Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’

Talent alone won’t make you a success.

Neither will being in the right place at the right time,
unless you are ready.

The most important question is:

Are you ready?

~ Johnny Carson

I don’t know about you, but I think one of the hardest things you will ever have to do is be honest with yourself.

To shine a light  deep into your inner-most thoughts and motivations takes courage.

I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to look over the pretty and inspect the unattractive. Get to the bottom of the motivation.

To move forward I must be willing to take the necessary steps to transform from average into accomplished, for this is what sets the achievers apart from the amateurs.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be average.  I’m willing to be honest with myself, no matter how difficult, to reach my goals.

It’s exhausting hiding behind the expectations of others.
It’s counter-productive. It’s a waste of time, talent, and resources.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time to burn.

I’ve got situations to change. People to help. Talent to use.
Lands to explore.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to explore. Live out loud.
Take the risk. Enjoy the ride. Break the barriers.

Let other people live their own life. I’m ready to move forward with mine.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to live an authentic life.

I’m tired of the inconsistencies, the misinformation, the lies, the scandals, the cover-ups, the waiting for others to get their stories straight.

I don’t know about you, but today is the day I will take action.

We are always getting ready to live
but never living.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever you are, get ready and start living!


Read Full Post »

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Sure, it’s fun to gather the gang and head off on an adventure. Safety in numbers. Two minds are better than one. If you fall, your friend can help you up. There are so many reasons to travel together.

But sometimes, it’s simply not possible.

Others don’t see the value of your proposal. They’re too busy. Distracted by their own lives. Comfortable with current conditions. Tracking their own destiny.

I came upon a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week about an Italian wine maker who reinvented his career as a shoe designer and manufacturer. (I know, at first glance it didn’t make sense to me, either!)

In 1992 Mario Polegato was attending a wine convention in Nevada. During a break in the activities, he decided to go for a walk. As soon as Polegato stepped out in the desert heat, his feet started to suffer as the rubber soles did not allow the hot air to escape from his shoes. Using his Swiss Army knife, he cut holes in the soles of his shoes and could immediately feel a difference.

An idea was born.

He began working with local universities and after years of conducting research, Polegato developed shoes that let the foot breathe via a perforated sole and porous membrane that keeps out dirt and water.  He left his position overseeing his successful family business, took out a loan, and founded his own footwear company, Geox.

Today, Geox produces more than 20 million pairs of shoes annually. 2008 sales were up 16% to $1.3 billion.

What impressed me about this story was not that Polegato’s business started as a result of a problem he experienced, nor that his venture is wildly successful.

What caught my attention was a comment he made referring to leaving the comfort and financial security of his wine business to chase his dreams,

“When you really believe in a project,
you will do it, even if you have to do it alone.”

And there you have it.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to travel alone. To press forward on your own terms, because the goal is so compelling and the desire is so great that you cannot wait for the time to be “just right” for others to join you.

As Robert Grudin said, “In the landscape of time, there are few locations less comfortable than that of one who waits for some person or event to arrive at some unknown moment in the future.”

Sometimes, you just have to pack your bags, swallow your fear, and start the journey alone.

Whatever you are, it’s time to stop waiting.


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 »

~ In celebration of “Black Friday,” I’m sharing one of my favorite essays. It was originally published May 21, 2009.  Enjoy!

“The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude”  [Dennis Brown].

Let’s face it: bad days happen to everyone — no one is immune. Sometimes you know from the minute you wake-up, (late — because you forgot to set the alarm) and sometimes you don’t realize the storm clouds of misfortune are forming in the distance until you arrive at your destination, only to discover a colleague’s bad day is raining on your parade.

Wouldn’t it be great if, in addition to the headlines, the weather, and traffic conditions, local news stations could provide us with the mood outlook for the day? Maybe it would sound something like this:

  • We’re expecting a strong frustration front to blow in this afternoon. Be sure to take your resilience with you. You might also want to consider packing an extra dose of enthusiasm before you head out the door.
  • Eye in the Sky is reporting that you’ll want to avoid the Accounting and Finance Departments entirely this morning. There’s been a huge pile-up of egos, unmet expectations, and ineffective processes in that area. HR is now on the scene, but it looks like progress will be backed up for hours.
  • The big headline this morning is that power remains out in the Customer Service Department. It appears that a supervisor, who had previously reported ongoing communication problems, blew up late yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on that floor was affected. No word yet on when crews will be able to restore productivity to that area.

If we’re wise, we’ll be initiating defensive maneuvers (for example, reading motivational books and articles) before we’re hit broadside by the attitudes of others. What safety measures are you engaging to protect your attitude?

One of my favorite children’s books is by Judith Viorst entitled, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. This humorous short story follows a boy named Alexander throughout his day, documenting how (from his view) everything and everyone (including the family pet) conspires to make his day horrible. He’s not permitted to sit by the window during the ride to school; his mother forgot to pack dessert in his lunch; there are lima beans for dinner (UGH!) and, “The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me.”

At the end of the book it’s the end of the day and Alexander repeats yet again, “It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” His mother responds simply, “some days are like that.”  Isn’t that the truth?

The good thing about life is that it is just so . . . daily! If you don’t like how today turned out, despite your very best effort, don’t despair. You’ll get another chance tomorrow.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely . . ” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Just remember, “happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude” [Dale Carnegie]. Regardless of uncontrollable external conditions swirling around, you have absolute control over your attitude and your response.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to former Boston Celtic Bill Russell, “The game is scheduled, we have to play it — we might as well win.”

Are you in it to win it today? Or are you going to allow the torrential downpour of negative news, grouchy coworkers, and rude drivers quench your positive outlook? “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” [Maya Angelou].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian” [Dennis Wholey].

Some things just don’t make any sense. Try as you might, you will be unable (with or without a degree in Rocket Science) to correlate the action with the response.

You play by the rules, obey the signs, turn off your cell phone, and patiently wait your turn while someone else stretches the truth, pushes through the crowd, demands their way, ignores the warning, and finishes ahead of you.

How does this even make sense in a civilized society? Why do we unfairly reward bad behavior and overlook good people who play by the rules?

The simple fact is that life is full of bullies who wear us down with whining and complaining and shell games.  They badger us with unrealistic expectations, convince us with fictional stories of entitlement, and prey on us with tales of woe.

And when they don’t get their way, they shamelessly trample on, over, or through every person, principle, department, and regulation to get their hands on the prize.

When you encounter bullies, you cannot afford to sit quietly, allowing them to plunder and pillage, hoping that others will see and reward your goodness! You must take action, speak up, rock the boat, cross the line, ignore the warnings, and do whatever you can to stop their selfish actions.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.”
~Edmund Burke

Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. Being a good person just isn’t enough. And sitting quietly rarely wins  battle.

Courage is demanded.
Action is unavoidable.
Confrontation is required.

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away timid adventurers” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

Blah, blah, blah.  Blah — blah, blah” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

“So, what do you think of my blog?”

I asked that question recently, just to see what kind of answers I would receive. The bogus Emerson quotation I opened this post with was a verbatim response that someone shared.  Which, by the way, caused the entire lot of us to collapse in a fit of giggles.

Some people believe that all of the pondering, the wise quotes from philosophers long gone, and the positive affirmations from success gurus are fantastic.

Others think they’re okay, if you like that sort of thing.

Some days, you tell me the topic resonates, the thought inspires, and the calls to action prompt a response and strengthen your resolve.

Other days, though, it’s too much!  The ideas are vanilla, or they are too surreal, or too sugary. It’s all dessert and no protein! You need something you can sink your teeth into.

Maybe, it’s just that each one of us takes away what we need for that particular day. Today might not be an Emerson type of day, maybe what you needed was Mark Twain or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Robin Williams.

Perhaps, what you were hungry for was confidence or contentment or courage, and I served up imagination, potential or responsibility.  No worries.

Check back tomorrow to see what’s on the menu. I bet you’ll find something that will satisfy.  If not specifically for you, then something you can take away to share with someone else.

Keep reading, I’m sure you’ll find something that lights a spark. I do every single day!

“Be yourself.
Above all, let who you are,
what you are
what you believe,
shine through every sentence you write,
every piece you finish.”
~ John Jakes ~

I guess today was a John Jakes kind of day. Thanks for stopping by!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

The greatest use of life is to spend it
for something that will outlast it” [William James].

Greg and I recently had the opportunity to tour the city of Savannah, Georgia. With its centuries old buildings and gardens, I was enraptured with not only its beauty, but its history as well.

General James Oglethorpe is credited with creating the settlement for the purpose of offering a new start to England’s working poor.  It was amazing to see what General Oglethorpe started in 1733 — more than 275 years ago — still stands today as a testament to his dreams, planning, and action.

What about you?

What are you building today? Hopefully, it will be something of lasting importance. Something that will impact others in a positive way. Something that will inspire others to build. Something that will outlast your life.

Sometimes we’re hesitant to invest in the long-term because we’ve become too familiar with governments that change the rules and organizations that are addicted to restructuring.

Because in our society, we celebrate things with a short shelf life. Things like 15 minutes of fame. Things that can be reduced, reused, recycled. Things that catch our two-minute attention span, and then change into something else even more elaborate or outrageous for the next two minutes.

Because what was celebrated yesterday is often questioned today and despised tomorrow.

As you run around, rushing to appointments, meeting deadlines, and climbing the ladder, don’t forget to dream. Like General Oglethorpe and many of our founding fathers, plan to create something bigger than yourself for someone other than yourself.

Although it may be to difficult to comprehend, it’s important to understand that your assets, attitudes, and actions hold the ability to impact the future.  Today’s kind word, selfless act, or generous investment has the potential to influence generations.

As Woodrow Wilson said, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.”

Impact a life. Encourage a dream. Influence a family. Change the future.

Isn’t it time to build something that will last?

” . . . to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever you are, be a good one!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »