Monthly Archives: October 2012
On a day such as this when many people in the East face floods, power outages and other challenges, maybe the best thing we can do is to focus some good energy their way.
- If you pray, pray for them.
- If not, send some positive energy their way.
- Donate time, money or efforts to a relief effort or organization.
- Reach out and communicate with someone facing the storm and let them know that you care.
- Make a quick list of all the simple things in life that you have (Shelter, heat, electricity, utilities, safety, etc.) and be grateful for it.
A great waterfall starts with but one drop. Let’s work together to help others.
Neither a promotion, losing weight, finding a soul mate, writing a book, nor becoming a billionaire, will ensure happiness.
Nothing ensures happiness. No destination is great enough. No dream come true will do.
Because happiness that’s not present at the start of a journey will not be present at its end. – Mike Dooley – tut.com
Recently I saw an advertisement for a move called Cloud Atlas. I saw the commercial twice and had no idea what it was about. I looked it up on imdb.com.
The description says, “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” You can also watch a trailer at this link. http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt1371111/#lb-vi2166203417
I don’t know if it is a good movie or not. I am not here to recommend or criticize. However, the concept is very interesting and true.
Think of events in recent history – how the action of one or a few people affected us all – or many many of us. Certainly 9/11. Farther back we can look at JFK and Martin Luther King’s assassination. There are all kinds of events where one person made a poor choice and many others suffered in some way. All too often, the media highlights bad events.
We have many great events and actions that have resulted in good things. Think about our Founding Fathers. Rosa Parks. Think about someone at your school or workplace that stood up for someone else. Even if you were just an observer you felt it, right?
Think about your own life. I know that I had a psychology teacher in high school that made one nice comment about me and it still helps me move ahead.
Likewise, in college a professor required us to submit journals for a project and he made comments. One of his comments still resonates in my mind today, it was encouraging, positive and really seemed to ring true with me, and it inspires me.
My parents are gone now but things they did or said still mean so much to me in good ways. My grandfather didn’t always have good things to say about people and he struggled in his own life but I still recall one uplifting comment he made to me when I was 14. I still recall the sunny, warm spring day. I was working in the yard with a shovel and he gave me a compliment that I’ll never forget.
My daughters have said things or done things for my wife and I and they just touch your heart and keep you going. I’ve had some great bosses/managers who I refer to as mentors. Their simple actions, beliefs, and support of me have meant the world in my life and career.
There was a time many years ago when I felt like a loser. I felt like a goof, a failure, and felt like I had no identity or value in life. Someone that I knew only for a short time must have sensed it and said a few sentences to me. I sincerely think that had that not been said to me then and there, I would have gone into alcohol and drugs and made some poor choices.
There are many ‘successful’ people in the world who credit a mentor or one event to their success. There are countless inspiring stories how one person’s kindness or action transformed a life, and set multiple things in motion.
A drop in the ocean creates ripples around the world. One rain drop begins huge waterfalls. The journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step.
Let’s face it, in our own lives, it isn’t often about the big steps, is it? Life is often about those daily actions, steps, thoughts. Our persistent, consistent actions each day can lead to tremendous results. We write a book one page at a time.
We lose weight/build muscle/build a business/strengthen a relationship/chase a dream one small action at a time. The vision can be big, sure. And yes, sometimes we’ll have huge actions or jumps that leap us forward.
Do you recall the last time you did one small action that led to huge results?
I look back to when I was struggling in business and looking for an easy way to success. I looked to others, books, CDs, whatever. I finally admitted to myself that I was in denial and I just needed to go do it. I went out and “did it” day after day. It wasn’t always fun but all of a sudden I was experiencing success.
Then, guess what, better things came my way. I wasn’t even looking for another opportunity but a better one came to me. One person believed in me, took a risk on me and we both succeeded together.
What one thing can you do today to move towards your big vision?
What one thing can you do to help others?
What simple action or word of kindness can we start that will create waves of great results over time?
We come this way but once.
We can either tiptoe through life and hope that we get to death without being too badly bruised,
or we can live a full, complete life achieving our goals and realizing our wildest dreams.
– Bob Proctor
Thanks for your actions. Thanks for reading.
This weekend my wife and my two daughters and I went to get a new puppy. There is a family that works with a rescue agency and this family takes in dogs as a foster family. We went to their house to pick it up and we were greeted by many other dogs. It was clear that this family is also quite giving and loves animals. They devote much of their time, income, efforts and home to the pets.
Our dog appears to be a Yorkie-Bichon mix, although we can’t be exactly sure because she was rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio. She is about 4 or 5 pounds and may get to be about 9 pounds.
If you read some of my other blog posts, you may recall that we had a Yorkie Bichon for about 3 ½ years – Daisy. The name Daisy came about because it was my mother’s favorite flower. My wife and kids went to first visit Daisy in the last week of my mother’s life, while she was in hospice. We picked up Daisy right after my mother passed away (and my father 5 weeks before her). So we were pretty down and out at that time. Daisy came in as a pup and made us laugh, kept us going, and helped us stay “up”. I know that I was pretty depressed during those months and she made me laugh when I really didn’t feel like it. I wrote about her in this post here http://wp.me/p2uckH-2l .
I like to look for lessons in most situations. I think Daisy was sent to make us laugh, to help us to remember to love one another, and to realize that happiness is in the simple, little things. She was also a good example, at only about 2 to 3 pounds, that you can do anything that you want to do if you have the will. For a small dog, she would try to do many things beyond her size, she had a big personality and many people liked her.
So now we have this new dog. Already it is clear that she is different in many ways. That’s definitely OK. She is very loving, though. On the ride home from the adoption, she slept peacefully in my daughters’ laps. She likes to be right there with us. She is a lot quieter, and frankly a lot fatter, in comparison to Daisy. J
It is clear that, possibly due to the puppy mill, she may be a little more fearful of us for a while, and she may or may not be completely healthy due to the conditions at the puppy mill, but that is speculation.
The puppy’s name? My youngest daughter had a classmate who got Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer, last school year. Our school is small and the class is very close. The school and community all worked together for fundraisers and car washes, etc. In some ways, it actually was a nice experience and brought us closer. While she was fighting cancer, my daughter’s classmate picked a symbol of a sunflower…. She picked it because once there was a sunflower growing in the sidewalk in the middle of winter in Pittsburgh one day while she was going to treatment. So she picked it because it was strong, resilient, bright, etc., plus it had no ‘right’ to be growing in the city’s sidewalk. They had t-shirts made for fundraisers, etc. with the sunflower on it. After about 8 months of fighting, she passed away.
So when we decided to get this puppy, we had a list of many names. We asked friends and family to give us input. We could not decide – none really connected with us. Then we picked up the puppy and by the time we hit the end of the road, my daughter said, “I think we should name her “Sunny”, short for Sunflower.” We got the idea earlier because of her friend. My other daughter immediately agreed and so did my wife and I. So now we have a puppy named Sunny.
What lessons will we learn from our experience with Sunny? Well already we’re amazed how friends and family are excited for us and share our new found happiness with the pup. I think there is something in the situation that speaks to all of us regarding the rescue aspect – that we have second chances, new starts, and if we work together, love one another, we can do well together.
Maybe there is something here about helping others or reaching out to others. Maybe we need to take a chance and offer some help, give and we’ll receive much more. Like the children’s book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today” by Carol McCloud, it feels great to fill someone else’s bucket, even if it is a puppy.
I am grateful for the new dog, for my family and all of you reading this. I am also grateful for all those people and experiences in my past.
Here’s to new days together.
Watch Felix Baumgartner jump from this tiny capsule, outside the earth’s atmosphere, straight to earth while breaking the world record for free-falling.
Notice how many “Ultimate Life Lessons” you can learn from this video:
*Create a compelling vision that inspires others to support you (sponsors like Red Bull, a team of safety advisors, even past record holders cheering you on).
*Take note of what he says right before jumping off the ledge… “How small we are” and “I’m going home now”.
*Notice how even in the face of possible death, he stays calm and regains his composure after spinning out of control. (He broke the speed of sound on this fall too).
*Listen to how humble he is when talking about his success.
“If you would create something, you must be something.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.” – Horace Bushnell
“Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do.” – Menander
“Happiness consists in activity: such is the constitution of our nature; it is a running stream, and not a stagnant pool.” – John M. Good
My daughters are at the age that they still like me, still laugh at my jokes, still hold my hand. However my wife and I see the glimmer of the teenage years and the changes that sometimes come. I like to think my kids are well adjusted and that even though change will come, we’ll all still be close.
In any case, I’m trying to cram in a variety of things while they are still receptive….things like important values on life; inspiration, encouragement, independence, confidence, ….getting them to think about focusing on things to pursue some level of mastery or at least competence….having a good sense of humor….thinkining good thoughts….and yes, sharing the love of my geekness.
What do I mean by the latter? I am trying to get them to appreciate some good movies and books….anything from the Power of One, The Help, The Insider, Ten Commandments, True Lies, Rocky, Rear Window, Indiana Jones, Apollo 13, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, (which I loved as a kid), to more romantic ones like Sleepless in Seattle, Affair to Remember, You’ve Got Mail (my wife and I like it together), to funny movies like Ace Ventura, Naked Gun, to all the great comic book related movies like Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, Batman, etc.
I was joking a bit about Superman one day with them and then I thought of a serious point I read somewhere in the world of comicbook geekdom….something like “Superman really isn’t that courageous, he is almost invincible, he has little chance of failing…everyday people are truly courageous, or have the opportunity to be courageous, because we are vulnerable and we can fail just as easily as we can succeed.”
I tried to relate that to a life lesson and got a bit carried away but I wanted to run with it…..
We then spoke about being shy, intimidated, scared, and how do you handle fear? Specifically we spoke of the fear of failure, of embarrassment, of losing or making mistakes.
I wanted to try to get them to look at life from a different perspective. I asked them to take a look at what life will look like not if you try and fail…but if you if you just accept the conditions and don’t take chances, don’t take actions and have some courage, and especially if you let it go on for decades. That’s the real nightmare scenario for most people.
In my opinion, we all have to continuously improve. Maybe I’m neurotic or maybe I have a self-image problem but I constantly try to improve me. I sometimes fool myself, or loaf a bit, or I may even regress but I know that long term, I am better than the old me. As many authors have stated, “Simple fact, there is no sideways, no coasting…no neutral.”
I believe that there is no stopping the need to improve, or at least work on all key parts of your life; spiritual growth, career, relationships, business, frienships, health…. There’s only up or down
We all experience times when things go well or move ahead. We experience times when things seem to fail all around us. Author Jonathan Fields provides a quote about this, “Either way, the speed and magnitude of the change in the way we experience life is so great and, often, so outwardly apparent, that we – or those around us – are moved to act to either support or redirect our trajectory. Action in the context of such powerful movement is a near mandate.”
As Fields notes, the most ‘dangerous’ periods are those times when we’re sliding ever-so-slowly up or down? For whatever reasons, we’re at a point in our lives because of momentum or inertia. We sometimes get to a point where we think life is good and we don’t want to rock the boat – if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Sometimes we might get to a point where we even say “hey, my _____ isn’t great, but it’s not THAT bad. Who cares if I’m a little fatter, poorer, lazier, sicker and in just a bit more pain. It’s not such a big deal.”
That is a terrible thing we’ve all slipped into from time to time. Call it complacency, call it whatever. There is no coasting. There is no neutral. No sideways.
As Jonathan Fields says in his article ‘There is No Sideways in Life’. “It’s a myth, an illusion. There’s only up or down.”
Fields says, “Your currently “passable” life becomes increasingly painful as you enter the long, slow slide toward death. Because you failed to accept the knowledge that there is no sideways, there is only up or down. Even if the pace is slow, barely detectable. There’s no such thing as sideways.”
Tony Robbins, Fields, Oprah, and countless classic philosophers have said it in one way or another, you need to have better questions like, “What if I succeed?…What if I do nothing?”
This is where you build a vision, make it strong and vivid. Add emotion, then consistently repeat it over and over. Think about it as if you’re already there. Think of it as how you’ll feel looking back to when you didn’t have it and feel the accomplishment. How good will you feel?
Think about what actions, even a small one, can you do today to work to that image, that vistion. And, the next time you feel like momentum, inertia, sideways, coasting…neutral is enough. Think again. It takes courage to take action, to get out of that comfortable spot….
Have courage, us the courage to move towards your dream, however big or small. Whether it’s just talking to someone at a social event, making a call, writing or creating, taking a chance. We’re all scared. Veteran rock stars and movie stars admit that they still get scared or nervous even after years of experience.
Courage is often confused as people who have no fear and just move ahead. ON the contrary, courage is when there is fear and we overcome that fear, even just for a moment, and then move ahead to take action, to do something we once would not have done.