Morning Coffee Archives

Morning Coffee Archives

morning coffeeThank you for visiting! We hope you enjoy our growing archive of Morning Coffee inspirational stories.

 

Posted 6/26/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault."

~ John Henry Cardinal Newman

SELF PROMOTION!

Been chasing success? Have you caught it yet? Maybe you finally landed a big contract, got that promotion, or reached bonus level at work. Setting a goal and achieving it is gratifying, but it's not usually the end of the journey. Most of us tend to set yet another goal, and take off running again.

There's no such thing as taking one grand step and reaching the summit, even when that one step is the last of many already taken on the journey. If you are not satisfied with every small success, and are always looking towards the next achievement for your ultimate gratification, the likelihood is that you will never reach it.

What drives your need for the big listing or promotion or bonus will not leave you once you've gotten what you thought you wanted. You must take great care not to let your drive for more and more success belittle what you have accomplished so far. Ultimate success does not come with this or any future achievement. It's about the "whole package" or the "big picture."

Do you love what you do for a living? If you say yes, but find yourself constantly pushing for more fulfillment, you might need to reconsider that question. Loving what you do creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, regardless of your position on the ladder. If you're happy not to "keep up with the Joneses," or build mountains of wealth, you are to be congratulated on reaching your own form of nirvana.

Your sense of self-worth is not (nor should be) tied to any one positive or negative event. A happy and successful self is a combination of feelings and beliefs, based on experiences at home and at work. Remember that you are greater than the sum of your parts!

Posted 6/19/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking."

~ William James (1842-1910)

YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS!

Walk into a totally dark room. What do you see? "Absolutely nothing," you say. Now, turn on the light. Where did the darkness go? Really - where is it now? Hopefully you will agree that darkness cannot exist in the face of light.

During a lifetime, we experience many types of "darkness." It may appear in the form of discouragement, fear, hopelessness, grief, ignorance, or poverty. Yet, in every case, there is a "light" in which such darkness cannot exist.

Fear, for example, cannot exist in the face of courage. Education denies ignorance any chance of survival. Grief disappears in the presence of peace-of-mind. Discouragement ceases when hope prevails. Wealth denies poverty its chance.

No matter what form darkness takes, it cannot exist when faced with its opposite. That also means we have the ability to send darkness on its way at any point in time. No matter how overwhelming the darkness appears, it is our thoughts and our minds that ultimately control the outcome. How powerful is that?

In the words of several favorite authors: "Think you can, think you can't, either way you're right." "Your life is what your thoughts make of it." "We are what we think about all day long." Finally, in the words of Tom Bodett, from one of his Motel 6 commercials: "We'll leave the light on for you!"

Posted 6/12/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Gardner's Law: Eighty-seven percent of all people in all professions are incompetent."

~ John Gardner

PERSONALITY TEST!

Let's hope today's "inspiration" isn't actually true, although we've all probably felt that way at one time or another. Regardless of the percentage, however, it cannot be denied that incompetence really does exist in every profession, even those like physicians, attorneys, school bus drivers and stock brokers.

Some people do a great job no matter what it is they do, while others can't seem to succeed even after trying several careers. Sometimes it's not really a matter of competence so much as matching a job to specific abilities, interests and personality. An introvert who enjoys working alone probably shouldn't pursue a career in communications, while a creative person who enjoys the outdoors likely wouldn't be happy in accounting. No matter how hard you try, you just can't force yourself to love brussels sprouts!

How much of the "incompetence" that we encounter is simply the result of a person who is mismatched for their job? We all have certain skills and personality traits that better suit certain types of careers, but we often start down that path before we've ever gotten to really develop and know ourselves. We believe our parents, guidance counselors, and spouses more than we do ourselves sometimes.

Realizing your true personality is challenging. Applying that knowledge to your choice of career is even more difficult, but absolutely necessary if you want to be happy in your choice. If you're feeling dissatisfied, try to find at least some small aspect of your job that you find enjoyable, and aggressively apply your personality to it to produce more satisfying results.

If that's not working for you, perhaps it's time to take a long hard look at where you've been and where you are and why you don't like it there. Matthew Arnold said, "Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery." You've probably learned a lot about other people in your lifetime. Aren't you ready to know yourself?

Posted 6/5/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Until one is committed there is hesitancy,

a chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,

there is one elementary truth,

the ignorance of which kills

countless dreams and splendid plans.

That the moment one definitely commits oneself,

then Providence moves too."

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

THE RICH GET RICHER!

In "Rich Dad's Guide to Investing," the author talks about taking risks. As an example, "Rich Dad" says, "There is risk driving a car. But driving the car with your hands off the steering wheel is really risky." With regard to driving a car, his point is easily understood.

His real message, however, goes a little deeper. He's really speaking of the risks people associate with investing. While there are inherent risks in any investment (just as there are in driving to the grocery store), if you don't take control of the risks (as in keeping your hands on the wheel), the risks can quickly overwhelm you. Rich Dad goes on to say that, "It is not necessarily investing that is risky, it is the investor who is risky."

Whether you are investing in yourself, your business, real estate, or a stock portfolio, Rich Dad advises that you first gain control over yourself. This is accomplished in two steps: first by creating a written financial plan, and second through intensive study. Both make it possible to get a firm grip on your investment wheel. The written plan is your road map to successful investing, while study provides the knowledge level needed to invest wisely. Collectively, they put you in the driver's seat, giving you control over your investing direction.

If the idea of investing your way to wealth appeals to you, you must first commit to pay the price in time. You do not necessarily have to "have money to make money." Like any successful endeavor, however, you must be willing to invest your time, and we all realize just how valuable that can be!

Posted 5/30/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."

~ Father James Keller (1900-1977)

GOT A LIGHT?

We all love a compliment. Your manager says to you, "I noticed that your last sale was handled very smoothly. Thanks for offering your customer such excellent service!" Your wife or husband tells you, "I'm so proud of the way you encourage our children!" Your grown child returns home for a visit and says, "Thanks for making it possible for me to get my degree!" Those are "feel good" times, aren't they?

If you live a more or less normal day-to-day sort of life, compliments are always welcome, but aren't absolutely critical to your sense of well-being. You don't have to get them to make it through the day. If you are fortunate enough to enjoy high self-esteem, why not consider becoming a "candle" to others?

There are many around us each day, both children and adults, who suffer from mild to extreme "compliment" deficiencies. They may have never been told that they are good, or attractive, or intelligent. As children, they may have never experienced the exhilaration of getting a base hit, or making an "A" on a test, or receiving an "Honorable Mention" in art class. As adults, they may have lost a job, a spouse, or their health. In short, many around us have never even had their "candle" lighted once.

You can become the greatest philanthropist of all time without giving away a dime. All it takes to make a life-changing difference in someone's life is to share the light from your candle. Each day, look for opportunities to encourage, compliment, or offer your knowledge to those who are "candle deprived." Think back to when you were a child. Was there some special person who took that time with you - someone you've never forgotten?

Sharing your candle by lighting many others can warm both hearts and souls. Make a difference - starting today!

Posted 5/22/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"First of all, you must find the right track, So you can start right away and not be held back. But which track is yours? Well, that all depends On which way it's going, and where it might end."

~ Craig Dorfman in "I Knew I Could!"

THINK YOU CAN?

Regardless of your age, you were probably introduced as a child to a wonderful book entitled "The Little Engine That Could." If you will recall, it was the story of a small red locomotive personality who believed it was possible to pull a very heavy load uphill - a task that was shunned by other larger locomotives. The little engine huffed and puffed up the hill, all the while repeating the mantra, "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

It was a cute story that contained a very powerful message about persistence and the ability to overcome adversity. Now there's a sequel entitled "I Knew I Could!" A quick ten-minute read, it clearly outlines our ability to make our own choices in life. Using illustrations of train tracks and those cute little locomotives, you are easily led to the understanding that we choose the life "tracks" upon which we travel.

The book suggests that before picking one of those tracks, we should determine the direction it might take us, and the destination we might reach by so choosing. Sounds like real life, doesn't it? How many times, and in how many ways, must we be taught this lesson? If we fail to make our choices wisely, we have consciously made the choice to live at the mercy of happenstance - as did Alice in the following excerpt from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland":

"Cheshire-Puss...," said Alice, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where -" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "... so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Life - it's your choice. Toot! Toot!

Posted 5/15/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"You will be what you will to be."

~ James Allen

START SOWING!

You say to yourself, "I think I'll go shopping," - and you do. You say, "I think I'll buy a new blu-ray," - and you do. You say, "I think I'll put it on my credit card," - and you do.

James Allen lived from 1864 until 1912. As was popular in the early 1900's, he wrote a series of short essays known as pamphlets. The best known, "As A Man Thinketh," was his most famous work. In it, he provided timeless inspiration on the value of thought as it motivates us to action.

In his pamphlet, Allen states that, "All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." Speaking of mankind, he continues with, "They themselves are makers of themselves." Thought precedes all action; thus, he reasons that by controlling our thoughts, we also control our destiny.

Notice in the first paragraph above that the "I think" part always seems to lead to the action of "doing." Rarely do we hop in the car, drive aimlessly around, accidentally arrive at a music store, plunk down our credit card, and then say to ourself, "I think I'll go shopping."

If we are the sole controller of our thoughts, it stands to reason that we can also control our actions - and our outcomes in life. Our mind and our thoughts are the seedbed of our futures. What a novel thought. Plant some great thoughts in your mind. Do it today!

Posted 5/9/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet." ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

PREDICTION VS. PRODUCTION!

If you’re familiar with many “motivational” speakers and writers, you’ve probably heard or read a hundred times that you must make a “declaration.” It seems that without uttering your deepest desires, they will not come to fruition. Want a better job? Then you must declare that it will be so. Want a fitter body? First you must affirm you will have one.

But be aware of the definition of motivation, “the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” Just stating that something will happen is not enough – you must “act” or “behave” in a very specific fashion to make that dream come true.

Declarations comfort us, enthuse us, and even energize us, but only for a short period of time. After the initial emotional rush of acknowledging our desire to pursue something, our energy wanes, other issues become more pressing, and we lose sight of our goals. Unfortunately, when the outcome we visualized doesn’t happen, we feel disappointed and our self-esteem takes one on the chin.

The vicious circle completes itself when we make our next declaration, recalling previous shortfalls, and losing our enthusiasm even more quickly. We say, “Ah, these affirmations don’t work. Just saying it doesn’t make it true.” EUREKA!

Now you realize that success doesn’t come from motivational “tricks,” but from a profound effort to produce the desired outcome. Of course you must acknowledge (if only to yourself) what you want in this world, or you’ll just drift aimlessly. But be sure to follow through with a solid plan that anticipates plenty of detours.

Want a better job? Declare it will be so, and then start taking courses in that field, find a mentor, polish your resume, and apply for the positions for which you have qualified yourself. Want a fitter body? First affirm that you will have one, and then sign up for a fitness club membership, actually go to the club regularly, stock your shelves with healthy food, and eat less of it.

So, become a prophet of positivity! Go ahead, predict your future success! But make sure your prophecy is self-fulfilled!

Posted 5/1/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Fear knocked at the door, faith answered. No one was there."

~ Unattributed

REPLACEMENT THERAPY!

Ever received one of those emails that contains a touching message, then suggests that if you forward it to ten more people you'll receive a "special blessing" or "ten million dollars in three days"? It usually also warns that the last person who didn't forward it met some terrible fate at the hands of unknown evil-doers. Remember how that last part - the veiled threat - made you feel? You didn't think something awful would really happen, but you resented being put in the position of wondering.

We've been told many times that our worst fears are of the "unknown." An unidentified fear sends our imagination into high gear, conjuring up vivid mental pictures of dastardly plots against us. We ruminate endlessly over the possibilities. Such fear is disruptive to our well-being, and leaves us tired and wrung-out.

So, how do you handle fear? One method is to identify the fear, so that once you do, it is no longer "unknown." That also means it is measurable, and can be logically quantified. Once you know what it is, your imagination can no longer dream up worse things that it is not. Once identified, it is possible to determine possible outcomes.

Most fears will never come to fruition. Those that do are divided into two categories: those we can control, and those we can't. If we have control, we also have the ability to survive our fears, and change their outcomes. Most fall into that category.

One mother's lifelong advice to her daughter who worried too much was to replace the worry thought with another more pleasant thought. The opposite of fear is hope, which also gives us courage. The next time you experience fear of the unknown, try replacement therapy. Think positive, hopeful thoughts when fear knocks at the door. Then, when you open the door - no one is there!

Posted 4/24/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The moment of change is the only poem."

~ Adrienne Rich

SPRING FORWARD!

The beginning of Spring always seems like a good time to appreciate the changing of the seasons, and to ruminate on how the cycle of life continues. The shrubs and flowering plants are all green now, and we're just waiting to see those first beautiful blossoms that symbolize another cycle of death and rebirth.

Sooner than we know it, Spring will blend into Summer, which will likewise end, and then Fall, and finally Winter again. While we certainly look forward to Spring during the chill of Winter, it must be said that even during the Summer we sometimes find ourselves longing for a view through the leaf-barren trees and the first flakes of snow.

But we have to be careful not to look so far ahead that we're missing what's right in front of us! Don't wait to take an opportunity to watch the plants bloom and the hummingbirds return. Waiting until next Spring just won't do.

Ponder how the fluidity of the seasons gives us the chance to realize change in our own lives. It teaches us to learn to accept how everything changes, everything passes, and everything eventually returns. It reveals a spirituality that goes beyond, and yet includes, any religion. We begin to recognize and embrace these ever-changing yet never-changing cycles in nature and ourselves.

If you already abandoned your New Year's Resolutions a couple months ago, why not look at Spring as truly the ideal time to imagine changes you'd like to make? It seems to make more sense at this time of year anyhow, when everything is transforming and thriving and beginning anew, while Winter passes away behind us. And when Winter does come again, how will it find you different? Now is the "moment" to write the first line of your "poem of change."

4/17/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Never think that God's delays are God's denials."

~ Author Unknown

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE . . . !

A lone shipwreck survivor on an uninhabited island managed to build a crude hut in which he placed all that he had saved from the sinking ship. He prayed to God for deliverance, and anxiously scanned the horizon each day to hail any passing ship.

One day he was horrified to find his hut in flames. All that he had was gone. To the man's limited vision, it was the worst that could happen and he cursed God. Yet, the very next day a ship arrived. "We saw your smoke signal," the captain said.

Hmmm! Ever have a big sale fall through? Been disappointed when a friend or loved one failed to come through for you when you needed them? Have you wondered why a goal or objective wasn't achieved as expected?

If you're over the age of 18, you've probably noticed that we don't get everything we would like, exactly when we think we should. Yet, it's amazing how certain things just show up in our lives when we least expect to see them - like the rescue ship.

It is often said that we "shouldn't get too attached to outcomes." We can set objectives, believe they can be achieved, and work to make them happen, but it's best not to get too attached to the outcome. What appears to be a worthy goal may go down in flames, only to be replaced with a magnificent result we had not anticipated.

When you find your hut in flames and fear the worst, think back to this oft quoted reminder: "Fear knocked at the door - faith answered - no one was there!"

4/10/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What are your personal ideals? Whom do you admire? What are their special traits that you would make your own? It's time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become."

~ Epictetus

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY?

Microsoft uses that slogan to convince you that with their software you can head in any direction you please. Earl Nightingale, one of the great motivational speakers, said it better. "Imagine that you are the captain of a great ocean-going vessel," he suggests. "Before even leaving the harbor, you lay out plans for your voyage. Using maps, you choose a destination, then employ your navigational skills to arrive safely".

"Without a chosen destination and a map to help you arrive," he continues, "you are akin to a ship without a rudder. If you get out of the harbor at all, you'll probably end up a derelict on some deserted beach."

On this verge of the year 2017, I hope you've decided on a destination for the year and have looked carefully at the map that will take you there. A word of caution is in order. Be careful not to choose too many destinations, meaning don't set too many goals for the year. Including more than a handful of worthy objectives can leave you with maps and navigational instruments strewn all over your desk - resulting in chaos, lack of focus, and questionable navigation.

It's better to have four clearly defined targets for the year, accompanied by a masterful plan for their achievement, than to have only a list of 25 hoped-for achievements. Anthony Robbins suggests the following agenda for achieving your most worthy objectives.

First, write down a "dream inventory" - a list of everything you want to accomplish in 2017. Next choose the four most important major goals. For each of the four make a list of the benefits you will enjoy when you achieve them. Then list all the resources you currently possess which would be of benefit to achieving your major goals, i.e. experience, knowledge, skills, positive attitude, friendliness, perseverance, etc.

Continue by listing the three most successful times in your life. Under each, write down a description of how you felt and acted during those times, i.e. felt invincible, presented a professional image, smiled a lot, wasn't afraid to try a new approach, etc. Next write down the type of person you would have to be to achieve your goals, i.e. must be prepared for presentations, must always have confidence, must put others' needs first, must organize my time, etc. Follow this with a list of "What prevents me from achieving this right now." Write down your fears, your lack of action, etc.

Finally, write down the steps you must take to achieve each of the four major goals. This would be a list of each and every task that must be completed in order to produce the maximum results. By breaking down the objective into individual steps, it becomes more manageable.

Notice that achieving a major goal requires major planning. Have you already done your homework and feel completely prepared? Hopefully so. It's well worth the effort!

4/3/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Set your purse to fattening."

~ George S. Clason ("The Richest Man in Babylon")

RISE TO THE OCCASION!

In 1926, George Clason introduced a series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success which were widely distributed by banks and insurance companies. He used fables, set in ancient Babylon, to make his points. The most famous of them, "The Richest Man in Babylon," is familiar to millions.

In the story was a very rich man named Arkad. Arkad was generous with all and spent liberally, yet he grew wealthier with each passing year. A group of friends from his youth approached him, asking how he had amassed such wealth while they lived a lifestyle of mere subsistence. His answer was, "If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you have either failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them." The pamphlet then goes on to explain the "Seven Cures For a Lean Purse."

So, who are you most like - Arkad . . . or his friends? If you know and practice Arkad's teachings, your primary obligation now is to teach your children, and their children. If you have not been so fortunate as to learn the "laws" and practice them, take heart. It is not too late.

In simple terms, "spend less than you earn" is the critical element that produces wealth. It also requires self-discipline, learned behavior, persistence, wisdom, knowledge, integrity, and more. But, hey, why rewrite the book here when you can just order the paperback online? It's an easy read packed with simple to follow steps to financial independence. If you're tired of the stress, worry, and frustration of never having enough, try giving this book a read!

3/20/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"You can either complain that rosebushes have thorns - or rejoice that thorn bushes have roses!"

~ Anonymous

WHICH BOUQUET DO YOU PREFER?

Whether or not you have a green thumb, you probably know that gardens may contain either annual or perennial flower varieties. Annuals are fun to grow for several reasons: 1) they sprout quickly from seeds, 2) they flower the first year, and 3) their colors can be brilliant and most pleasing. They are also less hardy and die out at the first sign of frost. Each spring, new seeds must be planted.

Perennials are another story. Growing from seeds, they take longer to sprout and rarely flower the first year. Their colors are more subtle hues, and they require more attention in the early stages. They must be cut back in the winter and covered with mulch, and may require fertilizer in the spring. They also come back year after year, returning with stronger roots, greater beauty and abundant growth. With time, they require less and less attention, yet continue to prosper. No matter how cold the winter, they always return with renewed vigor.

Friendships and business relationships are a lot like flowers, and may also be either annual or perennial in nature. They may be quick to bloom and most enjoyable to experience, yet fade quickly at the first hint of trouble.

Others grow more gradually through trust-building and respect. They may not dazzle the senses or leave us breathless, yet they are consistent, trusting, and produce a warm glow that hardly fades when tested by adversity. These relationships grow over time, and produce an abundance of lasting beauty.

In business, as in personal relationships, the best things in life come with time and caring. When planning your life's garden this spring, why not devote your attention to the perennials? With an added touch of patience, you can look forward to the sweet fragrances to come.

Posted 3/13/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't."
 
~ Unknown
 
IS IT ABOUT POLITICS OR . . . RELATIONSHIPS?
 
Have you ever lost out to another for an appointment to an important committee . . . or leadership post . . . or career promotion? If so, you may have commented (at least to yourself) that it was "politics" that deprived you of the opportunity.
 
So was it really politics, or were there relationships involved? Consider the difference. The term "politics" is often used to cast doubt on the values or principles employed to influence an outcome. Just using the word "politics" tends to excuse us for failing to win the approval we seek.
 
Now consider the power of relationships. If you were caught in a blinding snowstorm with two individuals - one a personal friend with extensive outdoor survival training, and the other a total stranger - which would you choose to lead you to safety? When the youth soccer league asks you to coach next season, whom would you choose for your assistant? Would it be a fellow professional associate, with whom you have worked successfully on various projects over the past ten years - or a total stranger?
 
What those on the outside (looking in) call "politics" is really no more than the power of existing relationships at work. We tend to feel more comfortable with those we know and trust. Trust and familiarity are built over an extended period, and once in place become bonds difficult to break.
 
To continue growing in your career, as well as your personal life, consider forming new relationships with those you feel are excellent role models. About our teenagers, we tend to say "You can tell how they're doing by the friends they keep." The same rule applies to us. Make time in your life to build enduring relationships. Your world will expand, your disappointments become few, and your friends become many.

 

Posted 3/6/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do."

~ Elbert Hubbard

THROW AWAY THE BAND-AIDS!

What do Scotch Tape, Post-It Notes, and paper clips have in common? Each apparently has a different function, is made of a different material, and serves its own purpose. Oh sure, you can say they're all office supplies - and you'd be right - but look a little deeper for their common purpose.

Scotch Tape pieces are placed along the edges and on the ends of holiday gifts - for a short period of time. Post-It Notes are stuck to documents suggesting that a signature is needed, or some action be taken. Once the action is complete, the note is discarded. Paper clips hold two or more things together for a few hours or days, and are then returned to the desk drawer.

Figured it out yet? They are all just a temporary "fix" - a momentary solution to a temporary need. They are used in "reaction" to a short-term need. They are also similar to our daily personal lives. When feelings are hurt and the tears come, we automatically reach for a Kleenex. We might, on the other hand, have taken time to determine the source of those feelings and concentrated on resolving a difference before tears were necessary.

When our children misbehave, we react with a 15-minute (or 3-day) "time-out." We might have avoided that temporary fix by listening to their concerns and teaching appropriate behavior before the fact. Then, there are all the excuses we make, used like Band-Aids, to temporarily cover the flaws in our own behavior. Wouldn't a more permanent solution like performing to expectations, learning from past experience, or practicing excellence be more appropriate?

Yes, we live in a very fast-paced world. Quick solutions are the order of the day, yet we must eventually realize that we continually seem to need a fresh supply of Scotch Tape, Kleenex, or paper clips. By taking more time to look ahead, it is possible to eliminate many of the situations that require those one-minute Band-Aids. Avoid future "boo-boos." Search for, learn, and practice a more permanent and proactive life. That's right - "No more tears!"

Posted 2/27/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"God is in the details." ~ Mies van der Rohe, architect "The devil is in the details." ~ Unattributed 

WHAT GIVES? 

People often characterize themselves as either "big picture" or as "detail oriented." Truth be told, we need to be a little of both. 

Accounting for the details often brings images of sweating over the small stuff. If we've got a good view of the big picture, why fret the details? Whether in an architectural rendering, or for a dinner party, or in a contract, details definitely help transform an idea into a full-blown reality. Just as importantly, the very thought that goes into those details gives us the opportunity to be creative in our actions. Our attention to “the little things” shows our craft with tools, our skill with clients, or our ability with language. 

Some confuse detail with flash, but even the simplest home can still illustrate its detailing in how well it is constructed and how gracefully it uses space. A good manager understands how environment, scheduling, praise and celebration can increase morale and productivity. 

By not letting the little things slip by us, we are able to gain a much deeper understanding of another person, a job at hand, and even ourselves. Such attention to detail is beneficial to everyone involved, and that's the point. 

Forget those details and that’s when the devil appears! The Big Picture is an absolute necessity, yes. You’ve got to be able to visualize your goals. Just don't forget to plan for and paint in not only the necessary details, but also those that that reflect your personality through their beauty, art, and skill. If you can just work it through, you’ll find that sometimes your devils are really angels in disguise!

Posted 2/20/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"He is not fit for riches, who is afraid to use them."

~ Thomas Fuller

WHERE DO YOU INVEST?

Several business books suggest three ways to become financially independent. It is said that these three methods of building wealth create "multiple streams of income" - a never-ending financial source that continues to grow. So - what are the three "magic beans" that, when planted, yield wealth?

They are: 1) investing in real estate, 2) investing in the stock market, and 3) running your own business. To achieve excellence in any of the three, you must have extensive knowledge, be willing to take risks, and have a passion for achievement.

First comes knowledge. Who do you think might have the best grasp on the ins and outs of real estate - a doctor or someone in the real estate business? An understanding of contracts, real estate law, pricing and values, marketing, financing and math would all be vital, wouldn't they?

Risk-taking does not come easily for most of us. Unless we put our money at risk, however, we cannot expect a favorable return. If you don't believe that, just take a look at what your checking or savings account is paying right now!

Finally, we must have a passion for achievement. That means a burning desire, not a lukewarm, milquetoast attitude. Anything less will leave us in the dust of others who display that desire.

Wealth, a.k.a. financial independence, does not arrive on our doorstep in the form of a visit from Publishers Clearinghouse. Nor does the lottery or an inheritance often pay us a visit. We are able to achieve wealth only by choice. It comes slowly at first, and then builds to a crescendo beyond our wildest imaginings.

It's the "at first" that will govern the final result. So, then, it's your choice - real estate, stocks, your own business, or all three!

Posted 2/13/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The man who dies rich, dies disgraced."

~ Andrew Carnegie

THE MEANING OF POVERTY!

A colleague passed this delightful story along:

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how much poverty exists in the world. They spent several days and nights on the farm of a very poor family.

Upon their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" The son's answer? "It was great, Dad!" "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh yeah," said the son.

"So, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son continued, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon."

His son added, "We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who work for us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, and they have friends to protect them."

With this the boy's father was speechless. Then his son finally said, "Thanks Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don't have. What is one person's worthless object is another's prize possession. It is all based on one's perspective. It makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for the bounty we have, instead of worrying about wanting more. Take joy in all you have, especially your friends.

Posted 2/6/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Time is clay. Make something."

~ Unknown

TIME'S A'WASTING!

To paraphrase a favorite tune, "If I could save time in a bottle..." I could have saved literally millions of minutes so far. Of course most of us think in terms of a 24-hour clock that gives us another chance to save each time we wake up. We think of time beginning anew with the start of each day. Not so. Time is actually a continuum, a straight line.

If you were born in 1952, you could have saved 27,856,800 minutes by now. Born in 1968? You'd have a bottle full of 19,447,200 minutes. No matter when you were born, it's easy to calculate just how many minutes you could have saved by now. The real question, of course, is how many minutes are left. Bet you didn't want to hear that.

Not to worry. It's what you do with what you've got that counts. So why not begin looking at time as clay - as something you roll in your hands and form into anything you like. Remember making little cars, or a house, or a little clay doll when you were little? Back then, no one told you what to make - you just let your imagination guide you.

As you got older, you were told what you could do, when you could do it, and how much time you had to get it done. You quit playing with the clay, and didn't have the time to let your imagination guide you. More than likely you fell into a routine (a.k.a. a rut), one possibly designed by someone else's imagination.

Why not take some of the time you have to rediscover the joy your own imagination can bring? Think back to those wonderful days of clay - and make something!

Posted 1/30/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation or creed."

~ Bertrand Russell (1872-1949)

THE PLEASURES OF TOLERANCE!

We probably all know someone who fits the description quoted above – people who aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy about someone or something. They are the perpetual complainers, always blaming what’s happening around them on others or others’ belief systems. They tend to look outside themselves for explanations of why things are the way they are.

Have you ever noticed that things always happen TO them, but they never actually cause things to happen themselves? You might describe them best as “reactionaries,” because all they ever do is “react” (negatively) to what other people think, do, or believe. They try to make themselves look better by making others look worse!

What type of person would you rather be? One who expertly criticizes everything, or one who finds a way to tolerate the thoughts, actions, and beliefs of those around you? The former will cause stress resulting in headaches, ulcers, and the disdain of those with whom you work and play. The latter will produce a feeling of happiness and compassion, while passing along your positive outlook to others around you who will respect and admire your policy of tolerance.

In our current global climate, it’s easy to be suspicious and critical of other cultures and religions. However, for the very reasons we might be led to hate, it is all the more important to display love, tolerance, and an attempt at understanding. Do your best to find the best in others, and your efforts will come back to you in kind. It’s the ethics of reciprocity. Remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” As corny as it may sound, it still rings true today. So set your example - don’t be “REactive”, be “PROactive”!

Posted 1/24/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

~ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

THREE RIGHTS MAKE A LEFT!

There are myriad perspectives on the best way to get through life. Some people fear stagnation, and barrel along as fast as they can, taking every opportunity and wasting none of their time. Others who fear mental and physical overload go at a slow but steady pace, carefully weighing their every move and creating recuperative downtime. Still others fall somewhere in between, creating a successful recipe out of ingredients from both of the other worldviews.

Michael Gartner, editor, network news president and Pulitzer Prize winner, learned his own lesson for the best way to navigate through a happy and long life. He acquired it from his father, a man who never took left turns. Literally. He had once read an article that said most accidents involving older people happen when they turn left into oncoming traffic. That was the point at which he and his wife decided to never again make a left turn.

They reasoned that three right turns equal a left, and it's safer. Even when they occasionally lost count, they would just make seven rights and be back on track! If they missed after seven, they'd just call it a day and head back home. "Besides," his father reasoned, "nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

Next time you feel like life's pace is moving a bit too fast, recall this sobering reminder that you have time to do things the way you want to. You've got your destination, but take a safe and enjoyable journey on your way. Maybe even get out of the car and take a walk instead. For fast relief, try slowing down!

Posted 1/16/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Gardner's Law: Eighty-seven percent of all people in all professions are incompetent."

~ John Gardner

PERSONALITY TEST!

Let's hope today's "inspiration" isn't actually true, although we've all probably felt that way at one time or another. Regardless of the percentage, however, it cannot be denied that incompetence really does exist in every profession, even those like physicians, attorneys, school bus drivers and stock brokers.

Some people do a great job no matter what it is they do, while others can't seem to succeed even after trying several careers. Sometimes it's not really a matter of competence so much as matching a job to specific abilities, interests and personality. An introvert who enjoys working alone probably shouldn't pursue a career in communications, while a creative person who enjoys the outdoors likely wouldn't be happy in accounting. No matter how hard you try, you just can't force yourself to love brussels sprouts!

How much of the "incompetence" that we encounter is simply the result of a person who is mismatched for their job? We all have certain skills and personality traits that better suit certain types of careers, but we often start down that path before we've ever gotten to really develop and know ourselves. We believe our parents, guidance counselors, and spouses more than we do ourselves sometimes.

Realizing your true personality is challenging. Applying that knowledge to your choice of career is even more difficult, but absolutely necessary if you want to be happy in your choice. If you're feeling dissatisfied, try to find at least some small aspect of your job that you find enjoyable, and aggressively apply your personality to it to produce more satisfying results.

If that's not working for you, perhaps it's time to take a long hard look at where you've been and where you are and why you don't like it there. Matthew Arnold said, "Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery." You've probably learned a lot about other people in your lifetime. Aren't you ready to know yourself?

Posted 1/09/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible - and achieve it, generation after generation."

~ Pearl S. Buck

REMEMBER YOUR YOUTH!

Ever watched a healthy smiling child try to walk? For each step attempted, a dozen result in miserable failure and a bump on the head. Does the child admit defeat and stop trying? Never! The child doesn't know enough, doesn't have enough information or experience, to understand the concept of quitting. The child attempts the impossible, and succeeds.

So - what happens over the years that stops us from attempting the "impossible?" Og Mandino reminds us in "The Greatest Miracle In The World":

"You weep for all your childhood dreams that have vanished with the years. You weep for all your self-esteem that has been corrupted by failure. You weep for all your potential that has been bartered for security. You weep for all your individuality that has been trampled by the mobs. You weep for all your talent that has been wasted through misuse."

To paraphrase Og's words, we let our life's experiences rob us of the innocent optimism of our childhood. We come to know too much about life's hard knocks - making us prudent, cautious, afraid, and wary of trying. We avoid failure by not attempting.

OK - so it's too late for us to return to the innocence of the cradle. So . . . what now? We must identify the source of and overcome our fear of failure. By developing courage and faith, we can deny fear a foothold in our lives. As someone once commented, "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there!"

Posted 1/02/2017

It’s Just Another Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne.

I’m sure you’ve heard this song during the holiday season and like many, have wondered what it means. The character Harry in the film When Harry Met Sally asked, “What does this song mean?  My whole life I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances or does it mean that if we happen to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?” To which Sally replied, “Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends.”

Sally got it partially right. In 1788 a man named Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum. He told them that it was an ancient song, but that he had been the first to record it on paper.  The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year. It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship and a touch of nostalgia. So, when Auld Lang Syne comes on the radio or is played at a New Year’s Eve party you are attending, think about the meaning behind the words…remember 2016, the good times and the bad, and keep the friends and family that were there for you close to your heart.

Here are some fun facts about New Year’s Eve:

  • If you are in Las Vegas, Disney World or New York City on December 31st, you will be in one of the three most popular places to ring in the new year in the United States.  Sydney, Australia is the most popular spot for celebrating internationally.
  • The first New Year’s celebration dates back 4,000 years to when Julius Caesar was the Emperor of Rome.  He was the first to declare January 1 a holiday.
  • Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The top resolutions are to lose weight, get organized, spend less, save more, improve health and quit smoking.  Approximately twenty-five percent of Americans give up on their resolutions by the second week of January.
  • Many people ring in the new year by popping a bottle of champagne. Nearly 360 million glasses of sparkling wine are consumed by Americans on New Year’s Eve.
  • About 1 million people gather in Times Square in New York City to watch the ball drop. The Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop came about because of a ban on fireworks. The first ball in 1907 was 700 pounds and was lit with 100 25-watt lights. The current ball puts the old one to shame (thanks to technology). Today, it is covered in 2,688 crystals, is lit by 32,000 LED lights, weighs 11,875 pounds and is 12 feet in diameter.

No matter how you choose to celebrate the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, have a safe, happy and healthy NEW YEAR! 

Posted 12/19/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy."

~ Brian Tracy

PUT IT IN WRITING!

“How do you get there from here?” A common enough question when you don’t know where you’re going. If you were planning a long trip, you would certainly check Google Maps or a road atlas to verify and write down the directions.

But what about your life, your dreams, your expectations? “How do you get there from here?” Have you bothered to write down the directions? Do you even have a starting point and a destination planned? Here it is – the most important journey you face, and you probably haven’t even written down your thoughts or plans on how to travel.

Writing down your goals and ideas helps to make them more concrete, more real. It helps you realize and take the necessary steps toward achievement. By defining what you want, and your ideas for getting it, you increase the chances that you’ll actually pursue and accomplish your goal.

Don’t know what you want to do? How about thinking of what you “need” to do? Most people have even less of an idea of what they need than what they want. But often, our career choices have more to do with necessity than desire. Yet we all hear that we’re happiest when we’re doing what we love.

A study on “journaling” showed that people who keep some kind of written record of their aspirations are 32% more likely to feel they are making progress in their lives. If a daily entry is too much commitment, at least sit down once a week and write something, anything, whatever comes to you. Thoughts about work, family, food, politics, whatever.

You’ll begin to see patterns and discover things you might have forgotten (or not even known) about yourself. The notion of what you “need” to do will begin to show itself, and then you can begin drawing that road map. Happy motoring!

Posted 12/12/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace."

~ G. Weatherly

HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE HAPPY?

You've been hearing about this sort of thing on the news lately - people who have suffered a terrible loss at the hands of violent criminals, but still find it in their hearts and minds to forgive those who have trespassed against them. Their interviewers pose questions like, "How in the world can you forgive the man who killed your daughter?" or "How do you find the strength to be pardon someone who has wronged you so horribly?"

These people are often guided by their faith, but they sometimes surprisingly answer that their anger and hatred would simply kill them if they did not find a way to get rid of their negative emotions. Before they find a means of forgiveness, they develop ulcers, grey hair, migraine headaches, digestive disorders, and so on.

These people end up realizing that the only way back to health - both mental and physical - is to come to peace with the tragic events that have affected them. They come to realize that they have no control over these events, and they even discover a way to erase any of their own guilt associated with the events. Anger, accusation, guilt, hatred - we all know the mental toll that these emotions take, but all these emotions eventually manifest themselves physically as well.

Hopefully you haven't experienced the kind of loss that these people have, but you can try to learn their difficult lesson. Let go of negative emotions associated with things that are out of your control. You can find personal peace and well-being in the satisfying feeling of forgiveness. It may not even be a specific person that you are forgiving, but maybe just a set of unhappy circumstances.

Take steps this week to identify something or someone that you feel negatively about. Search your heart and your mind for a way to understand that the longer you feel so badly, the worse it will continue to make you feel. Take back the control you've relinquished to people and circumstances around you. You can rise above the negativity around you and create something positive and inspiring.

Posted 12/5/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"It's OK to build castles in the air . . . so long as you build a firm foundation under them."

~ Henry David Thoreau 

WANT TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING REALLY GREAT?

Ever dream of becoming a U.S. Senator? Want to become an anonymous benefactor of youth programs in your community? Want to rise to the top 1% of your profession? Inspirational artist D. Morgan puts it this way: "The impossible dream . . . isn't!"

So - how do dreams become reality? Once your dream becomes your passion, you can begin building the foundation that will support the eventual structure of your dream. Begin by reading and studying how others have achieved similar dreams.

For politicians-to-be, there are plenty of biographies that reveal the long road to election. For those who aspire to achieve peak earnings, mentors are plentiful. Hang out with, attend courses with, and "shadow" the real stars in your chosen field. Ask how they began their rise, how they blend their work and family, how they attract and retain clients and customers.

In most cases, you will find that the models you choose have also made hard choices. They have first adopted certain principles upon which their decisions are made. Their actions are congruent with those principles. They are not duplicitous in their dealings with others. Their "word is their bond." Their foundational character sets the tone for the structure of their dreams.

Finally, with the foundation in place - they just build. They create plans, they implement strategies to achieve those plans. They understand that their final success does not occur in one fell swoop. It is the result of many footsteps in the direction of their dreams.

So . . . go ahead and dream! Remember - destiny is not a matter of chance . . . it's a matter of choice!

Posted 11/28/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Pursue the good ardently. But if your efforts fall short, accept the result and move on."

~ Epictetus

WHO ARE YOU?

Who do you want to be? Which are the principles by which you want to live? Do honesty, perseverance, and wisdom define you? Are sincerity, generosity, and a caring attitude your trademark?

Having a vague idea of the benchmark traits you wish to exhibit is not enough. To be extraordinary, it is necessary to define yourself in specific terms. If you haven't adopted a precise set of principles, consider choosing from the list that follows: humility, diligence, moderation, silence, temperance, chastity, courage, resolution, justice, industry, faithfulness, order, tranquility, cleanliness, encouragement, frugality, generosity, sincerity, persistence, honesty, perseverance, or caring.

Choose five that most closely match the person you would choose to be. Next define what each means to you, and how you can adopt them as your trademark traits. Finally, begin acting like the person you would be. Ben Franklin kept a small diary and rated his actions each day by placing a checkmark each time he violated one of his personal principles. Over time, as the checkmarks dwindled for one principle, he would move on to the next.

There's no need to discuss your quest for a principle-centered life with anyone. This is personal, very personal. It's also important to accept the fact that once you've adopted a credo, you won't do a perfect job of living up to it. When you find you've fallen short, "accept the result and move on."

Unless you're living the perfect life right now, and most of us aren't, give some thought to redefining yourself. Decide to be extraordinary and do whatever you must do - NOW!

Posted 11/21/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward."

~ James Thurber (1984-1961)

WHICH WAY WILL YOU FALL?

The humor of today's quote belies its truth, and indeed it's sometimes easier to make a point by making fun of it. But what important lesson can we glean from the words of Mr. Thurber?

It may have something to do with whether we are acting or reacting. You can think of falling flat on your face as being the "action." You've fallen down, but at least you've fallen in a forward direction! Think of leaning too far backward as being the "reaction." Not only have you fallen, but you've fallen in reverse!

The idea is to take chances and not withdraw from them. You've certainly failed if you don't take the chance, and maybe you will fail if you do take the chance. But if you experience disappointment after at least trying to succeed, then at least you have your attempt of which to be proud.

Failure is a given, friends, and it's how you handle that occasional failure that will set you apart from your competition. Anthony Robbins is a favorite source of wisdom: "If you think you can or if you think you can't, either way you are right." If you're going to make your mistakes, make them in a fashion that will at least help you move forward.

Be gracious in defeat, but don't back down from the challenge. If it looks like a no-win situation, at least make yourself look better for having risen to the test. Have you leaned too far backward? Have you ceded too much to someone else, or backed off from a sticky situation? Maybe then you do feel as though you've fallen flat on your face. Either way, the result is the same, and it's time to pick yourself up and move on.

If you've made a fool of yourself, hopefully you can laugh at your little tumble and still maintain a degree of respect for yourself. In time, everyone else will come around too!

Posted 11/14/2016
 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"There's nothing as constant as change."  -Unknown

FEELING WIRED?

Feel on edge? Not sure what to expect next? Nerves frayed? Feeling overwhelmed by today's complex world situation? How is it that some people are calm, fearless, and content, while others are frightful, worried, overwhelmed, and uncertain about the future?

In the 1950's there were only three models of Chevrolet, about four dry cereals, two or three types of soap, etc. Mom went grocery shopping weekly. There were no shopping malls, computers, cell phones, portable CD players (or CD's), 401(k)s, Internet, or co-ed dorms. Life was simple and calm - and revolved around the family. Technology didn't dominate daily life.

Today, our choices have expanded exponentially. There are hundreds of vehicle models, 50 different cereals on the shelf, software for every occasion, hundreds of cable channels, and millions of pages on the World Wide Web. Think that might clog your thinking just a little? Want to get back to simplicity, peace, and security?

Try a few of the following suggestions. Begin limiting your choices. Spend less than you earn. Limit trips to the store. Spend the evening at home - with your family - with the TV OFF. Go directly home after work. Identify your principles - and live them. Count your blessings daily by entering them in a journal. Read. Treat yourself to a hot bath. 

Think of your life as an extension cord with too many appliances plugged-in. Each vies for the limited energy you have available until a short-circuit or fire occurs. Start unplugging all those peripherals now, and you'll notice your life-light begin to shine.

Posted 11/7/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Leaders are like eagles. They don't flock - you find them one at a time." ~ Unattributed 

BE FREE!

In Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits", he talks about focusing on the important to the exclusion of the unimportant. In his own words, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

See if you recognize which motivational trainer espoused this similar philosophy:

"There are things within your power, and there are things beyond your power. Within your power are opinion, aim, desire, aversion; in a word, whatever affairs are your own. Beyond your power are body, property, reputation, office; in a word, affairs not properly your own. Concern yourself only with what is within your power.

The essence of good consists of things within your own power; with them there is no room for envy or emulation. For your part, do not desire to be a general, or a senator, or a consul, but to be free; and the only way to do this is a disregard of things which do not lie within your own power."

If you guessed Zig Ziglar, Howard Brinton, or Anthony Robbins, guess again. Its author referred to it as a "field manual for soldiers." It was carried by Frederick the Great on all his campaigns. It was written by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus.

Stephen Covey conveys a similar message when he suggests drawing two concentric circles with a dot in the middle. He equates the dot in the middle to you, the first circle as your area of influence, and the outside circle as your area of concern. He suggests that you concentrate only on the circle of influence, things which you have the power to influence or change. He advises that you disregard those in the area of concern over which you have no influence or power.

YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK:

How much time and energy are you wasting through worry and concern over things you cannot control? Focus your energy and your life on the "main thing" beginning now - then watch your circle of influence begin to grow. Do it now!

Posted 10/31/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The world makes way for a man who knows where he is going."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

THIRTY-ONE SECONDS TO GO!

You may recall the story of how steel-magnate Andrew Carnegie commissioned Napoleon Hill to learn the true philosophy of success from America's most successful individuals of the early 1900's. Hill's search for those success secrets culminated in his well-known book "Think & Grow Rich".

What you may not know was how Hill almost squandered the opportunity offered by Carnegie. At the end of a long interview, Carnegie abruptly told Hill, "We've talked a long time and I have shown you the greatest opportunity a young man ever had to become famous, rich, and useful. Now - if I choose you out of the two hundred and forty other applicants - if I introduce you to the outstandingly successful men in America - if I help you get their collaboration in finding out the true philosophy of success - will you devote twenty years to the job, earning your own living as you go along? We have had sufficient discussion. I want your answer - yes or no."

Hill tells that he spent twenty-nine seconds struggling with a negative mental attitude, thinking of all the hurdles he would face over the twenty-year project. Finally, finding the positive mental attitude he had temporarily lost, Hill replied, "YES!"

How did he know it took 29 seconds to answer? At that point, Carnegie showed Hill the stopwatch he had been holding beneath his desk. Carnegie had allowed Hill just 60 seconds to show his positive state of mind, the one trait he felt most critical to achieving his desired results.

Hill hesitated. We all do from time to time. What's important, like Hill's answer, is that we ultimately grasp that sometimes-elusive positive mental attitude, and adopt it as our own. Had he hesitated for thirty-one seconds more, Napoleon Hill would have given up a wonderful opportunity (as well as depriving us of his inspiring book). He didn't . . . and neither should we.

Posted 10/24/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."  ~ Unattributed

ELIMINATE THE BOX! 

It was refreshing to read the article entitled "Thirty Under Thirty" in the REALTOR(r) magazine. Thirty agents under the age of thirty talked about their approach to real estate, and most seemed to "think outside the box." They didn't appear to be bound by conventional rules of marketing conduct. 

Think back to when you were a young child. You were totally uninhibited by rules, so you weren't afraid to try new things. Back then, there wasn't even a "box" to confine your thinking or actions. You did whatever worked for you.

Then, you began to grow up and your parents, then your teachers, began building a box for you. "Stay in line, be quiet, don't touch this or that," they admonished. "Good little girls and boys don't talk back, eat snacks between meals, or chew with their mouths open."

The rules got more sophisticated as you got older, and you began to conform. Now you're all grown up, comfortable in the box the world built for you, and it's not so easy anymore to "think outside the box".

Not so for the newcomers - the youth of the real estate industry. They are enthusiastic, energetic, and with their "no rules" thinking, they're going to mop up on those competitors who are too comfortable in their box.

If you've been in the business for more than ten years, you have one powerful advantage over the newbies - real estate wisdom. You're a survivor and know your way around the business. Now it's just a question of combining that base of knowledge with some of the unfettered new thinking of the under 30 crowd. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks, after all!

Posted 10/17/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy."~ Eric Hoffer

ARE YOU A BARGAIN HUNTER?

When’s the last time you went to shop at a store because they were advertising a big sale? Or pulled over to check out the offerings at a weekend yard sale? Or spent an hour browsing through listings on eBay?

We all love to get a bargain when we shop, but remember that value is determined not by what you pay but by what you get. Even if it’s a bargain, how ultimately satisfying is your purchase?

It seems to have become second nature to accumulate stuff – call it collecting, if you will. How many “treasured pieces” do you have stored away in your attic, basement or boxes in your closet? Sometimes what we can’t seem to live without ends up becoming “treasure” for the next bargain-hunter who comes to OUR yard sale!

In our acts of acquisition, is it possible that we’re actually looking for something more meaningful, more precious? Are we overlooking gifts of much greater value? Albert Camus once wrote, “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Happiness will find you if you simply stop trying to find (or buy) it.

Those who always want more (of anything) will never have enough of it. There is no end in sight once the search begins, until finally the search turns inward and we realize that we can be happy with what we’ve already got. With so many people who are so much less fortunate than we, how could we possibly want more for ourselves, unless it is to help others?

The next time you reach for that irresistible bargain, reconsider its value in The Big Picture and the satisfaction it will offer over time. Maybe something of even greater value is already within your reach...

Posted 10/10/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The beginning of thought is in disagreement, not only with others but also with ourselves." ~ Eric Hoffer

 A FEW "NO" MEN!

It’s safe to say that the best results are produced when people work together. Solo projects often suffer from a one-sided perspective and lack of meaningful input. This isn’t to say that you can’t accomplish a lot when working on your own – it takes time and concentration to make progress. Just make sure that you involve other people in your work.

It’s especially helpful when those “team mates” aren’t just “yes men” who always agree with you or fear to offer a different point of view. It’s really essential that the problem is analyzed from at least two sides, and that everyone applies their particular strengths where they’re most needed.

Think about it – there are those who are great at organizing and beginning projects, and there are those who are great finishers. Sometimes we describe folks as “big picture” people, while others are really “good at the details.” Some very creative people easily lose interest once a project is begun, while those who display tenacity might not be so talented at dreaming up the next big thing.

You’ve figured out by now that the point is that it takes both types (or even three or four types) of people to create and complete a project successfully. By involving others whose traits and perspectives are opposite from your own, you’re guaranteeing a better chance of wider acceptance of the results.

While it’s great to have confidence in your work, you shouldn’t be so egocentric that you don’t believe anyone else can offer valuable input or find a better way by looking at things from a fresh perspective. You’ll garner respect and find success when you invite criticism and disagreement. Care to debate it?

Posted 10/3/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"When roadblocks, locked gates, and unexpected turns sprout up along the path we've mapped out, we can quit on the spot and progress no further. Or, we can build a new path and follow it in whatever direction our imagination takes us. For those who dream, the choice is simple." ~ from Country Living magazine 

A NEW DIRECTION!

So . . . you've done all those things the greatest minds have suggested - you've planned your life's objectives and created a career/life/family path, and have no doubt where it will lead you. You're on your own "Yellow Brick Road" to happiness and prosperity until . . . ZAP! . . . there appears a sign on the path that reads, "Road Closed."

You peer past the sign to determine the road condition. It looks OK, so you veer around the sign and continue. The road turns to gravel, then dirt, then narrows to a walking path. You leave the car, and continue on foot. Soon your arms are scratched by briars, you begin to tire, and the path abruptly ends at a sheer 200' cliff. Your trip is over. There are no more "yellow bricks" to follow. What now?

If you've ever come to the end of such a road in your life, you well know the sinking feeling that came over you. No matter how much you felt like giving up, the situation was no doubt resolved by creating a new road, a new path leading in an entirely different direction.

You may have had to hack at the briars, trim back the trees, and even bulldoze your way in a new direction. It may have taken time, with compass and hiking shoes, to blaze that new trail. It may have been exhausting work, but in the end you reached your destination.

You have two choices when faced with a roadblock. You can quit, or you can put your imagination to work finding an alternate route. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill "Never give up. Never give up."

Posted 9/26/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."  ~ Carl Bard

BACK TO THE FUTURE! 

Sometimes we look back on past events and wish that we had a "do over." While we should try to avoid regrets, it's still a good idea to analyze what we've done and try to understand how we might have done things better. Of course, there's no changing the past, but that doesn't mean that the past can't or won't change our future.

Maybe there's a relationship that has deteriorated over the years. Perhaps by now you've forgotten who was right or who was wrong, or maybe it's just a question of having lost touch. This is not a case of needing a brand new start, but of reworking the ending.

Since you can't "edit" the past, start writing a new chapter right now! While you have no control over what you have done, you do have complete control over what you are going to do. It can be very empowering when you realize that you actually have it in your command to create the future and the relationships that you want.

And it's not just about relationships - it can be about building wealth if you've squandered opportunities in the past. You simply have to make a commitment and forgive yourself for actions you cannot change. If your dream is to retire in comfort in ten, twenty, or thirty years, analyze your past spending and saving, educate yourself or consult a professional, and take steps now to create the results you want.

Whatever your goals for the future, your real power comes from letting go of the past. Stop worrying about what you have said and done (or haven't said or done) and start focusing on what you will say and do. Turn your negative energies toward positive actions and you'll amaze yourself!

Popular writer and adventurer Louis L'Amour said it well, "Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow." Here's to the future!

Posted 9/19/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these."  ~ George Washington Carver

STEP UP!

At a fundraising dinner for a school serving learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students stood up to speak. He began by saying, “I believe that when a child like my Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself.” He went on to tell the following story.

Shay and his dad were walking past a park where some other boys were playing a game of baseball. Shay excitedly asked, “Do you think they’ll let me play?” Reluctantly, but hopefully, Shay’s father approached the boys. The captain looked at the others for some guidance, but finding none, said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning, but I guess he can play. We’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth.”

Still down in the ninth, Shay put on a glove and headed to the outfield. No hits came to him, but he was ecstatic. Then “Shay’s team” came to bat, scored, and got the winning run on base. Now Shay was next at bat. 

Shay’s obvious inexperience inspired the pitcher to move closer and lob the ball in softly enough for Shay to try to make contact. He missed the first toss, but the pitcher moved in even more before his next toss, which Shay ground balled right back to him.

The pitcher picked up the grounder and threw the ball in a high arc toward right field, over the first baseman. Now the crowd started yelling and cheering for Shay to run, run, run to first base! Understanding his pitcher’s intentions, the right fielder threw the ball high over the third baseman’s head, and Shay made it to second while the winning runs headed home.

The opposing shortstop directed Shay to third, while the crowd and all the players on the field went nuts. You might guess that Shay eventually made it around to home base, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam.

“That day,” the father finished, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.” A lovely illustration of the virtue of compassion, and how we all have myriad opportunities to make a huge difference in the lives of those around us. Pay it forward!

Posted 9/12/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"A single thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." ~ Unknown

THESE SHOES ARE MADE FOR WALKING!!

Remember one of the ancient sayings from your first-grade teacher? It went something like this: "We learn to do by doing." So . . . from "Chicken Soup" comes this story by John Holt:

"Not many years ago I began playing the cello. Most people would say that what I am doing is 'learning to play' the cello. But these words carry into our minds the strange idea that there exist two very different processes: 1) learning to play the cello; and 2) playing the cello. They imply that I will do the first until I have completed it, at which point I will stop the first process and begin the second. In short, I will go on 'learning to play' until I have 'learned to play' and then I will begin to play. Of course, this is nonsense. There are not two processes, but one. We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way."

How do we learn to swim? Do we get the basics in a classroom, taught to us on a chalkboard, and then hit the pool like Mark Spitz or Esther Williams? How about riding a bike? Do we study the laws of physics, the effects of gravitational pull, or other Einstein-like theories, and then launch ourselves into the top spot in the "Tour de France?" No - we just fall down and scrape our knees a lot.

Want to add new direction to your life? Begin walking in that direction. Put one foot in front of the other. In other words, "Just do it!" It all begins with your imagination harnessing the power of your mind and the energy of your body. Once you choose a new role for your life, don't learn the part - act the part. One other thing - don't let that "single thorn of experience" deter you!

Posted 9/6/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke "Somebody's boring me; I think it's me." ~ Dylan Thomas

NOT BED-TIME READING!

There’s been a lot of heated discussion regarding the embellishment of facts in order to make an otherwise “true story” more interesting. You may recall that a "memoir" published within the last couple of years was scrutinized like a journalistic piece, and its author publicly shamed for previously claiming as fact many of the now acknowledged fabricated details in the book.

So why would someone feel compelled to make up details about their life? If you began writing your autobiography today, would it consist of bestseller material, or do you think your life might not be exciting enough to inspire others? Jot down a possible Table of Contents. Look boring? What’s the solution? Live a more exciting life!

Begin to imagine and act every day as though you knew you would be recounting the details and events later on. If you keep a journal or a diary, you’re already familiar with the idea, although you might not expect others to read it. A journal helps you to identify and solidify ideas for success, while a memoir puts your actions in front of the world to see.

Boring job? Find the beauty in it, revel in the good you really do for others, or begin planning today your climb up the ladder or up an entirely different ladder. Boring relationships? Find new things to do, visit new places to do them, or start nurturing new associations with those whom you most admire. Boring personality? Expand your horizons with travel, exercise your mind with reading, and make a commitment to caring for and helping others.

Start living the life you would be confident to share, and before you know it, your autobiography will go from “bargain bin” to “best seller”!

Posted 8/29/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"I keep waitin' for my ship to come in, but all that comes in is the tide."  ~ Lyrics from "Hard Time Losin' Man" by Jim Croce

THE WAITING GAME!

The well-known Nike commercials have hammered into our heads the phrase "Just do it!" Regardless of how you view their advertising, there is magic in the words "just do it." The real key to the message is "doing it," a.k.a. taking action. Anything you have ever desired is available to you if you will it.

Now, consider those who are constantly washed over by the "tide." Note that the lyrics in Jim Croce's song say, "I'm WAITING for my ship to come in . . ." and then, "but all that comes in is the tide." That sounds like a victim's lament, as in, "Oh poor me, here I am ready and excited, waiting for my ship to come in, and I get dumped on by the sorry tide. Bummer. How unfair." Duhh! Helloooo!

It's easy to see that "action" is the opposite of "waiting." Yet, it's so easy to do nothing - waiting passively. Action requires energy, enthusiasm, movement, objectives, while waiting requires not even a thought.

Whether your desire (your "ship") is a relationship, wealth, a healthy body, or a new car, you must be the captain, not the port - the "master of your fate," not a tide- washed, sand covered beach ball. Life is great! On your next trip to the beach, buy a boat, a map, and a compass, and then choose your own port of call. You'll dine at the Captain's Table every day!

Posted 8/22/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it, you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known." ~ Garrison Keillor

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?

The next time your hope or ambition is thwarted, and you believe that you didn't get what you wanted, think about the quote above. The problem so many of us have is that we're not happy with what we've already got. We believe that there is something or someone else out there, outside of ourselves, that will make us happier than we are now.

It's really so much easier to simply find a way to appreciate what we've got. That's not to say that we should all become complacent. Doing things to make other people happy is a wonderful diversion from trying to do so for ourselves. Just remember that you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your happiness, not the "something or someone" that is outside of you.

While trying to make others happy, also remember that they are ultimately responsible for their happiness as well. Don't blame yourself if you don't think you did enough to cheer up a friend, or you weren't able to give them that gift they really wanted. The greatest gift you can give is to help someone realize that they already have everything they really need. Sometimes this is the gift you need to give yourself.

Sit down today and try counting your blessings - list things like family, friends, pets, mobility, a satisfying job, shelter, financial independence, food in the fridge - any and all things great and small. Stand back and take a look at the "Big Picture." No matter what you think you want, you'll realize that you've got it pretty darn good right here, right now. Anything else is just icing on the cake! Enjoy the sweetness!

Posted 8/15/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship." ~ General Omar Bradley

FEELING LOST?

Do you find yourself drifting on an ocean of indecision, misdirection, unfulfilled aspirations? Feel like you're not getting as far along as your colleagues, or as far along as they say you should? It's probably time to throw out your compass!

While it can be helpful to look to others for inspiration, don't make the mistake of believing that you can or even should try to achieve the same accomplishments. Using a map of your own making, set your individual course according to where you want to go and how quickly you want to get there.

Indeed, you can set your sights much higher than the "landmarks" or "passing ships" of those people around you who tell you what you should do or what you shouldn't do. You'll lose your valuable perspective of the Big Picture if you pay too much attention to the advice or achievements of others.

Whether you are passing them or they are passing you, don't lose sight of what is guiding you and where. Your dreams and ambitions are the unmoving and constant "North Star" in your life. While everything else around you can change so quickly from day to day, it's your own beliefs and convictions that give you the steady course you need to successfully navigate those changes.

You'll never get anywhere by trying to determine the success or even the path of your journey by the "passing ships" around you. Stay focused solely on what you believe and know to be true, and ignore the nay-sayers! They may be gone tomorrow, but your dreams will be the stars in your sky forever.

Posted 8/8/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."  ~ Michelangelo

ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE! 

"You can't do that! You're not smart enough to accomplish such a thing! Your grades aren't high enough. You're too short (or too tall). You'll lose everything if you try that. Are you crazy - it won't work."

Ever have a relative, friend or business acquaintance who used those types of negative comments to influence you? Being on the receiving end of such dismal drivel doesn't do a lot for your self-esteem, does it?

As Wayne Dyer has said, "No one knows enough to be a pessimist." Do the ones who make negative comments have a positive record of life successes? Are they happy? Can they back up their dreary outlook on life with proof that "the sky is falling?" Does their knowledge level inspire you to follow their low aim? Are you drawn to them as positive role models?

Ever notice how winners like to be around other winners? It's uplifting, isn't it? Their aim is high. They believe in themselves, their abilities, and their future. Their smiles encourage growth and peace. We're not just talking about financial winners here. Think of those around you who love their families, encourage their children in school, and uphold high principles in a world of low morals

Aiming low, or refusing to take aim at all, encourages, promotes, and justifies mediocrity. Don't ever be afraid to reach high or aim for the stars. Eliminate the negative from your relationships. It will free you to see the beauty that abounds in this unlimited world.

Posted 8/1/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

"The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time." ~ Abraham Lincoln

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

Weddings. Graduations. Birthdays. Holidays. An endless list of important occasions. We all have major events in our lives and others’ lives in which we participate. We and people close to us have sometimes exerted tremendous effort organizing celebrations with the intention that everyone involved will enjoy themselves.

In other words, we actually make plans to be happy and to have a good time. We even map out entire blocks of days in which to have fun in the form of vacations. We develop hobbies in order to ensure that we can devote some hours of our week doing something we know we'll enjoy.

While looking back over some of the happiest, funniest, most fulfilling or most moving experiences in your life, however, how many of them were in fact not planned at all, but completely spontaneous?

If you stop and think about it, you'll probably find that your life is full of these moments, these small events during the course of an otherwise average day that you will retain in your memory as meaningful and recall with pleasure.

It may be as simple as a gathering around the proverbial water cooler that evolves into a joke fest that you later remember as the time you laughed harder than ever before. Or it could be as complex as a first meeting with a person who eventually becomes extremely prominent in your life.

Every single day is full of opportunities to become a day that you'll remember, a day with moments that add up to a lifetime of memories. The trick, of course, is to make yourself aware of that NOW, and to enjoy these moments while they are happening.

The chances are excellent that today... or tomorrow... or this week... will bring you many of these moments. Be open to them. Plan to enjoy this day, and have a great holiday!

Posted 7/25/2016

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.~ Yogi Berra 

FAST FORWARD!

The past … the present … the future. What if you could make changes in any one of them? Well, obviously, you can’t change the past. Try to change the present, and you’ll discover that it’s suddenly in the past, too. Try to change the future and … who knows?

But … your best bet is still on the future, even though your “best laid plans” may produce unexpected results. The past and the present are great tools for formulating your goals, and here’s a simple exercise to work on.

Before you start worrying about the future, consider how far you’ve already come. Look back five years – were you working hard toward your future, and did you accomplish your goals of five years ago 

If you could possibly have known then where you would be today, would it have thrilled you? Maybe you haven’t done as well as you expected, but I hope that this part of the exercise will show you just how far you’ve come already, and inspire you onward and upward.

Now turn your goggles forward and imagine your personal and business goals for five years from today. Chances are a lot will change between now and then. Your goals may or may not remain the same, but you’ve got to “go with the flow,” and avoid disappointment if you end up in a completely different place than you expected.

Now revise that list of goals, imagining you have just six months to live. Scary, yes, but you may suddenly realize that if you really had so little time to achieve your goal, you’d really bust your butt to get it done.

Finally, apply that “six month” mentality to your long-term goals. Determine what steps you can take this week to speed you toward your destination, and get packing!

Contact Information

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Orlando Avenue Top Team
Keller Williams Realty at the Lakes
66 Riley Road
Celebration FL 34747
Direct: 407-467-5155
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