against the negative thoughts, keep with it. Do whatever you can toward the end that you are wanting to create. Allow yourself to become who you need to be to get what you want to get. And before long, that's what you'll have.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

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Breaking Free of Thought Indulgence

March 2, 2020

A fundamental part of saying "I Get To" is to help free you from the stress and suffering that comes from the non-stop thinking of our minds.

In our everyday lives, we are flooded with thoughts so thoroughly it's like a movie that we have no control over. We don't even know we are "in" a movie created by our minds. The key to happiness is to recognize that you are not the movie, but the one watching the movie happening. From that vantage point, sitting behind the noise of your mind, watching everything unfold, your mind gets quiet. You smile. And life gets fun.

Although we have moments and glimpses where we recognize the noise of life is not us, for the most part, the movie running in our minds is low level, just a natural part of living. It's "who we are." Things happen, and we react with a feeling of good, bad, or neutral. Most things are neutral, and life just moves forward.

Sometimes, however, we get so stuck on one recurring thought, and we can't step behind the noise. We think we might go crazy. I call this Thought Indulgence. It's those times when your mind whirls on and on about one thing that happened, or didn't happen, something you said or didn't say, or something else in life that has you obsessed with thinking one particular thought. This is when we really suffer. I know I've done it a lot.

So how do you break the spell of thought indulgence? Allow me to offer my recipe here in four easy steps:

  1. As soon as you recognize a thought indulgence, say to yourself, "I Get To have this thought." This moves you from the "victim" mentality of having thoughts beyond your control. Just this will help break the trance.
  2. Ask yourself, "Is this a thought I want to have?" Obviously not. But acknowledging this is part of the act of separating from it. At that moment, you step into the driver seat of your life by saying, "I want to change this."
  3. Create a folder in your mind called, "won't happen" and put the thought in there. It might sound silly, but that mental action alone can be a huge relief. For example, think of a blue elephant. Now, decide to put that thought in the "won't happen" folder in your mind. Let it go. Now think of eating an ice cream cone. Pause. Where's the blue elephant? In the "won't happen" file and gone from your mind.
  4. The final step is to be grateful for your life. Here's a tip to do this. Repeat in a whisper the words "Thank you" over and over. Thank you. Pause. Thank you. Pause. Thank you. You don't need to think of anything in particular. Simply say Thank You, and your subconscious will fill in what you are grateful for. Before long, you will have enormous gratitude for your life.

As you get free of thought indulgence, you can start applying Get To in general. I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating. In any given moment instead of saying, "I have to experience this," say, "I Get To experience this." No matter what you are feeling, no matter what you are doing, repeat it either out loud or in your head. I Get To experience this. Say it until you feel it. I don't have to; I Get To experience this. In that moment, you will feel gratitude and appreciation for your life. Your mind will get quiet, and you'll recognize the movie of your life. It's quite interesting.

I want to end with one last idea. The idea is that each of us is here, in our own way, to help each other wake up from the movie of our lives. To help others connect with the essence of life by having a mind that is free of incessant thought. My small way is to share the Get To Principle. Even if one person says, "I Get To" and smiles a little more lightly, I know I have done something good. Share it with others. Say, You Get To, and watch them smile.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

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