Monthly Archives: August 2017

Greater Potential

“The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.” ~ Brian Tracy … 

I sometimes forget to appreciate the potential of what people can become as much as what they already are. Of course, I recognize the value within each person’s potential once I notice it, however, by placing my focus on their current abilities, all too often I tend to overlook it. And the same thing applies to when I look at my own potential. And this is unfortunate, for as Brian points out, the potential within each of us is so vast that we could spend our entire lifetime discovering new and hidden gems within.

We should be encouraging others and ourselves to strive to reach our growing and changing potentials. However, when doing so, it is very important that we do so with the understanding that we are each unique individuals. Change and growth may not happen now–it might not even happen within five years–and that is ok. As long as we are aware of the potentials within, we can work towards fostering and nurturing them, so that one day when they are ready, they can blossom and spread.

Remember to keep realistic expectations of others and yourself. At the same time, always be aware of the potentials within. Focus on channeling them towards the greater good. We are each marvelous wonders in this beautiful world, and if we recognize this, and accept it and foster it without wanting to judge others, the potential growth of this world will become exponential growth.

Help those around you to see a greater potential within themselves today.

Questions to consider:

How often do you recognize the potential within yourself? Within others?

How can you foster this potential within yourself? Within others?

What are some of the problems we may face if we neglect to explore the potentials within?

For further thought:

“Clay is fashioned into vessels; it is on their empty hollowness that their use depends. Doors and windows are cut out to make a dwelling, and on the empty space within, its use depends. Thus, while the existence of things may be good, it is the non-existence in them that makes them serviceable.” ~ Lao Tzu

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Self-Confidence And Self-Worth

“Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” ~ Malcolm Muggeridge … 

When we begin to value conformity–thinking like others… acting like others–we begin to stop growing as individuals, we in a sense become the “dead fish” that Malcom is talking about here. Especially for me as a parent, it is vital that I teach my children the importance of always being the unique individuals that they are, of thinking and acting for themselves–for they are at such an impressionable stage in their lives.

Because children tend to mimic what they observe others say, think, or do, if we live our life in a way that simply “goes with the flow,” our children will follow suit. The unfortunate effect of this is that we teach them to base their value system off that of society, to esteem those who think alike over those who think outside the box. But if we let our creativity and individuality be a fundamental aspect of how we define ourselves, our children will begin to do so as well.

Am I an active participant in my life? Do I foster individualism and personal growth, both in myself and in that of our children? If I do not foster such values, am I merely contributing to the corruption of society? It will do us good to always remember: “only dead fish swim with the stream.”

Help instill a greater sense of self-confidence and self-worth in a child today.

Questions to consider:

When is it beneficial to conform? When is it destructive?

Why are children so often taught to think and do as others? Who gives them this message?

How can we encourage our young people to think for themselves?

For further thought:

“Just be yourself, there is no one better.” ~ Taylor Swift

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Let Go Of Any Past Grievances

“She released her grievances like handfuls of birdseed: They are there, and they are gone.” ~ Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl … 

I love this idea of holding my grievances in my hands like birdseed. It reinforces the fact that I have the choice to hold on to them or let them go. Additionally, it offers me a vision of what may occur in the “big picture” if I were to let my grievances go–they would be out of my hands, yet still within my view. Finally, after reading this a couple times, I began to imagine my grievances simply disappearing, much like birdseed being consumed by the birds. Of course, I could also look at it as having the ability to simply turn and walk away from them once I let them go.

When we look at dealing with our grievances and overcoming obstacles, the cause and effect relationship associated with us holding on to the past is something that is all too often overlooked. We generally tend to blame current circumstances, other people, or other outside forces, on what may just be our inability to let go of the past. The good news is that when we do recognize that we are holding on to our grievances, we are then empowered with that awareness–we then have the ability to choose to continue carrying them with us, or to release them.

Strengthen your ability to let go of the unnecessary things you hold onto in life. In doing so, you may encounter a sense of relief as you discover the ability to free yourself from such bonds. Additionally, you will gain perspective on what truly is important in your life.

Make the effort to let go of any past grievances today.

Questions to consider:

What would your life be like without any grievances?

What are you holding on to right now?

What affect does this have on the person you are today? What affect does this have on the person you wish to become?

For further thought:

“We do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes. The situation that we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant. We have not managed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us around it, led us past it, and then if we turn around to gaze at the remote past, we can barely catch sight of it, so imperceptible has it become.” ~ Marcel Proust

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Slow Down

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast–you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” ~ Eddie Cantor … 

Life can be busy. And in the midst of the hustle and bustle of it all, I am often surprised when I happen to notice even one single marvelous wonder out of the plethora of wonderful things around me at that very moment. At times I tend to get in a hurry, missing much of “the scenery” of life. Being so busy and preoccupied tends to leave me lost on paths I forgot why I was going down–or had not even intended on going down–in the first place.

Who do I wish to become? What do I wish to accomplish with my life? Do I ever take the time to stop and think about these questions critically? This is the busyness that Eddie is talking about; the kind where the life I find myself living is not contributing a whole lot towards the vision I have of my life and who I am.

“Slow down and enjoy life.” Quite possibly the wisest words I will hear during my time here. And when the scenery seems to be passing me by in a blur, and I feel I cannot slow down because of all the demands of life, this is a perfect time for me to question those demands: Just how pressing are they? Are they really worth the costs?

We often feel that because we are busying ourselves with activities and tasks, we are working towards our goals and our purpose in life. But living our lives to the fullest requires more involvement–more awareness and direction on our part–than simple keeping ourselves busy.

Take some time to slow down and truly experience the life you are living.

Questions to consider:

Have you ever felt that you “missed the sense of where you were going and why?”

What do you tell people when you see them missing or not appreciating wonderful things? Do you give yourself this same advice?

What things are your enjoying in life that help reinforce your sense of where you are going and why?

For further thought:

“Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has the least place within your heart.” ~ unattributed

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With Intelligent Awareness

“I had a dream I was awake and I woke up to find myself asleep.” ~ Stan Laurel … 

I tend to enjoy such quotes–ones in which the message, though garnished with a bit of absurdity, tends to speak loud and clear to me. I can hear Stan telling me to “Wake up!” Life is happening around me each second of every day, and if I wish to experience my life as an active participant, and not “find myself asleep,” then I have to be aware of all of the miracles of life that constantly surround me.

The world is filled with wonder and mystery that can bring us great joy and happiness, teach us important lessons, and inspire us to live our lives to the fullest, if we only take the time to open our eyes, clear our minds, pay attention, and listen. The cool gentle breeze in the spring can bring us the scents of plants, trees, and flower bursting back into life; the crying infant can speak to us of the blessings of comforting words and physical contact, of nourishment and love, of innocence and growth.

Slow down… listen… feel… become aware of the world around you. If you can begin to notice intelligently the mystery of life around you, perhaps you may also discover a new appreciation for the more common things in life.

Look at the world around you with an intelligent awareness today.

Questions to consider:

How often do you find yourself “awake” in life?

How many miraculous things have you noticed so far today? How many surround you right now?

What keeps you from taking notice of such things?

For further thought:

“The application of this knife, the division of the world into parts and the building of this structure, is something everybody does. All the time we are aware of millions of things around us–these changing shapes, these burning hills, the sound of the engine, the feel of the throttle, each rock and weed and fence post and piece of debris beside the road–aware of these things but not really conscious of them unless there is something unusual or unless they reflect something we are predisposed to see. We could not possibly be conscious of these things and remember all of them because our mind would be so full of useless details we would be unable to think. From all this awareness we must select, and what we select and calls consciousness is never the same as the awareness because the process of selection mutates it. We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.” ~ Robert M. Pirsig

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If You Catch Yourself Being Negative, Stop Yourself

“Join the great company of those who make the barren places of life fruitful with kindness. Carry a vision of heaven in your hearts, and you shall make your name, your college, the world, correspond to that vision. Your success and happiness lie within you. External conditions are the accidents of life, its outer wrappings. The great, enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulty.” ~ Helen Keller

Here we are presented with yet another message that our happiness in life is in our power, it is within our grasp–namely, “our success and happiness lie within us.” Helen’s message is similar to so many other messages that tell us to seek happiness within ourselves through service, love, and compassion to others. Of course, this puts the ball in our court–the way we approach the world determines whether or not we are happy or not, whether or not we are successful.

One of the unique messages I am given here is that my happiness is not a result of the “accidents of life,” but rather, of the “vision of heaven” that I carry within my heart. I love this thought, for it empowers me with the ability to carry my own perfect heaven with me wherever I go and to allow that vision to flourish right here in the world around me. How wonderful would it be if I could realize a bit of heaven right now?

Life mirrors back to us what we put into it. If I harbor negative feelings or have a negative attitude in life, I will find the world around me to be very negative. If I fill my life with joy, however, and serve others with love and compassion, I will surely be surrounded with love, compassion, and joy.

Add to the fruit of the Earth with kindness and love. Think of each day as tending to your garden–if you do not plant, water, and nurture it, it will become barren and colorless. If, however, you do tend to it as a caring gardener would, it will be full of life, color, and radiant activity.

Add to the positive in the world today–if you catch yourself being negative, stop yourself.

Questions to consider:

What do you give to the world? What does the world give back to you?

How can you incorporate Helen’s advice into your life?

What effect could this have on your life?

For further thought:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment is it perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. ~ Max Ehrmann

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If You Find Yourself Complaining, Stop Yourself

“If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out. Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.” ~ Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture … 

Randy may seem a bit harsh on those of us who spend our time whining and complaining in life. But when you consider the seriousness of wasting our precious time and energy complaining, as well as the negative side effects that come from it, it is probably the most effective way to pull us out of a passive life, filled with complaining, and help us to actively participate in the life we have before us.

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Randy knew this better than anyone did. He spent some of the last months of his life enjoying the things that mattered most to him. Additionally, on September 18, 2007, he delivered a well-known speech at CMU known as his “Last Lecture.” This was a hypothetical “final talk” that was meant to impart words of wisdom he would like the world to know if it was his last chance to tell us. If you have not seen, heard, or read the speech, I really encourage you to do so–it is wonderful.

Why not focus my time and energy on solving whatever problem is confronting you? Doing so is the fastest way to resolving it, which in turns leaves you with more time to seek happiness, joy, and fulfillment. Our time here on this Earth is finite, and there is so much here that we can do, so many ways we can contribute. Get out and live your life in a way such that when it is through, you can smile and say, “I did everything that I possibly could, I gave all that I possibly could give, I lived as best as I could possibly live.”

If you catch yourself complaining, stop, and instead spend that time and energy towards solving whatever is bothering you.

Questions to consider:

Why is it so easy to sit around and complain?

How is the tendency to complain related to the concept of responsibility?

In your experience, which are your better times: the active ones or the passive ones?

For further thought:

“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

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