086: How To Turn Chaos To Calm [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

You don’t have to look far to find that chaos is running rampant in our society and world. If you let it get to you, it will hinder your success and ruin your outlook on life. Today, I talk about one powerful key making sure you can stay calm in the midst of chaos.


“I’m so busy I don’t know whether I found a rope or lost my horse.” – Mark Schaefer

If you watch the news or stream social media, you can easily be overwhelmed by all of the chaos that floats through our society.  If you flip through the talk shows or read the news feed, Politics and conspiracies, opinions and non-factual information threaten to wreak havoc and steal the joy in which God wants you to live.  

Happiness is based on short, external bursts of happy feelings.  When you get that job promotion- it makes you happy. When you get an A on a test.  The sugar rush of a chocolate frosted donut.  It makes you happy.  But happiness is fleeting.  What you want is Joy. 

If you find joy, you find happiness.  If you find happiness, you may or may not find joy.  And the problem with society is that we spend more time looking for happiness, rather than that foundation, confident, fulfilling experience of joy.  And it doesn’t take long to have happiness sucked right out of us because the chaos of life happens.   

And you see the negativity around you – there’s plenty of it.  

The key to turning Chaos to Calm is simply this.  You chose to do it.  

I’m going to give you three choices but the overall key is to understand that you have a choice.  Feeling chaotic is still just a feeling.  And if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I’ve said this many time because it’s true.  You have the power to chose what meaning you put on your emotions.  You have the power to chose how to respond to those feelings.  Yes, feelings are strong and consistent but once you make up your mind what those feeling mean, it makes all the difference in the world.  

So here are three choices you can make to turn Chaos into Calm

  1. Choose your attitude – In our brains, we all can hear a parent or teacher right now.  ‘Attitude’ a settled way of thinking or feeling.  When I feel like all of the chaos in my world and the global world is just too much, a simple choice of saying, “It’s going to be okay” is settling your way of thinking or feeling. 
  2. Choose your focus – Bondurant speedway. “Target fixation”. Often, when the chaotic feelings happen, you need to intentionally hit pause and focus on the most important thing going on.  If your finances are in chaos, make a budget.  Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University.  If you have 18 action items that should be accomplished in the day, slow down, organize them using my Productivity 101 cheat sheet.   Ask, at the end of the day, which one has the greatest consequence if I don’t get it done.  Regarding world events, it’s important to know what’s happening in France right now for example.  But don’t focus on it.  Don’t obsess about it.  Focus on that which you can control.
  3. Choose your response – I mentioned this earlier and it is intentionally third on the list.  Once you settle your mind and slow down to focus on that which matters, then you can choose how you are going to respond.  If you see a 10% drop in revenue from the previous quarter, don’t jump off the ledge, find out why and then chose to respond or not.  Same with world events.  If there is something you could do in local governments or in your community, get involved if it’s a wise thing for you right now.  




074: You Need Mental Weight Loss [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

Did you know that just as your body can get out of shape your mind can as well?  When was the last time you got in shape mentally?  How do you do that?  I’ll talk about the importance of mental weight loss and how it is a key to peace and success.

On This Episode:

The basic process for weight loss is simple.

  1. Commit to it.  This is mentally saying, “I’m going to do this no matter what!”
  2. Eat right.  What you take in is healthy (increase the healthy and decrease the unhealthy
  3. Exercise (movement).  You need to get off the couch!

When you lose weight, your body is simply loosening and getting rid of the toxins and sludge that is stored up in your body.

As much as we put our focus into our bodies, what about your mind?

Here are a few truths:

  • The outcome of your life is determined by how you perceive it. 
  • Be Transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Rom. 12:2
  • You have a choice about what you think.

I heard someone say that you aren’t responsible for your first thought, but you are for your second

Thoughts come and they go.  It’s how we deal with them that really matters.

How do you know if you have some extra unhealthy pounds of thought?  Listen to your words.  Negative and positive thoughts show up by what you speak. 

If you don’t take hold of your thought life, every other aspect of your life is affected.  

How do you shed the mental sludge and negativity?  You follow the same pattern for losing physical weight. 

  1. Commit to it.  You decide you’re going to get healthy mentally. 
  2. Begin thinking about good things. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil 4:8
  3. Put your brain to work.  I suggest right away in the morning.  Do a devotion.  Claim the promises of God over your life.  Look at your calendar and decide you’re going to enjoy every second of it.  When you set your mind right at the beginning of the day, it positively affects your emotional stamina for anything else that follows.

In podcast episode 28, I talk about my morning routine.  





How to Find Happiness on $1.60

starbucks_coffeeCoffee house gift cards tend to be my favorite.  I use them up to last drop. However, the other day, I didn’t.  The barista handed me my tall half-caf and slid my used gift card across the counter.

“Can you check the balance?”
“Sure,” She said.  “There’s a dollar sixty left on your card.”
“Thanks,” I said.

My normal reaction would be well that’s not enough for a full coffee purchase but I’ll apply it to my next one.  This time, I had an idea.  Sliding the card back to the gal, I said,  “Would you apply the remaining balance to whomever is next in line at your drive-thru?” Her eyes and half-opened mouth gave away her confusion.  But then she understood and repeated back to me my request, just to make sure.

She smiled and walked the card to the hostess at the window.  I took a quick sip of my steaming coffee and walked to my car.

What happened next took me by surprise.

A feeling of happiness and exhilaration welled up inside me.  What caused it?  Was it the look on the Barista’s face?  Was it the fact that I had finished yet another gift card?  Maybe it was the kick of the caffeine.  None of the above.

What caused my heart to race and changed my attitude for the rest of the day was that I gave something to someone without any hope of getting something back.  Even though it was such a small amount, that’s how being a giver can change your attitude and your life!  Imagine what could happen if I took giving seriously!


Winston Churchill said  “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”  I believe that to be true.  Life is more than what you accumulate.   Life is made rich by the free sharing of that which you have.

I’ve become addicted by using gift cards in this way.  Several times since then, I’ve randomly paid for the person in line behind me with my gift card.  Be a giver and your attitude in the moment and your perspective on life will change.

Try it.  I dare you.



The Minnesotan-Jamaican Attitude

There’s a Superbowl commercial slated for this year’s commercial roster that is getting quite a buzz.  I’ll spare you the controversy, but basically it’s about a Minnesotan whose attitude has been completely changed because he bought and now drives a Volkswagen.

His now positive attitude plays out in a casual Jamaican accent which for Americans is the quint-essential stereotype for relaxed happiness.  I’m not blogging because of the commercial or the accent, but because the man combats his co-workers negativity with his own optimism.  “No worries mon.  Everything will be alright.”

My challenge for you today is to think about how your attitude affects your life-perception which affects how you talk which affects how others feel around you.  Think it through.  Maybe today you need a Jamaican accent to brighten your day.

No worries.




yolo_attitude.001What in the world is YOLO?  I hear it from the ‘youngins’ all around me.  I’ve seen it on a few advertising pieces.  I’ve noticed it in the attitude of risk-takers.  Again, what in the world is YOLO?

Yolo stands for “you only live once.”  Cute phrase, (see my index finger pointed at my open mouth as I utter “gag”).  My kids use it when they are facing something difficult. They use it when they are questioning if they should do something dangerous or out of the norm.  I’m not sure, yet, if this is a good thing.

On one hand, it is a phrase that can give permission to do whatever you want like whistle at a cute girl or rev up to 85 mph over a railroad track and catch air in your dads car – not that I’ve done either (insert devilish grin).

On the other, it can motivate you do do something positive and break the grip of fear.  Like apply for that promotion or go into business for yourself or talk to someone about deeper, spiritual matters.


Still my jury is out on the word.  Most likely, it will fade into the abyss of once popular but now unused words like “bees knees,” “hotsy totsy,” and “swell.”  (ok here’s a link to some of those old phrases – Click Here).  Be that as it may, I’ll yolo throughout my day today, wondering if I’ll ever be as “hip” and “with it” as my kids.  Most likely, not.  But having a positive YOLO attitude can bring fulfillment and opportunity to your life.

Question:  What situations do you need a YOLO attitude today?  Write a comment below …



You’ve heard that phrase “Check your attitude.”  A recent encounter with an unlike man reminded me of the truth of this encouragement.

While on vacation, we drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Estes Park, CO.  Mountain peaks, warm breezes and thick trees outlined our route as we pulled up to the small, one person guard shack on the way to Bear Lake.  A tall, weathered man donning a green hat and shirt greeted us.  Friendly fellow.  Big smile.  We paid our entrance fee and began to drive away.  As we did, my wife said, “Have a good day.”  He met us eye-to-eye and said, “Ma’am.  Everyday is a good day.”

I wonder if he always had that positive attitude.  Probably not because he’s human.  However on that day, not only did he celebrate the minutes and hours that hed been given, but he helped us celebrate our day as well.

Your attitude is seldom only yours.  How you view the world and interact with reality rubs off on people around you.  Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta just finished a series called “Climate Change.”  Even their opening message video helps you realize how our attitude affects others.  (You can see that video and message by CLICKING HERE).

As I think back to ‘Mr. Mountain Man’ at the guard shack, I am reminded to always check my attitude.  The result of which doesn’t only affect me but also those whom I love.

Question:  What are some ways you can CHECK YOUR ATTITUDE?  Write a comment below …


Why I want a Chameleon

I know what I want for my birthday.  My mom used to have one when she was young and it sounds like a cool possession … a Chameleon.  Here’s why I want one and what they remind me to do:

These are fascinating little creatures.  Their bodies adapt and change depending on their background.  I found out that they can change based on their mood, the temperature and even the breezes in the air.  Many think that they change their color to hide but research has found that they change their color to draw less attention to themselves as they hunt for food.   They make their prey feel at ease so that they can engage.  Their identity is always as a Chameleon, but they change to draw others close and to draw close to others.

What would it look like if we put away our pride and harsh judgments and became more like Mr. Chameleon?  What if we could be so confident in our convictions, values and morals yet be flexible in how we engage in conversation.  I believe more would be open to hearing about Hope in Christ and less would be turned off by the judgmental opinions of a few in our well-meaning denominations.

When you want to communicate a message, be Chameleon-like:  be firm on truth and flexible in presentation. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

Click for a great Chameleon Video.


My new website:

Making the Impossible Possible

I can easily get overwhelmed with all of the ideas that pop into my head.  Without prioritizing and setting goals, accomplishing even a fraction of them would be impossible.

The habit of setting Goals is so important.  Earl Nightingale said, “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” Do you know where you’re going?  Are there projects or milestones that you’d like to conquer this new year?  Knowing how to set goals can help 2012 be one of the best years of your life.

To review from last weeks post, here is a seven step way to set goals:
1 – Decide what you want.
2 – Write it down.
3 – Set a deadline.
4 – Brainstorm a list of everything you can think of that you could do to accomplish this.
5 – Organize the list by sequence and priority.
6 – Do something.
7 – Do something everyday.

Now, list 10 goals for this year and ask yourself, “If I could only achieve one goal, which one would have the greatest impact on my life?”  Once you’ve answered that, focus on that one with high intensity.  You can still work on the other goals, but keep the number one the number one.

For me, I have goals in 7 areas of life:  FINANCE, HEALTH, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, FAMILY, SPIRITUAL, SOCIAL, and CAREER. Not all of them are drastic.  Some of them are crucial.  Taking the above process, here’s how I’m working on one of my goals:

One of my important goals is to finish a long-awaited book project called, “Refined – Turning Pain into Purpose.” Using Brian Tracy’s 7 steps, here’s how it’s all working out:

1 – Decide what you want. – I want to complete “Refined – Turning Pain into Purpose.”
2 – Write it down. – I have a goal worksheet that I use on which this project is listed.
3 – Set a deadline. – Publishing date:  March 30.
4 – Brainstorm a list of everything you can think of that you could do to accomplish this. – Actually, I’ve brainstormed how to keep distractions at bay which frees me up to finish the project.
5 – Organize the list by sequence and priority. – I’m writing chapter by chapter and then editing.  Chapter completion dates: I have 5 chapters left to write so my dates are.  Jan 13, 20, 27, Feb 3, 10.  Editing process completed by Feb. 24. Pre-publishing completed by Mar. 24.
6 – Do something. – 5:30 – 7 am is my daily writing time with some late after noons if possible.
7 – Do something everyday.

Let me know if this is helpful!


(BTW, If you’d like me to email you when “Refined” is available, email me here.)

A “Just Is” Day

I wanted to take my son, Nathan, to the Hobgoblin Music Store today in Red Wing MN.  The visit would have fed our appetites for seeing new and bizarre instruments.  However, our part of God’s country is blanketed in 12 inches of snow (and counting) and the wind is building drifts that have paralyzed any street movement.

I’m bummed.  I was looking forward toward to this.  I wanted to spend car-time with Nate but Mr. Winter chose today – of all days – to show off.

What do you do when your plans are interrupted?  How do you respond when you run late, the store is closed or your car won’t start?  Many of us fold, implode and let the event ruin our day.  I will not be one of those people because two words that a farmer friend of mine told me a long time ago are skipping over and over in my head:  JUST IS.

My friend, Scott, runs a very large dairy farm.  Thousands of cows and hundreds of workers produce an uncountable amount of milk.  With such a large operation, troubles, setbacks and problems occur on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  I asked him how he deals with all of the stresses that dance in the moments of his day.  He looked at me and utter those words, “Just Is.”

Scott went on to tell me that the events that occur at his dairy are rather neutral (or “just is). If the market price for milk goes up it most assuredly will be offset by harder work and longer hours.  If he looses workers or cows it will be balanced by a more streamlined operation.  “Events,” Scott said, “Just Is.  It is how you respond to the events that change  your world.”

Today is a “just is” day.  The wind howls and I choose to see the branches of the tree conducting a symphony in the air.  The snow dumps down and I no longer see the dirt from the street or the ‘gift’ from the neighbors dog.

Just Is.