June 8

Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES

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“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki

Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES - Sunrise
Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES – Sunrise

A professor once visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
“The cup is full!” said the professor. “No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” Zen Story via Rider Univ

Is Possibility the same as Probability? What do you think? According to scientists, The sun, moon and planets rise mainly due east and set due west; that’s a verifiable, probable fact. The chance that the earth will be hit by a gigantic meteorite this year is possible but not probable. Clearly, they are not the same but we need and experience both in our daily lives. We go through life grappling with probable and possible events that keep us on our toes and make us strive harder to merge them into one. When our probable and possible efforts mesh, we reach = Accomplishment of goals. But as an article in PsychologyToday points out, just because something is possible does not mean that it is probable.  So what?  If we lived life only for things that are probable, we’d make no effort to achieve our goals and dreams. That is why we need to adopt a Beginner’s Mind and learn to stay open to new ways of understanding life and its endless possibilities.


“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” George Bernard Shaw

Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES - Sunset
Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES – Sunset

Time To Learn: A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:
“If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen.”
The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then ?”
Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”
“But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?” asked the student.
“Thirty years,” replied the Master.
“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?”
Replied the Master,” When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.” via spiritual-minds

Why bother encouraging people to get motivated over a term that comes with no guarantees? If we knew every outcome and every answer, the growth and drive to achieve would be diminished. Where does the motivation to perform come from? Think about it and read the advice the Master gave the Student above again. We know there is night and day and we expect it to happen without any effort on our part. Sure, if you live in areas that experience Northern Lights, there is a shift as to when night/day occur but they do, and we can go about our lives and do nothing to prompt the shift. By the same token, if we knew for certain that every action we take will produce an exact outcome, we would probably skip all the extra effort, mega steps, and life adventures that often take us from point A to B. We need the spirit of possibility to keep us fresh, open and adventurous… our motivation to act every day depends on it.


“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem

Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES - Northern Lights
Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES – Northern Lights

Stay Open To Possibilities: One day, Huangbo went up to the lecture hall and said to his monks. “What are all you people seeking”?” He took his staff and swung it around to chase them out of the hall, but they didn’t leave.
He said. “You people are all slurpers of dregs. if you go on like this, how will you have today? Don’t you know that in all of China there are no teachers of Zen?”
Then a monk came forward and said, “What about those who guide followers and lead groups in various places?”
Huangbo said, “I don’t say there’s no Zen, just that there are no teachers.”
Interpretation: Before you first hear about Zen, you have no fixed ideas and know nothing about it. When you first enter the practice, you are quite open-minded and innocent. The practice seems like a wonderful, fresh-flowing stream of new possibilities. … Little by little, the practice may lose its flowing freshness and become somewhat stale. In other words, some sediments may begin to form, and you may become the kind of student Huangbo called a dreg-slurper. You may come, like Huangbo’s monks, to hold some position in the hall and not be able to adapt or move when the teacher swings his staff… via Being Upright by Reb Anderson

Why hold unto the Possibility of Dreams? Why is it Important to let go of Rigidity?  If we lived our lives like an automated machine in a factory, we would leave no room for exploration, adventure, and the possibility of accomplishing goals beyond our limited perspective of what is feasible in our world.  We dream, not just because it feels good, but also because it awakens our minds to the infinite opportunities out there. When we allow ourselves to move forward like the fresh-flowing stream mentioned above, we do not stagnate, we flourish and bloom in new ways and places. Sticking rigidly to the same thing over and over again is limiting and myopic. Even those with mastery add to their skill set by pushing the boundaries beyond the familiar and dreaming/imagining new areas of growth.  We can develop skills that improve with practice and, while at it, we must let go of controlling every facet of our mastery… A beginner’s Mind opens new vistas that make our skills sharper and unique.

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for May and June are:
05/18 – FITNESS
05/25 – SERVICE

06/29 – TRUST

Always More Below!

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.” Jean Houston

Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES - Sunset
Motivation Mondays: POSSIBILITIES – Sunset

Worse than a Clown: There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma.
Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he started laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing.
The young monk was very disturbed by the master’s reaction. For the next 3 days, he could not eat, sleep nor think properly. At the end of 3 days, he went back to the master and told the master how disturbed he had felt.
When the master heard this, he said, “Monk, do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that YOU ARE WORSE THAN A CLOWN!”
The monk was shocked to hear that, “Venerable Sir, how can you say such a thing?! How can I be worse than a clown?”
The master explained, “A clown enjoys seeing people laugh. You? You feel disturbed because another person laughed. Tell me, are you not worse than a clown?”
When the monk heard this, he began to laugh. He was enlightened. via spiritual-minds

Laughter is a powerful antidote to rigidity and sameness. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling uptight and disturbed by things that seem so out of sync with your familiar way of being, try laughter. Laughter releases the same sort of endorphins that give us a sense of well being when we exercise. In the same way, staying open to possibilities puts us on the road to success, and opens the door to the sort of adventure that becomes fodder for life. We gain wisdom from our varied experiences and without such variety, we have little to share.  We gain such experiences by taking chances, exploring possibilities and just going with the flow. When we imagine the world, we need to see the world beyond our small neighborhoods and open our minds to how much more we can learn and grown.

Lately, people are on the “Branding” bandwagon and some have a misconstrued idea of what branding truly means. They think it means some small, rigid label that represents who/what they are, and they work to limit their exposure by being exclusionary. Please let go of that nonsense. Think of Coca Cola and the biggest brands out there. They created a product and marketed it to everyone they could connect with globally. They didn’t limit it to a chosen few and that is how their brand grew. Some people get so hung up on their Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, and other Social Media accounts that they stop thinking… Your brand will grow when you grow! Think about this folks. Open the door to the possibilities out there. Until we stop being rigid, we’ll never know where our light will shine brightest. As Albert Einstein once said, “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”  … and marks real advance in life too. I concur.

Positive Motivation Tip: To grow, we need to be able to raise new questions, explore new possibilities and look at the old with new eyes… creativity and imagination live there.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for end of November and all of December below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: From  Sunrise, Sunset, Northern Lights, Laughing, via Wikipedia and/or my Personal Collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


#MotvnM, imagination, inspiration, life, Motivation, Motivation Mondays, motivational stories, positive attitude, Possibilities, postaday, probability, Zen Stories

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  • Of course not – probabilities and possibilities are two completely different things. I do like possibilities a little better, though.

  • I always look forward to your Monday motivational posts. I do think there is a difference between probability and possibility though.

  • Sometimes it is difficult to remember that there are always possibilities for whatever we do. Thanks for sharing these quotes. Love them.

  • Deciding to act and not react…that spoke directly to me. It was a crazy week last week, I mostly acted in a stressful situation but I did react some. Time to refocus my energy this week.

  • I’m a 6th grade teacher, and each year our students take a series of state tests. I have conferences with each student, in which we look at the trajectory of their previous scores, then set goals for this year’s test. In almost every case, those students meet (and often exceed) those goals. I think a big reason for that is that relationship between possibility and probability. According to the statistics, those scores aren’t probable — but with hard work and determination, they become possible!

  • staying open to possibilities puts us on the road to success – I totally agree on this. hope and courage goes hand in hand when you are open to possibilities.

  • I’ve actually tested laughter to see if it would work even when I was really upset. It does! I don’t know how it works, but it definitely does.

  • I love the story about the Monk and the clown comment. Sure gives you a different perspective on it.

  • Sometimes we tend to weigh things out and forget that there are possibilities—the possibility that we may be wrong or the other way around. But we have to take the challenge life is giving us, and you’re right just go with the flow and everything will be okay…if you have faith in yourself.

  • In life, there’s endless of possibilities. I really love how to touch this subject, you wrote it really well.

  • I agree laughter is a great cure for rigidity and sameness. I also read somewhere that laughter can also make you slim and there are actually fitness clubs that offer classes.

  • Great post! One shouldn’t stop and be content with that they know and what they have. There’s always a lot of opportunities for you to grow.

  • hi Eliz, I tried to sing your comment (anonymous till now): maybe you like to add something:

  • Your photos are wonderful!! I agree too, keep an open mind and laughter is the best medicine!

  • Branding is important and should receive ample budget from an organization. It should not be directly equated to sales but companies should see that branding could open doors and endless possibilities for the business. Being rigid will eventually lead the company to its own death.

  • Those photos just lift my spirit up, I am down this morning but looking at these cheered me up.

  • I think sometimes the growth is in the trying. Even if the outcome is not probably, you grow as a person reaching for the stars!

  • Thanks for the tips and advice. Your brand will grow when you grow… I have to admit that I am one of the many on the branding bandwagon… Perhaps it’s because of the Asian society and environment I’m in… but yet again, that’s not an excuse…

  • This is such a great post!! I really needed this! The northern light are so beautiful they’re on my bucket list.

  • if there’s a way, there’s a possibility!…possibilities are always within your reach. I love all the photos. Very inspiring!

  • Beautiful photos – makes wish I was back in Cali watching the sun set over the pacific

  • I always love your photo collections. I’d love to see those Northern Lights in person one day.

  • I love motivational Mondays! I think for this week my goal is to see the good in every situation!

  • I am open and ready for anything motivational Monday possiblities so deep. Especially like laughter is powerful antidote this is so true. If i did not have a sense of humor life would be so blah blah!

  • These are beautiful photos, and ways to get people motivated. I love your quotes, and I definitely love each of your posts you do!

  • Lately I find myself especially grateful thus your prompt this week reflects my soul’s delight.

    What gorgeous photo collection you have!

  • Those sun pictures of yours are breathtaking! What month of the year did you get those Northern Lights photos and where exactly? I would really like to see that phenomenon for real.

  • Many are usually confused between the word probable and possible. They have a similar meaning but I agree with you, they are different. To my understanding, probably means likely to happen while possible refers to what can happen. When we learn to differentiate the two, we would see clearly that there are a lot of possibilities in the world. And when we know that, we would strive to do or achieve the things we want and have always dreamed of.

  • How beautiful!! I love the ambiance of these photos. The possibilities are endless! Love what you created here!

  • love the pictures of the aurora and the one with purplish pink sky! they’re all so pretty! and possibility and probability is definitely not the same. the latter can be solved by mathematical equations but the former has no way to verify. and of course, possibilities give us hopes.

  • I love the first sentence of this post. If we mentally ready for everything, impossible is nothing. =D

  • Those images are stunning. I love the mystery of a possibility, anything is possible and life brings so many chances.

  • Very detailed article, possibilities is really a big thing when it comes to making decision or taking a huge risk in choosing life path.

  • The POSSIBILITIES-Sun Rise, Sunset pictures are really amazing. I like the quotes from Shunryu Suzuki and George Bernard Shaw. The whole post seems to be very inspiring. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  • You know what, I’ve really grown to love your blog Elizabeth. Its made me think in ways I haven’t thought since before I had kids. I love the idea of approaching something with a beginner’s mindset, its almost like looking at the world through the eyes of a child and seeing the wonder in their eyes. Its sad that as adults a lot of us loose that wonder and joy of self discovery. I’ve got to get that back.

  • I totally love what you are sharing here. I can resonate with a lot of it! Very inspirational!

  • This is an inspiring post indeed. It makes you think different about all we can achieve if you look at things without out assuming . Thanks for sharing.

  • There a lot of things we feel we can’t do until we try then we discover that it’s possible. It’s really better to be open to possibilities than already start having preconceived limits.

  • Simply love those Aurora photos. Possibilities are always there, but probabilities that you explore them are limited.

  • Think big and Aim High! That I learned from my late dad. There are lots of possibilities to be discovered if only we seek them.

  • Great post as always! You got me thinking about a lot that has been on my mind recently.

  • Beautiful photos as always. The possibilities are what make life so filled with excitement and depth, after all! 🙂

  • The pictures are beautiful! I love Motivation Mondays! I love all the quotes, I use many of them daily.

  • These sunsets are gorgeous! They are motivating all by themselves! Great tips we can all use a little motivation in our lives!

  • What beautiful sentiments. I need to open my eyes to more possibilities. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Many interesting points mentioned here. I am always trying to smile or laugh often as either will give me a good feeling inside. The photos here are all so beautiful. Thank you for sharing!  

  • The possibilities are endless. This is what on my mind eversince. The success of an individual depends on the possibilities he could explore. Fernando Lachica

  • So many possibilities out there!!! We seriously do have to be open to anything and everything in order to grow 🙂

  • So many gorgeous photos fitting with the idea of possibilities. I know that I don’t like living a rigid life and want to be open for opportunities which come my way.

  • It is true that we need to prepare ourselves for learning to happen by providing space in our minds for the ideas of others.

  • Those pictures were breathtaking! I do appreciate the motivational bouts throughout the post and some gave me much to think about (especially the “hard working apprentice to find Zen”)
    Thanks for this one!

  • Quite the inspirational post this one, Elizabeth. Staying open to possibilities is truly something that gets more difficult with age… And experience.

  • The thing I love most about possibilities is that some you are in full control of, while other times, you simply have a bit of luck guiding you towards them.

  • I love the beautiful photos of the sunsets and Northern Lights! There is so much possibility in each new day, it’s exciting when you think about it!

  • I really like the phrase that your brand will grow when you do. Real life has such a big effect on how we run our businesses, and when we grow amazing things can happen.

  • We stop growing and learning if we don’t have a dream. So always have a dream and believe that everything is possible if we dare to try.

  • After so many ups and downs in life I began to look at things differently. I do agree with you that Possibility the same as Probability. Anything can happen be it miracle or something not so good unexpected. Never stop going for our dream and happiness because its possible we can achieve it.

  • What a great collection of quotes! We can all learn from being able to clear our minds sometimes.

  • I can look at those sunset photos for a while. Those are my favorite. They look all stunning and so romantic.

  • We must anticipate the possibilities in our lives. Motivation within the family needs to be nurtured jointly. We must be aware that possibilities are endless. Fernando Lachica

  • Those pictures of the Northern Lights are really cool! I would love to see them some day. Hopefully I will get the chance.

  • Learning is a continuous process, one of my teachers always say. I try to do that everyday.

  • I’ve read from somewhere that possibilities are always not there so better grab it once you can. I agree with all the quotes. Very uplifting thoughts!

  • Thank you for your motivation post :-_ thanks for inspiring us for the first day of the week

  • You got great insights, thanks for sharing. I just joined the Motivation Mondays group in FB, still waiting for approval 🙂

  • I love Mondays and I love your Motivation Mondays. Mondays seem to be my worst day of the week and I love getting motivated by your posts

  • Possibility is definitely linked to positivity. For me, possibility is one of the reasons why I keep going. Because there are too many wonderful possibilities I don’t want to miss. 🙂

  • Possibilities are endless. We just need to find a way to create and make those possibilities happen.

  • Another inspiring post. I always believe that everything is possible. That keeps me going and always hopeful.

  • The possibilities in everything that we do is endless.Let’s keep it always positive, though.

  • Another very inspiring , uplifting post from you. Possibilities are endless! always believe that there’s always something good. Thanks, Eliz:)

  • Interesting Motivation Monday. To improve ourselves we need to explore possibilities.

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