Archive for January, 2010

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.

Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw

When asked to describe you, words like normal, usual, standard, or common don’t spring to mind.

No, you’re more likely to hear responses including colorful, unusual, curious, unique or different.

You don’t look like others, see the world the same way, or hear the same drummer.

You don’t mind.

Your intent is not to use the same crayons as everyone else.

You like who you are, where you’re doing, the picture you’re painting, the adventure you’re on.

You travel different paths, take different risks, see different opportunities.

Let’s face it . . . you are different.

And while there may be whispers behind your back, or discussions about your plan, or questions about your methods, you understand that “if you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary [Jim Rohn]” and, frankly, ordinary is not an option in your book!

You have problems to conquer, achievements to collect, and a world to change.

Common, ordinary, comfortable, usual methods are ineffective where you are going.

People may question motives, call you selfish, sabotage your efforts, and scratch their heads. So what?

“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
Frank Zappa

You can choose to fit in, act reasonably, think “normally,” and make others comfortable — OR, you can decide that blazing your own trail is worth being misunderstood, maligned, and mistreated.

Whatever you are, get out there, be unreasonable, and make some progress!


Read Full Post »

Time is the longest distance between two places.”
~Tennessee Williams

Did you happen to see the story about the teacher from New Hampshire who was awarded her degree the day before she passed away?

Harriet Ames earned a two-year teaching certificate in 1931, but her ultimate goal had been to achieve a Bachelor degree.  She had been taking classes until she retired in 1971 and her health began failing. Recently, the school reviewed her coursework and determined she had enough credits to award the long-sought degree.

Ames was waiting nearly 40 years.

Think about this story for a minute.  Nothing changed during the past four decades; Ames had already fulfilled the requirements to reach her goal. With a little action and perseverance, she could have proudly displayed her framed diploma on a wall in her home.

I know a lot of people who are waiting.  They’ve done the work, made the calls, completed the course work, been patient, diligent, faithful.

Waiting to finish this season of their life.

Waiting for the next big thing.

Waiting to see if the shoe will drop.

Waiting for an answer.

Waiting for the future to come into focus.

Waiting for the check to come in, for the tide to change, the pieces to fall in place, for the opportunity to present itself.

Yes, there is a season to wait  But don’t confuse waiting for something to happen as approval to do nothing.  Waiting is not some “no man’s land.”

What are doing while you’re waiting in the “right now” — the mundane, slogging through the motions, living the day-to-day, fulfilling the obligations life of yours?

Don’t become discouraged. Don’t quit. Don’t turn around and go home.

Keep dreaming. Keep working. Keep the attitude and confidence levels high. Seek out opportunity. Stay calm. Continue to be a person of character. Help others. Remain faithful.

“None of us knows what the next change is going to be,
what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner,
waiting a few months or a few years
to change all the tenor of our lives.”
[Kathleen Norris]

Hang in there.  Be patient. You can get through this season of your life. Your today is not the final answer for your tomorrow. Your future is coming.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.

There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right.

To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Things may not have gone like you had planned yesterday.

The bright beginning may have dissolved into a muddy pool of disappointment.

The hopes you had for yourself (or others)  might have crashed and burned.

Maybe, you think to yourself, the critics are right this time.

My dreams were too big.

My plans were too ambitious.

I risked too much.

I should have waited. Chosen the other path.

Selected a different destination. Acted sooner.

Maybe I should throw in the towel. Consider it a loss.

Learn my lesson. Play it safe.

No way — you can’t quit now.
You have what it takes to win!

Persevere through the difficulties.

Ignore the critics.

Have the courage to stay the course!

“Sooner or later you have to make a choice . . . leave behind your passion, your dream — or have the strength to look past all the discouraging faces and look at yourself and know that you have what it takes . . . and you will prove them wrong” [Unknown].

Whatever you are, stay the course!


Read Full Post »

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it . . . ” ~ Wilferd Peterson

I was talking with a new friend yesterday who works in the educational field. She told me that for as long as she could remember she has wanted to be a writer.

She seeks out opportunities to write.

She writes for herself.

She writes for others.

This isn’t some passing fling with a dream.

It’s her passion.

And although becoming a bona fide writer is something she really wants, she isn’t quite sure. Her family says it’s not a real dream. Not something worth standing on. Not something worth chasing after. Not practical.

But the desire has remained.  A small ember glows within. The hope that one day, it might just become real.

What turns the whisper of a dream
into the flaming passion of doing what you love?

For many (for me) it is walking with dreamers and believers.

Listening to their advice, eavesdropping on their conversations.

It is staying in the company of the courageous and successful people.

Learning from their mistakes, allowing their inspiration to fuel my dreams.

It is remaining near the cheerful and the doers.

Borrowing their passion, drinking in their determination.

Sometimes, all you need to step into your destiny, is someone who is doing it to tell you it is possible. To issue the challenge: “Why not? Why not you? Why not now?”

If you hear a voice within you say,
“You cannot paint,”
then by all means paint,
and that voice will be silenced.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Take advice from those who are doers. By all means, silence the voice that says you cannot live your dream, by living it.

Whatever you are, walk with the dreamers!


Read Full Post »

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything”  [Edward Phelps].

Did you happen to watch the match-up between the Vikings and the Saints last night?  Not that I’m a big fan of either team, but it was painful to see Brett Farve throw so many interceptions — seven before the game went into sudden death overtime.


Regardless of your past success, the size of your salary, the experience listed on your resume, the diplomas hanging on your wall, or how much momentum you have propelling you forward, sometimes you make a huge mistake (or many small mistakes).

It could be any one of a number of things: distracted, tired, trying to do too much, or not taking advantage of an opportunity. You were rushed, or the ball slipped, or you didn’t see the opposing player ready to sneak in and steal it all.

Whatever you do, don’t let making a mistake deceive you into stopping what you’re doing.  “While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior”  [Henry C. Link].

Keep at it. Yes, there will be mistakes and missteps, misinformation and interceptions. So what? No one is perfect — not 100% of the time.  Do the best you can with the knowledge and resources you have and keep moving forward. Make mistakes, learn from them. That’s the only way you will grow and eventually get it right.

As you begin to take action toward the fulfillment of your goals and dreams,
you must realize that not every action will be perfect.

Not every action will produce the desired result.
Not every action will work.

Making mistakes, getting it almost right,
and experimenting to see what happens
are all part of the process of eventually getting it right.
Jack Canfield

See, you’re well on your way to greatness!  Learning from each mistake gets you that much closer to getting it right.

Whatever you are, learn from your mistakes!


Read Full Post »

Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government but never used. The poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, and was intended as a “last case scenario” to be used only should the Nazis succeed in invading Great Britain, in order to stiffen resolve [Wikipedia].

Several months ago, while browsing images in a home decorating magazine, I saw the framed print, Keep Calm and Carry On, sitting on a fireplace mantle in a well-appointed living room.

At that time, I was unaware of the history of the poster, but I was drawn to it.

The concise instruction, the bold, yet simply stated message. Nothing frilly or exciting. Just five simple words to remind you to stay the course regardless of the circumstances. (And if you think your life is spinning crazily out of control, think about the terrifying circumstances occurring in the lives of the people who developed this idea!)

Keep Calm. Calm, cool, collected, composed.

Cool implies the absence of agitation. Calm implies an unruffled state, especially under disturbing conditions. Collected implies complete inner command of oneself, usually as the result of an effort [dictionary.com].

Calm is a pretty good place to be. If you can get there.

Calm. Not easy. Not without effort. But critical if you wish to continue toward your goal. If you want to carry on.

Have you looked outside lately? Things are a bit crazy.  The stock market is down. Prices are up. Organizations are suffering from down-sizing hangovers. Special elections have political parties rethinking everything.

Don’t allow these situations — or any situations — distract you from the mission. Stiffen your resolve. Keep calm and carry on.

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.

Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset” [St. Francis de Sales].

Seventy years ago the British Government intended this poster to be used as a last case scenario. But it was never distributed. How sad that few, if any, people were able to benefit from this timeless advice then. How wonderful for us that we know about it now.

Whatever you are, keep calm and carry on!


Read Full Post »

A lie would have no sense
unless the truth were felt to be dangerous”
[Alfred Adler].

So many things frighten us!

Slasher movies.
Big, hairy spiders.
The dark.
Fear of the unknown.
Being alone.
The truth.

I don’t understand why people are afraid of the truth.  But they are.

Instead of facing facts, asking the hard questions, looking issues squarely in the eye and getting the truth, they prefer to make up stories, believe lies, stare into the dark and, generally, just make a mess of things.

It takes courage to handle the truth.  It doesn’t always arrive wrapped in a tidy little package.  The truth doesn’t airbrush.  It doesn’t hide things under the rug. It doesn’t say one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

The truth exposes.

Edward Murrow said that “most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit.”

The truth says, “Here I am!  Look at me!  Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”

And maybe that’s why we tend to shy away from the truth. Once you have the information, you’re obligated to do something with it. Make a decision. Choose a side. Confront a wrong.

And let me remind you that if you choose to file the truth away, tuck it into the drawer or drop it in the trash can (and conveniently forget about it) — it’s still the truth. And by not deciding do to anything about it, you’ve actually made your decision.

So, to all the truth bearers, I commend you for your courage.

For the bravery to speak the truth regardless of the potential outcome.

For wanting to clean up the mess.

For being willing to lay it on the line in the hope of making tomorrow better than today.

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic [John F. Kennedy].

Can you handle it?

Whatever you are, be a defender of the truth!


Read Full Post »

You are now at a crossroads.

This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make.

Forget your past. Who are you now?

Who have you decided you really are now?

Don’t think about who you have been.

Who are you now?

Who have you decided to become?

Make this decision consciously.

Make it consciously.

Make it powerfully.

~ Anthony Robbins

Every day you awake at a crossroads.  You have the ability to choose  your attitude, the direction for your life, the path for your future.

Every day is a new beginning if you choose it to be so. You can decide to begin anew or carry around yesterday’s baggage.

Every day contains the bright horizon of new opportunities or the dead-end of regret and disappointment.

Each day you can decide to live the life you have imagined, or sit around waiting to see what life will toss your way.

“If you don’t decide to design your own life plan,
chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.
And guess what they have planned for you?
Not much.”
~Jim Rohn

Today you will face the most important decision of your life.  Choose wisely. Your future depends on it.

Whatever you are, decide to be the best one!


Read Full Post »

Mother Nature seems to be in a bit of personal crises. The weather is warming and cooling. Freezing and thawing.

One minute bright sunshine, the next severe winter weather is breathing down your neck.

Rain. Snow. Black Ice. Sleet. Sludge. Mud. Freezing Fog.  The weather people show maps lit up like the aurora borealis.

So happy that they are finally able to use all of their fancy schmancy technology to describe what is happening or going to happen or what just happened.

With all of this weather, one thing is for certain: potholes!  They appear like magic.  One day your commute is smooth and calm.  The next day, attentive drivers must swerve to miss a gaping hole in the pavement.  (Unlucky drivers, not able to see disaster looming ahead, are treated to a body-jarring jolt.)

Encounter a sufficient number of potholes, and your car is going to need an alignment to put everything back in proper place. That’s how potholes work — for the unprepared, the unsuspecting, the inattentive, they can be disasterous.

I saw a sign at an auto garage the other day that said, “Need a front end alignment?”  I was immediately struck by how many people need an alignment to their attitude.  Oh, that we could just drive up to a garage and order an attitude adjustment.

You know how it is.  You’re going along, singing your song, birds are singing, things are fine and then suddenly you encounter a pothole!

“Whew!” you think, as you safely swerve around it. “Glad I avoided that disaster.”

But before long, as is often the case, you fall victim to a circumstance of some type or another. Something you had little, if any, control over.   If you’re not diligent, life’s potholes can negatively affect your attitude.  And if that happens — watch out — you’re going to need an alignment!

Often, it’s not the huge things that get to us. No, we see those coming and we’re able to prepare to face them head on.

What we have to guard against are the small, seemingly insignificant problems we encounter every day as we go about our business. Those are the things that slowly get us off track  — little by little — until one day, we wake up to discover our attitude needs a serious alignment.

Be attentive. Watch where you’re going. Don’t fall prey to the little challenges you encounter daily. For if you’re not careful, they will combine into a large, seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  As Ralph J. Bunche said,

You can surmount the obstacles in your path if you are determined, courageous and hard-working.

Never be fainthearted. Be resolute, but never bitter . . .

Permit no one to dissuade you from pursuing the goals you set for yourselves.

Do not fear to pioneer, to venture down new paths of endeavor.

Whatever you are, watch out for the potholes in your path!


Read Full Post »

The only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you” [Tom Bradley].

What a difference a dream can make!

Think about the dreams of Leonardo Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, John Deere, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

These people didn’t let the size of their bank account or a lack of experience stop them from dreaming.  Refusing to listen to the scoffing of friends or their own self-doubt, they forged ahead and reshaped the lives of humanity.

Dreaming. Trying. Failing.

Starting. Stopping. Dreaming. Trying again.

Falling down. Getting back up. Still dreaming.

Planning. Dreaming. Reorganizing. Giving it another shot.

Pressing on. Gathering resources. Seeking advice.

Dreaming. Always dreaming. Until hard work and perseverance combined to make the dream come true.

What about you?

Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, do you still have a dream?

Even though you may have tried and failed more times than you care to count, do you still have a dream?

Even if circumstances conspire against you and it doesn’t appear that you’re making any progress and the bills are due and the children are crying and your schedule is full and . . . and . . . and . . . , do you still have a dream?

The truth of the matter is that no one can dream your dream for you.  It has come down to this:  either you will keep your dream alive or you won’t. Those are your only options.

If I were you, I’d keep the dream alive.

Life isn’t easier for dreamers — it’s messy and loud and full of  ideas that others can’t see — but it is so much more interesting than living without a dream!

Keep your dreams alive.

Understand to achieve anything requires faith and believe in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication.

Remember all things are possible for those who believe” [Gail Devers].

Whatever you are, be a dreamer!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »