2020 Prescription Plan - Optimize Life!

Expanding the Script

Don’t shrink what’s possible to fit your mind, expand your mind to fit what’s possible. — Jim Kwik, Limitless (book)

Life purpose don’t always show up in big announcements or with fanfare, but are often right in front of us in the daily arenas of going-about in life. We’ve done some valuable groundwork and going-about to arrive at this point, here in week #7. Kudos for showing up! It’s good to have your presence. Despite derailments and distractions, we’re trekking along and experiencing transformation even while in quarantine under ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. Amidst all the happenings, be grateful for each day, and note personal enrichment experiences during this season. We’re updating our knowledge (via online classes, more reading, YouTube, Netflix, etc), acquiring new skills, and learning myriad methods for doing useful things. Grocery shopping online seems oddly normal. At home, we’re cooking more. Notice consumption patterns changing.

There is a popular saying: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. What do you make of this? The Associated Press, via their ‘AP Fact Check’ news article stated, “It was a difficult week for discerning the reality of things.”  That statement tickled my mind. By now, you probably have reasonable inklings about what’s working and what’s out of whack in your part of the world. Many of us (hoped) expected that by now we would have had a good sense of what the new normal would be. Reality is still undetermined. But with resolute determination, we are thriving well. We’re making lemonade. We’re finding a wellspring of creative measures for current conditions. By happy chance or tiresome contrivance, let’s make an elixir (a particular type of medicinal solution) for handling existing ailments.

The Optimist

“Life handed him a lemon,
As Life sometimes will do.
His friends looked on in pity,
Assuming he was through.
They came upon him later,
Reclining in the shade
In calm contentment, drinking
A glass of lemonade.”

Honing Perseverance

We ‘re Expanding the Script with a supplemental pitcher of lemonade to illustrate honing PERSEVERANCE skills in the face of challenges and obstacles. Oddly enough, as I’m writing this post our online sessions should have been completed according to the calendar, but we’ve had a string of delays. Therefore, now is a most fitting time to practice perseverance; this topic is on schedule and we will persevere until the agenda is covered. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in facing adversity or misfortune. Water is known as the elixir of life; a natural resource vitally needed by all living organisms and required for every activity. Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning the challenging circumstances into something positive or desirable. Cheers to you! Refuel passion with perseverance and pivot into making lemonade.

Let’s note some important things to include. Perseverance is the steadfast pursuit of a task, mission, or journey despite the difficulty, obstacles, or discouragements. To persevere means to stick with it. Mind over matter. Dig deeper. You may have to jump hurdles. So, get your creative juices flowing. Capture the enriching health benefits of lemons.

When life gives you lemons it’s not all a basket of sour things. Although reality may feel dull and gray, you can practically spruce up your space with sun-shiny brilliant ideas and yellow-ness, and an infusion of extraordinary zest. The color yellow can upgrade and energize modes. Yellow is associated with sunshine, freshness, hope, happiness, optimism, positivity, clarity, energy, enlightenment, remembrance, honor, intellect, loyalty, joy, and more. But, be aware that a dull or dingy shade of yellow may represent conflicting associations such as caution, sickness, cowardice, and deceit, so stay clear of dull and dingy. Moreover, always remember that you can change the picture you’re seeing — your decor, your outfit, your outlook, your intake, your surroundings. Get bright and bold! Use real lemons to help freshen things, including the air. A revitalizing intake can be to refresh yourself by drinking lemon water. Or, you can really transform that fragrant fruit into an exquisite glass of lemonade. Go at it with full gusto!

Let’s do this! For making an awesome pitcher of lemonade: Use freshly squeezed lemons and all-natural ingredients, plain and simple. Note: I’m not just a discerning aficionado, but a connoisseur of lemonade and palate-pleasing mocktails! I am scientifically finicky about making lemonade with exceptional flavors, but it’s tricky to quantify what my palate knows. Therefore, if you need a lemonade recipe with the exact measurement of ingredients, you may search online then simply modify that recipe to suit your taste. [Developing the trait of perseverance must be an individual quest.] I can certainly help with the refined adjustments via some tantalizing tips I will share with you. For example, many people overlook the particular taste and texture of water, the essential life-giving ingredient in lemonade. Unpleasant water could distress a good recipe. But don’t worry — I’ll share some mixological knowledge so that when life gives you lemons, you too can craft an awesome concoction!

We still struggle to complete tasks when we are clear on our vision for our lives and know who we want to become. Why is it still so hard to act, even when we have sustained motivation? One of the most significant reasons that people fail to act is that we feel overwhelmed by what we need to do. — Jim Kwik, Limitless (book)


Sometimes we need help finding the right steps. Even for making lemonade, sometimes we’re motivated but may need help with the method. Lemons — must be juicy and healthy. Sugar — the prime choice to use is (organic) natural cane sugar for its mild and tasty toffee flavor, instead of granulated white sugar. Water — filtered water or purified water works very well. Tap water normally has a unique (often boring/awful) taste due to chemicals or sediments in it. Lemonade will be heavily influenced by the water you use. (You might be fortunate to have exceptionally good tap water, light, pure, spring-fresh, which tastes great. Also, filtered water may have a certain taste due to the type of filter.) Overall, give special attention to the taste of your water before combining other ingredients, and think of shrewd ways to orchestrate it.

Boil sufficient water in which to dissolve sugar (make simple syrup) for sweetening — if not, sugar would dissolve slowly in cold water and lemonade may be much sweeter (too sweet) later when finally the sugar is fully dissolved. Ordinarily, lemonade drink is the combination of lemon juice in water and sweetened. However, let’s go beyond ordinary – to make this extraordinary!

Trust yourself. You already have the culinary skills to harmoniously balance components in your beverage. Your taste buds know and will direct how to handle this. You’ve got greatness in you! Rely on the sensory nerves of your palate instead of exact measurements from a recipe — because all lemons won’t taste the same, acidity levels differ, water would be different, etc.  [Strain-filter any pulpy, seedy, grainy, or pureed ingredients you plan to use.] Combine ingredients in moderation and swirl to suit your level of sweetness or tartness — measure, mix, and sample (in a tester glass) at every stage to find your best blend. Once you’ve got the basics, develop your taste-testing skills to mastery.

Tidbits to know: my mom often added a few drops of pure vanilla extract in lemonade and limeade, lending a unique flavor and aroma, and this can help diffuse bad taste in the water. Using brown sugar adds a boldly different twist; other sweeteners will contribute their distinct flavor or aftertaste. Be aware.

My lemonade specialty includes a hint of pure orange juice, just enough to add color, character, and oomph (body/texture) — for a more captivating tango. But, never put orange juice from concentrate in lemonade, nor orange juice that’s been fortified with calcium or additives; that will result in an entirely different slush. Pure ingredients well blended will create the most fantastic mocktail!

My ‘pink lemonade’ includes (with a sway of orange juice) a stupendous splash of cranberry or cherry juice, or (va-voom!) Caribbean sorrel for color and pizazz! This deliberate deviation is a more refined ensemble somewhat like jazz music. What sets jazz apart from other rhythms is this cool thing called improvisation. Create and integrate as you go. Crafting a decadent lemonade concoction, this is where you set yourself apart from the ordinary — symphonically swirling ingredients to find that splendid vibe,  just right, none upstaging the other. Instrumentally choreograph the right mix … according to palate — add a little of something, sip a bit, decide what else you’d like in it. One’s palate should experience the delightful contribution of every ingredient in perfect proportion.

Lemonade ought to be refreshingly light, smooth, and universally pleasing — to rejuvenate all senses. It’s an experience – so make it memorable!  Lemonade is a fusion of sorts; with good rhythm and practice you’ll come to understand the science of certain flavor profiles. Sure, embellish with peppermint leaf, strawberry slices, kiwi slices, cherries, a slice or zesty twist of lemon, a cocktail umbrella, or other enchanting curated garnishes. Serve a chilled presentation in fancy glassware and savor the flavor. Why make ordinary lemonade when you can ‘kick it up a notch!’

Want to venture into making green lemonade? Naturally, there is such a thing — with hints of spinach and ginger, and sorts (pureed and strained). You can do it! Lemon is an amazingly versatile fruit. You can distinctively formulate lemonade to specifically promote hydration, aid digestion, or support multiple modes to improve health and wellness. Possibilities abound!  So, when life gives you lemons, slice it, dice it, spice it, spike it, you’ve got options. You can confidently create a medicinal concoction. Hence, even as we continue to grapple and wrestle with exactly what will happen with COVID-19, get your creative juices flowing — thoughts, ideas, goals, …, resolve to seize the flavors of life. Persevere. Don’t miss the high potency of such moments set to refuel hope. 

Your Steps are Unstoppable

Success comes to those who exercise tenacity to get back up again and again because they are determined and unstoppable. Success originates in the mind; it’s initially shaped in the form of a vision, idea, inspiration, or a dream. Transforming the mental concept into tangible reality requires a dedicated effort and perseverance through the uneven terrain of life’s ups and downs. It takes tremendous bravery to persevere against all odds and despite fatigue and failures along the way. However, your mind is so strong and powerful, it can lead you to overcome incredible obstacles and position you to what and where you envision.

Your vision is both a whispered promise and a process. It takes courage to believe you can contribute, produce, or achieve something out of a mere idea. The process must unfold in orchestrated steps to prepare and position you for success. Stepping stones are important; don’t be disheartened by the steps. That process must also include a strategy to break through obstacles that stand between you and the envisioned destination. The first and last aid or hindrance is usually your mind. Be mindful. Calm your spirit; God will give you a strategy for where you ought to be – if you ask. With pray, push forward with prowess, plans, patience, persistence, perseverance.

In a culture that adores limelight and success, people often overlook the gritty happenings to get there. The process to your dream destination will draw character traits out of you, some of which you probably didn’t know were there, some you can only develop along the way. Nerve. Determination. Grit. Spunk. Faith. Perseverance. Consider the process a necessary part of personal development for you to have a more enriching and powerful impact in life. Overall, the journey is perceptively designed to take you to a higher level. You are a rising star. Don’t stop halfway. 

Don’t overlook the small steps in the interim. They’re character-building. (Review week #5 resource, Two Mindsets by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., an insightful inspiration to adopt a growth mindset.) Practice perseverance even in mundane tasks. Little things can mean a lot. For example, mastering a lemonade mocktail could delight your guests, enhance hospitality ranking, boost attentiveness to others, amplify culinary skills, or at least improve your attention to details. My lengthy outpouring about lemonade is not simply because it’s a favored thingamajig, but for you to see that YOU CAN revolutionize distasteful events in life — and propel with knack.

When dealing with acidic situations and difficult people (such adversities) in life, you can allegorically make some lemonade. Draw internally first and swirl this idea in your mind — while you cannot control certain events, you can control your reaction to the events. Allow your core values to steer you away from battles that are not worthy of your fight. Be mindful about where you pour your energy. Ironically, here is something to think about: common sense is not commonly used — by some people.  Now, be nice. Don’t start analyzing everyone :-). Access the irony in life. You can virtually taste sweet victory in spite of challenging circumstances. Tap into the counter-balancing benefits of lemon. And here is an uplifting thought — think of lemon cupcakes (for example), and squeeze other transformative delights from the lemony moment. It’s okay to find sweet little cues and cures for a quick smile — smiling can boost the immune system. Retain what’s enriching and reappropriate what’s not.

What can you do to become unstoppable? Take practical steps to being focused and mentally calm. Then, decide where is best to dispense your valuable energy. Circumvent fear and dread with sound strategic actions. (In prior weeks) having made a clear list of goals set for accomplishing, focus on actions you can now take aligning those ambitions. Reposition yourself. You have the metamorphic power to change dramatically. You are the ultimate game-changer! Be courageous enough to persevere to greater heights in becoming unstoppable.

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

-- Thomas Edison

I don’t think anyone wants to spend life wondering how it might have been if only they had been willing to persevere. Your written goals should be a lifelong evolving list. Even if you’re unsure of exactly what you want out of life, you’re moving along the right track by focusing where your dreams are drawing you. Successful people follow a dream or a vision to accomplish something that drew them. Some things you’ll analyze and filter en route, much like passing through the refiner’s fire. Continue writing and editing and refining and checking-off your list of goals. Activate your good intentions, don’t sit on them. Galvanize your reason (your why) for embarking on this journey. You are here — what are you aspiring to achieve, and why? I believe God has a fulfilling purpose for each of us. Take steps of faith to confirm what doors are best for you. Move. Also, exercise the courage to knock on doors to open. Your willful participation is required.

Your Never-Ending Script

Everyone experiences setbacks, both large and small. That’s simply a scripted part of life, with all of its highs and lows. The bigger ones may feel more influential, but even the smaller struggles can sip into our psyche  and take a toll on the way we think and feel. Incessant little challenges can wear a person down. Tests and trials can lead to reconsidering our chosen paths and goals. The tough times and arduous uphill battles can make you want to run for the nearest exit. But, keep in mind that personal development is a lifelong quest and success requires strategy, strength, and stamina. Practice faithful and dogged determination to hang in there until you achieve the mission that you’ve locked into.

Admittedly, we all need a refreshing pause to refuel on occasion. Stand still. Take rejuvenating breaks. Rest is indeed an essential function in life – helping to repair our body at the molecular level. Sometimes, we are forcibly subdued into immobility by circumstances beyond our control. We rightfully protest to reclaim our ‘normal’ again. But, there are times when we need to be still — calm in spirit, mind, and body. Anxiety is exhausting, regardless of the source. No worries, the whirlwind episode won’t last forever. It’s important to power-charge hope and confidence from within. Never forsake the self-care triad: sleep, nutrition, and exercise – which is especially critical in building up mental and physical stamina, which is an indispensable part of the script for perseverance; the arrangement of quantity and quality can be a transformative remix.

Halfway through writing this post, I resigned.  Well, there were other pressing things to do. The website plugins (software updates) had distorted the webpage layout — yet again, another hiccup to be resolved! Work became taxing. Where is my tea and sympathy? I was yearning to recapture my canceled vacation trips in any possible way!!! And why did I choose to write about Life’s Lemons and PERSEVERANCE? Currently, I had no motivation to write anything!  Me not writing — that’s evidence of a really bad-n-busy day. I was feeling painfully guilt-ridden to ‘stick to script’ as per the agenda I had previously posted.

Everything in me craved rest, relaxation, and ‘may-as-well’ Netflix. So, as I enjoyed my favorite mocktails, meandering and going-about, basking in dense digital distractions, leisurely scrolling through YouTube subscriptions, one podcast featured an impressive guest with a new book – Jim Kwik, Limitless. He quickly struck a chord with me, and I with Amazon in an instant to purchase the e-book (with audible narration) for quick digestive reading. This book revolutionized my script. Now I can highly recommend the book “Limitless: Upgrade Your Brain, Learn Anything Faster, and Unlock Your Exceptional Life” – by Jim Kwik, which offers excellent insights on mindset, motivation, and methods to truly engage our mind for better success in life. It’s about refuting LIEs (limiting ideas entertained), eradicating ANTs (automatic negative thoughts), and a whole lot more — learning how to learn, remember, and think, using the most powerful technology in the world: your brain. Please continue Expanding the Script. “Don’t shrink what’s possible to fit your mind, expand your mind to fit what’s possible.”

Adapting to changes in life, without falling prey to the gravitation pull of circumstances – that’s the heart of perseverance. When life gives you lemons, cut into the core of it. The counterweights of canned energy or stored tension could unleash electrifying results to offset surrounding circumstances. There is a never-ending script of major breakthroughs you can experience within that phase. Choose among myriad methods and remedial measures. Reclaim hope. Secure refreshment. Refuel whatever is necessary. Cultivate grit. Get up again one more time than you’ve fallen. You’re expanding willpower muscle! And you will proudly recount the championship story of how you did not resign from the encounter nor exit the contest. These are those pivotal moments that form the springboard to catapult you forward. Now, evaluate your position: Are you resting, reclining, refueling, recharging, reshuffling, refreshed, revitalized, … on course? How can you further extend the runway to your next milestone? [Practice perseverance!]

Powerful tidbits to know:  Acidic ingredients, such as citrus juice, tomatoes, vinegar, wine and many vegetables, will react with certain metals, including aluminum or cast iron. Although the reaction is harmless, it may turn a mixture gray or leave behind a metallic aftertaste. Adapted from Yummm.

Lemon Curd Tart — another dainty delight!    

Focal Points

Action Steps

Practice Perseverance: Evaluate the reason(s) ‘why’ you would like to achieve your goals. Knowing what’s behind your passion and purpose could help you along with perseverance. 

Here are some tips and reminders to help ⇒ improve perseverance skills. ⇐ (click on the words).

Remember to Journal the Journey

Resources this week

Week #7 -- Expanding the Script

Are you still on course? Click on the links in blue below to find out more.

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