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Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Seuss’

A winner will find a way to win.

Winners take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves to be that much better.

Quitters take bad breaks and use them as a reason to give up.

It’s all a matter of pride” [Nancy Lopez].

Bad break, trouble, bump in the road, adversity, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Circumstances have conspired against you. Your progress has been slowed or maybe, even stalled. Energy and effort that had been propelling you toward your dream are now diverted to addressing the problem and rectifying the situation.

So, how do you react when adversity crashes your party? Do you play the sorrowful “Why me?” card, or do you recognize it as an opportunity for growth?

“Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records.
– William A. Ward

In the story, I Had Trouble in getting to Solla SollewDr. Seuss relates the tale of an individual who is enjoying a trouble-free life until — one day, out of the blue — everything changes.

“And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind.

Some come from ahead and some come from behind.

From above! And below!

And now I was really in trouble, you know.

The rocks! And the Quail! And the Skritz! And the Skrink!

I had so many troubles, I just couldn’t think.”

Ever been there? Circumstances so dire, you just can’t think? Your stomach is upset, your mind won’t slow down, you’re unable to sleep. After all the gallant effort you have put forth, how could it be that you are now facing menacing giants who are lurking, waiting, planning your demise?

Horace once said, “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.”

The fellow who kept running away from his problems and toward utopia in the Dr. Seuss’ story continued to encounter ongoing adversity until he realized that running from trouble is not a solution and, searching for a trouble-free existence is a waste of time:

Then I started back home to the Valley of Vung.

I know I’ll have troubles. I’ll maybe get stung.

I’ll always have troubles. I’ll, maybe get bit,

by that Green-Headed Quail on the place where I sit.

But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see.

Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.”

Adversity can either be a gift that propels you to even greater heights, or a disaster that precedes your demise — the outcome depends on your perspective.

When adversity visits your life, don’t sit around with your head in the sand. It’s your big chance! Adversity is the green light. It is the signal to take action — run toward the conflict — face the giants.

You just need to learn ” that adversity is an experience, not a final act” [Michael LeBoeuf], and that sometimes the only response to life is “to accept whatever comes . . . meet it with courage and with the best you have to give” [Eleanor Roosevelt].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

I’m taking a brief respite from writing this week, which gives me the opportunity to revisit some of my favorite posts. This edited essay was originally published 6/19/09.

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The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be” [Socrates].

We’ve heard it since we were children. “Honesty is the best policy” [Shakespeare]. Were you aware the quote continues, “If I lose mine honor, I lose myself”?

I’ve been wondering if honesty is still the best policy?  Does anyone care if they lose their honor? Or lose themself?

I’m just asking because I see so little of honesty these days.

What I do see . . .

– Politicians who say they love their families but stash lovers across town or around the globe.

– Deceptive lending that has brought the housing industry to its knees.

– Small print. Long disclaimers. Full page apologies.

– Neglected safety procedures. Misplaced documents. Pleading the fifth.

– Big proposals. Multi-million dollar lawsuits. Bait and switch.

– Fact finding missions. Special prosecutors. Testifying before Congress.

– Falsehoods instead of facts. Corruption instead of conviction.

We nonchalantly read the stories and listen to the reporting, and with a bite of toast and a sip of coffee, we begin another day in paradise.

Where has all the honesty gone?

And why aren’t we more enraged at its absence?

Perhaps, we’ve become so accustomed to fraud and deceit, that Ponzi Schemes and corporate corruption and government  bailouts have *yawn* lost their ability to outrage.   “It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit” [Noel Coward].

Maybe honesty is “out of fashion” like gas guzzling cars, 8-track tapes, fur coats, and Tiddlywinks.

I hope not.

Honesty isn’t always easy, and at times it can be more costly than cheating. (I know this to be true from personal experience.) But I really like what Dr. Seuss said,

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

Regardless of what is being asked, or who is asking, or how it is asked, the correct answer is, simply, an honest one.

“The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy” [Robert E. Lee].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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Stop living as a prisoner of yesterday. Start living in the promise of tomorrow” [John Morgan].

It doesn’t matter! It makes no difference where you are right now, what people have said about you, what your friends believe, what your family members whisper. It doesn’t matter where you grew up, what college you attended, who signs (or signed) your paycheck, or where you live.

It really doesn’t matter how popular you were in high school, where you vacationed last summer, your profession, or the size of the diamond on your finger.

Think about this . . . it doesn’t matter what you were at the beginning. What is important is what you are at the finish.

“What you need to know abut the past is that no matter what has happened,
it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment.
And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new.
Right now” [Unknown].

In order to move forward into your future, you need to discard the weights of the past that are keeping you from reaching your potential. The unfavorable opinions you have toward your own ability have to go. The fear that you will never measure up — that you may be discovered as a fraud — needs to be kicked to the curb. The “certainty” that the answer will always be “no” must be destroyed.

But it’s not always the negative things that hold us back. Sometimes, it’s those wonderful experiences that were prematurely terminated (or ended over our objections), that keep our focus, energy, and effort on the rear-view mirror. We’re so busy lamenting “what might have been,” instead of looking forward to “what could be,” we miss opportunities that go racing by.

Each experience, good or bad, is simply another charm that you add to the bracelet of your life. You can use your past as an opportunity to grow, or as something to dwell upon, inspect, weigh you down. Your past can become a stepping stone — moving you closer to your goal, or a weight around your neck — suffocating your energy, creativity, and ability to move forward. The choice is yours.

“There are things that we never want to let go of,
people we never want to leave behind.
But keep in mind that letting go isn’t the end of the world,
it’s the beginning of a new life” [unknown].

“Can’t they understand that the Grinch in my story is the Hero of Christmas? Sure . . . he starts out as a villain, but it’s not how you start out that counts. It’s what you are at the finish” [Ted Geisel].

Isn’t it time to let go of the past and move on into the future?

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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. . . There are rules that every artist must abide by. You will never succeed if you break them” [Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel].

I’m currently reading the biography of Dr. Seuss. I enjoy learning the life stories of people who inspire me. I want to know about the path they have traveled, those who have influenced their decisions, and the challenges they have overcome.

How did they do it? Why did they do it? I’m intrigued to understand how their family or education or experiences conspired for or against them. I look for sparks of inspiration that I can claim and use in my own life. Which brings me to Dr. Seuss.

As a child, I wasn’t aware of his drawings or the unbelievable adventures of The Cat in the Hat. Fortunately, as an adult, I have come to thoroughly enjoy his work and extraordinary talent.

Two years ago I was introduced to Dr. Seuss, the artist, while visiting Stephen Clayton Galleries on Coronado Island during a visit to San Diego with my sister, Dawn. There were so many unique and unusual Seuss paintings and sketches, I became infatuated. I truly felt like a kid in a candy store — with the candy being the colorful and untamed imagination of an incredible story teller.

The story of Dr. Seuss’s life is quite interesting, and filled with unexpected twists and turns. The quote I used to begin this post was uttered by his high school art teacher, as he was struggling to find inspiration in a vase filled with “tired old daises.” Seuss had simply turned his tablet upside down to draw from a different angle. (Oh, the horror!)

Obviously, in her mind there were rules that should apply to everyone. These rules were meant to create conformity, comfort, and a means to a certain end. Perhaps this art teacher felt uncomfortable coloring outside the lines, so she prohibited anyone else from straying beyond what she deemed unacceptable.

“My goodness, whatever will people think,” she probably thought to herself, “if I allow my students the freedom to express themselves in ART CLASS?” (Do you hear the absurdity in that question?)

Ever encounter people like this? You can identify them by their comments: “We’ve always done it this way,” or “We can’t just allow our employees the freedom to do ______________ (fill in the blank) — it’s too dangerous or not prudent or who knows where it will lead?”

So small-minded, fearful people, make extravagant and unnecessary rules which demand compliance and destroy commitment, while employee creativity, satisfaction, and enthusiasm is swept to the floor like useless eraser crumbs.

Be aware that others aren’t the only ones who have a way of minimizing our contribution. We often sabotage our own efforts by establishing ridiculous rules for ourselves. Don’t let your fear, or concern about what others may think, create limitations that choke your brilliance and imagination.

We set boundaries for safety.
From fear. Because of habit.
Test them. See why you drew them.
Push against them.
Break through them.
Feel the exhilaration.

~ Patrick Lindsay

Take a step outside the line. Use all the colored pencils in the box. Speak out. Step up. Find the resources. Use the good paper. Discover a new way. Show your very best work. Take a risk. Turn the drawing pad upside down.

Don’t keep your ideas and dreams and songs and colors penned up inside — let them run around off their leashes! Who cares if the neighbors get nervous?

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right” [Bob Basso].

Why not inject a little fun into your day? Look for opportunities to turn the mundane, boring, or ordinary into a reason to laugh, share a giggle, and have a good time?

A while back, I worked in an office that had a kitchen area with a large Formica countertop. Even though we had purchased a cutting board, it was apparent that not everyone felt compelled to use it when slicing their bagels in the morning or their fruit at lunch. Long pale gashes marked the dark laminate. What to do?

We would have loved to install a hidden camera to catch the offenders, but, alas, our small budget barely covered the cost of a cutting board. There was no way we could justify an “eye in the sky.”

After some heated debate during our monthly staff meeting, and several options being discussed and tossed, we decided to post a sign to remind folks of their thoughtless, lazy, and damaging behavior. For whatever reason, I was elected to take lead on creating the sign. (Could it have been my keen wit that propelled me to project manager?) Regardless, here is the sign that appeared in the kitchen later that day:Be Responsible.

We made our point, without forcing the issue, creating ridiculous rules, or initiating a ton of unnecessary communication to announce the problem, outline the issue, detail the consequences, and threaten action.

We had some fun with the absurdity of employee behavior, and the countertop abuse stopped.

Problem solved.

I recently found another great example of someone having fun while creating a perfunctory document. The following text appears on a form employees sign when they are given keys to the office. It reads:

  • I will not loan the key(s) to anyone.
  • I will not use the key(s) as a toy.
  • I will not let my children or pets play with the key(s).
  • I will not lose the key(s).
  • I will not use the key(s) as a screwdriver, chisel, or lever.
  • I promise to guard the key(s) with my very life.

If I fall short on any of the above, the Company may lay claim to any of my children, pets, or prized possessions, (but only one from only one category).

Obviously, someone with a sense of humor took the time to craft a document that took a “by-the-book-legal-said-we-must-have-this-form-on-file” into something that was entertaining and humorous. Don’t you want to be associated with an organization that looks for ways to manufacture fun? I know I do! Why not make a commitment to create that kind of culture — at work and at home.

We’re all so busy with the deadlines and details and corporate dysfunction that organizations breed, we often convince ourselves that there is absolutely NO TIME FOR FUN. Are you serious? Don’t take your boring attitude to work one more day! Today’s the day to break open the can of good times you were saving for your birthday, or the weekend, or the next holiday, or whatever, and use it all up!

Isn’t it time you shared a funny story, turned boring into fun, and mundane into hysterical? Look for the humorous, play a practical joke, post a comic in the break room, mix some merriment into your day. “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good” [Dr. Seuss].

Do you know what time it is? It’s time to put the fun back into dysfunctional [Mary Engelbreit].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, because if you enjoy it today, you can do it again tomorrow” [Anon].

It’s official. It’s the end. How are you coping? Will you be okay? Yes, these are ridiculous questions . . . because the end I’m talking about is the end of the week! TGIF!! The week is nearly over and the weekend is on the way!

For most of us, Fridays are a quasi celebration. The day, in and of itself, isn’t reason to throw a party. For the most part, it’s very similar to yesterday. But the cause for jubilation is what the day signifies for tomorrow — a day on our own terms.

So, I have to ask, why wasn’t your expectation of Thursday (a mere 24 hours ago) as great as you anticipation for today? Why don’t we celebrate and eagerly anticipate every day as if it were a Friday?

Imagine this:

Over the next five years you’ll receive the gift of 260 different Thursdays, each one coming into your life fresh and full of promise.

What kind of magic and miracles could you create with that kind of time?

Why not welcome every Thursday (or Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for that matter) with the same anticipation and excitement that most of us reserve just for Fridays?” [Dan Zadra]

So, I guess, that the only thing keeping you from enjoying and celebrating everyday as if it were Friday, is YOU! And if that is true, what is stopping you from declaring that you will also look forward to Mondays? After all, once Monday is out of the way, there are only two days until Thursday.

On the face of it, Thursday mornings are plain vanilla . . . but the later it gets in the day, the more you can feel the anticipation build. Until, finally, it’s Thursday night — Friday Eve so, to speak. Friday Eve has almost (but not quite) the same excitement as Christmas Eve!

And since I have now made the case for TGITH (Thank Goodness It’s Thursday), I’m quite certain I could make a compelling case for celebrating Wednesdays. Unfortunately, lack of space prohibits this continuing argument, but I think you get the picture!

Friday is great, because we choose, we create, we make it so. Why not decide to capture the anticipation and enjoyment we have reserved for that one day, and spread it throughout the entire week?

“Live for today. Multitudes of people have failed to live for today . . .
What they have had within their grasp today they have missed entirely, because only the future has intrigued them” [William Allen White].

Spending your life wishing away the weeks in order to reach the Fridays (which, really, are just Thursdays who are 24-hours old) is a terrible waste. If you’re not fully enjoying every day, you may wake up one day and ask, “How did it get so late so soon?” [Dr. Seuss].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna


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A winner will find a way to win. Winners take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves to be that much better.

Quitters take bad breaks and use them as a reason to give up.

It’s all a matter of pride” [Nancy Lopez].

Bad break, trouble, bump in the road, adversity, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. Circumstances have conspired against you. Your progress has been slowed or, maybe, even stalled. Energy and effort that had been propelling you toward your dream are now diverted to addressing the problem and rectifying the situation.

So, how do you react when adversity crashes your party? Do you play the sorrowful “Why me?” card, or do you recognize it as an opportunity for growth?

“Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records [William A. Ward].

In the story, I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew, Dr. Seuss relates the tale of an individual who is enjoying a trouble-free life until — one day , out of the blue — everything changes.

“And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind.

Some come from ahead and some come from behind.

From above! And below!

And now I was really in trouble, you know.

The rocks! And the Quail! And the Skritz! And the Skrink!

I had so many troubles, I just couldn’t think.”

Ever been there? Circumstances so dire, you just can’t think? Your stomach is upset, your mind won’t slow down, you are unable to sleep. After all the gallant effort you have put forth, how could it be that you are now facing menacing giants who are lurking, waiting, planning your demise?

“Watch out for emergencies. They are your big chance!” [Fritz Reiner].

In Spring 2008 I completed my business degree and anticipated a bright future filled with golden opportunities. Unfortunately, six months later I was displaced by my employer as the economy began running toward recession.

I couldn’t catch a break. The giants came knocking at my door — loudly. As the pressure mounted, I could not imagine the opportunities that would later present themselves as a result of the “unfortunate circumstances” that had settled over my life.

Horace once said, “adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant” [Quintus Horatius Flaccus].

The past eight months have proven that statement to be absolutely true. Among other adventures, I have used the “opportunity of unemployment” to further develop my writing skills. The additional time and attention to writing has resulted in, among other things, one of my essays being published in Columbus Monthly. I have grown in ways that would have been unimaginable if I had been working 40 hours a week.

“I have learned that adversity is an experience, not a final act” [Michael LeBoeuf], and that sometimes the only response to life is “to accept whatever comes, . . . meet it with courage and with the best you have to give” [Eleanor Roosevelt].

The fellow who kept running away from his problems and toward utopia in the Dr. Seuss’ story, continued to encounter ongoing adversity until he realized that running from trouble is not a solution and, searching for a trouble-free existence is a waste of time:

Then I started back home to the Valley of Vung.

I know I’ll have troubles. I’ll maybe get stung.

I’ll always have troubles. I’ll, maybe get bit,

by that Green-Headed Quail on the place where I sit.

But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see.

Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me.”

When adversity visits your life, don’t sit around with your head in the sand. It’s your big chance! Adversity is the green light. It is the signal to take action — run toward the conflict — face the giants.

After all, “problems are only opportunities in work clothes” [Henry Kaiser].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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