Category Archives: Food For Thought

Teach By Example

“A good example is the best sermon.” – Benjamin Franklin

As a parent, these words strike an important note in my heart. The things I do, and the examples I set, resonate through the lives of those who observe and learn from me–primarily my children. If I tell them not to use bad words, and then use them myself, the message they get is that it is ok to speak them. If I tell them to respect others, but then turn around and show disrespect towards someone, guess what they learn. Continue reading

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Coping With Challenging Times

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” – James Baldwin

When we suffer pain and disappointment or other challenges, it is easy to feel as if we suffer alone, and that our sufferings are perhaps “unprecedented in the history of the world.” But as James points out, it is usually through the commonality of our sufferings and pains, that we come to realize just how connected and similar we all are. Continue reading

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Dwell On The Positive Aspects Of Your Day

“Every day you either see a scar or courage. Where you dwell will define your struggle.” – Dodinsky

Because evil exists in this world, bad things happen. There are crimes, death, destruction, persecution, suffering, and sadly more. But the truth remains that there is much more good in this world than bad. There is love, compassion, empathy, brotherhood, beauty and wonder, and so much more, and it is up to us where we want our focus to “dwell.”

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Recognize And Affirm Your Beliefs

“Real courage is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. Doing the unpopular thing because it’s what you believe, and the heck with everybody.” – Justin Cronin, The Summer Guest

It is not always easy going against the current and standing up for what we believe in. By doing so, we are faced with ridicule and exclusion and often times appear too proud and defiant. But throughout the course of our lives, there are times in which real courage is demanded of each of us. And if I can do the right thing simply because it is what I believe–even when no one is looking, or even if it is unpopular–I become a man of integrity, a man of character.

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Tackling Your Fear

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

For many of us, fear tends to exert some amount of control in our lives. When faced with it, we tend to do one of two things: either we reject it, and push on carelessly; or we embrace it–we become a bit apprehensive, overly cautious, judgmental, or defensive–and therefore avoid the things that caused it. But what Marie is telling us is that we have another choice–understanding our fears.

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Humility

“I believe that the first test of a great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” – John Ruskin

Humility is sometimes mistaken for weakness. This, however, cannot be further from the truth, for the most powerful men and women who have walked among us have all practiced true humility. And true humility is the realization that each one of us are important pieces of the puzzle–that through our oneness, we achieve our power and become complete. Continue reading

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Gracious Acceptance

“Gracious acceptance is an art–an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving… Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” – Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

We generally tend to think of generosity as the ability to give without expectations of anything in return. Yet we seldom take notice that, for generosity to exist, one individual must be willing to accept that which is given. Therefore, to practice generosity, one must also work to cultivate “gracious acceptance,” for it is through this art that we allow others to express their feelings for us. Continue reading

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Happiness Is Always A Result Of Something Else

“Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.” – Robertson Davies

What Robertson says here is great–happiness is always a result of something else, it is never something we can “demand from life.” And I especially agree with his analysis that if you find yourself unhappy in life, you would be wise to “stop worrying about it” and try to make the best of it. Life is too precious to waste away moments in worry, unhappiness, and discontentment.
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Find Happiness Within Yourself

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other person and then for ourselves.” – Helen Keller

Happiness is definitely not something that we can find outside of ourselves. Throughout my life, I have searched in many places from without, yet only found temporary relief, appeasement, and dependence. Helen is right; the truth is that happiness must come from within ourselves. And the way to find that is by thinking, feeling, and doing positively towards others, the result of which falls back on us.
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Happiness Is A Product Of Our Attitude

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

I find it only natural to pursue happiness in life. After all, who does not want to be happy? And although there are some things that we can improve upon to increase the happiness in our lives–like our environments, our attitudes, our friends, and so on–happiness is not something that we must chase after like a butterfly. Happiness is something that often times simply happens upon us once we stop pursuing it. Continue reading

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