How to make Alexander the Great give you anything you want.

So I like stories.  I’ve talked about that a bit.  Okay a lot.

But Legends are even cooler.

Legends are stories that told so well and for so long that they transcended the medium of story and we had to make up a new word to classify them.

Legends.

I found a particularly interesting legend while I was reading today.  Hope you like it.

Painting of Diogenes and Alexander

Painting of Diogenes and Alexander

“According to legend, Diogenes slept in a tub in the open air, carried food in a wallet and was not ashamed to beg alms.  Even his begging was unconventional. “My friend,” he once said to a miserly man who was slow to respond, “it’s for food I want, not funeral expenses.”

On another occasion he was found begging alms of a statue, “in order,” he said, “to get practice in being refused.” 

By the time Alexander had ascended the throne of Macedon, the fame of Diogenes, then some seventy years old, had spread throughout Greece.  One day, as the old philosopher lay sunning himself in his tub, Alexander rode up with his retinue.  Drawing rein in front of the tub, he announced: “I am Alexander the Great.” 
“And I,” replied the other composedly, “am Diogenes the Dog.”

“Are you not afraid of me?”  Alexander asked. 

“Why, what are you, something good or something evil?”

“Something good, of course.”

“Well,” retorted Diogenes, “Who would be so foolish as to fear anything good?”

Struck with admiration for this answer, Alexander exclaimed, “Ask anything you wish of me, and I will grant it.”

“Then be so kind,” said Diogenes, “as to get out of my sunlight.””

Diogenes was a contemporary of Plato and as a Philosopher, barely contributed anything positive to humanity, though he is well known for giving people the finger.

He spent most of his time as a philosopher begging for money and finding holes in the philosophies of others.  While Diogenes is far from a role model, there are at least 3 things that we can learn from this story.


 

1. Confidence

 

I mean lets be honest, the balls on this guy…

WOW!!!

I wish I were so bold.

Diogenes, at least according to legend, carries this air of confidence in himself that is pretty profound.

“Great to meet you.  Alexander the Great was it?  I am Diogenes the dog and no I’m not afraid of you but could you take a step to your right bro, you’re blocking the rays.”


 

 2. Humility

When humility is paired with confidence, leadership is born.

One of my fears as an author and business owner is that when I talk about my business I’ll sound arrogant and turn people off.

Diogenes is humble, at least in this story. He’s even polite.  He’s simple and the man knows what he wants.  He’s found a way to balance this simple humility with a confident and determination that causes Alexander to offer him anything he wants.

Sure his lifestyle choices are a bit odd but he’s content with them so quit judging.

His confidence doesn’t come across as arrogant because he balances the confidence with humility. 


 

 3. Don’t fear the good stuff

“Who would be so foolish as to fear anything good?” 

What a profound question.

As a questions so why is it so hard to answer?  We fear good things all the time.  We fear taking the next step in a relationship even when it’s a good one.

We fear moving toward our dreams.  Sometimes we fear that our dreams might fail which I get but we also fear that they might succeed, and that it might change everything. 


 

My encouragement to you this Friday is to learn from Diogenes the Dog and quit fearing good things. 

Diogenes, while sitting in a bath tub in front of Alexander the Great, was confident, he was humble, and he wasn’t afraid of something good.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.  Thanks so much for reading.

 

*The Legend of Diogenes was originally written by Will Durant in a book titled “The Mentions of Philosophy” in 1929 but I found it while reading a book called “The Making of a Martial Artist” by Sang Kyu Shim.

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Hank Green announces Nerdcon: Stories

So Hank Green announced last Friday that he, and the good people from vidcon, are launching a new conference called Nerdcon: Stories. Nerd Con Stories

I’ve been a fan of Hank and John for quite some time but this is probably the coolest thing that either of them has ever done.

The conference is basically designed to celebrate stories but it goes deeper than that.  It’s celebrating human stories because Hank and the folks at Nerdcon realize that stories are the crux of the human experience. 

Think about it.

We all love TV shows, books, movies, and social media but the reason that we love them is because they are riddled with stories and ever since we were little kids we’ve loved to hear someone tell us a story.

Story permeates our existence.  You can’t hang out with a friend, or call your mom on mother’s day (don’t forget May 10th) without telling a story.

What I’ve noticed is that people not only like to hear stories but we actually ARE stories.  If I asked you to tell me a bit about yourself… you’d tell me a story.

I’m currently writing a book that explores this idea as it relates to relationships and especially as it relates to personal coaching and mentoring relationships.

Side Note: People here the word mentor, and they kind of freak out a bit.  It sounds super profound and complex and they get visions of kung fu masters up on mountaintops but mentoring is very simply listening to and telling personal stories. 

Listening to and telling stories is how we connect as people and it’s how we come together and help each other as well.  If I share a story about something that I’m going through and ask for advice, you would probably share a story about a similar situation and how you got through it.  It’s all stories.

Hank mentions in the above video that  “every human society that wants to behave differently, first has to change the stories they tell.”  This is true on the macro level for society but it’s also true on a personal level for you.

If you want to change, get better, lose weight, get your dream job, whatever… You have got to start by changing the stories that you tell.

Used under creative commons.  Photo taken by Dustin Oliver

Photo taken by Dustin Oliver

Notice that I said stories.  PLURAL.  Change will only happen if you change the story that you tell your friends/family/the world AND the story that you tell the person that lives above your bathroom sink. That would be you.

Change starts when we reframe, and rewrite our own stories.  My goal, as an author, speaker, and entrepreneur is to help you unlock the power of your own story. I do that by listening to stories and helping people see them from a different perspective.

Your story is inspiring and powerful and if you don’t think so, I dare you to send it to me so I can prove you wrong. 

You can email me your story at andrew.linderer@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe.  

P.S. If you know Hank, please let him know that I would be a fantastic speaker for Nerdcon: Stories!  Shoot I’d even just love to just go to Nerdcon, speaking there would be kind of like giving a TED talk. It would pretty much make my life.

Why Bunnies Lay Eggs on Easter: A Personal Theory

Infinity scares me.  Like a lot.  The concept that there is a forever amount of time, not only breaks my imagination but it terrifies me.

I don’t understand it.  Can’t wrap my head around it and I think that a lot of people out there are like me.  And that’s why Bunny’s lay eggs on Easter.

Let me explain.  Easter, at least for us crazy Christians, is the celebration of Jesus death and resurrection, but the death part doesn’t scare us as much as we think it does.  Death is natural.  Part of life… well the end of it anyway.

Death is something we expect to happen, like old age and taxes.  We aren’t happy about it but we’ve accepted it.

Resurrection though.  That freaks us out.  Mummies coming back to life, is the stuff of bad horror flicks, but if we are honest, we expect dead stuff to stay dead.  It shouldn’t and normally doesn’t come back to life.

So when he did…

People lost their minds and they started hiding the eggs and blaming it on the bunnies.

Somewhere in the World Today

Flicker Image: Author “Somewhere in the World Today”

The idea that death wasn’t the end for Jesus, means that he rose again, which he predicted.  He also claimed to be God, and if he was… is (the existing outside the confines of time thing throws me off too) then not only does God exist but the super natural exists.  The transcendent exist.  Eternity exists.

If Jesus just died, like everybody else.  Christianity would be no big deal.  If the natural was all that existed, then we’ve got like 80 or 90 years and it’s over.  I can wrap my head around that.  Not a big deal.

But if Jesus rose, meaning that he is who he said he was, and we need to follow him in order to live for eternity.

That’s heavy.

Like really heavy.

I think I’d prefer to imagine bunnies laying already hardboiled, pastel chicken eggs.

I was brave right before I chickened out

So John Acuff  was in town this past week to speak at a Do-Over-3D-bookshot-with-spineconference.  If you don’t know who he is, you should look him up.  I’ve been part of his 30 days of hustle Facebook group for about 6 months now and it’s really been cool to learn from him and the other hustlers in the group.

If his name sounds familiar but you aren’t sure he wrote a book and a blog called, “Stuff Christians Like”.  He’s also written several other books.  “Do over” is his latest and I’ve got a pre-order copy, and it’s fantastic.  You can still pre-order your copy, which comes with bonus gifts at acuff.me but don’t wait cause I think monday is the last day you can order and get the perks.

Anyway, He was in town to speak at some conference so he posted on his twitter that he was going to be in Phoenix and that people should come eat barbecue and hang out… so I did.

Do-Over-Club-Phoenix-e1427938237923 He actually wrote about it on his blog  and posted a picture  of me… Okay It’s a group shot with everybody but you can see my head in the back if you zoom in.

The evite, was a bit shady and I didn’t know for sure how many people would be there, or if I would even fit in.  I was slightly terrified that it was a meeting for professional speakers and authors and I would be a very small fish in a very big pond but I took the small step of courage and went anyway.

(PS Gilbert is not the same as Phoenix @JonAcuff)

Anyway, there were about 50 people there so it was small enough that you could meet people and network a little bit.  I met a really awesome entrepreneur that I’m hopefully going to feature soon when I launch  #InterviewingAwesome.  More about that below.

I also got to meet John, which was a whole new level of cool.  I don’t usually get super excited to meet authors or famous people.  But Jon’s excitement rubbed off on me.  He is excited about what he’s doing and he’s telling people about it. 

He only spoke for about 15 minutes and just shared some things that he’s been working on but then he asked people to stand up and say their name and what they are hustling on. It was really cool. 

I “didn’t get a chance” to share my hustle at Joes Real Barbecue in Gilbert, which is code for “I chickened out” so I’m going to take the chance here.

My name is Andrew and I am a Business Owner.  I’m working at a church right now, and I love it, but I’m also starting a business on the side.

The business is called Novel Consulting and though we have tons of plans for where we want to go, our focus right now is story driven life coaching.  We believe that all people have and are a story but we also understand that the way you tell that story shapes the way the world sees you and more importantly, the way that you see you.

We just got our first client this week, which is super exciting and I’m frieking pumped.

I’m also a blogger and an author.  My blog is actually pretty good.  I don’t say that to pat myself on the back but more to say that I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done on it.   I mean I enjoy reading it, so I hope other people enjoy it too but I write just as much for me as for the people reading it.

Right now I’m really excited about a series of blogs that I’m calling Interviewing Awesome.  The basic idea, is that I am going to pick people that I find inspiring and interview them, ask them about their life and their business.  My hope is that the interviews with inspiring people will not only encourage my readers but give me a chance to support awesome people as they work towards their awesome goals.  Win!  Win!  Win!!  I already have one interview that is done and scheduled to post on Friday the 10th so check back then to meet Ashley Frank, but I have two more interviews that are in the works and my goal is to do at least one a month.  Hopefully more.

I’m also currently working on a book.  I’ve had a dream to write a book since High School and it’s finally happening.

The book idea, at least right now, is “mentorship made easy”.  My idea is to write something that will give an average person the tools and inspiration to either find or become a mentor.  Ideally, both.

Whew! Okay those are my goals.  They are now out there.  Read Jon’s blog so that you can hear him explain how important voicing your goals is.  The hardest part of bravery is not doing something brave.  It’s telling people that you did something brave.  

Let me know in the coments what you are doing that is brave.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be Interviewing your Awesome soon.  

2 fitness secrets that my 4 year old taught me

IMG_0570The other day I was working out from home and my 4 going on 15 year old daughter, Zoe, was watching me.  (I’ve got one of those cool sets of dumbbells that allow you to adjust the weight. You know the kind, and you know you’re jealous)

After a particularly difficult set, Zoe looked at me with that questioning look on her face and said, “Um… Daddy?”  “Why do you keep… like… stopping?”

Part of me was instantly offended.  “I stopped cause it’s heavy!  You try curling 10 pounds! PER HAND!”

After I got over my initial hurt feelings, I tried to explain.

(Side Note: Yes my four year old sometimes hurts my feelings and no, your judgment doesn’t help.)

I told Zoe that sometimes we have to take breaks.  As I tried and failed to explaine this concept it became apparent to me that the idea of rest was foreign to my 4 year old.  She has unlimited energy and she never gets tired, especially at bed time.  When she wants something, she throws everything she’s got at it; physically, emotionally, and mentally.  No holds barred, no barbie left undressed!

This is great when it comes to learning new things.  She attacks new problems with vigor and determination.  Mind, body, spirit: every part of her is in it. 

There are two things that I learned from my daughter that day about fitness.

1) When you are going… GO!  Her total dedication is inspiring.  She doesn’t do anything half way, and we could all learn from that.  Though her passion is less than pleasant when she wants to stay up after bedtime there is something to be said for her all or nothing approach.  Her whole being fights rest!  She physically squirms, emotionally breaks down and cries, and mentally plans the perfect time to remember that she needs a glass of water.  It’s poetry in motion… constant motion.

But it’s not all gogurt and apple juice for my determined little girl.

2) Her energy runs out, and when it does, she crashes… hard. Don’t believe me… Check out this video of her falling asleep trying to eat a cupcake.

Zoe taught me two things about fitness but that video should have taught you two things about life.   First, my daughter is hands down, way cuter than yours and it wasn’t even close.

Second, WE ALL NEED REST!

The reality of life is that we can’t go forever.  Nobody has unlimited amounts of energy and everybody eventually runs out.  When kids run out, it’s cute and they drop their cupcakes, but when you and I run out, we drop our kids, we get sued by CPS, we lose our job, spidermonkeys take over the world, and bananas start getting traded on the stock exchange.  Don’t let bananas be traded on the stock exchange.  Learn how to rest.

The problems that you and I face are a bit more complicated than those that Zoe faces, as are the goals that we’ve set for ourselves.  For us, rest is vital and it has to be planned.

When a kid misses a nap, bad stuff happens.  Ask any young parent.  When you fail to rest, worse stuff happens. Ask your kids. Ask your spouse.

You will burn out if you go balls to the wall 24/7.  You need to take breaks.

This is true in fitness, but it’s also true in business and personal life.  We need to rest.

Now, just like anything in life, balance is important.  If we rest too much we become lazy, If we work too hard for too long, we get burnt out. 

But for a lot of us, rest has become very ineffective.  We make it to the weekend but are no less rejuvinated come monday morning.  We go on vacation only to come back more exhausted than when we left.  We sit and watch TV while we think about work and call that “rest”.

IT’S NOT! 

Rest is not a passive action.  At the gym, in between sets, I don’t sit and stare at the wall, I focus on breathing and stretch the muscles that I just worked so they will be ready for the next set.  Rest is active.

Rest involves actively turning work off but that’s only the first step.  After we actively turn work OFF we have to actively turn rest ON.  Rest is actively focusing on family or a good book or a great movie. If our mind is consumed with these things, there is no room for work or stress.

The unique ability to shut off one part of your brain and turn on another, is not a skill that you will learn overnight.  It will take some time and some patience, but as you train your mind, much like you train your body, your ability to turn off and/or turn on different parts of your brain will grow.  This will allow you to actually rest.

 What do you do, to actively rest from work?  Maybe you read, maybe you write, take your kid to the park, eat gelato and sip wine at a coffee shop called ground control?  (okay that last one is mine.)  

Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, subscribe and check back on Friday.

What Poems and People have in common

I mentioned in a post titled “I wish I could hate you” that I like poetry but dislike poems.  When I first wrote that, it served as a moment of self-discovery.  Part of me has always known this truth about myself, but writing it was like discovering it for the first time.  It made it real.

Admitting to not liking poems is kind of like admitting that you don’t like dogs.  Side note: I don’t like dogs, not even when they are puppies.  I know what you’re thinking but I’m not a cat person either and dislike cats even more than I dislike dogs.  I don’t like chocolate ice cream either.  Now that you are all enraged and confused, let’s talk about poetry.

Why do I like poetry?  Well I think it’s because I like things that fit.  Things that tie up or reconnect well.  Things that flow smoothly and then abruptly stop… only to pick back up again.

I like the poetry of life and the poetry of art.  I like the poetry of a great movie or a song that’s particularly touching, but it’s only on rare occasions that I actually appreciate the poetry of poems.

Why do I not like poems?  The majority of poems that I have read seem superficial and vapid.  I struggle to connect with them because many of them are void of context.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying.  There are some poems that I really love but I have to search hard to find a poem that makes an impact on my emotional psyche.

It is difficult, at least for me, to derive meaning outside of relationship and outside of story.  Reading poems outside of their authors context, places the burden of meaning on me and I don’t want that responsibility.  Many readers enjoy this burden because the poem inspires them to be creative and then they can manipulate the poem to mean whatever they need it to mean, but I hate it.

I want to know what the author meant.  I want to know who he or she is and how they felt writing their poem. I’ve found that when I do know the author, or at least something about the author, my enjoyment of their poetry is dramaticly increased.

As I think about my relationship to poems, I can’t help but draw a connection to my relationship with strangers. 

When I read a poem but don’t know the author, the poem becomes a fairly meaningless collection of consonants and vowels that struggle to make up words.

Similarly when I meet a stranger, but don’t know their story, they become just a body.  A collection of arms and legs that have the appearance of life but, at least to me, have not become a person yet.  A body, void of personality and story, is just a body.  It’s just flesh.  Easily objectified, judged, or ignored.  But add a back story, a personality, a sense of humor, and what was just a body or collection of words becomes a PERSON, becomes poetry.

It is a struggle to make the shift from seeing people as a just bodies.  It requires that we transcend the physical and look to the emotional and spiritual, and that has always been difficult for me. I’m clearly not the only one either.  Superficial objectification and judgment are not just my problems.  They are our society’s problems. 

It’s much easier to judge a book by its cover than it is to read the book and then review and interact with its content.  It’s easier to make assumptions based on a person’s clothing than it is to take the time to get to know their character.  It is much simpler to see stature than story, boobs than brains but I’m not satisfied seeing people this way and so I am working to push past the physical in order to connect on emotional and even spiritual levels.

I’m not perfect so I welcome ideas from any of you that have struggled with this.  I will say that the thing that has helped me the most recently is to notice a person’s eyes.

It’s been said that, “The eyes are the window to the soul” and so it is only natural that the eyes become the road that we travel on the journey from body to soul. Beatutiful Eyes Best Wallpapers 7

Eyes are emotional body parts.  They are first physical and therefore part of noticing the way someone looks but they also express and show the emotional side of a person.  Looking into a person’s eyes helps me transition from noticing their body to noticing their soul.

When I remember to notice a stranger’s eyes, it becomes much easier for me to connect with them and have conversations deeper than small talk about the weather.

What things help you connect to people and see them as more than just a collection of body parts?