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12/27/2015

Carrot, Egg and Coffee

A carrot, an egg and a cup of coffee... You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again…

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as he tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity...boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however.

After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. "Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you (I JUST DID); to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendships you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

If you don't send it, you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someone's day with this message!

It's easier to build a child than repair an adult. This is so true - may we all be COFFEE.

12/20/2015

Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out In The Real World

1. Never give yourself a haircut after three martinis.
2. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
3. Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying, Thank you, although it helps if you say it with a SOUTHERN accent.
4. No books will be as good as the ones you loved as a child.
5. Some people are working backstage, some are playing in the orchestra, some are onstage singing, some are in the audience as critics, and some are there to applaud. Know who and where you are.
6. When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.
7. Never continue dating anyone whom is rude to the waiter.
8. Work is good but it's not important!
9. A person needs only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
10. If you tell a lie, don't believe it deceives only the other person.
11. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship: "I apologize" and "You are right".
12. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately! It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.
13. The only really good advice that I remember my mother ever gave me was "Go! You might meet somebody!"
15. Never ride a motorcycle when you're drunk.
16. If your date says that you are too good for him or her; believe it.
17. I've learned to pick my battles. I ask myself: Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?
18. The shortest line is always the longest.
19. At hard times I ask myself, "How do I feel? What do I want?" I use it whenever I'm at loss for words or thoughts.
20. Never pass up an opportunity to use the bathroom.
21. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!
22. If you move far from your family when you're young, consider choosing a career with an airline. Your need to see your family will last a lifetime, as will your travel benefits.
23. Living well really is the best revenge.
24. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just proves that the other person was right about you.
25. Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man.
26. And finally, being happy doesn't necessarily mean everything's perfect. It just means you've decided to look beyond all of the imperfections.

So go out and don't let anyone steal your sunshine!

12/13/2015

The Art of Staying True to Yourself

We enter the world as babies bursting with confidence, happy, and totally free to be ourselves. The world is our oyster; we’re eager to explore and life is one big adventure. Every time we fall over, we pick ourselves right back up and keep just going, never worrying what other people think about us. We are born into a world full of opportunity and with the potential to achieve incredible things; let somehow, this potential gets unwittingly crushed between birth and adulthood.

From the very day we are born, we’re subjected to social conditioning from our parents, teachers, the government and the media. We’re taught that in order to succeed in life and be happy we must get good grades at school, go to university and get a well-paid job. If we’re to be accepted within certain social circles we are expected to drive expensive cars, own a big house in an exclusive area, and wear designer clothes.

It’s no surprise then, that gradually over the years, many of us begin to lose our sense of identity, struggle to understand who we really are, and feel misplaced in life.

The sad truth is that we often hide our dreams and true values in order to be accepted by others. By the time we reach adulthood, we’ll have created a whole belief system based on what we’ve been told as we’ve grown up, and instinctively we find evidence to support these beliefs. However, many of them are incredibly limiting such as “I’m not good enough” or “I always fail” etc.

Find Out What You Truly Want

We carry the burden of these beliefs with us throughout our lives without ever questioning whether they are really true, or if they even serve any useful purpose. It’s these limiting beliefs that are the ones that hold us back in life. They keep us boxed in, and make us scared to shine. They make us fearful of what others might think if we reveal who we truly are.

You may want the fast car, a glamorous lifestyle and a big house. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as it’s what you REALLY want and you’re being true to yourself; not what you think you need in order to be happy. If you find yourself being an entirely different person at work to when you are at home; ask yourself: “Is this what I really want, or is this what others expect of me?” “Why can’t I be myself?

Let Your Personality Shine

The most beautiful people in the world are those who allow their true selves to shine through; they exude confidence, poise and radiate warmth. In doing so, they naturally give others permission to feel beautiful also.
The happiest, most successful people are those who follow their heart, pursue their dreams and have such an indestructible belief in themselves and what they’re doing, that others can’t fail to believe in them also.

So as the start of another year looms, ask yourself if you are really happy and living the life that you want. Life is precious and the sands of time are ticking. This isn’t a dress rehearsal; this is your one shot. Life may be short, but it’s also far too long to be living it by someone else’s standards or ideals.

Stay true to yourself; follow your dreams and never, ever, be afraid to reveal the amazing person within you.

Source URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/self-help-articles

12/6/2015

18 Ways to Brighten Your Day

Some days we just wake up feeling tired, unhappy and stressed out be the amount of work that needs to get done. But who said that the day that starts off badly, cannot get better? Consider trying a few (if not all) of these steps to brighten your days. Some are easy, some take more time, and all will put a bounce in your step.

1. Make your bed in the morning

Take two extra minutes in the morning to fluff your pillows and smooth your comforter in the morning, and you’ll relish the opportunity to come home to a tidy room and fresh bed to fall asleep in.

2. Write an email to an old friend.

With Facebook, instant messages and free telephone services like Skype, staying connected is easier than ever. Drop a brief line to an old friend and enjoy catching up little by little.

3. Splurge on a delicious meal.

Luxurious food and drink last for a couple of hours; the memories of a perfect meal are much more substantial. My recommendation: share your experience with someone special. No meal should be eaten alone.

4. Pet an animal.

Studies show that the joy from petting and playing with an animal has the same chemical effect on the brain as playing with your child: that means a big boost in happy energy. If you don’t have your own pet, head to a local animal shelter, or walk the neighbor’s dog.

5. Take time with your appearance.

It’s the ultimate confidence boost when your self-esteem is still in winter hibernation. Dress in clothes that make you feel good, get a haircut, shave, or spritz yourself with something that smells really good. (The best part: you still feel good even if there is no one around to see you!)

6. Start a long-term project.

The hardest part of tackling a huge project is starting it. When end results seem so far away, it’s hard to get motivated to start and to see it through. Whether it’s as small as updating your entire iTunes account with album art or as important as getting out of credit card debt, doing one small thing every day will show big results in the long term. As a bonus, you’ll feel proud that you made the first steps!

7. Prepare for your day the night before.

Have a few extra minutes before you go to sleep? Do one or two small thing that will make your morning scramble a little easier. Pack your lunch, lay out your outfit, blow dry your hair, organize any work supplies. Rather than running around to make it to work on time, you can sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee.

8. Give yourself the chance to laugh.

Watch a comedy, browse some YouTube videos, call up a hilarious friend, or go read through some old Sunday funnies.

9. Save something to look forward to.

Instant gratification can be very satisfying, but there is a reason why your birthday is so special: it only happens once a year. Plan on something to look forward to, be it a weekly podcast, a concert a few months away, a family trip, or extravagant holiday plans.

10. Share something with someone.

Joy is best when split between more than one person (there is a reason women love shopping in pairs). Cook a big meal for a group of close friends or gather a few pals to go on a hike.

11. Get outside.

Now that the sun is shining, it’s time to soak up all the Vitamin D you’ve been missing for the past five months. Get up, get out, and enjoy the fresh air – even if it’s just for a quick walk on your lunch break. But remember to bring a couple of layers: spring is known for its showers.

12. Rock out.

A life without music is really no life at all. Pump up the volume and start getting jiggy. Hint: the more bass the better.

13. Eat breakfast for once.

And I don’t mean a Pop Tart. I mean something with some nutritional value that will jump start your day, boost your mind and body, and get you raring to go.

14. Be really nice to yourself.

Give yourself all the compliments you deserve.

15. Be even nicer to others.

You know how good it feels to receive an unexpected compliment. A good rule to live by: people are nicest to people who are nice.

16. Smile. A lot.

It’s science: the more you smile – even if there is no reason to do it- the better your mood.

17. Get exercise.

Even gentle exercise burns calories and releases mood-enhancing endorphins. Whether you’re training for a marathon or taking a quick walk down to the mail box, your whole day will feel brighter when you start moving.

18. Help someone every day.

It doesn’t have to be a commitment to the Peace Corps, but committing yourself to being available and helpful is both a personal mood booster and the opportunity to make a difference. It could be as simple as offering to grab your coworker a cup of coffee on your trip to Starbucks, or as involved as supporting a child in another country.

No one has the perfect day every day. But working to change your outlook on life and enjoying the small stuff is a great way to improve your attitude!

URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/2011/05

11/29/2015

The Ten Commandments of Success

Success is not reserved to a few selected individuals. It belongs to you as well, given that you are willing to go after it. But before you do, take 3 minutes to learn the Ten most important Success Commandments that stand at the base of any prosperous venture, any rewarding relationships, and any inspiring goal:

1. Thou shalt dream a great dream

Every important achievement always starts with a great dream. Do not settle for less, just because it is easy, familiar and guaranteed. At some point in your life you will have to face a decision to either risk it and go for an opportunity or settle for less than you know you are capable of achieving. Set goals that inspire, challenge, and excite you! This is the only way to leave your mark in this world!

2. Thou shalt do what thou loves

Success does not solely imply financial security and a handsome paycheck at the end of the month. It is about self-realization and enjoyment as well. You can be making a lot of money, but until you do what you love, real success will remain a far cry.

3. Thou shalt not be discouraged by criticism

Whenever you set out to do something original, daring, important and exciting there will always be people, who will try to talk you out of it. They will tell you your idea or goal is crazy, unrealistic, too risky, too innovative, too strange. Take it as possible feedback, not as the absolute truth, because in most cases people’s criticism has nothing to do with your goal and everything to do with their own personal fears, doubts and negative past experiences.

4. Thou shalt welcome thine failures

The more attempts you take at something the sooner you will figure out the best way of doing it. Do not be afraid to try and fail. In fact, welcome failure, learn from it and try again. I have yet to meet a person, who spent years learning, planning, collecting the right tools and then became successful overnight. But I know plenty of people who tried, failed, tired again, failed again, until one of their numerous attempts tuned into a flourishing business or a multi-million dollar idea.

5. Thou shalt not steal thy own time

Most of us feel guilty about wasting someone else’s time, yet part with our own without giving it a second thought. If you want to be successful in life you have to see every new day, every minute of your life as an opportunity for growth and achievement. Make it a habit of asking yourself throughout the day “Am I doing something meaningful or useful?” If not, you are stealing from yourself one of the most precious treasures you have been given – your time.

6. Thou shalt not flaunt thine ego by bringing others down

Little people try to make themselves look better by bringing others down. Great, truly successful people feel no need of belittling those of lesser status, intelligence and wealth. Starting today focus on empowering instead of judging, helping instead of criticizing, listening instead of talking, learning instead of convincing that your opinion is the only correct one in the room, and something magical will happen – people will follow you, seek your advice and offer their help without you having to ask for it.

7. Thou shalt invest in relationships

Our relationships with other people lay at the base of any significant area of our life. Our professional success depends on our relationships with our employees, colleagues, clients and business partners. Our personal life is built on relationships with our spouse, children, parents and friends. Even our spiritual growth is accelerated by our mentors, spiritual teachers, family members and sometimes strangers. Do not take people in your life for granted. Invest your time and energy into building and maintaining strong relationships with those you love, admire, and respect.

8. Thou shalt keep thine mind opened to possibilities

It is not always easy to spot a great opportunity that comes your way, especially when it looks like a problem, but this does not mean that we should stop trying. Be careful not to become too rigid in your thinking, as it will impede your ability to see possibilities and act on them.

9. Thou shalt not be swayed by distractions

Very often our success depends on our ability to concentrate our efforts on a few highly important goals and ignoring the rest. It is often tempting to stop what you are doing and chat with friends on facebook, to check your mailbox to see if there are any urgent emails or to take five minutes break and play solitaire.

A great way of dealing with such distractions is to remind yourself that they are the main reason why you will feel stressed out, overwhelmed and unproductive by the end of the week. Every time you say “No” to distractions you are moving one step closer to becoming a true master of your time.

10. Thou shalt treat the world the way thou wants to be treated

“What goes around comes around” – is the Universal law of life that works without exceptions. Your attitude in approaching people, situations and circumstances in your life can either help you to become successful or backfire right in your face. This is why before acting on an impulse take a fraction of the second to think, “What would I like to attract in my life?” Because if your actions are guided by negative emotions, you are doing yourself the biggest disfavor. On the other hand, if you act out of compassion, forgiveness, passion and kindness, you are creating a good karma that might last you a lifetime.

Source URL: http://www.arinanikitina.com/the-ten-commandments-of-success.html

11/22/1015

"I'm proud of you!"
by Bob Perks

What did you really think when you saw the subject line in this email?  Did it grab your attention? Did it make you want to read it?  Did it make you feel good for a moment?

"Who's proud of me?"  you might have thought.

That's how powerful those words are.     

Tell someone today.

"I'm proud of you!"

Does anyone say it any more? When I heard it the other day, it caught my attention.  It was like hearing something oddly familiar but distant and faint in my memory.

You know, like things your grandmother used to say. 

I needed to understand why.  I mean, it just doesn't seem right that a phrase so powerful would not be heard and used regularly.

"I'm proud of you!"

When was the last time you said that to someone?  Not just someone you love, but a neighbor, friend, or co-worker.

To a neighbor...

"You make a difference in the world in everything you do. I watch the people around you, how they react whenever you're there.  They smile, laugh often and feel better for having had you in their day, even if ever so briefly. I'm proud of you!"

To a Friend...

"You take on the challenges of life and never give in.  You might not always win, but you don't lose for lack of trying. I'm proud of you!"

To a co-worker...

"You care.  It shows in the way you do your work. You not only do your job, you care about the details, the goals and the outcome.

I'm proud of you!"

To a child...

"You didn't hit a home run, but you played with your heart in every game.  You never missed a practice, you tried your very best.  That's a home run in my book. I'm proud of you!"

To your spouse or partner...

"We'll get through this together.  Yes, you lost your job, but so did many others.  I see great determination in your eyes.  I love you even more in the difficult times because that's when you shine and the world sees your best. I'm proud of you!"

"I'm proud of you!" 

11/15/2015

Two Tips to Guarantee You Get the Most From Your Study Time

By Kim Fisher, owner of Empowered By Learning LLC

When seeking college or graduate school admission, each of us probably had to take the ACT or SAT exam or the GRE exam. If you wanted to practice real estate, nursing, become a doctor or lawyer, a personal trainer, a massage therapist, etc., you had to pass an exam. Well, there’s a long way around studying for the pertinent exam and there’s a short way. I am suggesting that you choose the latter. Let’s make our study environment as supportive as possible! Here are several “reminders” to get you faster to your destination!

Tip #1 – Prepare your environment for laser focus – laser studying!

Prepare your study space and materials so that they are easily accessible and available at any time.

How does this apply to me or to you?

Set up “quiet time” rules for your household and yourself – a “no interruption” time so you can have focused laser studying. Make a sign to hang in a prominent place in your home (if you use part of it as your study place) for others to see and respect! (Heck, your kids can get their homework done while you study.)

Find a room in your home, a place in a library, whatever place this might be and treat it as your study place. For example, what do you expect to do when you go to the bathroom? What do you think of when you think of activities you do in the kitchen? Your bedroom is for sleeping, right? The idea? Don’t use these places to bathe, eat, or sleep as places to study.

Have everything you need in one place (your study place) or in a travel bag that allows you to get to your study place (say, the library). This might include pens, pencils, highlighters, tabs for page identification/reference, a text or texts, notes, preferably organized in a binder by tabs for quick and easy reference, kleenex, water and easy-to-transport healthy snacks, earplugs (check your local pharmacy), staples, paperclips, cell phone that has been placed on silence and is out of sight

We interrupt ourselves and it takes more time to recover from an interruption, than the actual interruption!

How does this apply to me or to you?

Tip #2 – Prepare yourself for laser focus – laser studying!

Use the bathroom before you start studying (big interruption potential!)

Determine when you have time but especially energy to have concentrated, focused, laser-like study time. Break study time into short 30-45 minute segments with 10-15 minutes breaks between sessions.

Quantity is not the key here, rather, quality study is what you want. Consider…
When do I retain material the best? When do I have the most energy? The least?

Keep a calendar of your study days/times and how much you feel you accomplished. In fact, schedule your study time into your day’s/week’s activity. Confidence that you have “done” your time is critical to believing you can pass “the” exam.

Organize, organize, and organize some more! Plan, plan, and plan some more! Failing to plan = planning to fail. You have probably heard these “words of wisdom” before – right?

So, do yourself a favor. Create the conditions that are best for you and for your environment to get the most from the time you have available to prepare for that exam. In many cases, passing the exam is the key to where you want to go. Give yourself the greatest opportunity for being successful. Plan your valuable time!          

Source URL: http://www.empoweredbylearningllc.com

11/8/2015

Fortune Favors the Brave

By Ruben Gonzalez

Your fears are a smokescreen. They are like ghosts that keep you from being your best. It's OK to be afraid. Everyone is afraid! What's not OK is to let your fear get the best of you. Successful people have learned to act in spite of their fear. And that's what courage is - acting in spite of your fear.

Courage can be developed. Aristotle said, "You become what you repeatedly do." The way to develop courage is by practicing courage in every situation where courage is required. How do you do that? Through a quality decision. You come to the realization that whenever you are afraid to do something, you are simply being tested. You make a decision that from now on you will win over your fear. Remember; if you do what you fear, the fear will disappear. If you don't do what you fear, the fear will control your life.

Make a game out of conquering your fears. You can get started with small things. For example, if you usually wait to see what everyone else is having when you're ordering in a restaurant, next time, be the first to order. When you do that, you will have experienced a small personal victory. You just won over that fear. Next time you are talking to somebody and you want to ask a question but you are afraid of looking stupid, ask anyways. Guess what? You've just won another personal victory. Score: Fears - 0, Courage -2.

You need to win many personal victories before you will win a public victory. By becoming conscious of your fears and making a game out of conquering them, before long you will begin to understand in your heart that fears are just smokescreens. And by playing that game all the time, you are becoming more courageous every day.

Put it into action:

Make a game out of staring fear in the face. Start doing what you fear and watch your fear disappear. Start chalking up some personal victories so you can soon experience some public victories.

Source URL: http://www.thelugeman.com

11/1/2015

How to Conquer Fear

When it comes to personal development, dealing with FEAR is one of the most daunting tasks we take on.

This following article has two purposes: 1) to examine three excellent (and simple) realizations regarding the nature of fear; 2) to provide four activities to start conquering it.

REALIZATION ONE: Some fears are healthy, while others are unhealthy

When we are afraid of something that cannot actually harm us – like a spider - or something we can do nothing to avoid - such as old age - then our fear is unhealthy, for it serves only to make us unhappy and paralyze us. On the other hand, when someone gives up smoking because they are afraid of developing lung cancer, this is a healthy fear because the danger is real and there are constructive steps they can take to avoid it.

REALIZATION TWO: Healthy fears can be a very GOOD Thing

We need the healthy fear that arises from taking stock of our present situation so that we can resolve to do something about it. For example, there is no point in a smoker being scared of dying of lung cancer unless there is something that he or she can do to prevent it, i.e. stop smoking. If a smoker has a sufficient fear of dying of lung cancer, he or she will take steps to kick the habit. Healthy fears are the substance by which personal growth is made.

REALIZATION THREE: The Key is letting go of unhealthy fears

The critical element for dealing with fear boils down to LETTING GO of the unhealthy types; the ones where you begin to see there is NO action you can take to resolve a circumstance. Once you learn to really let go of unhealthy fears, your attention is able to focus 100% on the healthy versions and construct tangible ways to make your life happier and more fulfilling.

Here are 4 activities you can implement to start separating the healthy fears from the unhealthy ones in your life:

Make a List

Make a detailed list of all the fears in your life. Do not do this in one sitting, but take a few days to write a comprehensive list of everything you are scared. Once you feel the list is complete, separate the contents into two categories: Unhealthy Fears and Healthy Fears. Make a commitment to disregard your unhealthy fears and only focus on the healthy versions for a certain time frame (say, a week). This can be an extremely powerful and enlightening exercise. As an added bonus, make a few goals for improving the situations in your healthy fear column (remember, these are the ones you can do something about)!

Skydive

Putting yourself in a completely helpless situation (being forced to jump from a perfectly good airplane is helpless, I assure you) is a wonderful way to teach yourself to let go of unhealthy fears. Why? Because once you commit to undergoing an activity like sky diving, it becomes clear the outcome is out of your hands. The only thing to do is let it happen, and release the inevitable fears that will surface. Furthermore, landing and telling everyone about it will give you a sense of accomplishment for being able to let go of an unhealthy fear. Of course, skydiving is not for everyone, and can be substituted with any physical activity that pushes the limits of YOUR fear threshold. Just make sure you complete it, no matter what it takes!

Meditate

This recommendation is the pure opposite of the previous one, as meditation is the practice of going within and focusing the mind 100% in one area. Unhealthy fears reside deep within you and meditation is a terrific way to start becoming aware of them. For beginners, meditation itself can stimulate feelings of fear and frustration and learning to deal with them can be very beneficial to your mission of “letting go”.

Visualization

The practice of visualization is an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with fear. When you start visualizing, see yourself accomplishing your most lofty goals. Flex the muscle of your imagination to actually see and feel what it is like to live in your ideal world. Making a habit of visualization conquers fear in a very direct way: the more time you spend thinking positively, the less time you have to be fearful.

Fear is an exceptionally inhibiting force for many people, but it does not have to be! Learn how to a) separate the unhealthy versions from the healthy ones; b) let go of the unhealthy types and c) focus on actions you can take to resolve the healthy fears. This can do wonders for your well being!

10/25/2015

Thoughts For The Times

You can't be all things to all people.
You can't do all things at once.
You can't do all things equally well.
You can't do all things better than everyone else.
Your humanity is showing just like everyone else's.

SO…
You have to find out who you are, and be that.
You have to decide what comes first, and do that.
You have to discover your strengths, and use them.
You have to learn not to compete with others because no one else is in the contest for being you.

THEN…
You will have learned to accept your own uniqueness.
You will have learned to set priorities and make decisions.
You will have learned to live with your limitations.
You will have learned to give yourself the respect that is due, and you'll be a most vital mortal.

DARE TO BELIEVE…
That you are a wonderful, unique person.
That you are a once-in-all-history event.
That it's more than a right, it's your duty, to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve, but a gift to cherish.
And you'll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.

10/18/2015

College Students Success Secrets

Overcoming Adversity, Knock the T Out of Can’t

By Paul F. Davis

Conquer your fears, transcend your limitations, and be a college student success story by overcoming adversity and knocking the T out of can’t. Only believe and you can achieve success. Overcoming adversity may be tough, but any college student can overcome with these simple success secrets.

When I entered college and went through growing pains, I realized I was in store for some new challenges for which I had never been forewarned. My parents encouraged my academic success throughout high-school into college, but never bothered to prepare me for the rigors of college life and academics.

There is a big difference in college between knowing you “what” you need to do and knowing “how” to do it. Unfortunately many college professors (perhaps by reason of being in the trenches of academia too long) are not always so helpful in that regard. Plus it is often hard to find someone as a college student who you can relate to who also has some intelligence who can guide and counsel you.

Sadly even college counselors sometimes treat you like another problem in their caseload rather than a genuine person needing someone with a heart to talk to. That being said here are some success secrets to help any college student overcome adversity on their university campus.

1. Stay calm and cool.

When you stay calm and cool, what you need to do will more easily come to you.

Just acknowledge and recognize your present problem, after which set in your heart the intention to tackle it once you know what to do. Upon setting your intent to tackle and deal with this problem, you assuredly will eventually figure it out and take it out!

2. Listen intently, ask questions, and seek out intelligent people.

The more you listen, the more you learn. Those two ears attached to the side of your head are there for a reason. Unfortunately most people prefer to move their mouth a million miles a minute to vocalize their problem, rather than solve it.

Problem solvers however know the secret to solving problems successfully is to quietly process the problem, design a strategy to solving it, and inviting intelligent people around you to help you figure out how to tackle it.

Humbly yourself and ask questions of those around, preferably those with intelligence who can provide good advice and tell you what they would do. As you listen and gain varying perspectives, eventually intuitively it will come to you what it is you should do.

3. Don’t despise the process as you sort through the pieces.

Everybody wants to be a college student success story, but success doesn’t come overnight. You have to make the grades for four years and remain focused through the many attractive distractions throughout college.

As in obtaining a degree, wherein is required the completion of various coursework, overcoming adversity sometimes requires life work and internal home work as you sort through the pieces to your ordeal.

When my mom died prematurely due to a drunk driver hitting her, I had to process some of my unanswered questions and find closure. This was not done easily and took time. Likewise must you most likely give yourself some time to sort through the personal pieces and elements to that which is presently testing and challenging you. Embrace the process regardless of the present pain, knowing assuredly that as you do you will grow through and get up above your problem eventually.

Once you rise above it, you will then be able to objectively look down and back at it to see more clearly. When that time comes, you will simultaneously be able to comfort and lift others currently suffering in a similar dilemma as you. Therefore your present suffering is not in vain, as truly it will empower you to help others just the same.

4. Celebrate your progress.

Celebrate your small successes and steps forward.

When I was hit by a drunk driver (another drunk driving accident years after my mom was killed) and my car was totaled, I was injured physically and great crushed financially. I was already suffering financially before the accident. The drunk driving accident however pushed me over the edge. Suddenly I was now having to use rental cars for months, fight my insurance company for payment, visit medical doctors continually, and sort through stacks of legal documents and medical bills nonstop.

At one point I foolishly said and thought it would have been better if the drunk driver would have killed me, because the pain of the present situation after the accident was crushing and killing me. It is safe to say I was overwhelmed and miserable.

Nevertheless serendipitously a car dealer showed up in my life and offered to personally finance a car for me to buy (since my credit was ruined after the accident and I couldn’t get a decent loan from a car dealer). I was so thankful and appreciative.

Nevertheless I had to make car payments in the range of $2,000 a month, while trying to live off a teaching salary of $2,600 a month and pay a mortgage on my house. Incidentally, those 6 months were very challenging.

Yet when I finally made that last car payment, I rejoiced and sighed a sigh of relief.

Sometimes it is the little things in life that we most take for granted, but suddenly begin to appreciate when they are swiftly removed from us.

I therefore gave thanks to my stars and rejoiced upon making that final car payment.

What are you thankful for today? As you begin to give thanks something will arise within you, whereby you will be lifted above your adversity and the ability to overcome will mightily move you forward.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and apply these marvelous success secrets to work miracles in your life and propel you happily and successfully through college into your dream career!

Wishing you great and continued success!

10/11/2015

Rise to meet the sun

By Bob Perks

If you want to be the first to see what the day has to offer, stand on the hill and be the first to see the sun.

Keep in mind that there is a possibility that someone else is standing on a taller mountain. It really shouldn't matter. Eventually, even those down in the valley will see the light.

If you want no part of the day, try staying in bed.

Chances are the sun will find you, still.

The sun waits for no one.

At the back of my property, we placed a converted shed we call "Hope House." Long before I am ready, the house up on the hill begins to glow ever so brightly. First the peak and then washing slowly over the top of the door, it reflects back toward where I am standing.

Imagine a spotlight on one single object on a darkened stage. There, now fully exposed, the house on the hill beckons me and I run up the pathway in a hurry to claim my spot in the sun before it even kisses the petunias in the window boxes. 

For me "Hope" glows in the early morning sun but I need not see it to know it's always there. I have seen the sun rise for more years than I care to count. It is only lately that I appreciate it more.

Get up before the dawn and with the rising of the sun you will not waste a moment. For it is not just another day...it is another chance.

So, what does it bring? 

That is best answered by asking "What will you bring into it?"

The sun does not bring sadness, nor joy. You do.

The sun does not create success or failure. You do.

The sun does not make opportunities. You do.

The sun does not sound an alarm nor call your name in the early morning hours begging you to participate.

You must "Rise to meet the sun."

Source URL: http://www.IWishYouEnough.com

10/4/2015

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Boost your Self Esteem

Comparing ourselves to others is a complex process and can lead to very different outcomes. The consequences of which vary greatly depending on how and why we choose to draw comparisons with others.

Positive Comparisons

Reassurance is a key factor with self-comparison; people stand themselves up against others as a checking in or reference point. We look out for people with similar characteristics and mark ourselves against them.

For example; mothers may look to other mothers dealing with young children and asses their parenting skills. The outcome of this is that they sense that they are achieving the same outcome and feel good about what they are doing.

We can also learn and improve through comparing ourselves, look at what others are doing and see how they have done this, using this as a benchmark.

Comparing ourselves to older and more experienced individuals can also be a useful way of looking at our own development and can provide assistance to choosing paths. Learning from the mistakes of others and understanding that life doesn’t always run smoothly can help us move forward.

Observing the lives of others on a global scale or as close as next door can help put perspective on our own lives.

Negative Comparisons

Choosing to compare ourselves against people or situations that make us feel inadequate is an utter waste of time. If you had a painful cut on your finger would you rub a handful of salt all over the wound? No you would not; you would clean the cut and put a plaster on it. If you are feeling unsuccessful and down on yourself, take positive steps towards self-improvement and protect yourself rather than adding insult to injury.

Battling insecurities through bringing up irrelevant comparisons is a dangerous game, the gut-wrenching emotions of uselessness that emerge are poisonous and can easily be avoided through taking control and not allowing yourself to get pulled into this pointless game.

The list of negative self-comparisons is endless, generally it will reflect whatever it is that you are struggling with at the time, below I have outlined a few examples of some of the most common forms:

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       Body image: Feeling insecure about your appearance or weight? Picking up a magazine and flicking through pictures of scantily clad models is not going to help! Looking at the weight loss and dieting efforts of celebrities against your own is fruitless. All you are getting is an image with a brief written capsule of text you have nothing real or concrete to set against yourself. Ditch the magazines and opt for a novel instead.

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       Relationships: Comparing yourself against your current partners ex is a sure fire way of creating avoidable bitterness and angst. Maybe she seems more successful? More attractive? More fun? Torturing yourself about the past can distance you from the present, it is your future that you are working towards, concentrate on what you are doing right and what works and learn to leave what is in the past: behind.

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       Career: If you are feeling uncertain of unhappy in your current career, putting yourself up against someone who you see as being more successful is a damaging approach. Dwelling on how well somebody else is achieving does nothing but hinder your own development. Instead look into positive steps to improve your working situation.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Whoever or whatever it is that you use to negatively compare yourself against, should be recognized and dealt with.

Feeling jealously towards people involved in your life can be difficult to deal with; you may be very fond of them but find them difficult to be around when you are having moments of self-doubt. Rather than subjecting yourself to them, take a little break, it is far better to distance yourself for a moment than tainting a friendship with jealousy.

Making yourself aware of what makes you feel inadequate is a great way of dealing with it, learn to recognize how and why you get involved in this negative cycle and quickly remove yourself.

Think: comparing yourself to others is pointless, because there has never been or will be a person just like you!

Source URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/self-help-articles

9/27/2015

One Miracle
by Bob Perks

I had a dream last night that you've been given a miracle to do whatever you want with it. What will you do?

"Boy, I could really use a miracle right now!" he said.

I was having breakfast at a local restaurant when I overheard two men talking.

I thought about how many times I've said that. It then lead me to this question:

"What if I was given one miracle?"

Not one that I asked for, but one that was given to me to do what I wanted.

One miracle that could change the world. One miracle that could save lives. One miracle that could bring joy into the lives of people all around me.

One miracle that could comfort the sick, heal a broken heart, empower others to rise above their own challenges.

One miracle that could... go ahead name it.

What if you woke up one day and this revelation came to you that you held the power of using one miracle to impact the world in such a unique way as to leave a lasting and forever impression?

Think about the weight of that idea. Think about what it would be like to know that you held that power and you had to decide what you were going to do with it.

Think about what it would be like if others knew you had that miracle at hand.  Would you feel a sense of urgency to do something with it or would you just sit by and wait until the opportunities faded or your time ran out?

What about your obligation to your life and humanity?

Above all else, beyond what others might expect, don't you think that if your birth gave you that miracle that you would make it a priority in your life to use it in such a way as to make your life worthy of living?

Well, my friend, this isn't some foolish idea.  This isn't some ethical question in a college course.  It is indeed reality.

YOU are that miracle born with great expectations and given unto the world as the miracle of life. You are capable of all those things and obligated to use this miracle.

Wake up to this reality.  Step up to the challenge.

Live up to expectations.

Be the miracle!

9/20/2015

6 Ways to Recharge Every Day

By Tony Schwartz

Are you working longer hours, attending more meetings, taking shorter vacations, answering more e-mails and eating lunch at your desk, if you eat lunch at all?

Does demand in your life just keep getting higher, so you're struggling more and more just to keep up? Are you utterly sick of hearing the phrase "do more with less"? Does the word "unsustainable" sound about right?

Human beings aren't meant to operate like computers -- at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. We're designed to be rhythmic, and to intermittently renew. Here are the six strategies that we've found work best.

1.    Make sufficient sleep your highest priority.

Far too many of us buy into the myth that one fewer hour of sleep allows us one more of productivity. In fact, even very small amounts of sleep deprivation significantly undermine a person's capacity for focus, analytic thinking and creativity.

The research is clear: more than 95 percent of us require seven to eight hours of sleep in order to be fully rested, and for our brains to optimally embed new learning. Great performers, ranging from musicians to athletes, often get even more than eight hours.

Two simple strategies can help. The first is to set a specific bedtime and begin winding down at least 30 or 45 minutes earlier, avoiding stimulating activities like answering e-mail, and opting instead for more relaxing ones like taking a warm bath or reading.

The second is to spend a few minutes reviewing what's on your mind before you go to sleep, and then writing down anything that's worrying you. What you're doing is effectively parking these concerns so that they don't end up keeping you from falling asleep, or back asleep in the middle of the night.

2.    Take a renewal break at least every 90 minutes.

It's now how long you work that determines the value you produce, but rather the energy you bring to whatever hours you work. Likewise, it's not how long you take off that matters most, but how skillfully you renew.

The first key is to intermittently quiet your physiology. You can dramatically lower your heart rate, your blood pressure and your muscle tension in as little as 30 to 60 second seconds with regular practice.

With your eyes closed, try breathing in through your nose to a count of three, and out through your mouth slowly to a count of six. In this way, you're extending your recovery. As your body quiets down, your thinking mind will also get quieter and you'll feel more relaxed. For further instruction, go here.

3.    Keep a running list of everything -- literally everything -- that you want or need to do.

The more fully and frequently you download what's on your mind, the less energy you'll squander in fruitless thinking about undone tasks, and the more energy you'll have to be fully present in whatever you're doing.

4.    Run up your heart rate or take a nap in the early afternoon.

If your excuse for not exercising regularly is "I don't have time," consider working out during your lunch hour (and yes, you're entitled to one).

There may be no better way to clear the mind, lower anxiety and jumpstart your energy than by intentionally raising your heart rate into the aerobic or anaerobic zones.

If taking a run or going to a gym is too time-consuming, how about taking a brisk 15- to 30-minute walk outside? Or if you're in an office building, how about walking up and down the stairs?

Alternatively, take a 20- to 30-minute nap between 1 and 4 p.m, when most of us feel a wave of fatigue. Researcher Sara Mednick has found that a short nap is not just powerfully restorative; it also prompts significantly higher performance on cognitive tasks in the subsequent several hours, compared to not napping at all.

Few employers sanction naps, but even sitting back in your chair and closing your eyes for a few minutes can be restorative. If you're the boss, get a barcalounger -- my own favorite piece of office furniture -- and set an example by using it.

5.    Practice appreciation -- and savoring.

One of the least recognized ways we squander energy is in negative emotions. We're far quicker to notice what's wrong in our lives than what's right.

Look for opportunities to appreciate someone in your life, and share what you're feeling -- directly, or in a note. You'll be giving the other person a shot of positive energy, but sharing positive energy will also make you feel better.

Look, too, for opportunities to appreciate yourself. Take time to savor small victories, give yourself credit where you deserve it, and forgive yourself when you fall short.

6.    Develop a transition ritual between work and home.

When we leave the office, many of us carry work with us. The result is that even when we get home, we're still not truly present. Consider establishing a very specific way to disengage from work so that you can leave it behind.

The most powerful ritual we've seen clients build is to stop somewhere along the route home, such as a public park, and take a few minutes to let the day go, and to focus on the evening ahead. Turn home back into a place where you're truly getting renewal.       

Source URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-schwartz/six-ways-to-refuel-your-e_b_796952.html

9/13/2015

9 Things Successful People Do Differently

By Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren't sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer -- that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others -- is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

Here are nine things successful people do differently:

Get Specific

When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. "Lose 5 pounds" is a better goal than "lose some weight" because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you'll "eat less" or "sleep more" is too vague -- be clear and precise. "I'll be in bed by 10 p.m. on weeknights" leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you've actually done it.

Seize The Moment To Act On Your Goals

Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it's not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide in advance when and where you will take each action you want to take. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g. "If it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I'll work out for 30 minutes before work"). Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300 percent.

Know Exactly How Far You Have Left To Go

Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress -- if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don't know how well you are doing, you can't adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently -- weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

Be A Realistic Optimist

When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don't underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

Focus On Getting Better Rather Than Being Good

Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality and our physical aptitudes are fixed -- that no matter what we do, we won't improve. As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong; abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

Have Grit

Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren't particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it. People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don't have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking -- well, there's no way to put this nicely -- you are wrong. As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed. Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

Build Your Willpower Muscle

Your self-control "muscle" is just like the other muscles in your body -- when it doesn't get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you'd honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching or try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up or just not bother, don't. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (e.g. "If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.") It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that's the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

Don't Tempt Fate

No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it's important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it, you will temporarily run out of steam. Don't try to take on two challenging tasks at once, like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time. And don't put yourself in harm's way; many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

Focus On What You Will Do, Not What You Won't Do.

Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g. "Don't think about white bears!") has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior; by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.

If you want change your ways, ask yourself, "What will I do instead?" For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like this: "If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down." By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

It is my hope that, after reading about the nine things successful people do differently, you have gained some insight into all the things you have been doing right all along. Even more important, I hope are able to identify the mistakes that have derailed you, and use that knowledge to your advantage from now on. Remember: You don't need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It's never what you are, but what you do.

This post originally appear in the Harvard Business Review.

Source URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidi-grant-halvorson-phd/success-strategies_b_833464.html

9/6/2015

Studying Made Simple

Study methods

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Do not just study one single subject for long hours.

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Study 2-3 different subjects regularly everyday, even if there’s no test.

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Review what’s been taught in class, on the very same day.

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Preview the lessons which haven’t been taught.

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Use mind-mapping concept in studying.

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Instead of memorizing one whole paragraph, highlight the important points and try to understand, not mug up, so that you can develop the points in your own sentences in the test.

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Each study period lasts for about 25 minutes.

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Take a break about 5-10 minutes after each study period.

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Do not do anything that needs concentration during the break, ie. playing electronic games, reading story book, etc.

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Drink a cup of tea/coffee, sit back and relax during break time.

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Do not multitask while studying.

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Listen to soft music only, e.g. baroque, or other classics.

Self commitment

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Make a proper daily study schedule.

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Commit yourself to the schedule that you’ve made.

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Do not take learning as something boring or difficult, in fact take it easy, no tension.

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Do not set any target for marks, just give it the best shot, however you should be aware that having no marks target doesn’t mean it’s ok if you get failing marks, failing marks are not at all your best shot!

Health matters

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Eat balanced diet and exercise regularly everyday.

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Sleep at least 8 hours a day.

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Avoid staying up till late at night when you’re having tests.

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Staying awake the whole night studying for a test is not recommended, you may finish studying the portion for the test but the next day you’re going to forget them all!

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Early to bed, early to rise, makes a student healthy, brainy, and fresh.

8/30/2015

How to Manage Your Time Like a Champion

by Ruben Gonzalez, Three-time Olympia

"Would you like to be able to reach your goals in half the time? Would you like to have a greater sense of control over your life?

People that have a sense of control over their lives are happier and more confident than people who feel out of control.

A big part of achieving that sense of control is to learn how to manage your time. Time management is a skill. It can be learned. But like everything else in the game of success, it comes down to a decision.

You have to make a decision that you will do what it takes to take control of your time.

Once you have a clear goal you are working towards, you must decide two things; number one, to start doing the things that will get you closer to your goal and stop doing the things that will keep you from your goal, and two, to work on the most important tasks first.

In actuality, you will not be managing time. You will be managing yourself so you can take maximum advantage of your time.

The first step in time management is to make a list of the tasks you'll need to complete in order to achieve each of your goals and to prioritize your list.

The second step in managing your time is to start planning your weeks and your days in advance. Sunday evening is a great time to plan your week. And the end of your workday is a great time to plan your next day.

Why plan the night before? Because if you do, your subconscious mind will work on your task list all night long. Many times you'll wake up in the morning with ideas and insights that will help you during the day. Once your subconscious mind is working for you, you will start attracting people and resources you'll need to help you achieve your goals.

Prioritize your task list. Determine which tasks are urgent and which are truly important. Most people spend their days working on urgent tasks that are not important. People that are constantly reacting to outside pressures (pressures like answering the phone, interruptions, putting out fires, etc.) are stressed and out of control.

The second step in managing your time is to start planning your weeks and your days in advance. Sunday evening is a great time to plan your week. And the end of your workday is a great time to plan your next day.

Remember... plans change but the act of planning gets you to think about the road ahead and saves you time in the long run.

The most effective people focus on important tasks and put the urgent tasks on the back burner.

Important tasks are those that will have the biggest impact on your long term goals.

Less than 20% of your tasks are important and will determine your future. Focus on those. Over 80% of your tasks are time wasters that will not contribute greatly to your future. Procrastinate on those, delegate those, or eliminate them altogether. Focus on the key tasks.

Prioritizing your tasks is critical because whenever you work on a particular task, you are choosing not to work on all of the other tasks. That is why your choice of which tasks you work on, will determine your future. Do you want to leave your future to chance, or is your future worth planning for?

Once you start working on a task, work on it until it is completed. Focus on only one task at a time. Thomas Edison, arguably the greatest inventor in American history, said that his success was due to his ability to work continuously on one task until he was finished. If it's good enough for Edison , don't you think it's good enough for you and me?

The best way to complete your tasks quickly is to plan your day in a way that it will give you long, uninterrupted chunks of work time. Sixty to ninety minute chunks of time.

When your mind is focused on a single task for long periods of time, you will accomplish many times more work than if you are working on several tasks simultaneously.

Finally, learn to say "NO" to anything that will keep you from achieving your goals. Focus single-mindedly on your desired end result, and you will be amazed at how much you achieve in your life."

©2007 Ruben Gonzalez

8/23/2015

Open the Window of Your Mind

All your worries are for naught. You worry if you do, and you worry if you don’t. You think of all the dangerous possibilities. You worry about worrying. You must know by now that worrying is a downer.

Substitute freedom for worry. You are free! You are a free being on Earth. You are free not to worry. Worry is getting ready for disaster, big or little. You are free not to worry. You don’t have to put yourself through it.

The well-worn process of worry takes you down a road you don’t want to go. Take a different turn in life. You have not been given a quota on worry. There is not a certain amount of worry in a lifetime that you must fulfill. If such a quota did exist, you fulfilled it long ago.

Instead of the uncertainty of what you worry about, give yourself a gift. If you are a farmer, and you worry about your crop, picture the beauty of your crop at the moment it comes up. Picture its plentifulness. Cease to picture a drought or a flood. If you are student and worry about the upcoming test, picture your test returned with an “A” marked at the corner.

If you worry about illness, give yourself a gift of picturing your health. Be a realist. Of course, you have many times been unscathed from your worries. You worried plenty, and yet you had a good crop. You worried plenty, and you had good health. You worried about your test, and yet you got a good mark. Turn from the disability of worrying and wondering into an ability to think of that which you look forward to.

Worry is like poison ivy. You keep scratching it. The scratching isn’t a cure. Do you want worry or do you want to walk away from worry? I say to walk away. Worry is not a pet to keep. Celebrate yourself and worry not.

Instead of thinking of all the disasters that can befall, think of all the good things in life. Chalk them up. They are earmarked for you. They are a foregone conclusion.

Worries, on the other hand, are simply riff-raff you have picked up off the street. Or worries are vines that you have been taking care of, one after another. Look at those vines of worry grow, and yet they do not yield fruit. They just yield more worry. They are like poison ivy. The more you scratch, the more you scratch.

I say that now you are to let worries go out the window. Open the window of your mind, and let worries go. Worries are worthless. They are worse than worthless. They are painful. They are worth nothing but pain.

You may say that you can’t stop worrying about this and that. I say you can stop. Worry is not like a job you have to keep. You do not have all the time in the world to worry. You have nurtured all the worries in the world. There is not one that has escaped you. I am telling you to escape worry.

Perhaps you have too much time on hand. Then get a second job, or volunteer somewhere, or knit a sweater. If you knit a sweater, will you start worrying then about dropped stitches? Better that than all the other worries you have harbored.

Worries are like smallpox. You simply don’t want them. They are no use to you. Don’t have worries, and then you won’t have to recover from them. Worrying is an illness of the mind. There is a cure. Stop adopting worries. Worries are not meant to be a way of life for you.

They are a penalty that you are to set yourself free from. Set yourself free from worry right now. I thank you.

Source URL: http://www.heavenletters.org/open-the-window-of-your-mind.html

8/16/2015

A Story of Perseverance

by  Blake Boudreau

The end of summer draws near which signals the time for the Beep Baseball World Series.  Beep Baseball is a game similar to baseball that is adapted for the blind and visually impaired. The game is played with the use of a 5-inch dia. softball with a beeper inside, 4 ft tall bases containing buzzers and blindfolds that all players must wear while on the playing field. Each player must wear a blindfold due to the variation of visual disabilities of these athletes. Wearing a blindfold puts all players on equal footing. Fourteen to sixteen teams from around the world come together every year to participate in this weeklong event.

This year my family decided to drive to the World Series while the rest of our team would fly to Rochester , MN. This is my 11th world series and I will never forget this year’s event for a number of reasons.

While sitting in a restaurant after arriving in Rochester , we learned that we had narrowly escaped a horrific tragedy. While driving from the Mall of America in Minneapolis , MN to Rochester , we had crossed over the 35W Bridge , which only hours later collapsed. We all sat quietly as we watched the CNN broadcast on TV. It really made us evaluate how precious each day we have here on earth really is.

The World Series began with our team (The Bayou City Heat) winning all three of our games on the first day. The day would have been perfect if it was not for an injury that I suffered during the second game against the team from Columbus , OH. I hit the ball and ran full force to the buzzing base when I heard the umpire yell “Foul Ball.” By the time, I heard his voice I had already decided to dive for the base headfirst. Diving for the base was a usual occurrence; however, this time I felt a pain in my hand as I landed. I reached down to feel my batting glove and it felt like I had six fingers in my glove. I had landed on my pinky finger, which led to a very painful dislocation. As I pulled the glove off I realized that the top part of my finger had completely bent back over the bottom half. The medical personnel ran on the field and identified the injury as a dislocation. They decided to try to pull the finger back into the socket and try to straighten the finger out. I was in quite a bit of pain but said that I did not want to come out of the game. I said, “I didn’t come half way across the country to sit down and not help my team win.” I slid my batting glove back on and they taped my pinky finger and ring finger together to give some support to the injury. I ended up hitting the ball and scoring a run. I realized that batting would be painful and difficult but that it was something I wanted to continue trying to do. My fielding was not effected by the injury and I had the best defensive tournament of my beep baseball career, missing the All-Star team by only six defensive outs. The Houston Bayou City Heat ended up finishing fourth out of 14 teams but I was very satisfied with the effort and determination that the entire team showed.

The 2008 World Series will be held here in Houston , TX. We look forward to an even better year in front of our hometown fans. The Houston team has been playing since 1979 and it was over 20 years later until we won our first world championship. In 2002 we defeated sixteen teams to clinch the title of beep baseball world champion. I am hoping that next year will be the year we bring another title to the city of Houston. 

8/9/2015

Intentionally Train Your Mind

5 Steps to Being More Focused and Productive in Everything You Do

I was introduced to something this week that after only 6 days has had a major impact on my life. It is called “segment intending”. It is a practice described by Abraham-Hicks that involves breaking your day up into segments and then creating a particular intention for that segment. So, whether I was heading off for a hike with my daughter or digging my heels in at work, I set an intention. In both of these cases I set an intention to enjoy each moment, to give thanks for the time I was able to devote to each activity, and to be creative and as productive as possible.

It was a quick exercise that took only a few moments but I quickly discovered how powerful this practice could be. I found myself committed to the here and now and armed with a mechanism to draw me back to the present if I got off track, I was able to experience and accomplish more than I ever would have without it. For instance, one morning when I was hiking with my daughter, I found my mind drifting to all of the stuff I thought I should have been doing and worrying that I was being unproductive by taking a long hike in the mountains. But, I quickly brought myself back to the moment and remembered my intention. I focused on my intention and had one of the most enjoyable hikes all week. This positive experience naturally led to a more positive day and ultimately more positive outcomes.

Following are 5 ways you can train your mind with intention:

1. Choose a length of time for your segment. If you have never done this before, I would recommend a segment of about 15-20 minutes. As you practice, you can begin increasing your time. Choose your exact start and end time and stick to it.

2. Attempt to plan your segment during a time when you will not be interrupted. This is easier said than done with kids to take care of, bosses coming in and out of your office and the constant noise of life happening all around you; but, do the best you can. A minor interruption may have no impact on your ability to focus and stay in the moment in which case you may decide to continue with your segment. However, if a more pressing interruption finds you, it may be better to end your segment and set an intention for another time later in the day. The important thing to remember when this happens is to reschedule your segment.

3. Determine your goal for that time period. You could do any number of things during this segment. For instance, you could be completing tasks around the house, organizing client files, returning phone calls, writing an article, etc. Just set your intention for that activity and remain focused.

4. When your time for the segment begins, allow yourself to focus solely on that. If at any time you find your mind wandering to something else, redirect it back to your intention. This is probably one of the biggest challenges when you begin this practice. Our minds are programmed to handle multiple things at one time and we have to learn to train our minds to focus. This takes practice.

5. When your time is up, complete your segment. Reflect on what you were able to do during this segment, how it felt, and what, if anything, changed for you. Some people find that this practice allows them to accomplish more in less time. Some people make a practice of doing it multiple times throughout the day. Only you can determine how it will work for you, but the more you do it, the more you will discover your mind becoming much more responsive to what you need and how you feel. It is in many ways of a form of meditation and you will soon find yourself opening up to this power of the mind and accomplishing more than you ever thought possible and more importantly enjoying every glorious minute of it.

8/2/2015

Success is...

If a task is once begun

Never leave it till it's done.

Be the labor great or small,

Do it well or not at all.

If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau

Success is:

...the opportunities you’ve created for yourself through diligent, dedicated work. Donna Gephardt

...to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Booker T. Washington  

...achieved and maintained by those who try – and keep trying. W. Clement Stone

...not measured by how well you fulfill the expectations of others, but by how honestly you live up to your own expectations. Linda Principe

...doing that thing which nothing else conceivable seems more noble or satisfying or remunerative. Alan Seeger

...being who you are, and feeling proud of yourself for every task and challenge that you face and conquer along the way. Deanna Beisser

...is not giving up, even though I've failed a thousand times. It’s finding another angle or fresh approach that allows me to try again with the hope that this will be the time I'll reach my goal, for its knowing that unless I try again, I may lose my opportunity. Donna Fargo

7/26/2015

Eight Gifts That Don't Cost A Cent

Feeling good about ourselves is one of the most important things for success and happiness. It is a well known fact that none of us can feel good and be happy and successful unless we pay attention to the others around us.

For many years people thought that we need High IQ to be successful in school and in our career. However, if we don't develop our EQ (Emotional Intelligence) to communicate with the others, our success will never be complete. 

Anything we put in the lives of the other people will come back to us as more self confidence, more happiness, better friendships, faster promotions, more customers in the business field. The key is developing better people skills. We can't change our IQ, but we can develop a higher EQ. All of us can do build them. It is the Universal Law “The more we give the more we receive.”   this, if we pay attention to people around us. Our relationships make our lives and it is up to us how we b

This simple checklist can help measure how you are nurturing your relationships to build a whole and happy life.  

The Gift of Listening

But you must really listen. Don't interrupt, don't daydream, don't plan your response. Just Listen.

The Gift of Affection

Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift of Laughter

Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

The Gift of Solitude

There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift of a Favor

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift of a Written Note

It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime.

The Gift of a Compliment

A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job," or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition

The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone.

7/19/2015

Getting Unstuck
By Natasha Rosewood

According to some between January 29 and February 12 is the worst time of the year. “Don’t start anything new during this ending period,” they advise. “It won’t last.” February, however, can be a great time to meditate on new beginnings. But what if you have no direction? What if you are STUCK?

You are probably in good company. Psychic or not, sometimes my own future is indefinable. I just don’t know. Or that’s what I tell myself anyway. Some hidden fear may be lurking in my unconscious mind and creating a smokescreen.

Metaphorically, energy or “chi” is like a flowing river. When we feel stuck, the flow of that river is caught in an eddy. Our chi is going around and around in circles and being sucked down into a bottomless vortex.

Remember, though, this is only your mind telling you that you are stuck. Energy by its very definition means motion and, therefore, cannot stay still. “Stuckness” is just an illusion and sometimes, merely a judgment of where you have not yet arrived. Your ego mind, your conscious waking-state chatters at you, berating you constantly with “I should be doing. . . ” or “what’s wrong with me?” or “I don’t know…” et al.

But stuckness does not have to be suffered. It can be celebrated.

The good news is that feeling stuck is part of the human process and, believe it or not, serves a purpose. Stuckness is about standing still for a while and allowing us to take stock. In our Western culture and our headlong rush towards success and then death, (not always in that order) we do not allow ourselves permission to not know our destination. And if you resist your stuckness, it will only expand.

So just for today, give yourself permission to see your situation differently. Sit down, put your feet up, take a load off and read the following ten tips to honoring stuckness.

Accept what is now. Everything is in perfect divine right order. Therefore, you are not stuck, just resting.

Let your life unfold naturally. If you are unable to make a decision, it means you do not have all the information yet. Wait and trust. Ask for help. Consult your psychic, coach, counselor, spirit guides or angels. Be open to a different perspective.

Throw an “idea party.” Brainstorm, exchange ideas, give and receive support.

Invite someone you admire to be your mentor. (Most people love to give advice!)

Recognize that you are not stuck, merely regrouping and preparing for a new life. Be thankful for the pause and know that what is yours will come to you.

Decide to see your life as a movie and write your dreams into your script. Be honest with yourself. What do you really, really want? Pursue the most exciting and/or scary options.

Feel the fear and, even if you are you terrified of success or happiness, do it anyway. That’s the time when you will feel really ALIVE!

Take one action every day towards that bigger picture. No matter how small the deed, you are still moving forward.

And you are no longer stuck!

7/12/2015

Become A Volunteer

Summer is a perfect time to continue or start finding volunteer opportunities. Many students do it just to be able to put on their resume. However, volunteerism is a life time commitment. Feeling the responsibility to make a difference in the lives of others is one of the noble tasks we can do. We were so impressed by many of our students having done not one but several continuous volunteer jobs. Two hours every week is a requirement for every student to earn your tuition. 

Robin Sharma wrote a great short essay about volunteerism. Here is what he said:

“Giving the gift of your time by volunteering to serve those who have less than you is an excellent way to remind yourself on a regular basis of the abundance that exists in your life.

After a keynote speech on leadership I delivered to the sales team of a large insurance company, one of the firm's top producers told me that one of the reasons for his success was his habit of spending a few hours a week helping those less fortunate than he was. ‘Seeing what others don't have keeps me awake to all the good things I do have. It prevents me from taking things for granted and, even more important, helps me make a difference in the lives of people who real­ly need me.’

French physician Albert Schweitzer observed, ‘I don't know what your destiny will be but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.’ And Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, ‘One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay 'in kind' somewhere else in life.’ Volunteering affords you the chance to help others and pay back the debt owed to those who have helped you.”

We will have a page on the website “showing off” to the whole world about your volunteer work and how you are helping others. What have you been doing it during the summer and what are you planning to do in the fall semester? Let us know.

7/5/2015

Learn to Be Happy

How much you love life may equate to the amount you give to life. Give has many meanings. Give means loving, and give also means accepting. Once again, I ask you to let go of preconceived ideas of what life must look like. If you have the idea that life must look a prescribed way and it doesn’t look like that, naturally you tend to feel that life is wanting. You may feel that you were somehow overlooked. You may come to think that life owes you. No one likes to be owed. You cannot dun life for what you think it owes you. You are not to be a bill collector of life. Nor are you to be life’s spoiled pouting child. Learn to be happy.

It is your birthright to be happy. There is no question there, yet it is also your free choice. It is your choice to choose happiness. It doesn’t make sense for you to wait to win the lottery before you will be happy. Have you been making your happiness conditional? Have you been allowing your happiness to depend upon what life hands you? The odds are that that is just what you have been doing. Kicking and screaming, you have been doing that. If you have been doing just that, you can stop. You can reverse your strategy. You can appreciate life as it is one day to the next.

A bill comes in the mail, and you are not happy. A check comes in the mail, and you are happy. For the moment…

Life seems to keep switching your gears. You do not have to hold an alliance with life that allows it to dictate to you how you will feel. If you find yourself feeling glum, you chose it. No one else chooses for you. You have the say of how you will react to your life. It is your life.

Life will offer you pretty much everything. You cannot always pick and choose. And yet you can take life in your stride and not resist what life offers you at any given moment. You don’t have to be knocked about.

You would like to be offered chocolate bon-bons every day, and yet life has its own wisdom. After a while, too many bons-bons, and you may lose your zest for them. Life has many ways of fattening you or putting you on a diet. Either way, you can be happy. Give yourself the freedom to be happy. Life has its own ways of doing things. It keeps going. And so must you.

Sometimes you get the silver spoon, and sometimes you don’t. You don’t have to lose your place in life because you did or didn’t. You don’t have to take detours from life. No more pouting or moping. They can become habits that are hard to break.

The world does not owe you a living. Be amenable with life. Consider life an employer. There are matters that the employer likes a certain way today, even if he changes his mind tomorrow. You may not like how the employer is doing things. What he is doing may even be ridiculous, yet he is the employer, and you make life as easy and beneficial for him as you can.

Life is your employer. You are not the boss of life. You are in life’s employ. Life will serve you. Nevertheless, it behooves you to serve life. Accommodate life. Don’t make a big fuss when life doesn’t accommodate you. You don’t have to take life so personally. You don’t have to avenge it.

Source URL: http://www.heavenletters.org/learn-to-be-happy.html

6/28/2015

Eight Gifts That Don't Cost A Cent

Feeling good about ourselves is one of the most important things for success and happiness. It is a well known fact that none of us can feel good and be happy and successful unless we pay attention to the others around us.

For many years people thought that we need High IQ to be successful in school and in our career. However, if we don't develop our EQ (Emotional Intelligence) to communicate with the others, our success will never be complete. 

Anything we put in the lives of the other people will come back to us as more self confidence, more happiness, better friendships, faster promotions, more customers in the business field. The key is developing better people skills. We can't change our IQ, but we can develop a higher EQ. All of us can do this, if we pay attention to people around us. Our relationships make our lives and it is up to us how we build them. It is the Universal Law “The more we give the more we receive.”  

This simple checklist can help measure how you are nurturing your relationships to build a whole and happy life.  

The Gift of Listening

But you must really listen. Don't interrupt, don't daydream, don't plan your response. Just Listen.

The Gift of Affection

Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift of Laughter

Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

The Gift of Solitude

There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift of a Favor

Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift of a Written Note

It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime.

The Gift of a Compliment

A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job," or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition

The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone.  

6/21/2015

Walking the Talk

by Ruben Gonzalez

Leaders in every field agree that there is a shortage of people who get things done. People who get results. That is great news. It's an opportunity for all of us. What that means is that if you want to move up in your field, all you have to do is to start getting results.

So how do you do that?

By becoming a person of action. Massive action!

Having good ideas is not enough. Even having great ideas is not enough. Ideas are a dime a dozen. However, people that implement ideas are priceless.

Everything that exists in this world is the product of an idea that was acted upon. Even the chair you're sitting in!

Successful people are active. They get it done. They don't waste any time. They have an urgency about them.

Passive people are not successful. Passive people procrastinate. Put things off. They wait for everything to be perfect before acting.

Well, I've got news for you. Conditions have never been or never will be perfect. What if Eisenhower had waited until conditions were perfect to invade Normandy? What if Kennedy had waited until conditions were perfect before deciding to put a man on the moon? What if Columbus had waited for conditions were perfect before setting out on his voyage?

When you are about to take a family vacation you probably don't wait until all the lights are green. You get started, and you handle the red lights as you come across them. Use that approach with everything else.

Do something. Get started. Move! Get some momentum going. If you don't, you'll regret it and you will be filled with stress. Stress comes from not doing what you know you should be doing.

Once you get started, once you are in motion, your mind starts focusing on how to get the job done. As soon as you get in motion you move ahead of the competition - all those poor souls that are still "thinking about it."

Action produces confidence. Inaction strengthens fear. Just think about when you were a kid on the high dive in your neighborhood pool. The longer you waited to dive, the worse the fear got. But once you decided to dive, the fear was gone and you spent the rest of the afternoon diving. Taking action made it fun. Exhilarating.

You know what you need to do. Do it now. Get going. Get started. You'll be glad you did.

If you won't do it now, do us all a favor and STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!

Copyright © 2008 Ruben Gonzalez  

6/14/2015

Spiritual Empowerment

As you look around yourself, what do you see? Did you know that every person and circumstance that appears in your life was brought into being by a natural process that is always operating within your subconscious mind? For most people, this process operates automatically, beneath the surface of their conscious awareness.

You have a Limitless Source of four distinct powers inside you. These powers are will, imagination, intellect and matter.

In the process of Spiritual Empowerment, the sacred powers of will, imagination, intellect and body are accessed, purified and activated. This focused exploration into the depths of oneself can greatly expand consciousness, and bring one into full command of the natural creation process. As steps are taken to focus these powers on perfecting one's life; old, limiting circumstances disappear.

Some may find the idea of such a life-changing awakening a bit overwhelming. If I am creating everything in my world, why I am struggling so hard? Why did I not create a perfect and beautiful life? What about the other people in my life who bring their own agendas into my domain? The answers to these questions point to power and consciousness, two mechanisms that can present many challenges to the will, imagination, intellect and body of the human.

Did you know that most people are afraid of their own power? This is due to potent conditioning that begins at birth, and is deeply reinforced throughout one's life. Feelings of nervousness, fear or anxiety in any circumstance are a signal that you are not fully aligned with your own power. One of the first issues we address in Spiritual Empowerment is the transmutation of all fear back into your essential power.

If you have tried any methods to manifest your desires, such as those described as the "Law of Attraction", but have not gotten the results you wanted, it is quite possibly due to imbalances and obstructions in one or more of the four basic powers. Through the process of Spiritual Empowerment, the will, imagination, intellect and body are freed from conditioned limitations. Resistances to change are easily overcome as empowerment energy merges into all levels of the being. The true self is awakened and the identity shifts from the lower to the higher.

From this point forward, one becomes more fully alive and power inside you flows abundantly and freely in the body-mind and out into the world. Where before there was uncertainty, limitation, and less than perfect outcomes, now there is confidence in the inexhaustible source of perfection from where one may draw all things needful for a healthy, happy, harmonious life.

You may now surround yourself with whatever you desire - a beautiful home, better health, a great body, more money, people who support your goals and want to help you, connections to resources to quickly advance your own aspirations, and most importantly, greater awareness of your true spirit and its mission in life.

Live in Joy!  

6/7/2015

Complacency

I once told a man that I no longer voted.

He responded by telling me this.
The choice of whether I voted or not was why he waded through rice paddies, toted guns, and fought battles.

It wasn't long afterward that I began to vote again.

I once told a man a lie.

He responded by telling me this.
All of the decisions that he made were based upon the words that I spoke.

I have long since told the truth.

I once became upset over a gift I received, because it wasn't what I wanted.

The giver saw the disappointment in my eyes and told me this. He chose the most valuable gift he could find, because he felt I should have it.

I am since very joyful over each gift that I receive.

A man once told me a secret which I quietly whispered in another friend's ear.

The man told me this, after hearing his own secret repeated. The reason he told me the secret was because he trusted me, not my friend.

I no longer take trust so lightly.

I once gave a gift to a friend and she cried.

I told her it was just a small gift I had found. Her response was that it was not the gift, it was that I had thought of her.

I now give gifts often.

The shiny coin was not to be mine, so I had been told.
But on my way out the door, it found its way in my hand.
When it was discovered that I had stolen the coin,
I was quietly taken aside.

The owner of the coin told me this.
Integrity is given with a choice.

I have since chosen to stand with integrity.

Once I told a man of all of my dreams.

He smiled warmly and even chuckled then asked if I ever planned on living any of them.

I now choose the spending of my days very differently.

I watched a man daily as he walked... head down... so focused.

I was curious and inquired as to why he never looked up.

The look on his face was one of surprise, but he responded.

His world was so structured that he didn't have to look where he placed his foot and there was nothing else to look at.

I make it a point to never stare at my feet, for fear of creating tunnels. I wanted so much to merely be myself, going unnoticed and not draw attention.

And I was told this.

The fact that you do not conform makes you stand out all the more. I'm still thinking about that one.

5/31/2015

The World Needs You to Do What You Love

The greatest change happens because of people that are deeply passionate, and have a great love for the work they do.

If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about. No other choice can have a greater impact on the planet, or your life.

If you’re doing work that’s boring, you probably won’t make much of an impact. You might provide people with some amount of value. Enough to pay your rent, enough to get by. But you won’t be inciting change. And you certainly won’t be inspiring others.

If you’re doing boring work, chances are you do just enough to not get fired.

But if you do work that excites you, keeps you up at night, and fulfills you… you’ll do more. You’ll give yourself to it completely. You’ll put in extra time, more energy, more passion. Because it’s worth it. It’s satisfying.

At the end of the day you’ll think: “My time was well spent today.”

So the real question isn’t whether or not to do boring or passionate work. The question is how to get started.

Five things you can do to move toward getting paid to do what you love:

1.  Find your passion. This is all about your great love, and what makes you come alive. To get started here, ask: “What am I insanely interested in?” “What could I talk about for hours?” and “What would I do for free?”

2.  Find your strengths. What we’re looking for are things you’re naturally good at, and the unique strengths you’ve had since birth. This is about contributing your gifts to the world. To get started, interview your friends, family, or peers and ask them what three things you’re naturally talented at.

3.  Find your value. Finding the intersection between what you’re good at and what people are willing to pay you for is what it all boils down to. If you can’t find a way to get paid to do what you love, the other stuff doesn’t really matter. So it’s worth spending some time figuring this out. To get started, think about the benefits you’ll give others by contributing your value. Think about whether or not there is a desperate pain or a deep passion involved in what you’re offering.

4.  Make the commitment. I think, more than any other reason, people fail to succeed is because they fail to commit. Thinking “I don’t know” or “maybe someday” will not get you to the point of doing what you’re passionate about for a living. It takes an uncompromising commitment to make this change for yourself. Instead of thinking “I don’t know,” think “I’ll figure it out.” Remember, paths are made by walking.

5.  Be willing to let go. As much as you might want to make this change for yourself, it can be hard to let go of the old patterns of thinking and behaving. A lot of us have ideas that “work shouldn’t be fun” or “you should just suck it up.” Breaking down those beliefs can be difficult, but moving toward a new direction is most definitely worth it.

6.  What will you give up? You might not think that you have time to take on a new endeavor, and you’re right. You won’t have time until you make the time. There are a lot of things we place in our schedules that we think we must do. But in reality, our world wouldn’t collapse if we chose something else. Make a list of all the activities and time sinks that you’ll give up in order to make time for your new journey.

7.  Will you say Yes to yourself? You may want to become a writer, dentist, life coach, painter, or public speaker. If you know that this is what you’re meant to do, then give yourself permission to call yourself that… even if you’re not established yet. And even if you don’t make a full time income from it. Own your passion, completely and unreservedly.

While there is more to your journey than just these seven things, this is a huge start. Clarity and commitment are the biggest steps, the rest is easy. One foot in front of the other.

You will get there. No one can stop you if you want it enough.

And remember, the world needs you to do what you love. Nothing else can create more change, or have a greater impact.

Give yourself permission. We need your gifts.

Source URL: zenhabits.net  

5/24/2015

22 Timeless Life Lessons from Aristotle

At first glance, you might think to yourself, “what could someone who lived over 2,300 years ago possible teach me about life?” What if that man was a student of Plato, and the teacher of Alexander the Great? Aristotle is widely considered to be one of the smartest men to have ever lived, but his intelligence was not as importance as his wisdom. Yes, those are two separate things. Not all wise men are smart, and vie versa. Aristotle’s wisdom still rings true today, and I personally collected these quotes as a tribute to one of the WISEST men to ever have graced humanity.

1. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

2. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

3. “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

4. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

5. “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

6. “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

7. “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”

8. “The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life – knowing that under certain conditions it is not worthwhile to live.”

9. “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”

10. “The young are permanently in a state resembling intoxication.”

11. “We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.”

12. “There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.”

13. “Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”

14. “To run away from trouble is a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill.”

15. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

16. “We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one.”

17. “We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time.”

18. “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

19. “Youth is easily deceived because it is quick to hope.”

20. “What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”

21. “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

22. “Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”

5/17/2015

Integrity

In her commencement address to the new grads at the Howard University , Washington DC , Oprah Winfrey said: “Don’t be afraid because all you have to know is who you are. You’re defined by you stand for. Your integrity is not for sale”

Well said. But, what is integrity?

Integrity is the centering of one’s actions on a consistent structure of principles. You have integrity if everything that you do and believe is based on the same fundamental set of values. Those values may change with time, but you have integrity if your values are consistent with each other and with your actions.

Quoting Harold Kushner: “Integrity means being whole, unbroken, undivided. It describes a person who has united the different parts if his or her personality, so there is no longer a split in the soul… For the person of integrity, life may not be easy but it is simple: Figure out what is right and do it. All other considerations come in second.

"Integrity is never painless. It requires that we let matters rub up against each other, that we fully experience the tension of conflicting needs, demands, and interests, that we even be emotionally torn apart by them... It does not seek to avoid conflict, but to reconcile it." -- M. Scott Peck: The Different Drum

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe. --Barbara De Angelis 

Most importantly:

"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." -- Samuel Johnson

5/10/2015

I Believe…

I Believe…
That we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe…
That no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe…
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I Believe…
That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe…
That it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe…
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe…
That you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I Believe…
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe….
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe…
That regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I Believe…
That hero’s are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe…
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe…
That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe…
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe…
That sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe-…
That just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I Believe…
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had, and what you’ve learned from them … and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I Believe…
That it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe…
That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I Believe…
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe…

That just because two people argue, doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, doesn’t mean they do love each other.

I Believe…
That you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I Believe…
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe…
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I Believe…
That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you … you will find the strength to help.

I Believe…
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe…
That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe….
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything

5/3/2015

If Tomorrow Never Comes

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would know I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our "I love you's", and certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"

But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get, I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget, tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, and today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?

For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day, that you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear, tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear, take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".

And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

4/26/2015

Finding Your True Self

By Chuck Gallozzi

Life's Greatest Adventure Is Discovering Our True Self. The question is, then, how do we uncover, recover, and discover our psychological and spiritual True Selves? We are all capable of doing it, but most of us will need gentle guidance and help along the way. If you wish to join me on this amazing adventure, here are some guide books that will take you by the hand and lead you to yet undreamed of adventure and discovery. Check the books out on the Internet; find one that matches your disposition, get it and dive in!

Once upon a time, ten men were making their way across a jungle. After arriving at a wide, swiftly moving, six-foot deep stream, they decided to cross it. After reaching the opposite bank, one of the men counted the members, forgetting to include himself. He shouted, "There are just nine of us! Someone is missing!"

Another man decided to check, so he recounted the group, but also forgot to include himself. "Yes, you are right," he said, "there are just nine of us, so someone is missing." One by one, the others also counted, each forgetting to include himself. Soon they were crying because they suspected one of their members perished in the stream.

Before returning to the story, take a moment to think of five great people, five people that you respect and admire. Did you think of five people that you look up to?

Why didn't you include yourself in the list of five people? Aren't you just like each of the ten men in the jungle who failed to include himself? Virtually all people are guilty of this flaw. That is, when they consider illustrious people, they never include themselves.

That's because most people don't realize how magnificent they are. The few people who do are called self-realized, or said to have reached self-realization or enlightenment. These are other ways of saying they have discovered their True Self. Embarking on the journey of self-discovery is the greatest adventure that life has to offer.

We can loosely divide the way we experience life into four categories or levels. First we have the pessimists. They believe life is a struggle, full of suffering, and pointless. Next we have the optimists. They believe difficulties can be overcome, enjoy life, and have a reason for living. Whenever they are unhappy with their circumstances, they work on self-improvement. Their deeper understanding of life brings them many rewards, including happiness.

But some adventurers continue on, exploring a deeper level. They make exciting discoveries. They learn that they are not what they thought they were! They thought they had self-doubt, fears, and limitations, but they uncovered their True Self, which knows no limits. Unlike optimists that are satisfied with merely repairing a damaged self, these adventurers work on remembering, reclaiming, and restoring their perfect self, which was always there, waiting to be claimed.

Our True Self is our true nature, and it is clearly visible in infants and uncorrupted young children. Infants are trusting, loving, courageous, curious, and cheerful. They are explorers, adventures, and discoverers. But as they are raised by parents and guided by teachers and society, they are knowingly or unwittingly programmed to believe they have many weaknesses and imperfections. This transformation from perfection to a problem- plagued life represents the collapse of our True Self and the creation of our False Self, and it happens so quickly that we soon forget who and what we really are.

The adventurers who take the trouble to discover their True Self are well rewarded. For the ordinary happiness known by optimists gives way to endless joy and freedom. Adventurers have discovered what Czechoslovakians have long known, "The person who God shows a treasure to must dig it out himself." (Czechoslovakian proverb)

Just as there is a formidable chasm between our True and False Selves, there is a huge gap between the third and fourth levels of experience. The first three levels are psychological, but for the fourth and final level, we must leave the realm of psychology and enter the field of spirituality. Yet, doing so is perfectly natural and scientific. After all, what am I? Am I not a swarm of incessantly moving molecules? How is that any different from you?

And what are molecules? Aren't they composed of atoms? But what are atoms? They are composed of subatomic particles. As we delve deeper and deeper into the ultimate composition of the universe and the 'glue' that holds it together, we reach the nonphysical, which we can label as immateriality, energy, or spirit.

So, what am I? At my deepest level, hidden in the recesses of my being, I am spirit. The word 'spirit' is just another label. We can choose to use different words. Some call it God. I choose to call it LIFE (It's the same thing). Life expresses itself through me, you, and everything in the universe. We are the notes in its majestic symphony. I can no more be separated from life than sunbeams can be separated from the sun.

So, the greatest adventure that life offers us is the discovery of our spiritual True Self. This discovery awaits all spiritual seekers. It is not an intellectual exercise but a life- transforming experience. It is akin to a near death experience; it completely liberates us.

The pessimist is locked in a prison cell of his own making. The optimist has unlocked the door of his cell and his free to roam anywhere in the prison. The adventurer who has discovered his psychological True Self found the key to the prison and is free to roam anywhere in the city and country. But the seeker who discovers his spiritual True Self knows unabated freedom. He is free to roam anywhere on earth and beyond.

Adventurers who discovered their psychological True Self, see themselves in a very positive light. They may see themselves as brilliant scientists, world class athletes, nurturing parents or teachers, inspiring leaders, social activists. But for seekers who found their spiritual True Self, these descriptions or labels are far too restrictive. For they see themselves and their possibilities as boundless as the universe. Although adventurers experience love, spiritual seekers become love itself, for that is the nature of our spiritual True Self. These enlightened beings radiate compassion wherever they go, for they are profoundly in love with all that is. As for freedom, Walter A. Keers explains, "If you are enlightened, you are not free as some people would say, but you are freedom itself. Not like a bird in the sky, but like the sky itself."

Source URL: http://www.personal-development.com/chuck/finding-true-self.ht

4/19/2015

To all the rocks in your life

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, and your children - anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.  The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.  The sand is everything else. The small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.  If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing.

There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal." "Take care of the rocks first ~ the things that really matter. Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

4/12/2015

Are You Managing Your Time With Activity Or Productivity?  

What is the difference?

Rich, poor, celebrity or unknown, we are all blessed with 24 hours a day. You probably know someone, who seems to do everything in the world and you wonder how they can. You also know someone who seems to do nothing every day, yet can not seem to add anything more to their day.

The difference in this time management is surprisingly simple. The difference between the person who seems to be able to do a week’s worth of work in a day and the one who has no time is all a matter of scheduling and realizing what is truly important. It is a matter of changing your productivity to match what needs to be done as part of the big picture rather than what needs to be done in the now.

How does seeing the big picture help?

Here is a time management example, imagine your aunt is coming in a week to visit you. You have not seen her in a long time, so you want the house looking nice. You are hoping you can get it clean in a week. She calls and tells you plans have changed; she is going to be there in tomorrow. You were not certain how to get the house clean in a week, yet suddenly you find either a way to clean the house or make it presentable in a day.

What changed?

The difference was you could not find ways to delay, you were forced to manage your time. You realized the what parts of cleaning your house were actually important. You accepted that some things could not be fixed in the time allowed and changed what could. You knew what needed to be done in the time allowed and did it, without question or delay.

Are you productive or active?

Moving paperwork from here to there, only to move it again later is being active. Putting papers that actually require work in an inbox, filing papers you need later, and throwing away any paperwork you do not need away is being productive. Rather than deal with all your clients focus on the clients the buy from you. Instead of organizing all your emails, decide on what is really important and eliminate the rest.

What is really important?

The big picture, the long term goal is what is really important. More sales is what is important to a salesperson, so rather than call unqualified customers, the goal is finding a source of qualified customers. Spending time with the family is more important than spending hours cooking elaborate meals, so a 30 minute meal will work.

You have the key.

The key is understanding what is important. When you focus on the important time management becomes simpler, because you recognize busy work for what it is. Activity is the key to wondering where your time went. Productivity is the key to getting more done in your day, when you learn this, people will begin to wonder how you get so much done in a day.

Source URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com  

4/5/2015

Beyond Impressions

Harmony of the heart is being in tune with the nature. Harmony does not have to mean agreement. Harmony is more like peace. People can be opposed in their thoughts and opinions, and yet there is no opposition. There is acceptance. There is no need to change how anyone thinks. What does it matter if one calls the sky green and the grass blue?

Ways to think cannot be forced. No one can be made to think one way or another. It is not obligatory. Thoughts do change, yet they can change only of their own accord. Thoughts have a will of their own. You cannot by dint of will change even your own thoughts let alone someone else’s. Yet the day will come when your thoughts do change.

Thoughts resemble beliefs. You believe what you believe. No matter what the reward or punishment, you can only believe what you believe. You can act differently from what you believe. You can pretend to believe and not yet believe.

Yet it is good to have your thoughts and actions coincide. If you think to do a kind act, follow through on it. Do not let opportunities go by. Then you will not have regrets. A kind thought is good. A kind thought acted on is better.

By what means do thoughts change? You cannot make them change, yet thoughts change. Thoughts change when a light goes on. Your thoughts are based on your perceptions. How you think depends upon how you see.

Today you see the person in front of you as a friend. Tomorrow you may see him as a foe. Have you not experienced this or vice versa? The person before you is what you make of him. You paint your own picture with the brushes of your perception.

You may say that another’s person’s words, actions, or reactions are what you base your thoughts on. You base your thoughts on your interpretation of another’s words, actions, or reactions. You must know this is so. There may be someone you cannot tolerate, and someone else loves that person you cannot tolerate.

You may say that the person you don’t like shows himself in a different light to the one who loves him. That may well be so. And yet it is also possible that he gives the best of himself because the one who loves him sees him differently and treats him differently too.

Your interpretations are everything.

This is true in nations as well. In one culture, a certain action is considered lovely. In another culture, it may be viewed as not lovely. If you see friendliness, odds are you will respond in friendliness. If you see aloofness, odds are you will be aloof also.

What else is there to say, but that you think and act based upon your impressions. True or false, right or wrong, you respond to how you see.

Now you are coming to the point where you go beyond impressions. You come to the point where you come from, not where you surmise someone else to be, but from where you are.

You are not to spend your life bouncing off other people. If you must bounce, bounce off the nature. It will feel good, and you will be so gentle.

You will stand on a mountain top. You will be the mountain. What fuss will a mountain make of grass that grows at its feet? What will the mountain mind? What will it object to? What will it not love when it stands so tall above the madding crowd?

Source URL: http://www.heavenletters.org/beyond-impressions.html  

3/29/20125

Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out In The Real World

1. Never get yourself a haircut after three martinis.
2. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
3. Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying, Thank you," although it helps if you say it    with a SOUTHERN accent.
4. No books will be as good as the ones you loved as a child.
5. Some people are working backstage, some are playing in the orchestra, some are onstage singing, some are in the audience as critics, and some are there to applaud. Know who and where you are.
6. When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.
7. Never continue dating anyone whom is rude to the waiter.
8. Work is good but it's not important!
9. A person needs only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.
10. If you tell a lie, don't believe it deceives only the other person.
11. The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship: "I apologize" and "You are right".
12. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately! It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.
13. The only really good advice that I remember my mother ever gave me was "Go! You might meet somebody!"
15. Never ride a motorcycle when you're drunk.
16. If your date says that you are too good for him or her; believe it.
17. I've learned to pick my battles. I ask myself: Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day?
18. The shortest line is always the longest.
19. At hard times I ask myself, "How do I feel? What do I want?" I use it whenever I'm at loss for words or thoughts.
20. Never pass up an opportunity to use the bathroom.
21. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance!
22. If you move far from your family when you're young, consider choosing a career with an airline. Your need to see your family will last a lifetime, as will your travel benefits.
23. Living well really is the best revenge.
24. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just proves that the other person was right about you.
25. Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man.
26. And finally, being happy doesn't necessarily mean everything's perfect. It just means you've decided to look beyond all of the imperfections.
So go out and don't let anyone steal your sunshine!  

3/22/2015

You can learn a lot from a dog...

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

When it's in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they've invaded your territory.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout ... run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.  

3/15/2015

Beyond Impressions

Harmony of the heart is being in tune with the nature. Harmony does not have to mean agreement. Harmony is more like peace. People can be opposed in their thoughts and opinions, and yet there is no opposition. There is acceptance. There is no need to change how anyone thinks. What does it matter if one calls the sky green and the grass blue?

Ways to think cannot be forced [First Name]. No one can be made to think one way or another. It is not obligatory. Thoughts do change, yet they can change only of their own accord. Thoughts have a will of their own. You cannot by dint of will change even your own thoughts let alone someone else’s. Yet the day will come when your thoughts do change.

Thoughts resemble beliefs. You believe what you believe. No matter what the reward or punishment, you can only believe what you believe. You can act differently from what you believe. You can pretend to believe and not yet believe.

Yet it is good to have your thoughts and actions coincide. If you think to do a kind act, follow through on it. Do not let opportunities go by. Then you will not have regrets. A kind thought is good. A kind thought acted on is better.

By what means do thoughts change? You cannot make them change, yet thoughts change. Thoughts change when a light goes on. Your thoughts are based on your perceptions. How you think depends upon how you see.

Today you see the person in front of you as a friend. Tomorrow you may see him as a foe. Have you not experienced this or vice versa? The person before you is what you make of him. You paint your own picture with the brushes of your perception.

You may say that another’s person’s words, actions, or reactions are what you base your thoughts on. You base your thoughts on your interpretation of another’s words, actions, or reactions. You must know this is so. There may be someone you cannot tolerate, and someone else loves that person you cannot tolerate.

You may say that the person you don’t like shows himself in a different light to the one who loves him. That may well be so. And yet it is also possible that he gives the best of himself because the one who loves him sees him differently and treats him differently too.

Your interpretations are everything.

This is true in nations as well. In one culture, a certain action is considered lovely. In another culture, it may be viewed as not lovely. If you see friendliness, odds are you will respond in friendliness. If you see aloofness, odds are you will be aloof also.

What else is there to say, but that you think and act based upon your impressions. True or false, right or wrong, you respond to how you see.

Now you are coming to the point where you go beyond impressions. You come to the point where you come from, not where you surmise someone else to be, but from where you are.

You are not to spend your life bouncing off other people. If you must bounce, bounce off the nature. It will feel good, and you will be so gentle.

You will stand on a mountain top. You will be the mountain. What fuss will a mountain make of grass that grows at its feet? What will the mountain mind? What will it object to? What will it not love when it stands so tall above the madding crowd?

Source URL: http://www.heavenletters.org/beyond-impressions.html  

3/8/2015

The Toughest Things
By Bob Perks

There are lessons to be learned and people to teach them. I find that to be true in every part of our lives.  It is important to note that sometimes we are the student and sometimes we are the teacher.  So, how do we know if we are learning or teaching? It all depends on our attitude.

How do we know if we are learning or teaching? It all depends on our attitude. For me, I take the attitude of the student.  I want to learn.  I want to see the world, not as a gigantic classroom, but as a fun, exciting field trip without textbooks, instructions, or rules.

This means I learn more from the mistakes I make than the accuracy of the steps I take in the right direction.

In my life, the best lessons are learned the hard way. 

What comes easy to me, I forget.

So, here is a list of what would appear to be easy things that require more than we realize:

To love a dog is easy, but to be worthy of its love is tough...
Our pets love us unconditionally. Which means we hardly need to do anything to get that love.  But ask yourself based on the time and attention you give, if you really deserve it?  This applies to our relationship with people, too.

To teach a child is easy, but to live what we teach...
I can remember the old phrase "Do as I say, not as I do!" What you do may be the true lesson your child is learning. Teach by example.

To watch a sunset is easy, but to see it as a new beginning...
How many times have you said, "I can't wait until this day is over!" When it ends, do you simply brush it off?  Linger in anger and stress over it?  Adjust your attitude and see the day's end as a new chance to begin again?

To see what's wrong is easy, but to make it right...
We can't right every wrong in the world, but just pointing out what's wrong won't make the world a better place. What the world needs are people who take action.  If you don't have the ability to change it, find someone who does then help them.  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  Martin Luther King Jr.

To fall down is easy, but to get up again and again...
Sometimes life is unbearable.  Failure is not how many times you fall, but the last time you chose not to get up again.

To give is easy, but to give when it calls for sacrifice...
Even in these tough economic times there are things we can do to help others.  It may call for belt tightening, or giving a little extra time to a cause, but sacrifice gives to both the giver and the receiver.

To lie is easy, but to tell the truth when you have lied...
The greatest enemy in any relationship is the lie.  Upon it grows mistrust.  Revealing it brings about rebirth and a chance to grow even closer.

To be angry is easy, but to forgive...

It is said that "forgiveness frees the forgiver." One can let go through forgiveness or be weighed down with the burden of remembering forever.

To criticize is easy, but to praise...
I have found that there are more things to praise in life than to criticize.  It has also helped me to find life more enjoyable.  Praise is like oxygen to one who is suffocating under criticism.

To try is easy, but to do...
I can say "I'll try!" and make very little commitment  to do it. But if I say "I'll do it!" my mind and body will respond differently to the challenge.  "Do or do not.  There is no try."  Yoda

To begin is easy, but to finish...is tough.
"Begin" is an idea.  "Finish" becomes a reality. Most people say, "If I only had the money I would..." You don't have a money problem, you have a idea problem.  Any plan can begin on paper without costing anything but time and effort.  Finish the project, evaluate it and work the plan.  Or begin a new one based on what you've learned.
 

3/1/2015

How To Set Yourself A Challenge

By Mike Reeves-McMillan

I’ve always been very thin, and not very strong.

I remember being at a meeting of some kind, years ago. One of the organizing ladies drafted me to move furniture, presumably because I was almost the only male under 50 in the room. But when she saw me struggling with a heavy table, she apologized and found someone else. That’s embarrassing for a young guy, and I’ve never forgotten it.

So you wouldn’t expect me to set myself a challenge of being able to do 100 pushups, would you?

I’m doing that challenge right now, though.

I believe everyone should have a challenge to help them feel really alive. A challenge is different from stress, because you feel more in control. And in fact, it’s one of the things that helps you to deal with your stress in other areas of life.

Here are five steps towards taking on a challenge for yourself.

1. Have a desire for change

I want to be fitter and stronger. I’ve taken up kayaking, and I want to be able to paddle strongly and for a long period, and still be able to lift the boat onto the roof of the car when I finish. I also just want to feel better physically, to take up more residence in my body. I want those things enough that I’m willing to put some effort in to get them.

What’s your motivation for taking on a new challenge?

2. Believe you can change

I believe I can change. I believe I can rise to challenges. I believe this because I’ve done it before.

I’ve passed exams, learned languages, started businesses, built relationships. I’ve also done a similar challenge to the 100 Pushups, namely 200 Situps. I went from 26 situps to 200. I know it can be done and I know I can do it.

What’s more, I know that when I am successful at a challenge like this, it does more for me than just whatever I get out of the goal itself. When I complete the 100 Pushups challenge, I won’t just have stronger muscles. I’ll have greater mental strength, a sense of achievement – and further confirmation for myself that I can rise to challenges like this and complete them. Completing a challenge changes who you are in your own eyes. And each success you have builds your confidence.

What successes can you look back to in order to support your belief that you can take on a challenge?

3. Find a destination

A challenge, by definition, is a little bit above and beyond what you can do right now. It’s not more than you ever could do, though. I don’t have the body type to win a bodybuilding contest or a weightlifting competition (nor does that interest me, actually). But there’s a wide space in between “I can’t do this now” and “I can definitely never achieve this”. Wider than you think, sometimes.

Somewhere in that space – up towards the scary end – is your challenge. As the wonderful Catherine Caine says, “You should always try anything that makes you uncomfortable, and nothing that makes you uneasy.”

What is your challenge going to be? Can you double it?

4. Get a plan

Sometimes “get a plan” means “make your own plan”. Sometimes it means “find someone else with a plan and use theirs”. For exercise, because I’m no expert, I consult people who are experts and use their plans. The 100 Pushups challenge comes from a website (hundredpushups.com). It tells you, based on how many pushups you can do when you start, how many to do in each of five sets, in each of three exercise days per week, for six weeks. It builds you up gradually to the point where you are capable of 100 consecutive pushups.

That’s a great model for a plan. My fellow New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t suddenly get up one morning and climb Mt Everest. He built up to it over years of mountaineering.

Your plan needs to start where you are, end where you want to be, and fill in the middle with steps in which you improve achievably. This means the steps need to be close enough together that you can get to each one from the one before. It’s like stepping stones across a river – if they’re too far apart, you’ll get wet.

Who might be able to help you make a plan to meet your challenge?

5. Implement, implement, implement

Carrying out the plan is, in many ways, the hard part. I don’t enjoy middles nearly as much as beginnings or ends. You’re neither here nor there. You have the work, but you don’t yet have the triumph.

Yet this is where every person succeeded who ever succeeded in any challenge. As I’m huffing and puffing with sore arms, partway through set 3 of 5, I’m not just building my arm muscles. I’m building my perseverance muscles, my determination muscles. Between the exciting moment of taking on a challenge and the exhilarating moment of completing a challenge are the thousand unglamorous moments of deciding, again and again, to keep going.

And yet, looked at another way, each one of those moments is another small victory. Every time I keep going instead of stopping, every time I push past the resistance and focus on the goal, I’m winning.

How are you going to win moment by moment on your path to your goal?

Source URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/self-help-articles/motivation

2/22/2105

When Discipline Becomes a Habit, Boredom Enters Your Life

Daily routines seem to be boring phenomena to many. Especially if you have to wake up at six, reach office by nine and come back home by eight in the evening, after pushing your head through a mad traffic, you will start hating your life. Our elders always choose to advise us to be disciplined. They tell us about their experiences and site believable examples about SUCCESSFUL people who were successful (according to them) because they were disciplined. Many parents want their children to be disciplined to a level that often drives them crazy and children end up doing exactly opposite. 

Discipline is not about a fixed routine. Discipline is about putting your own self to an order at the level of health and fitness, work and studies, friends and relationships etc.

1. “You turn down your friends offer to watch a movie because it’s an important day at office” – that’s discipline. “You don’t accompany your colleague for a cup of coffee after you finished your shift because you have to reach home by ten everyday’ – that’s not discipline. That’s you submitting to a routine.
2. “You wake up at 6 in the morning, brush your teeth, do some yoga exercises and then have a light breakfast at 8 before you leave for office” – that’s discipline. “You didn’t have your breakfast because your mom prepared something other than your favorite list of items for breakfast” – that’s certainly not discipline.

Discipline is about having the sufficient gut to do what you want and do it with full attention. If you take up a task, complete it by the deadline and do it well, you are disciplined at work. That doesn’t mean you should always follow a specific method or approach. As soon as you stop playing with methods and ways, you stop growing!

Here are key benefits of discipline:

1.  You will be more organized. You can manage your time well and also find some free time to recreate yourself. Your life will be less chaotic and everything will make sense to you. You will not swear at the crowd where everyone is pushing himself forward.

2. You will be better at work or studies. You will keep disturbances and stress at bay and put your hundred percent in doing what you are supposed to do. You will love what you study or do because you will become good at it.

3. You will be a happy individual. Your head will stay safe from clutter and sudden unexpected audio visuals. You will have a peaceful sleep at night and you will appreciate the morning sunshine when you wake up.

When discipline becomes routine:

As soon discipline becomes a routine, you are becoming lesser a part of the practice under discipline. Your involvement comes to a halt because you don’t feel alive while you travel to office by bus, talk to your colleagues on escalator or sit on your desk.

1. You will start hating it. You will be less interested in doing what you are doing. You will find that you suddenly lost interest in doing what you always wanted to do.
2. Boredom enters your life sphere. Suddenly, you don’t like the atmosphere in laboratory or office where you were so happy earlier.
3. Everything starts messing itself up. When your head goes nuts, everything else follows.

When routine becomes habit:

1. That’s the worst part. You won’t feel alive. You will run from one corner to other but peace will continue eluding you.
2. You will stop dreaming about ‘good and great things’ you want in your life.

As soon as you start acting out of habit, whole joy of action is lost. It is important to lose habitual practice to have anything new in life. In the world of internet, majority of young population spend their time on social networking websites, chat rooms and several other portals. As long as the excitement is there, as long as the eagerness is there, they find it interesting. Then, it becomes a habit.

After a few weeks, they spend four hours on internet but do not enjoy as much. They keep spending time on it and start hating it. It’s ironic to see that they will still continue doing so until the dissatisfaction reaches alarming levels and head starts heating up like an oven. It’s important that we live a life with as few habits as possible.

Here are a few things you can try:

1. Go for a morning walk if you have not done it for years. Try a different trek if are already doing it and don’t find it joyful.
2. Visit an old friend or just talk to him/her online.
3. Stay offline for an entire day! Say goodbye to social networking sites for a few days.
4. Travel shorter distances on foot if that makes you happy. or by a new bike if you have been putting yourself at discomfort by walking too much.
5. Visit a new restaurant in your locality. Try new dishes and see if you like them.
6. Start writing a diary. Stop doing it for sometime if that was one of your habits you don’t enjoy any more J
7. Join a new course at the local institution. Learn music, writing, dance, drama, public speaking etc. Do what you wanted to do when you were young.
8. Take a day off and visit a nice place.

To sum up:

Discipline is like drinking milk daily because you think it makes you healthy and you enjoy its taste. Routine is like drinking milk daily for reasons unknown! Habit is like drinking milk daily while you have forgotten the true taste of milk.  

2/15/2015

Golden Rules for Living

If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If you unlock it, lock it up.
If you break it, admit it.
If you can't fix it, call in someone who can.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you value it, take care of it.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you move it, put it back.
If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission.
If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it's none of your business, don't ask questions.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
If it will brighten someone's day, say it.
If it will tarnish someone's reputation, keep it to yourself.

2/8/2015

Are you a Spider or a Lion?
By Karen Schmidt

When it comes to change, are you a spider or a lion? Do you sit back like the spider and wait for things to come to you or do you go out and hunt for your opportunities like the lion? When it comes to workplace change we need to have the attitude of the Lion. If we sit back and wait to see what happens we will usually be disappointed. There is an old saying that goes “good things come to those who wait” but today we need to remember that the only things left to those who wait are the things left behind by those who hustle!

In the jungle the “hustlers” are the Lions. They are the kings of the jungle for a good reason. If you want to be the king of your workplace jungle then you need to learn the difference between the spider and the lion. The lion is proactive and the spider is reactive. So what do these terms mean?

Proactive      
A proactive person is someone who understands that they are in control of what happens to them in life. They take initiative and are responsible for their own actions. A proactive person has a high level of self esteem that is not affected by what other people think. Proactive people are driven by their values.

Reactive
The reactive person is the type with a "wait and see" attitude. They don't actively make decisions or take action but instead react to the decisions and actions of others. They are easily influenced by the behavior of others and their mood is determined by how others treat them. Reactive people are driven by their emotions.

When it comes to dealing with change, we need to be proactive. If you wait around hoping other people will do things to make the change easier for you then you will be disappointed. Being proactive does not mean you have to be pushy, aggressive or unreasonable. It simply means taking action to make things happen.

Proactive people are the ones who initiate change rather than being the victims of change. If a proactive person doesn’t agree with a change they don’t complain about it. No, they go out and hunt down another way to achieve the same result. In the mean time, the reactive person is using all their energy to fight the change and, lets face it, most of the time they don’t win.

So if you want to take charge of your career what sort of action do you need to take? Here is a list of suggestions that will turn you into a proactive person.

Make suggestions to your manager on small ways to improve productivity. Little things add up!

When a mistake happens, be open about it. Then take the time to analyze why it happened and work out ways of preventing it in the future

Keep up to date with what’s happening in your industry so you can anticipate opportunities

Develop a network of contacts so that if the worst does happen and you lose your job you will have plenty of new opportunities

If you want to be someone who benefits from change at work learn the lesson of the Lion. Become a proactive person and you will guarantee your success at work well into the future.

Source URL: www.letsgrow.com.au  

2/1/2015

How To Set Yourself A Challenge

By Mike Reeves-McMillan

I’ve always been very thin, and not very strong.

I remember being at a meeting of some kind, years ago. One of the organizing ladies drafted me to move furniture, presumably because I was almost the only male under 50 in the room. But when she saw me struggling with a heavy table, she apologized and found someone else. That’s embarrassing for a young guy, and I’ve never forgotten it.

So you wouldn’t expect me to set myself a challenge of being able to do 100 pushups, would you?

I’m doing that challenge right now, though.

I believe everyone should have a challenge to help them feel really alive. A challenge is different from stress, because you feel more in control. And in fact, it’s one of the things that helps you to deal with your stress in other areas of life.

Here are five steps towards taking on a challenge for yourself.

1. Have a desire for change

I want to be fitter and stronger. I’ve taken up kayaking, and I want to be able to paddle strongly and for a long period, and still be able to lift the boat onto the roof of the car when I finish. I also just want to feel better physically, to take up more residence in my body. I want those things enough that I’m willing to put some effort in to get them.

What’s your motivation for taking on a new challenge?

2. Believe you can change

I believe I can change. I believe I can rise to challenges. I believe this because I’ve done it before.

I’ve passed exams, learned languages, started businesses, built relationships. I’ve also done a similar challenge to the 100 Pushups, namely 200 Situps. I went from 26 situps to 200. I know it can be done and I know I can do it.

What’s more, I know that when I am successful at a challenge like this, it does more for me than just whatever I get out of the goal itself. When I complete the 100 Pushups challenge, I won’t just have stronger muscles. I’ll have greater mental strength, a sense of achievement – and further confirmation for myself that I can rise to challenges like this and complete them. Completing a challenge changes who you are in your own eyes. And each success you have builds your confidence.

What successes can you look back to in order to support your belief that you can take on a challenge?

3. Find a destination

A challenge, by definition, is a little bit above and beyond what you can do right now. It’s not more than you ever could do, though. I don’t have the body type to win a bodybuilding contest or a weightlifting competition (nor does that interest me, actually). But there’s a wide space in between “I can’t do this now” and “I can definitely never achieve this”. Wider than you think, sometimes.

Somewhere in that space – up towards the scary end – is your challenge. As the wonderful Catherine Caine says, “You should always try anything that makes you uncomfortable, and nothing that makes you uneasy.”

What is your challenge going to be? Can you double it?

4. Get a plan

Sometimes “get a plan” means “make your own plan”. Sometimes it means “find someone else with a plan and use theirs”. For exercise, because I’m no expert, I consult people who are experts and use their plans. The 100 Pushups challenge comes from a website (hundredpushups.com). It tells you, based on how many pushups you can do when you start, how many to do in each of five sets, in each of three exercise days per week, for six weeks. It builds you up gradually to the point where you are capable of 100 consecutive pushups.

That’s a great model for a plan. My fellow New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t suddenly get up one morning and climb Mt Everest. He built up to it over years of mountaineering.

Your plan needs to start where you are, end where you want to be, and fill in the middle with steps in which you improve achievably. This means the steps need to be close enough together that you can get to each one from the one before. It’s like stepping stones across a river – if they’re too far apart, you’ll get wet.

Who might be able to help you make a plan to meet your challenge?

5. Implement, implement, implement

Carrying out the plan is, in many ways, the hard part. I don’t enjoy middles nearly as much as beginnings or ends. You’re neither here nor there. You have the work, but you don’t yet have the triumph.

Yet this is where every person succeeded who ever succeeded in any challenge. As I’m huffing and puffing with sore arms, partway through set 3 of 5, I’m not just building my arm muscles. I’m building my perseverance muscles, my determination muscles. Between the exciting moment of taking on a challenge and the exhilarating moment of completing a challenge are the thousand unglamorous moments of deciding, again and again, to keep going.

And yet, looked at another way, each one of those moments is another small victory. Every time I keep going instead of stopping, every time I push past the resistance and focus on the goal, I’m winning.

How are you going to win moment by moment on your path to your goal?

Source URL: http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/self-help-articles/motivation  

1/25/2015

 "The Forgotten"
By Bob Perks

On any given night in America , anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless, according to estimates of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

"Tell them, sir.  Tell them we exist.  Promise to remind them about the forgotten."

I can remember vividly the moment I heard those words.

I was in Saint Louis , there to do a presentation.  I don't often wander around big cities when I travel. I get out, but not very far. 

I'm not afraid, it is simply a personal choice.  It's because my wife isn't with me.  If it's a place we have not seen together, I feel empty inside.  Me looking at the world and her not there beside me. 

When I return and tell her of some of the things I've seen I know she is happy for me, but I'm not.

On that day, in that city, I did choose to see the Arch.  It was a test for me.  I have developed this fear of heights. Not so drastic that I will not stand on my front roof, but enough to make me aware that the only thing that separates me from down there may be a pane of glass or a handrail.  I don't avoid it, I simply approach it very slowly.  Very slowly.

I took the ride to the top of the Arch.

It was worth the test and the time it took to convince myself.

But it was my walk back to the hotel that proved to me there was a greater reason for this journey out.

I was about to cross the street when someone yelled, "Watch out!" A small van was backing out of a driveway right where I was standing.  I jumped out of the way.  I just wasn't paying attention.

I looked around wondering who shouted to me.

That's when I saw him.  Our eyes connected briefly as he raised his hand and I waved back in thanks.  I could have simply continued on, but I was drawn to him.  I needed to say thanks in person.

He was curled up in a ball leaning against the side of a building down this small side street.  The air was warm, the sun only visible at either end of this street, blocked by the massive buildings. 

I've experienced this before, the smell, the appearance of another human being left homeless by choice or circumstance. It never stops me, but the memory of it lingers in my heart.

"Thank you!" I said. He simply waved his hand at me in acknowledgement.

"I didn't see the..." he interrupted me.

"Do you have any change?" he asked.

"Are you hungry?  Can I get something for you?"

I asked that because all too often the money they seek is not for food or a simple cup of coffee as suggested.  They save it up for alcohol or drugs.  If I can help I want to feed their body and spirit not their addiction.

Surprisingly, he accepted and I slipped into a nearby deli to buy him something to eat and drink.

He was grateful as he ate part of the ham sandwich, storing the rest in an inside pocket for another time. 

He talked and I listened.  He asked me what I did and I explained that I was a writer and a speaker.

Then, just before I left he said it.  Words that hung on me like a weight around my shoulders for years after.

"Tell them, sir.  Tell them we exist.  Promise to remind them about the forgotten."

"The forgotten."  Oh, my God how incredibly sad to think that any human being would feel "forgotten."

But I know it to be true.  I am guilty of it, too, even though I made that promise to him that day.

I am reminded of him at this time of year as food drives and fundraisers appear on the news.  I see his face in the people lined up outside the Salvation Army for their bag of "Thanksgiving" given generously by those who have to those who have not.

I remembered him recently when I sent a check to an area rescue mission last week.  But I am the guy who says we should be happy with "enough" knowing all too well that for millions, "enough" never comes.

So, today I am asking you to join me.  Imagine for a moment that you are standing there with me, in Saint Louis talking to this man as he says..

"Tell them, sir.  Tell them we exist.  Promise to remind them about the forgotten."

Will you promise him, too?  

1/18/2015

Life – The Teacher
By Clyde Dennis

You’ve probably heard the phrase "repetition is the mother of learning" well apparently it’s also the mother of teaching. Often it seems, Life – The Teacher uses the tool of repetition to imprint into our brains the lessons it’s needing to impart to us. At least this has been our experience.

It has become clear to me that life gives the same tests over, and over and over again until we demonstrate that we’ve learned the lesson by passing the test. This teacher seems more than happy to show us again and again why it may be a bad idea to take a particular action, or choose one direction over another. The good news here is that it works both ways. Like any good teacher choose properly and life smiles. Choose improperly and life corrects.

Sometimes I wish and think that it would be simpler and easier if the teacher would just make all of my decisions for me and let me know exactly what I’m supposed to do, but of course that’s not the way it works. In this teacher role life is just an administrator, not an advisor or counselor. Life is there to administer and grade the tests.

Once you pass the test however, Life records your grade and moves on to the next lesson. But don’t completely discard the lesson you’ve just learned as over because it’s not. You may not see or have to deal with this particular thing again for quite some time but you can bet at some point down the road you will see it again. The lessons and tests we’ve passed usually return in the form of pop quiz’s. Out of the blue one day an opportunity to display this lesson learned will pop up and you’ll have to conquer it all over again. If you fail or don’t score high enough on this little pop quiz you’ll have to deal with it more and more often until you pass the test again. Like starting over with it. The trick is to score high marks on the lessons because the higher the score the less often life throws it at you. Show a mastery of it, and it is presented as a test with much less frequency.

So the question: What are you tired of having to deal with day in and day out? What lesson do you feel life is beating you up with?

Want to get rid of it? Show life (and yourself) that you get it. Do whatever you need to do to display that you’ve mastered this particular lesson. Life will reciprocate by giving you a break from it. But remember, Life is smart. You can’t trick it. The higher degree to which you display a mastery of the lesson, the less frequently life will re-present it to you.

Anyway, that’s my take. What’s yours?

Live some. Love some. Learn some. Everyday. 

1/11/2015

New Year’s Resolutions

By Oliver Thomas

Yes, the New Year is already 10 days old. It is never to late though to make a few resolutions.  

New Year's resolution No. 1: Become more empathetic

This is where it all starts. If I can't see the world through others' eyes, I will never be a good citizen, much less able to love my neighbor as myself. Until we understand each other, we will never make common cause.

So how does one become more empathetic? By engaging with people different from ourselves and listening. So take a gay work colleague to lunch. Vis­it a mosque, synagogue or African-American church. Invite a friend from a different political par­ty over for a beer. Then, ask questions. And listen.

New Year's resolution No. 2: Practice compassion

The Dalai Lama says if you want to make other people happy, practice compassion. If you want to make yourself happy, practice compassion. The quickest way to become more compassionate? Volunteer. I do it once a week at a local children's home, but there are a thousand other choices. Call your local United Way for a list of good options.

Here's another way. Do as the bumper sticker says and start engaging in random acts of kindness. Don't just walk by the homeless person. Take her to lunch. Give your coat to the man standing on the windy street corner in a threadbare jacket. You've probably got more at home. Throw a twenty in the Salvation Army's pot when you're shopping. Just start doing kind things for others. Compassion must be practiced, and here's the thing: Behavior begets habit. Habit begets character. Next thing you know, you've become a compassionate person.

New Year's resolution No. 3: Hold your tongue

It's been said about the human tongue: "How great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! ... For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil; and full of deadly poison."

Rarely have I gotten into trouble for things I didn't say. More often, I'm hoisted with my own petard.

Accordingly, I'll start with this simple goal: Speak no harm. When I'm tempted to do otherwise, I'll try to follow my mother's sage advice and count to 20 before I speak. This one will be the hardest for me.

We have much to be thankful for. But while some are being called on to die for our country, perhaps the rest of us are being called on to live for it. Whether we can become the people we must be in order to be the nation the world needs us to be is, entirely up to us.

Oliver Thomas is a member of USA TODAY's board, of contributors and author of 10 Things Your Minis­ter Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs, the job).

1/4/2015

A New Year

A new year lies ahead. We all possess the capacity to feel and to touch, to be happy, to have friends, to receive love, to realize the demands of a world that needs our encouragement, our participation, our beliefs. All of us are one -- the rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate, the student, businessperson, the professional, the person with spouse and children, the person who is alone. So much is new in our world -- new people, new directions, new opportunities, and new purpose. Every day is a new day bringing into our lives friendship, promise, and love.

Let us ask ourselves hard questions…

How much time did we waste in the year that is now gone?

Did we fill our days with life, or were they dull and empty?

Was there love inside our home, or was the affectionate word left unsaid?

Was there a real companionship with our children, our parents or was there a living together and a growing apart?

Were we a help to our mates, or did we take them for granted?

With our friends - Were we there when they needed us?

The kind deed: Did we perform it or postpone it? The unnecessary gibe: did we say it or hold it back?

Did we live by false values? Did we deceive others? Did we deceive ourselves?

Were we sensitive to the rights and feelings of those who worked with us?

Did we acquire only possessions, or did we acquire new insights as well?

Did we fear what the crowd would say and keep quiet when we should have spoken out?

Did we mind only our own business, or did we feel the heartbreak of others?

And…

Did we live right, and if not, then have we learned and will we change?

I had talked about doing it for days and yesterday I did.

It didn't make the news but it made me feel better about myself because I seized the moment. 

Do something today for yourself or someone and tell me about it.

I'm out to do something for someone else today.

It's not just another day, it's another chance!

"There it is... Now it's gone!"

Motivational Messages - 2014  

Motivational Messages - 2013

Motivational Messages - 2012

Motivational Messages - 2011

Motivational Messages - 2009

Motivational Messages - 2008

Motivational Messages - 2007

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