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How To Embrace Your Uniqueness & Beauty

Embrace & fully express

Everyone knows the importance of loving yourself, but it is also something that we forget and neglect to do on a regular basis.

Just think about it. When was the last time you thought something positive about yourself like, “I am so good at keeping the clothes folded around here”? Now, when was the last time you had a negative thought about yourself like, “Why can I never be on time”?

It seems far easier to be critical of ourselves than it is to think of the positive. This reminds me of the “Magic Ratio” made popular by Dr. John Gottman. If you don’t know what the Magic Ratio is, this is how it works. The ratio is 5:1, as in, you need to have 5 positive interactions with your significant other for every 1 negative interaction to maintain a stable relationship. Now, I know we aren’t talking about relationships with others right now, but I think this logic still applies.

To have a healthy relationship with ourselves, we need to remember to think of the positive more than the negative. It’s like a muscle that we have to strengthen. So today I have a challenge for you. Every time you notice yourself thinking something negative about yourself, try to think of 5 positive things about yourself. Doing this will help you remember that you are truly unique and beautiful, both inside and out!

To dig into some other ways to not only embrace but also express your own unique massive beauty check out our Co-Founder’s most recent project by clicking on the image below!

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Why You Are Never Too Old to Play

Today I want to give you a reminder to PLAY!

It is far too easy to get caught up in our responsibilities and forget to take some time to play every once and a while. So today I’m bringing you the below quote to remind you to play from time to time. Take a moment to read it and I’ll meet you on the other side!

Play taps us into our inner self

Have you ever thought of play this way before?

Chances are, most people haven’t. When we are working, being responsible, and doing things the “right way”, chances are we are not playing. Many people would say, “so? When I’m working, I shouldn’t be playing.” Well, this quote seems to be arguing that pretty well.

Many companies are beginning to build in time to their employees’ schedules to work on projects that they WANT to work on because companies have realized that employees who are being encouraged to be creative and have fun at work (in other words, PLAYING) are more productive and happier.

The same holds true for your personal life. When you find yourself playing instead of “fitting inside the lines” you are far more likely to become inspired and have revelations about who you truly are.This is what our Co-Founder, Alexandra Levin, believes and why she wrote the IMBUE Journal.

This is what our Co-Founder, Alexandra Levin, believes and why she wrote the IMBUE Journal. To learn more about what Alexandra thinks about playing, as well as many other topics, click the button below!

Learn More About IMBUE

An A-Z List of Words to Inspire Unparalleled Midlife Growth

A-Z List

Midlife can sometimes feel like a time where nothing new happens and everything bad happens all at once. Your job can start to feel mundane and boring and yet your family life can be changing drastically (or vice versa). So today I am bringing you an A-Z list of words to describe the way things SHOULD be in midlife. If you’re reading through this list and any of these words don’t mesh with where you are in life, maybe it’s time to try something new. Read through this alphabet and let me know which word resonates with you the most.

Authentic

As we grow older, we often find ourselves thinking, “I can’t do that”. We think this way solely because of our past experiences and this sometimes causes us to act in a certain way for your family or your boss or your friends. Instead of hiding your true self, choose to be authentic by, first, rediscovering who you truly are and, second, showing the world the incredibly unique person that you are.

Bold

If you are being authentic, then you should also be bold. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are and what you can do. Boldly show the world that you have yet to do what you came here to do!

“Throwing yourself on the sword takes Back Forty Boldness, and definitely Back Forty Badassity…and yet, what else do you have to do in the next 40 years anyway?”

-Darrell Gurney

Confident

At this point in your life, you’ve been around the block a few times, so be confident! You have a unique set of skills that you have been honing your entire life. Be confident in what you know and share your knowledge (and confidence) with the world.

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Determined

It is important to be determined to reach your goals. After all, you have yet to do what you came to this world to do. Think about what goals you have. Have you been actively working towards achieving them? Or do you find yourself thinking, “one day”, “once the kids are out of the house”, or “after I retire”? I challenge you to commit to a goal and be determined to reach it.

Enthusiastic

When was the last time you were truly enthusiastic about something? Is there something that you strongly believe in? When was the last time you shared that enthusiasm with others? Remember, enthusiasm can be contagious and if you believe in something deeply you should share your enthusiasm with those around you.

Futuristic

The more we grow, the more we tend to keep our eyes focused on the past. We remember what we know to be true from the past. But we must also remember to keep an eye on the future. The best is still yet to come, and if we keep our eyes on the past, we just might miss it.

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Genuine

Who has time to pretend to be what others want you to be? And, honestly, isn’t it better to be genuine anyway? When you are genuine, you pull others towards you.

Hopeful

They say hope springs eternal. Well, I don’t know about you, but sometimes my spring seems to dry up. We need to remember to always stay hopeful. With each setback, we need to remember that we have these setbacks for a reason and that we will still achieve our dreams.

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Inspiring

We have the power to inspire others. We can inspire our co-workers, our family, our friends. The first step towards inspiring others is to be inspiring. Take on life wholeheartedly and never give up. You will achieve whatever you put your mind to and that is the most inspiring thing of all.

Joyful

Don’t let life get you down; and when it does get you down, don’t let it keep you down. There are hundreds of moments each day that can make us joyful – just as long as we choose to notice them. From the beauty of a sunset to the smile of a loved one, we have so many reasons to be joyful each and every day. No matter how many things may seem to be going wrong in your day, remember to pause and appreciate even the small moments that bring us joy.

Knowledgeable

You have your own, unique set of gifts and talents that you have accumulated throughout your life. Some of these talents you have chosen to learn and others were forced upon you, but, regardless of how you learned these different skills, you now have this knowledge. Never forget that no one has the same accumulation of knowledge as you do – your unique experiences have made you valuable in a way that no one else is.

“So many of us resist change when we see it coming, and yet there’s nary a one of us that can’t claim some new understanding, skill, capacity, awareness, knowledge or personal improvement on the other side of any change.”

-Darrell Gurney

Lighthearted

Sometimes we need to be reminded to be playful. Stop taking life so seriously! Go out and have fun! Jump out of a plane, or go to an art show, try a new restaurant. It doesn’t matter what makes you lighthearted and playful – just remember to take some time to play from time to time. Life is too short to be serious.

Meaningful

You have yet to do what you came to this world to do…and you are here to do something meaningful. Think about it. If each and every person on this earth decided to do one truly meaningful thing with their life, how much better would this world be? What are you passionate about? What have you been holding off on doing because you don’t quite believe you can achieve it? Your life is meaningful, and your legacy should be as well.

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Noble

Everyone wants to be considered noble, after all, who wouldn’t want to be considered moral and good? But, being noble doesn’t mean you are more moral or better than those who surround you. As Earnest Hemingway said, “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

Outgoing

We each have our own voice, sometimes we just need to remember to use it. Be outgoing. Be friendly. Be candid. The more you share your true self with others, the happier you will find yourself.

Passionate

This is one that I have held strong beliefs about for as long as I can remember. It is so important for you to be passionate about something. Anything really. I don’t care if you are passionate about feeding monkeys at the zoo – just be passionate! When your life is full of passion, it is full of meaning.

Quirky

I’ve always considered being called quirky a compliment. Quirky is defined as having unexpected traits and I feel that those unexpected traits are often the most powerful. Take a moment to think about what makes you quirky and you’ll  often realize that those traits are also the traits that make you the most unique.

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Radical

Being radical is defined as “affecting the fundamental nature of something”. I feel that when we live our (mid)life to the fullest and prove that our best is yet to come, we are affecting the fundamental beliefs about aging. We are not destined to slow down and get boring as we age and I believe that viewpoint is still relatively radical. By living each and every day of our lives to the fullest, I believe we are all being radical.

Spirited

Being spirited is an important aspect of midlife (and life in general). When we live our lives being as full of enthusiasm, determination, and energy we are truly living life to it’s fullest.

Thriving

We are meant to not only survive but to thrive. So many of us just survive in our current situations while waiting for something better. Instead, decide to thrive. What does it mean to you to thrive? Now take the first step towards that.

To thrive in your midlife, you must first decide to plan for the future instead of dwelling on the past.

-Alicia Hinkle

Uplifting

People who are winning life aren’t just improving their own life, they are also uplifting others. It has been proven that the more you uplift others, the happier you will be as well. People who give to charity and/or volunteer are over 40% more likely to be happy than those who don’t. This statistic holds true for those who express gratitude and help others as well. So do what you can to be happy and remember to uplift others.

Vibrant

Be vibrant. Shine for the world to see.

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Wild

Be a little wild sometimes. Being the responsible one can get boring, and as we age we are often forced to be responsible more and more often. Not that being responsible is a bad thing, it is actually very important. But sometimes it is equally as important to be a little wild and let your crazy side show. Plan a night out and decide to be a little wild.

Xenodochial

I admit it took a little digging to find this one. Xenodochial (pronounced zeena-doh-key-ul) means to be hospitable. Making others feel at home is truly an art. When you can make your friends, family, and even strangers feel as if they truly belong, you are making the world a better place.

Young-at-Heart

I’m always hesitant when it comes to saying two words and those words are “young” and “old”. These definitions are becoming so circumstantial that I cringe when using them. But at the same time, let’s be honest, we are getting older. I believe being young-at-heart is part of what keeps us young even as we age. Remembering to embrace life through the eyes of the young helps us live life to the fullest. Becoming set in our ways helps no one.

Zealous

Finally, be zealous. Live your life with zeal and passion and it is almost guaranteed that your best is yet to come. You have so much life to live, now go out there and act like it!

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20 of the Best Articles to Shift Your Midlife in the Right Direction

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When working our way through midlife, it is easy to feel as if everything is going wrong.

Your kids or moving out, or even worse, they’re not. Your parents are getting older and need more help. Your job is feeling stale but the stability makes you feel as if you couldn’t possibly leave. Your personal style is non-existent. Everything just seems so serious!

The list goes on and on, and with all of these changes, no wonder why people in midlife tend to feel as if things are not the way they should be, or at least are not the way they want them to be.

Therefore, I want to give you a list of some inspirational articles to help you shift your personal midlife experience in the right direction for you. I have 20 articles for you to explore and 7 topics to embrace. Enjoy!

1. Embrace Your Age

2. Find Your Style

3. Don’t Forget About Your Brain!

4. Save More Money

5. Believe in Yourself

6. Make Life Easier

7. Know That You Can Laugh About It

Now that you’ve made your way through my seven topics and 20 articles, I hope that you feel a little lighter, a little more beautiful, and way more inspired!

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How The Back Forty Inspired Joy and Passion at the CWC

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About a month ago, The Back Forty took part in the California Women’s Conference (or CWC). Building up to this event we frantically worked to create the perfect presence. We finalized our first online course, published our first Back Forty journal, and created countless banners and flyers. We didn’t know what to expect walking into that exhibit hall, but we had dreams of the contacts we would gain through our raffles and giveaways, the books we would sell, and the contacts we would make.

Little did we know that another aspect of our booth would be the most rewarding.

At our booth, we had a small recording studio set up. We were thinking that we would interview a few people about the passions they discovered while traveling through midlife. We had no idea how big a role this would end up playing at the conference.

We were thinking that we would complete 15-20 interviews each day, lasting about 5 minutes each. What we weren’t expecting was to be so inspired by the stories of finding one’s passion and the joy of sharing that passion with others.

We ended up conducting about 30 interviews over the two-day conference, but the average video ended up lasting 15 minutes. Suddenly, our expected 3 hours of content became over SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS.

Walking into the event, we had no idea the type of passion and joy we would find in those we interviewed. Now, not only have we had the chance to interview amazing people, but we have been given the opportunity to share these inspiring stories with the world. We have decided to turn these inspiring interviews into an online program aimed at inspiring others to create their second half of life as their best half. Now, this course is not ready to be released yet, but I have put together a short video with some excerpts from our two days of interviewing.

Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7mnZfk513I]

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Have You Found Your Happiness?

Have You Found Your Happiness

Today I was watching a TED Talk about happiness and it got me thinking. The speaker brought up a point that we often seem to just accept without much further thought.

We are always searching for our happiness.

We think, when I get that promotion I will be happy, when I retire I can be happy, when the kids get older I’ll be happy. It’s a common thought process, IF I do this then THAT will happen. But think back 10 years about the IF THEN statements you were telling yourself. Chances are you have achieved those goals and yet chances are that you are still searching for your happiness.

Dr. Srikumar Rao believes that we are hard wired to be happy and that society has just taught us how to be unhappy. You can watch his entire talk below on how to plug into your hardwired happiness, but I have 2 thoughts of my own to share with you as well.

1. Being happy IS something you can choose

Looking for somewhere to start? Check out my previous blog posts: 75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life and Six of the Best Ways to Fill Your Relationship with Happiness.

2. Being happy is NOT as hard as we tell ourselves it is

Take a look at some of our other blog posts about how to remember to be happy: Three Opportunities to KISS Happy, Find Your Bliss, and Happy Resolve.

Just remember that, like Dr. Rao says, you are hard wired to be happy, you just have to take a little time to remember how.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB79PlkJJHg] beach

75 Simple Ways to Be More Happy with Life

Get Happy!

Today I want to inspire you to become happier. Everyone needs a little pick up every once and a while and today I am sharing with you 100 ways to make your day full of a little more happiness.

So, without further ado, let’s get happy!

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Take a nap
  3. Clean something
  4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  5. Read something inspirational (try this or this!)
  6. Sip on some tea or coffee
  7. Get a massage
  8. Say “Bubbles” in the angriest voice you can muster
  9. Plan a special dinner to look forward to
  10. Ignore your phone for a few hours
  11. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for
  12. Watch your favorite TV show
  13. Go for a drive
  14. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger
  15. Do yoga
  16. Listen to your favorite band or singer
  17. Look through local Groupon deals for something to do this weekend
  18. Dance
  19. Bake cookies
  20. Pick 3 things you want to get done today and do them
  21. Go shopping
  22. Pretend you’re a kid again and just PLAY
  23. Pick up some flowers to brighten your home
  24. Read a new novel
  25. Quit a bad habit (if only for a day)
  26. Sing
  27. Buy your favorite sweet as a snack
  28. Find the nearest park, beach, or forest and explore
  29. Stop slouching
  30. Complete a DIY project
  31. Go to any store and pick up 5 items that make you happy
  32. Work on your personal To Do list
  33. Look through some of your old photos
  34. Schedule time to volunteer at an animal shelter
  35. Call your parents
  36. Go see a movie (or maybe even go to a drive-in theater)
  37. Make plans with a friend who you haven’t seen in a while
  38. Cook your favorite dinner
  39. Go window shopping downtown
  40. Pay it forward next time you’re in line to get food or coffee
  41. Are you mad at someone? Let it go
  42. Go to the Zoo
  43. Search for inspirational quotes, write one down, and put it somewhere you will see it regularly
  44. Meditate
  45. Stop thinking about where you are now and think about what is possible instead
  46. Draw a picture
  47. Drink a glass of water
  48. Pick a new sitcom you haven’t seen before and watch the first episode
  49. Download the app Happify
  50. Whisper “Boopity Boop” under your breath in 4 distinct voices
  51. Go to a gym class
  52. Take a bath
  53. Spend time with your significant other – without electronics
  54. Shake up your routine
  55. Play a board game with friends or family
  56. Have a firepit? Build a fire
  57. Make a list of 10 people in your life who inspire you. Then share your reasons why with them
  58. Make your favorite drink
  59. Start a home improvement project
  60. Set a new life goal and take the first step towards achieving it
  61. Snack on some fruits or veggies
  62. Switch up your commute. Leave early, take a new route, and try to enjoy the ride
  63. Find a funny article and laugh a little (I find that BuzzFeed is a good place to start)
  64. Spend some time alone to focus on you
  65. Go to bed early
  66. Jump and try to touch the ceiling
  67. Eat something healthy
  68. Do you have a pet? Go get a hug!
  69. Search for a “No Laugh Challenge” on YouTube
  70. Face something you fear
  71. Skip from one end of the room to the other
  72. Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, try to focus on one thing today
  73. Tell someone you love them
  74. Be spontaneous and do something RIGHT NOW
  75. Smile!

If all of these happiness-inducing ideas aren’t enough, I have decided to start giving you something a little extra each time I write a new post.

Did you know that there are almost 1,500 National Days throughout the year? Some of them inspire conversation, others promote change, and still others just make you laugh. Here are the National Days that fall on April 25, 2017:

  • DNA Day
  • East Meets West Day
  • Hug a Plumber Day
  • Telephone Day
  • Zucchini Bread Day

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4 Pointers to Help Dig Relaxspiration

4 Pointers to Help Digg Relaxspiration (4-5-17) - Take Twoeclectic

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

-Chinese Proverb

The tendency is to do, and do, and do…and keep doing until done.

Our cultural work ethic values pressing forward and figuring it out, whatever it takes.

There’s a lot to be said for pressing forward, yet especially with an easy touch.

When the chips are down, we often go head down, nose to the grindstone and get so tight that we only breathe in.

We forget that tight means no openings for entry…for new ideas, innovative approaches and, God forbid, playfulness.

Literally, I can see myself having two completely contrary personalities at times. When in a relaxed state of playfulness and connection, I can attract play partners like the biggest magnet on the planet. Yet, when I’m tightly wound, trying to figure out through smarts or strategy the best ways to go, often the flow stops…as well as those wanting to be around me.

Winston Churchill, a man with the fate of the world on his shoulders, painted to open his mental creative faculties for battle.

Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, was an avid fisherman–with no bait because he wanted solitude and inspiration, not fish.

Researchers have discovered that people exhibiting relaxed playfulness appear to be better at coping with stress, can easily see things from new perspectives, and are more likely to report leading active lifestyles.

It’s in those moments where it really counts that our exhibiting such playfulness has its greatest impact. Yet, in those moments, a playful attitude just doesn’t make logical sense.

The gold is in the contrary action.

In our second half, we can become rigid in how we have forced things to happen in the past. As Monty Python says, “and now for something completely different”—becoming playful—can feel different, and yet far better for our long run of doing what we came here to do.

So, the next time the tight wad of forcing an outcome wraps you up, contrary action such as loosening your grip may save the color in your knuckles and even incite some chuckles.

Laughing and relaxing in the face of challenges and tribulations may be the smartest strategy to play.

Here’s a few pointers on how to dig on relaxspiration.

Distinguish

First, you have to get really good at noticing the tightness.

Start feeling your body when you’re doing what seems relaxing and easy and then compare it to times when you’re in the heat of forcing something to happen.

If you’re so tight most of the time that a piece of charcoal could turn to diamond in your presence, it will be hard to for you to see it yourself. Do a tightness survey with your friends. Find out how they’d rate you on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of diamond mining.

Ignore

Notice the worldly weight of the moment, when everything seems to hinge on the answer, the path, the route to take absolutely needing to be on the table hours before.

When there’s no time to waste and every slight delay or challenge meets with irritability and a few choice expletives, just ignore the logic…and step away from the critical-importance machine.

It’s really not worth all that tension in your body.  Your health and well-being are of much greater long-term importance.

Give

Give it up! Don’t take yes for an answer. The answer at this moment is no: no to working harder, no to figuring it out, no to breaking necks and backs to force a result.

Don’t give up, but do give up the struggle. This isn’t the way to the peaceful, playful and purposeful person you choose to be.  Accept that you have the right to take a contrary action for the health and well-being of everyone.

Guffaw

Just laugh all over yourself. Find something to do that breaks the rigid, clenched jaw. Getting into the practice of laughing in the face of your moments of all-importance could be the best habit to bring into a Back Forty of contribution. And a good laugh is always a contribution to everyone.

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

-William S. Burroughs

We re-did our first broadcast because the first version has poor sound quality since I was out of the office with low bandwidth. If you’re still intrigued, watch the original version below, you’ll be able to handle the sound quality!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui3VtQuh7dk]

5 Inspirational People Who Prove Midlife Is Just the Beginning

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I don’t know about you, but most Saturday mornings I need a little inspiration to get me going. After all, if you’re not careful, it is easy for the weekends to get away from you. So, today I am going to help inspire you to make the most out of not only your weekends but your life!

Here are 5 inspirational people who decided that they had yet to do what they were here to do in midlife and beyond (plus a bonus)!

1. Winifred Pristellwinifred

Winifred currently holds the World, National, and State records for single lift bench press for her age group and weight class. At the age of 47 she was dangerously obese and decided to make a change. By the age of 68 she had set world records for bench press (lifting 176.2 lbs) and deadlift (lifting 270 lbs). She is now a proud great-grandmother of 3 and healthier than she’s ever been.

2. Pierre Jean “Buster” Martinbuster.png

Buster claimed to be the United Kingdom’s oldest employee. He worked for Pimlico Plumbers in London and even refused to take a day off on his 100th birthday! According to Buster, he was born in 1906 and continued working until he died at the age of 104 in 2011. If that isn’t a dedicated employee, I don’t know what is!

3. Fauja Singh

Fauja is the first 100-year-old to finish a marathon. He also Faujaaccomplished eight world running records for being the oldest man to accomplish each record in ONE DAY. He is currently 105 years old and living in the UK. He ran between the ages of 89 and 101. Why so late in his life? A tragedy led him back to it. He witnessed the death of his fifth son in 1994 and decided to return to his passion for running. He began training and started running international marathons at the age of 89. At the age of 93 he completed the London Marathon 58 minutes faster than the previous world record. Eight full marathons after the age of 89? Pretty impressive if you ask me.

4. Dorthy Custedorthyr

Dorthy was a stand-up comedian starting in 1916. She thought she would never become famous until she got the chance to perform on the Tonight Show at the age of 100 in 2011! After that, she decided that she was never too old to achieve what she wanted to do. She performed on the Tonight Show again in 2012, for her 101st birthday she ziplined the Snake River Canyon, and for her 102nd birthday she base jumped off the Perrine Bridge into the Snake River Canyon and became the oldest base jumper in the world.

5. Werner Bergerwerner

Werner is the oldest person to climb the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. He climbed his first mountain on the list in 2002 at the age of 64 and completed the last mountain on the list in 2013 at the age of 76. How many people do you know who have climbed Mount Everest? Not to mention at the age of 69!

To learn more about Werner, see his Facebook Live interview with The Back Forty Co-Founder, Darrell Gurney, by clicking here!

BONUS: Tao Porchon-Lynchtao

Meet Tao. She is the world’s oldest yoga teacher at the age of 98! She is pretty amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I wrote an entire blog post about her a few months ago. Click here to find out what makes Tao so special!

Hopefully, that is enough inspiration for you today. After all, as we say in The Back Forty, “You have yet to do what you came here to do!” So, what is it that your second half of life has in store for you?

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Sources: GuinnessWorldRecords.com, Wikipedia – Dorthy Custer, Wikipedia – Fauja SinghWikipedia – Buster Martin, HeraldNet.com, and WinifredPristell.com

The Importance of the Unplanned Lessons of Life

Today I bring you a quote from The Back Forty INFUSE Program. Take a moment to read the quote and, as always, I’ll meet you on the other side.

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The first part of this quote that I want to make sure you understand is the reference to “the front 40”. It is a pretty common misconception that the “front 40” correlates to the first 40 years of something and the “back 40” correlates to the last 40 years of something. As it turns out, that is not the case. The front and back 40 are just metaphors for the first and second half of something, whether it be life or career (if you want to learn more about exactly what “back forty” means click here).

Okay. Now that we have the confusing part sorted out, we can move on to the meaning of the quote. The thing I like about this quote is that it is a reminder of how far each and every one of us has come. Think about everything you have learned in your various jobs and careers up until this point. Chances are that if you actually take some time to think about it, you have learned so much more than you usually even think to acknowledge.

What are the skills, knowledge, education, and training that you have learned along your journey? I bet that the first things you started thinking of are your formal education and training, or maybe different skills you have honed like writing skills or negotiations. But I want you to look even further beyond those “planned” skills. What have you learned that you were not planning to learn, what have your hardships taught you? Your mistakes?

If you take the time to actually catalog every single skill you have acquired – chances are you are even more skilled than you were aware of. And that is what I want you to take with you throughout the rest of the day.

You are unique and skilled in ways that not everyone is aware of and when you add up all of your skills, you are a rare individual whose unique skills are unmatched by anyone else.

Now go show the world what you are made of!

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