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Personal Development, Canine-Style

Personal Development, Canine-Style
Bloodhound

    It must be morning; I’m hungry.
    Then again, I’m always hungry, so it could really be any time.
    I can hear the shower and feel the sun on my back, so I’m guessing the Boss is awake.
    I lift my head off my bed and look down the passage.
    I want a shower too.
    Sometimes I try and get in but he won’t let me.
    Boring.
    He’s not so happy in the mornings any more.
    He used to be, but things have changed.
    I think it’s stress.

    Not really sure what that is, but I know it’s not good.
    It’s a human thing.
    I’ve heard him talk about it on the phone.
    Don’t really know what a phone is either, but I know they’re good to chew.
    Chewing’s one of my favourite things.

    In the old days we wrestled every morning.
    He’d pull my ears and I’d jump on his head.
    These days, not so much.
    Before he went to work, we’d play ball.
    After work too.
    He’d throw, I’d fetch.
    He’d throw, I’d fetch.
    Forever.
    What an amazing game.
    Such fun.
    He’d laugh and talk human. I’d growl.
    I’d laugh if I could.
    Mostly, I’d just wag my tail.
    I think it’s sad that humans don’t have tails.
    Sometimes he’d lose focus, so I would nudge him.
    Maybe a little nip on the hand just to keep his head in the game.
    How much fun can one Golden Retriever and one human have?

    But lately he seems grumpy.

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    Sometimes, I wonder if he still loves me.
    I lick him anyway because he’s my favourite human in the world.
    I get so excited to see him.
    When he hugs me, my tail wags all by itself.
    I wonder why my kisses don’t make him happy like they used to.

    In the good old days, we would walk to the park every day.
    We’d hang out with other dogs and humans.
    I mostly played with Kelvin the fat Labrador and the Boss would laugh with Kelvin’s human; a female who smelled like vanilla.
    I licked her once.
    She didn’t taste so good.
    We don’t walk together much these days.
    And when we do, he talks on the phone.
    I hate that phone.
    I’m gonna eat it when he’s not looking.

    I liked it more when we lived in the first house.
    The little one.
    Three houses ago.
    He played with me the most in that house.
    I loved that place.
    He was happier and he didn’t yell at me for getting on the couch.
    Or chewing his shoes.
    We used to watch TV together on the couch every night.
    Well, I slept, he watched.

    He would rest his hand on my head.
    I like that.

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    Now we live in a big house, with a big stupid couch.
    A stupid couch for humans only.
    Not dogs.
    I don’t like the big house or the big couch.
    He makes me stay down on the stupid slippery polished floor boards.

    The other day I slid into the table and hurt my nose.
    Stupid floor boards.

    Walkies

      When I was puppy we used to go everywhere together.
      We would both ride in the old station wagon and I would put my head out the window.
      Or on his lap.
      It was the most fun ever.
      I don’t know why humans don’t do it.
      Head out the window, that is.
      Don’t they know?

      No more head out the window action for me these days though.
      Mr Serious has a new fancy schmancy car.
      Apparently, it’s a dog-free zone too.
      On the rare occasion that I do get a ride, I have to lie on three blankets.
      And no wind in my face.
      What’s the point of that?
      Like having a bone you can’t chew.
      Stupid.

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      We used to go to the beach every weekend in that old station wagon.
      We surfed together.
      Well, he surfed, I chased seagulls, played in the waves and rolled in the sand.
      He liked talking to the girl humans who wanted to play with me.
      They only talked to him because I was there.
      Sometimes he got kisses but I always got more.
      On the way home I would put my wet, sandy, hairy body on the front seat and he was happy I was next to him.
      I loved that car too.
      Those were the days.
      We haven’t done that since I was four.
      Five years ago.

      Too busy apparently.
      Too busy being successful and important to have fun with me.
      Glad I’m not successful, it doesn’t look like much fun.

      But I’m so adorable, I don’t understand why he doesn’t miss me.
      In fact, I don’t really understand him sometimes.
      He’s meant to be smarter than me but lately, I’m not so sure.
      I know I’m just a dog and I don’t really understand a lot of human stuff, but I do know about fun and happiness.

      He’s rarely happy these days.
      And he’s always too tired to do anything.
      Even when I pull his sleeve.
      Or lick his face.
      If he got rid of the stupid slippery floor, the dumb couch, the dumb car and played with me more, then he would be happy.
      Me too.
      I used to sleep on the end of his bed.
      Used to.
      (heavy sigh)
      But now he has a new dog-free bed too.
      Of course.
      It’s expensive and apparently I moult.
      Whatever that means.
      I hate that bed.
      I chew the legs when he’s not around.

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      Next year we’re moving to another house.
      A bigger one.
      Maybe that will make him happy.
      Hope so.
      Doubt it though.
      If I could speak, I’d tell him that too.
      I don’t get the big house thing; there’s only him and me.
      Us dogs don’t really care how big our kennel is, we just want to be near our human.

      Anyway, I’m very excited about today.
      I’m gonna hang out with Charlie for a while.
      He’s my buddy from over the fence.
      We made a hole so we can visit each other.
      I’m not really sure what kinda dog he is, but it doesn’t matter.
      He’s pretty smart but not quite as handsome as me.
      We do fun stuff together every day.

      Mostly we chase birds.
      I hate those birds.
      And we chew old lady Jacobs’ laundry baskets.
      We’ve eaten three of them.

      Baskets not birds.

      Then I might lie in the sun.
      And chew my foot for a while.
      I might have a power-nap too.
      Chasing birds makes me tired.
      I reckon the Boss should lie in the sun with me.
      And chew his foot for a while.
      It’s relaxing.
      It might help with his stress.

      Whatever that is.

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      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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