John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Life is Like a Metaphor...Or is it a Simile?

I used to own a t-shirt that said, "Baseball is Life. The rest is just details."

That makes some sense, but you can't flip that around and have it make sense, can you? Baseball may be life for some, but is life baseball?

I mean...sure...you have to get up there and swing for the fences. No one bats 1,000. Sometimes you have to sacrifice in order to get ahead. Every once in a while life throws you a curveball and makes you look silly. And it ain't over 'til it's over.

But...life is much too large to be contained in a single metaphor.

There are so many ideas of what life is or what it's like. What I'm about to write is designed to help us understand just how complicated, intricate, seemingly ununderstandable life can be.

Some think life is like a game of poker. An unseen hand shuffles the deck and deals the cards. You play the hand you've got, and it often matters less how good your cards are and more how well you play them.

Buckminster Fuller suggested life is like a spaceship that didn't come with an instruction manual.

Henry Ford said, "Life is work." Leon de Montenaeken said, "Life is play." Liza Minnelli said, "Life is a cabaret."

Shakespeare said, "Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

George Bernard Shaw disagreed with the bard, saying, "Life is no brief candle to me. It is sort of a splendid torch that I have got hold of for the moment."

Samuel Butler said that life is like being asked to play a violin solo in public and having to learn the instrument while you're doing so.

Thomas Merton said your life is one word in a sentence in a paragraph in a chapter of a book. Your task is to figure out what your word is.

An unknown Jewish theologian got even more granular than that. He said that your life is a single letter that can either be meaningless on its own or meaningful when put into context.

Helen Keller said that life is either a great adventure, or it is nothing at all.

Carl Sandburg wrote, "Life is an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep."

T.A. Dorgan said, "Life is like eating artichokes. You've got to go through so much to get so little."

Shall I continue, or would you rather know what I think?

I think...Life is a classroom.

On Enjoying

Joy is an interesting word. You can't add a typical prefix to it and create an antonym. You can be unhappy but not unjoy. You can experience displeasure but not disjoy. You can express ingratitude but not injoy.

The first homemade cupcake I ever remember eating was during a PTA meeting at my older sister's elementary school. I must have been three or four.

Up until that time, I had eaten more than my share of Hostess products: Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies, Snowballs, Cupcakes. One thing all of these Hostess treats had in common was that they have some sort of filling in the middle.

As I sat there biting into this dry, crumbly cupcake with hardly any frosting on the top I just assumed there would be something in the middle of it--something to make eating this sponge of a baked good worthwhile. There's got to be a filling in here somewhere!

Imagine my shock and disappointment when I discovered there was nothing in the middle but more dried up cake! I figured something must be wrong. Maybe I got a dud. So, I went for another one and attacked it with gusto.

Same thing. Dry. Crumbly. And no filling inside.

Ever the optimist I grabbed a third one before one of the mothers present whispered to me, "There's never going to be anything in the middle of these. You might as well stop before you give yourself a tummy ache."

C'est la vie! Such is life. Sometimes it seems like a dry, spongy inedible thing. You can complain all you want about that, mumble and grumble and kvetch and moan, or you can keep digging in with gusto, telling yourself, "There's got to be a lesson in here somewhere!"

The key, I think, is to learn to enjoy the process of learning.

See, everything can teach you something--especially what we often consider failures. As John Maxwell says, "Sometimes you win; sometimes you learn." Everything teaches you something.

Also, you can learn something new every single day for the rest of your life. There is an endless supply of lessons to be learned, new perspectives to be gained. If you learned to enjoy learning, you'd enjoy every single day of the rest of your life.

If you enjoyed learning more, you'd learn more. The more you learn, the more you do. The more you do, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you enjoy. The more you enjoy, the more you do.

It's possible to create an upward spiral of living, rather than the downward spiral so many of us fall into this time of year. That's what I want to help you do: I want to help you create an upward spiral for 2018. I want this to be your best year yet. That's why I'm writing these blog posts. That's why I offer coaching. I enjoy helping you succeed by learning and growing.

Please, if you're ready to make some changes and begin enjoying life again, contact me today. You won't regret it.

BTW, I have come up with the most laser-focused, concentrated coaching program I've ever offered. It's designed to turbo-charge your life so you can make 2018 the year you become your best self and began to get the things you really want out of life. It costs just $3,000 and takes just 12 weeks. Email me or leave me a comment if you're ready to live the life you've always wanted.

On Learning

Life is for learning. Just think about your first five years here on planet earth. In that time you learned how to walk, talk, eat, go potty, play games, interact with others. The difference between a newborn baby and a 5-year-old is astonishing.

Now think about the next five years of your life. You learned reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic. You learned history, geography, music, sports, and how to tie your shoes. You learned that your parents were fallible. You learned that people die. You learned how to think ahead--how to anticipate. You learned that not everyone was going to be your friend. You learned about people who think and act differently from you and your family.

You learn a lot from ages 5 to 10. Some of what you learned was true. The earth is round. The sky is blue. 2 + 2 = 4.

Some of what you learned was not true. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy come to mind.

There are things you learned early on that have to be unlearned and relearned. And because some of what you learned wasn't true and had to be unlearned you probably learned about disappointment. Hopefully, you learned how to cope with it. Some of us did not.

From 10 to 15, you learn even more--mostly about people and relationships.

Same goes for 15 to 20. You learn more--mostly about how to take care of yourself.

And then...it kinda stops for a lot of people. They begin to call themselves grownups--as if they are grown rather than growing. Sometimes they even begin to regress.

This is a tragedy, and it is all too common in our world. There seems to be something about putting on a cap and gown that causes us to think we're done learning.

But it's not as if there's nothing left to learn. The fact that they call graduation a "commencement" ceremony should be a clue. It's not a finish line as much as it is the start of something new.

The more we learn, the more we do. And the more we do, the more we learn. At least that's how it's supposed to work.

So get out there and learn something new today!

Oh, but in all your learning and doing, don't forget one thing: Life isn't just about learning and doing. Life is also about...enjoyment.

BTW, I have come up with the most laser-focused, concentrated coaching program I've ever offered. It's designed to turbo-charge your life so you can make 2018 the year you became your best self and got the things you really want out of life. It costs just $3,000 and takes just 12 weeks. Email me or leave me a comment if you're ready to live the life you've always wanted.

On Doing

Human beings are doers. When we're not busy doing something, we're busy thinking about doing something -- which is, in its own way, doing something. When we sleep, we dream of things we may yet do. When we wake up, we exercise so our bodies can do even more.

We're designed for doing. We're not trees; we can move from one place to another. Our memories allow us to travel back in time. Our intelligence anticipates things we may do someday. Our imagination can take up places we'll likely never go.

Look at the planet. You name it, humans have changed it, processed it, painted it, preserved it, moved it, or done something to it -- even if all we did was name it. We love to do stuff to the world.

Moss Hart was a director of plays in New York City. He also owned a country home where he would visit on weekends, constantly making his gardener put a few trees over there, a fountain right here, and a small hill just across from it. Playwright George Kaufman once visited and remarked, "It's just like God would do it if He only had the money."

From 30,000 feet we probably look like someone has kicked over our ant hill, all of us rushing here and there doing this and that. It's enough to make you wonder why. What is the purpose of all this doing? Why aren't we like rocks who don't do much of anything? Why do we have both the desire and ability to do so much?

Obviously, there are some things we must do to stay alive (eat, drink, breathe, sleep, procreate, etc.). But even after all of our needs are met, we keep on doing.

Why?

Here's what I think: Our doing allows for more learning.

Life Matters

Like you probably did, I spent some time this past weekend reflecting on the hits and misses of 2017. Then I turned my face to the future and thought about what I want in 2018. It's important to do this every once in a while.

I've learned it's not a great idea to do this while you're high on pain medication and muscle relaxers!

It can get deep and dark and morose. And you can start to think about things that are a little bit deeper than just goals and plans. You being to ponder the mystery of life. What is life? What's it all about? Why are we here? What's the point? Is there a point? Why bother?

Most adults have logged at least some time wondering about the meaning of life. You either consciously or unconsciously came up with an answer that satisfied your mind, and that answer has either stood the test of time, or you shrugged it off and ordered another beer.

The question that must be answered before we consider "What's the meaning of life?" is, of course, "Is there a meaning to life?"

The answer is...I don't know.

However, I am going to continue exploring the first question as though the answer to the second question is yes. Because if the answer is no -- if there is no meaning to life -- then it won't matter that I've spent a few minutes speculating on the meaning of life. So, I'm going to assume there is a purpose, and I'm going to answer the pressing question.

What is the meaning of life?

I believe life is for doing, for learning, and for enjoying.

That's what I'm going to write about over the next few days.

Doing.

Learning.

Enjoying.

BTW, I have come up with the most laser-focused, concentrated coaching program I've ever offered. It's designed to turbo-charge your life so you can make 2018 the year you became your best self and got the things you really want out of life. It costs just $3,000 and takes just 12 weeks. Email me or leave me a comment if you're ready to live the life you've always wanted.

Welcome To Your Life

I went to school for a long time. I learned how to figure the square root of an isosceles triangle. This did not help me one bit in real life, but I learned how to do it. I did not learn how to forgive myself or others.

I learned what direction migrating birds fly in the autumn, but I did not learn how to figure out which way to go myself.

I dissected a frog, but I did not learn the mystery of human relationships.

I learned who wrote "To be or not to be, that is the question," but I did not learn how to answer that question.

I know what pi is, but I'm still not sure who I am.

I can diagram a sentence, but I do not know how to love myself.

That our educational system is ill-equipped to teach us the "secrets of life" is not a secret. In school we learn how to do everything -- except how to live. And maybe that's just how it should be. Unraveling the great mysteries of life takes courage and determination. This only comes from self-motivation.

There is more to life than reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic. Of course reading is a positive thing -- otherwise, you wouldn't be here. And I'm glad I learned 'riting. As for 'rithmetic, well, as Mae West said, "One and one is two, two and two are four, and five'll get you ten if you know how to work it."

And that's what I'm talking about: how to work it.

It's true, a lot can be learned from adversity, but most of the same lessons can be learned through enjoyment and laughter. If you're anything like me, you've probably had enough of adversity. So, if you're looking for serious, pedantic, didactic instruction, you will not find much of that here. I intend, with a light touch and a light heart, to present techniques and suggestions -- the kinds of stuff I talk about with my coaching clients.

And I'm going to ask of you what I ask of them: What if it works? What if you took this crazy idea and gave it a shot, and it actually worked?

If it works for you, great! Use it. It's yours.

If it doesn't work for you, let it go and try something else.

You may not like some of the things I say. You might find some of it untrue. If/when that happens, don't discard everything else I write. Some of the things that don't work for you will work for someone else, and vice versa. It's a big world. We're all at different points on our personal journeys. Life has many truths. Take what helps you and leave the rest.

If you take 10% of what I write here and apply it to your life, I'll consider this whole enterprise a success.

When you were born, you probably had quite a welcome party. You were probably too young to remember. But you're on the cusp of a new life, a new year, a new you. So...WELCOME!!! Welcome to your life! Buckle up; crazy and wild things are about to happen here.

Oh...by the way...I have just created a new coaching program designed to help people just like you get and keep the life you've always wanted. It's a 12-week program. It costs just $3,000. Leave me a comment or send me an email if you're interested. This is your one and only life. You deserve to make the most of it.