#24 Giving up being right, even when I know I am, is my fast track to peace and calm (Part II)


#24 Giving up being right, even when I know I am, is my fast track to peace and calm (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

Just to recap, this is Part II in a Trilogy of Life Lessons (#23, #24 and #25) which all have a common denominator.  And that is the principle of ‘right’ and how subconsciously the human need to be right (survive) drives our thoughts and actions.

If you haven’t read Life Lesson #23 I can be right or I can have a loving relationship. I can’t have both (Part I), click on the title for a quick catch up.  Go on, we’ll wait while you read it.

Ok, let’s go.

When you begin to recognise the difference between being upset (angry, sad, jealous, annoyed, frustrated, etc.) and being calm and peaceful (there is often a physical feeling that goes with these that you’ll notice in your body too), and that you have the power to flip from one state to the other instantaneously, if you choose to, is a great place to start to bring your awareness to, for this Life Lesson.

We’ve already established that you can be right OR you can have a loving relationship but the next part of this process is to begin to apply giving up being right, even when you know you are, everywhere in your life.

Essentially, what this means is that you are giving up judgement of how the world is supposed to look (to you).

Let me explain.

Recently I witnessed someone ask the question “What’s with tattoos? I don’t get it. Why would you want one?”

What ensued was a colourful debate over whether having tattoos was right or wrong (according to each individual).

Now I have many tattoos.  One of my sisters does not. In fact I have many friends with tattoos and many friends without them.

So I could have easily jumped onto the debate to express why I thought they were awesome.  And my sister, well, her view is completely the opposite, which should may also have chosen to express.  So which is right and which is wrong?

The answer is neither. Or both.

You see the upset occurs for us when we feel we have to prove our position on a matter, and the feelings associated with that will often flare up even further, when the other person/parties does/do not share our opinion.

Think of a something that you wholeheartedly believe in?

Perhaps it is a religious belief.

Or a political belief.

A belief on abortion.

Or how to parent.

Maybe it’s around a way of nourishing your body.

Perhaps it’s to do with business.

It doesn’t matter but we all have our own ‘ways of being’ in this world (and they are not our own, they have been handed to us through our parents, environment, teachers, friends etc – but this is another Life Lesson for later).

This Life Lesson is not asking or suggesting that you give up your beliefs.  It simply suggests that you give up the need to be right about them (even when you know you are).

Because here is what I know for sure, when you can be right about your place, space and beliefs in the world. And you can be accepting that the person standing next to you (including your loved ones) may not share your opinions but they are also right about their place, space and beliefs in the world, then you are on a pathway to complete peace and calm.

Now imagine a world filled with calm and peaceful people, standing side by side and all accepting of each other.

And before you begin to think that it’s just not possible. If you think that one person cannot change the world, I ask you to remember Gandhi.

I believe that the world collectively will change when we begin being responsible for our own changes.

And I am completely calm and peaceful if you do not agree with me.

Keep an eye out next week for the final chapter, #25 Giving up being right, even when I know I am, does not make me a pushover or a door mat (this one is Part III and vital to fully understanding Part I and Part II).

Jen x

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#23 I can be right or I can have a loving relationship. I can’t have both (Part I)


#23 I can be right or I can have a loving relationship, I can’t have it both ways (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

Life Lesson #23, #24 and #25 are a trilogy of Life Lessons. A Part I, Part II and Part III, a bit like “Lord of the Rings” but in this case, you’ll not have to wade through hundreds and hundreds of pages or sit through hours and hours of film before you find the nugget of gold!

So the common denominator in the next three Life Lessons is the word ‘right’.

#23 I can be right or I can have a loving relationship. I can’t have both.

#24 Giving up being right, even when I know I am, is my fast track to peace and calm.

#25 Giving up being right, even when I know I am, does not make me a pushover or a door mat.

The concept of right and wrong is a survival mechanism for our humanness. For example, if Joe Bloggs, is asked to create an event and he is to ensure that 30 people attend and only ten people turn up, we blame Joe.  But if ‘we’ are Joe, we will blame the situation, the date, the time, the weather etc.  And this isn’t about failing. It’s about how, as humans, we don’t like to be wrong. Flip that and you’ll see how important it is, for humans, to be right.

Let’s look at another situation.

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#22 It is not someone else’s ‘job’ to make me happy. Or to make me ‘anything’ else for that matter.


#22 It is not someone else’s ‘job’ to make me happy. Or to make me anything else for that matter… (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

When I finally got this Life Lesson, my life began to look different, feel different and ultimately be different.

I know I say this a lot about these Life Lessons. But I guess that’s why they are my 49 Life Lessons and why it took me 50 years to learn them. It’s not like I woke up one day and went, oh yeah, I get it! You see, fundamentally, we ALL know this stuff. But it’s the ‘doing’ that creates change. And sometimes some knowledge we have carried around most of our life will be hammered home by something.  And then it becomes a ‘doing’ part of your life.

What I’ve come to know is that the knowledge (knowing) is already inside me and then one day, something happens, and BOOM, my knowledge gets transformed and becomes conscious actions (doing) and my life changes.  Notice all of this has nothing to do with my external world.  The power is 100% in my hands.  My happiness is 100% in my hands.

A few years ago, I came upon this quote. And it triggered some new thoughts which gave me access to some new actions.  I don’t know the author but whoever you are, thank you. It goes like this.

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#21 There is your truth… and millions of others…


#21 There is your truth… and millions of others… (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

Our beliefs are not our own.  Well, they are today but they were handed to us over time. By our parents, family, environment, culture, friends, community, spirituality and the list goes on. And then our experiences amplify them. We make story’s up about them which also helps cement them into our thoughts, minds, and psyche. They become … our truth.

So, if you have your truth (your beliefs embedded over time) and I have my truth (my beliefs embedded over time) and everyone around you has their truth (their beliefs embedded over time) my question to you… is which truth is true? Which truth is real? Which truth is right?

The answer is, they are all right, true and real!

Ok, strap yourself in.

My truth: I eat meat

A Vegan’s truth: They don’t

My truth:  I love tattoos

My sister’s truth: She doesn’t

My truth:  I love to be active, outdoors

My son’s truth: He relaxes by online gaming

My truth: I don’t smoke (anymore)

My Mum’s truth: She smoked (until the day she died)

My truth: I drink alcohol (occasionally)

My Mum’s truth: She didn’t drink alcohol (she was an alcoholic)

My truth: I am heterosexual

My friend’s truth: they are homosexual

I also have my truths around culture, politics, and religion.  And a multitude of other things too.

And so does every other human in the world.

None of them are right and none of them are wrong.

But my truths are my truths. Not right, not wrong, just mine.  Some people share some of them with me, and some people don’t. My truths have also changed over time by being open to new experiences and being open to other people’s truths. Spending the first half of 2016 in Saudi Arabia changed many of my truths. And I hope that my truths keep changing as I continue to live.

Now, for the most part, people’s little truths won’t ‘trigger’ us.  If you only drink tea and I drink coffee, who cares? Right?

But it is indeed the big truths that we will ultimately step on a soap box about and defend in a ‘truth’ sword battle to the death.

I see it on Facebook all the time (and I am sure you do too).  Someone shares their truth, then someone takes offense to that person’s truth, then attempts to put their own truth forward as the ‘real’ truth and on it goes…. backward and forwards until it usually ends up becoming personal.  The facebook community grabs their popcorn and like a train wreck, we can’t stop watching. And all because two people (based on different beliefs) believe their truth is right.

But here’s the thing. We don’t have to agree but we don’t have to disagree either. We could just choose to accept there are millions of truths in the world. None of which are right and none of which are wrong. They are simply just not the same as our own. And that’s actually OK.

And if you have been reading these for a while or you are part of the conversation in the ‘What’s So Right – The Good News Project’ Facebook Group, you will know that I say this on repeat.  These Life Lessons are a practice.  A daily practice.

The first step is always simply to notice when something is triggering you. When you are in inside your head (ego) and outside of your heart (love).

What is right and true for someone else, may not be right and true for you. And that’s OK.

And what is right and true for you, may not be right and true for someone else. And that’s also, OK.

Respectful and healthy discussions can add value to the world.

Arguing over who’s truth is right or wrong is futile.

Ego = arguing and needing to be right.

Love = respecting the truths of the world, even when they differ from yours.

Jen x





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#20 No Matter The Question, Love is the Answer


#20 No Matter The Question, Love is the Answer (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

If you have been following my 49 Life Lessons and the principles behind ‘What’s so Right’ you will know that it’s not based on ‘peace, love and mung beans’ ideals.  It is, however, based on our mindset, our thoughts, and our actions and when we change these we completely transform our lives.

So I can understand that if at first, looking at this Life Lesson, it may seem a little “John and Yoko”! So allow me to explain what it’s really about.

The ‘question’ this life lesson refers to is centered around the conversations that go on in our heads.  We all have a ‘little voice’ that just doesn’t shut up. It chatters away at us nonstop. Do you know the voice I am referring to? Yep! It’s your voice.  It’s not you, it just sounds like you.

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#19 What People Think of Me Is None of My Business


#19 What People Think of Me Is None of My Business (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

I first heard this phrase back in 2004. And as it turns out, I would hear it again in several other conversations with various people over the coming years.  It’s a very simple concept to understand but there is some practice to be done in order to truly apply it to your life.

So let’s break it down.

The opposite of this statement infers that you do care about what people think about you.  AKA (also known as) people pleaser syndrome.  Essentially what this means is that every decision, thought or action we take, hinges around the approval of other people in our life.

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#18 Practice Giving and Receiving; It’s a Beautiful Dance…


#18 Practice Giving and Receiving; It’s a beautiful dance… (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

It was around 2009 that I first heard someone reference giving and receiving as a ‘beautiful dance’.  I was at a full moon meditation in a hall on Chambers Island. I was sitting on a yoga mat in a circle with around about 40 other people.  In the middle of the darkened room was an intricate display of crystals, flowers and candles.  It was truly mesmerising.  We were all offered freshly brewed chai tea.  It tasted like Christmas in a cup! The start of my love affair with chai tea…

This was the first guided group meditation I had ever been to and I was completely awestruck by the energy, the people, and the atmosphere.  The facilitator was Raelene Byrne and I thought she was like some kind of angel.  Her words, to me, were captivating and calming all in one.  I don’t remember everything she said that night (although I will never forget the feelings I experienced) I do remember this one phrase she spoke; “practice giving and receiving; It’s a beautiful dance…”.

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#17 Don’t Pay Me Back, Pay It Forward…


#17 Don’t pay me back, pay it forward (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

Back in 2000 the movie Pay It Forward was released and although at the time it was only moderately successful at the box office it has since (the concept anyway) developed a cult following.  The film is set in Las Vegas in the present day, and it chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney’s launch of a goodwill movement known as ‘pay it forward‘. The film stars Haley Joel Osment as Trevor, Helen Hunt as his alcoholic single mother Arlene McKinney, and Kevin Spacey as his physically and emotionally scarred social studies teacher Eugene Simonet.

I am sure if you are reading this blog you are part of the 90% of people in the world that have heard, if not of the original book and movie, you will definitely know of the concept.

In 2000 I was 34, married, and a mother of two small kids.  To say the movie impacted me is an understatement.  Yes, I cried at the end.  But the feeling it left me with lasted for weeks and weeks. Not happy, not sad but definitely moved in a massive way. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the power this ‘pay it forward’ concept could have on the world.

Now keep in mind this was long before the power of social media and so I was really unaware of the power this movement would garner over the years,  to become a concept that the world now knows and embraces.  There are foundations, charity groups, community groups, a plethora of ways in which this concept is making a difference in the world.

But back up with me again to the year 2000.  As a 34 year old wife and mother all I could think about was how can I implement paying it forward in my life?  And it was at this time that I made the decision to do just that.  Now rather than wait for someone do something for me and then ‘pay it forward’ I decided that I could just ‘pay it forward’ every day.

So I began with always paying two tolls at the toll gates.  I’d pay for my car and the car behind me. I never looked to see who was behind me, this was never about them and their gratitude, this was about me and my newly adopted principles.  In fact, sometimes there wasn’t a car behind me at all and the toll dude would calmly point this out (like I’d lost the plot perhaps).  To which I would reply, “I know. But there will be soon”.  Now obviously there are no toll booths anymore, but this never deterred me.

I also collect coffee reward cards.  I fill them up and then leave the ‘free coffee’ under a random car’s windscreen.

If I receive a scratchie and win, I cash them into $1 scratchies and also place them under random car’s windscreens. Sometimes I’ll just buy ten $1 scratchies and do the same thing.

Occasionally I will handwrite a bunch of notes that say “I hope you have an amazing day! :)” and also leave these in random places.

One time, I got let off a traffic fine. So the next time I filled up my petrol tank, I paid for my fuel and the fuel of the next person who walked in behind me.

I want to make it clear though, that I don’t ‘pay it forward’ in the hope that something ‘good’ will happen to me, or for acknowledgement of any kind.  I do it because it fills my imagination with possibilities.  Possibilities of what might happen next in the day of the person that randomly receives a ‘pay it forward’ gesture.

I imagine it might change what they do next.

I imagine it might change a conversation they are about to have.

I imagine it might change a course of action they are about to take.

I imagine it might change a decision they are about to make.

And then I imagine what that might lead to… and so on… and so on…

So for me, paying it forward is about creating new possibilities in the world.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of gratitude and we can all make sure that is something we practice everyday.

But for me, ‘paying it forward’ is about something bigger.

A ripple effect.

A tipping point for change.

A shift in the status quo.

A different way of thinking.

A different way of being.

And what I know for sure is this.

Ghandi said it best.  I want to ‘be the change I want to see in the world’.

Jen x




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#16 Opportunities come along every second of every day…


#16 Opportunities come along every second of every day… from 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

Have you heard of ‘FOMO’?

It’s a 21st-century acronym which stands for ‘fear of missing out’.

Social media has not only been the catalyst for the acronym but also the breeding ground for FOMO syndrome.

Here’s what the Urban Dictionary says about it.

| fōmō |


a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.

• Evolutionary biology – an omnipresent anxiety brought on by our cognitive ability to recognize potential opportunities: The brothers had last-slice FOMO as they stared at what was left of the pizza.

• Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.

• A form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.


I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you are on social media regularly, you will have, at some point (even if albeit briefly) experienced FOMO.

I know I certainly have.

However, this Life Lesson is not about the psychological effects of social media.

This Life Lesson is about opportunities.  The third point in the Urban Dictionary definition above nails it.  I am going to repeat it again because it’s important.

• A form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.

I’ve highlighted the key point.

Social media has become a part of (almost all) our lives.  And sometimes (consciously or unconsciously) the fear of missing out (FOMO) can more often than not translate into a fear of missing opportunities.  This can translate into questioning if we are doing the right thing in business, as a parent, in our personal lives, at school, the list goes on…

We begin to second guess ourselves…

Does this sound familiar?

Yep, I get it. I really do.

But here’s what I learnt a few years ago.  While we are being distracted by FOMO we are actually missing the gold. The REAL opportunities.

Because here’s what I know for sure.  Opportunities come along every second of every day.  But they can often slip right on by if we are not looking for them.  If we are not present to them.  If we are busy worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Sometimes it’s easy to think that ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ but my warning is ‘to beware of astroturf’!

We can see rain or we can see a rainbow.

We can see lemons or we can see lemonade.

We can see problems or we can see opportunities.

We just have to be looking for them.

Napolean Hill said “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now”

So to Hell with FOMO, be ready for the gold!

Jen x

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What do Kurt Cobain, Oprah, Theodore Roosevelt, Dr Seuss and Bruce Williams have in common? #15 Comparison is the Thief of Joy


#15 Comparison is the Thief of Joy (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn

We all remember the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal.  In particular the infamous scene where they are in a coffee shop and Sally (Meg Ryan) proves to Harry (Billy Crystal) that women can fake orgasms and men would not be able to tell the difference.  The scene unfolds where Sally demonstrates this in full view of everyone in the coffee shop.  Of course she is so very convincing that when she is done and Harry is sitting there in stunned silence (you can click here if you haven’t seen it), a lady at another table tells the waitress “I’ll have what she’s having”! It’s very funny and it makes this Life Lesson that much easier to explain.

You see, Sally didn’t really have an orgasm, it just looked like she did (and well, yes, it sounded like it too)!  So much so that the other woman compared her own seemingly boring ‘sex life’ to Sally’s.  Now how often have you ‘wanted what she’s having’? And no I don’t mean an orgasm… well, ok, it could be an orgasm but let’s just treat the word ‘orgasm’ as a metaphor in this instance!

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