Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Everyone's Life

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then
burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should
all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

--Albert Schweitzer

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 your ready?"

--Johnny Carson

We must come to the point where we realize the concept of race is a
false one. There is only one race, the human race.

--Dan Aykroyd

Getting What You Want - By Nancy Nylen

Once you finally figure out what it is that you really want, how do you go about getting it? Do you bribe, manipulate, beg, borrow, steal, acquire it on your own? Or are you one of those lucky people that just seem to have things land in your lap?

As a child, we all learn the relentless pleading method. As a 3rd child, my parents were well trained already by this assault and my father had a one word response to me when I hit him with a “Dad, can I…” sentence: NO.
He wouldn’t even wait for the end of the sentence. Gees.

As a mother, I didn’t have nearly that amount of restraint with my own kids, who knew intuitively that if they just hounded me long enough, I would, if at all possible cave in to their requests. So much for being the adult.

And now that we are, hopefully, adults, we can make our own decisions,
Create our own happiness and get what we want on our own terms. Seems easy enough, but somehow, we don’t.

First, one must take a good long look at one’s own thinking, and speech.
We are programmed from the very first to believe certain “truths”, because our parents told us, our friends, our teachers. From the very simple “you’re a bad boy/girl” or “shame on you”…what is heard becomes a belief. Maybe you did something bad, but that doesn’t make you a “bad” person. Right? Simple messages repeated over and over create this thought pattern and belief system. Before you know it, you think of yourself as bad, shameful, unworthy, stupid, you name it!

Getting what you want starts with feeling as if you deserve it, are entitled to it and already have it. Believe it, then see it. All of it starts with your own thoughts.

And ridding yourself of unproductive thinking is the cancerous blockage that stands between you and getting it. People are victimized by their own minds, and yet constantly complain that things never go their way.
They are habitually re-creating their own, negative expectations into any new endeavor, thereby insuring that things will work out as they always expect them to.

Recognize and write down your own reasons why you can’t have what you want, no matter how silly they look. These are the self-imposed limitations that pop up in your head to spoil your fantasy of a perfect life.
Fear, it’s never been done before, can’ts, shouldn’ts, too hard, what ifs,
Not enough (brains, money, time), no one will like it, stupid idea, you each have your own litany in inner judges telling you why not.

Next, is believing and seeing what you want as yours already. Believe it and you will see it. Imagine it, picture it clearly in your mind.

Finally, imagine that desired object in a pink bubble, a color associated with your heart’s desire. Let go of the bubble, watch it float off into the atmosphere with your want inside of the bubble. You have let go of the emotional attachment and it can gather energy to be manifested into your life.

I once used this technique for a car that I wanted, and it came not once but twice! I have been driving a gold Explorer for quite a long time. Try as I might, I can’t think of another car that I would like nearly as well.

The universe does provide for whatever is in perfect harmony with your true desires. Of course, I have never desired to own a yacht, or buy my own island, but if I did feel passionately about those things, I believe it possible.

Family has always been the most important thing to me, and providing for my children as a single mother has been challenging, to say the least. It has been nothing short of miraculous that whenever my kids had a need, I would picture it, forget about it and let it go out into the Universe. The need would be met…not once or twice, but every single time.

God and the Universe recognize our needs, even before we take the time to want them. They already belong to us! Once you learn to live your life by this kind of faith, you will see your needs met.

So, back to the original question…what does your heart really desire?

By: Nancy Nylen


You can visit Nancy's web site at causeoflife.com

Monday, December 25, 2006

Nicest Things You Can Have

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have,
and one of the best things you can be.

--Douglas Pagels

I just need to know that I did the very best I could
and that I was true to myself.

--Lenny Kravitz

If you take responsibility for yourself you will
develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.

--Les Brown

Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected
to others... And, for me, the core, the inner spring, can best
be refound through solitude.

--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Reflect that life, like every other blessing, derives its value
from its use alone.

--Samuel Johnson

It's not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.

--Adlai StevensonNightingale

Self-Motivation: Make Your Life Over This Year - By Dianna Hobbs

Today, I am challenging you to do what it takes to effect change in your business and your life. Be warned. There are no quick fixes. So, put down the fortune cookie and back away from the magazine articles that promise you a new life in just thirty days or less. You must be realistic about your circumstances, responsible for your outcomes and receptive to new ideas and methods this year.

If you’re ready, then keep reading.

You have the power right now to declare when things will become new in your life.

Here is the three-step formula:

1. Choose any day to begin.

2. Employ principles that support your goals.

3. Repeat Steps 1 & 2 until you get the desired results.

It sounds simple enough, right? “So….What’s the Problem,” you ask?

The problem is not that circumstances are not conducive to your success, but you have not taken advantage of all the opportunities to maximize your time, abilities and personal resources.


Each of us is naturally inclined to blame something or someone else for our misfortunes.
As a coping mechanism, we often avoid assuming responsibility for difficult circumstances. Hence, when something malfunctions, we rarely consider our own contribution to the disaster.

The question to ask is not “What is the problem?” Rather, ask yourself “Who is the problem?” The answer is very simple; Uh….got a mirror handy? That’s right. The vicious enemy who has been completely responsible for sabotaging your success all this time is none other than YOU.

I know it’s a tough pill to swallow because we can all think of a million and one factors outside of ourselves that are liable for our current circumstances. The truth yet remains that we alone have the power to determine our destinies. This does not mean that we will not run into some unexpected twists and turns, but whether or not we overcome obstacles depends upon our preparedness and willingness to deal with them.


It’s one thing to talk about it. It’s another thing to be about it! Many of us will readily agree that it is difficult to remain consistent when working toward the goals we most desire to achieve. It never seems to come as easily as we had hoped or expected. There are so many obstacles, setbacks and disappointments along the journey that it becomes difficult to remain steadfast when we do not receive immediate rewards for our efforts. We all like short cuts and instant gratification, but life doesn’t work that way.

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. This is why our lives must be lived by guiding principles. Principles are governing laws upon which our beliefs, behaviors and decisions are built. This is crucial! Principles are not subject to emotion, or external circumstances; thus, we abide by them even when it seems inconvenient. When’s the last time you asked yourself what your fundamental principles are for your business, relationships and life in general? For example, what is your work ethic? Do you have one? What are your standards for your relationships? Do you have any? What principles determine the way you conduct your life? If you don’t know, then you must establish some because if you don’t stand for something, then you’ll indeed fall for anything.


Total transformation of your business and your life will not occur overnight. That’s simply not a realistic expectation. One of my favorite lecturers often says, “You must continue doing the right things, even when you’re not getting the right results.” This takes perseverance and determination, so hang in there. Remember, keep putting one foot in front of the other and tell yourself “I’m okay and I’m on my way!”


Remember, you need to have something in your life that is unchanging, even in the face of challenging circumstances. If by chance you have not developed a firm foundation upon which to build your business and your life, then begin today. It will be well worth the time and effort!

Dianna Hobbs is the Vice President of Hobbs Ministries, a Christian copywriting and PR firm. She and the team of world class copywriters at Hobbs Ministries, help ministries get their marketing materials on the “write track” by leveraging the creative power of language. You can find out more about how you can take your ministry to whole new dimension by visiting http://www.hobbsministries.com

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Now in my later years I can harvest the wisdom of my childhood. I treasure
those precious roots knowing that I have grown wings and I must move on.
I must let go.

--MacRina Wiederkehr

Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are
in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.

--Russell H. Conwell

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

--H. L. Mencken

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.

--Hannah Arendt

The future is something which everyone reaches at the
rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.

--C. S. Lewis

Express Your Passions Through the Power of Your Senses - By Corrie Woods

Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt vibrantly alive. What comes to mind when you recollect that memory? Perhaps the tingling of your skin, colors or the way light sparkles, a pulsing heart, a smell that curls into your nostrils and transforms into deep satisfaction, or a flavor that makes your mouth pop! Your senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are portals to rich experiences. Spend time playing and rediscovering the power of your senses and it will transform the ordinary into the extraordinary in your life.

Just Do It!
Although you can read about the power of your senses, your own experience will teach you to live more fully empowered and express your passionate emotions through your senses. The following prompts and invitations will whet your appetite, open new vistas, herald a call to dive deep, tickle your soul to explore further and invite a delicious breath of new learning into your lungs and heart. These coaching exercises will also inspire you to change your perception and embrace your true potential.

Exercise 1: The Personal Meaning of Clear Vision
Experience with clear vision what you see, instead of interpreting. Once the colors, shapes, and images become good or bad, pretty or ugly, familiar or unfamiliar you have stepped away from a clear view. Journal a sunset, an oak tree or the moment at dusk when all is in shadow. Describe it with your sense of sight in vivid detail. Do not stop until you have captured it all. Once you have set pen down read through your description. Notice how many details you would normally have missed with the average glance. What surprises can you find in your observation? Another way to truly understand and gain clear vision is to practice seeing with eyes of love and wonder. Look into the face of someone you cherish. Invite them to share this experience. Spend several minutes in quiet observation and reverence. What can you learn about this beloved? What do you see that you have never seen before? How does your heart feel in response to such an intimate viewing?

Exercise 2: Capture the Orchestra of Your Life
Look back on your life and discover what sounds capture your essence. A puppy’s excited bark? The sound of the 10 AM train? The melody of instruments from the kitchen as your mother prepared Sunday breakfast? Write these sounds out like the lines of a musical score. Draw, imagine and recapture them. Feel the ripple of those sounds coming full circle around you. Also, listen for emotion while communicating with others. Listen for feelings behind the words.

Exercise 3: Touch and Feel as an Expression of Passion
You touch things all day long unconsciously. Bring awareness to how something feels and ignite your passion. Take one ordinary task in your life and make it an exercise in touch awareness: doing the laundry, filing papers, taking a shower. What do you notice? What sensations surprise you? Can you make this sensory experience richer? Take one day and make it day when you touch everything with love.

Exercise 4: The Taste of Personal Empowerment
How many meals have you had in the past week? How many bites did you really notice, savor, and linger with? How was the food prepared? Where did the food come from? Is it all a blur? Conduct a taste-testing extravaganza. Choose one of your all time favorite foods. Is it chocolate, a glass of wine, a fresh pear? Make a meal or snack of your favorites food, invite some friends and taste test to your hearts content. Savor each bit, describe it and distinguish how one morsel differs from another. Serious fun, delight and deep satisfaction are the results of this tasty discovery of the delicious.

Exercise 5: The Scent of Inspiration and Success
You breathe in and out all day and all night. Why not leverage this breath for all it is worth? Your sense of smell can inform, inspire, and even caution you. Make a savory meal and focus on how each portion smells before you taste or sit quietly with your favorite perfume or incense and experience the feelings invoked by these scents.

Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell are at the core of who we are physically and emotionally. With just a few exercises you can dramatically enhance the depth, texture and experience of your life. Wake up your senses and, in turn, your passion. Become more fully attuned to the present moment and smile at the new vibrancy you find in life!

Corrie Woods is a Life Coach, Speaker and author based out of Asheville, NC. She is the author of the upcoming book “The Woman’s Field Guide to Exceptional Living”. To subscribe to her newsletter packed with tips for exceptional living go to http://www.windrivercoaching.com.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fear Within Us

Love is letting go of fear.

--Gerald Jampolsky

Prosperity is not without many fears
and distastes; and adversity is not
without comforts and hopes.

--Frances Bacon

Fear is useless
Faith is necessary
Love is everything!

--Martin Sheen

To fear love is to fear life.

--Bertrand Russell

Do the things
You believe in
In the name of love
And know that
You aren't alone
We all have doubts and fears.

--Carole King

Having a vision for your life allows
you to live out of hope, rather than
out of your fears.

--Stedman Graham

Wanna Succeed - Get Uncomfortable - By Craig Harper

As an Exercise Scientist and Trainer I have spent much of the last twenty-five years helping people change their body. Smaller, bigger, lighter, leaner, more muscle, more flexibility, speed, power... Athletes, non-athletes, kids, mums, dads.....whatever they were after; that's what I did my best to deliver.

Early in my career I discovered that whether or not someone achieved their desired goals had very little to do with what was possible, or their genetic potential, and everything to do with their ability to deal with discomfort.

They say that every decision we make in life is in an effort to avoid pain, or gain pleasure.

We choose to eat the cake because we associate cake with pleasure.
We choose to avoid the dentist because we associate the dentist with pain.
We choose to stay in a bad relationship because we associate more pain with getting out of the relationship than staying in it.

But the reality is :

1) we don't need the cake

2) we do need the dentist and

3) we should get out of that destructive relationship.

If only we would give up the cake, look after our teeth and deal with our relationship (i.e. get uncomfortable) we would discover that the short-term pain/discomfort would make way for a whole new world of possibilities and a whole new level of growth, understanding and achievement.

Some personal-power muscles.

Lesson 1.
Change is usually uncomfortable.

If you want an amazing life and you're all about creating positive change, then learn to deal with, if not embrace, discomfort.

Sorry Dude.
Just how it is.

In the science of strength training we talk about a concept called progressive resistance training or progressive overload.

In simple terms, the theory is this: If you want to get stronger and continue to grow muscle (hypertrophy) you need to continually manipulate the training variables (weight, sets, reps, recovery time, technique, program design) so as to constantly and progressively 'force' your body to adapt to the ever-changing stress (all exercise is a form of stress).

When we talk about changing a body, we're talking about physiological adaptation... and a body will only adapt when it has a reason to. Most people in most gyms train their body in a manner where there is no need for adaptation... that's why they typically look the same, year in, year out.
Or worse.

Rather than following a program or plan which is progressive in nature (causes them to get uncomfortable on a regular basis) they follow a 'maintenance program'... because it's easy and comfortable.
And they love 'comfortable.'

They don't want to maintain, or intend to maintain... but that's all they're doing.
They will continue on their cycle of frustration and zero results until they give their body a reason to adapt or until they throw in the towel altogether.

This adaptation/growth principle of exercise science can be applied to life and to our personal growth.

Lesson 2.
In general, a person's ability to succeed will be largely dependant on their ability to adapt (deal with discomfort and change).

Life, relationships, careers, emotions, business markets, technologies, philosophies, environments are all in a constant state of evolution. This is part of the problem; we are creatures of habit and we like familiarity; we like 'same'.

Lesson 3.
We like the benefits of change, but we don't like the process.
But it's the process, not the results, from where the real benefits come.

Whether it's physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, professional, social or financial growth your after.... be prepared to get uncomfortable on a regular basis and you will dramatically improve your chances of creating your best life.
By the way, the minute you make that uncomfortable decision, or do that uncomfortable thing you've been avoiding, the change process becomes instantly easier and your chances of success go through the roof ... because you got your head and heart (thinking, attitude, standards, emotions) where they need to be.

And you did what you needed to do.

Just like we work against resistance in the gym and we get stronger and grow muscle, those of us who work against resistance outside of the gym (problems, challenges, opposition, criticism, self doubt, insecurity, fear) get stronger and grow a different kind of muscle; emotional muscle, psychological muscle, self-control muscle, personal development muscle and spiritual muscle... and more.

Now go and get uncomfortable... and grow some muscle.

Craig Harper (B.Ex.Sci.) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.

He can be heard weekly on Australian Radio SEN 1116 and GOLD FM and appears on Australian television on Network Ten's 9AM.

Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Focus On The Solution

Focus on the solution,
not the problem.

-- Walter Anderson

If you truly feared failure,
you'd be very successful.

--Barbara Sher

Positive thoughts...
(joy, happiness, fulfillment,
achievement, worthiness)

...have positive results
(enthusiasm, calm, well-being,
ease, energy, love).

Negative thoughts...
(judgement, unworthiness, mistrust,
resentment, fear)

...produce negative results
(tension, anxiety, alienation,
anger, fatigue).

You Can't Afford the Luxury
of a Negative Thought

by Peter McWilliams

5 Keys to Building a Strong Determination - By Steve Brunkhorst

I saw him sitting on an evergreen branch outside my window as the Saturday morning sunrise lit up the new-fallen snow as it would a carpet sprinkled with sparkling jewels.

He seemed so tiny and alone, a silhouette against the dazzling eastern sky. As the sun rose higher, I could see he was a small snowbird, obviously apart from his fellows who usually assemble and play in groups. Joyfully, they flit about upon the snow, find pieces of grain, and huddle together for warmth.

Watching him brought memories of a time when I felt very small and alone...

It was my first college year of clinical practice as a student therapist. I had to write and turn in reports
on each patient I worked with in the University clinic.

As children, we often shuttered when a teacher returned our reports with a few big red marks signaling our errors. However, Dr. Wilson, a man who I will always remember and admire, returned my clinical reports. He gave my first reports so many red marks that they looked like they had the measles!

One day, he said, "To write well, you need to read a lot and write a lot - and when you see these red marks, know that they are there because I believe in you. You won't need to make these mistakes again. Just pay attention to them!"

I began to pay attention to each error, one by one, and one by one, the red marks grew fewer. This experience fortified my determination and strengthened my courage in what I could accomplish.

How can we keep our determination strong down each pathway of achievement we travel? Here are some valuable ideas to think about...

1. Think with purpose; keep your heart and mind focused on the end goal you want to achieve.

2. Take three valuable actions suggested by Paul J. Meyer who wrote, "Construct your determination with sustained effort, controlled attention, and concentrated energy."

3. Remember the wisdom from an Indian proverb that reads, "Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work." Use obstacles as learning tools and stepping stones to reach what you envision.

4. Choose your ideal pathway based on your values, make a firm commitment to excellence, and take
responsibility for your choices.

5. Most of all, realize that the Creator gave you some very special gifts that no one can use exactly like you can use them. If you haven't discovered those gifts, look closely at the activities that seem to light a fire in your soul. You will be very close to some amazing discoveries...

...My little friend waited in the evergreen branch for a while. Soon, several more snowbirds landed at the base of the tree. He gleefully joined them, and off they went to enjoy the morning.

That reminds me of a sixth key in building and maintaining determination: Have patience in all things.
Do what you can now, even if you must wait for your efforts to bring results. Then return your thoughts to your purpose, and you will attract many others of like "feather" to help guide you along the way!

© Copyright 2006 by Steve Brunkhorst. Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Get the next issue and find many helpful resources for achievement by visiting www.AchieveEzine.com

Monday, December 18, 2006

Union Of Spirits

Friendship is a union of spirits, a marriage
of hearts, and the bond there of virtue.

- Samuel Johnson

...the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is
dearness only that gives everything its value.

-- Thomas Paine

Do not die without having lived. Give yourself the opportunity
to show your true color and when you do go, go out in a blaze
of glory.

-- Bernie S. Siegel

Growing Healthy, Healthy Growing - By Susan Wood

I used to think that being healthy had to do with my body—being physically healthy. I thought that taking good care of my body would make me a healthy person. I have come to realize, however, that health has to do with more than just physical health. Health includes four important aspects: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. If I neglect any one of these areas, I cannot truly be healthy. These aspects are interconnected—an imbalance in one area will affect the other areas. To really be healthy, I need to pay attention to all four aspects.

Here are a few suggestions for investing in a healthier you, in each area of your life. Please don’t get overwhelmed, however. Every journey is begun with one step. You don’t have to do everything all at once. What I would suggest is that you pick one area you think you’d like to start with, and pick one thing you’d like to work on. Then work on it for a month. Be as consistent as possible, but don’t set unrealistic goals. Gradually add new things to try in each area. Being healthy has a lot to do with growth, and allowing growth. Growth is part of change, and change and growth is what all of life is about. Everything is always growing and changing and evolving, so when we allow ourselves to grow and change and evolve we are in alignment with life.


We are complex organisms with a delicate balance of hormones and chemicals that keep us functioning. We have things like adrenalin, endorphins, serotonin, insulin, cortisol, and many more—I’m sure you’ve heard of all these things even if you don’t understand exactly what they do. But the fact is that when we are emotionally stressed, our bodies’ delicate chemical relationships are thrown out of balance and this begins the process of dis-ease. Scientific study has shown that our emotions have a very real affect on our physical health.

Here are a few things you can work on in this area:

  • Become aware of your feelings! You may think you already are, but if you pay close attention you’ll begin to see that you frequently do not acknowledge having feelings—you may cover them up with an addiction (food, TV, smoking, alcohol, sex, etc.), you may just suppress them (they’re still in there and they’re doing damage), or you may express them (crying, losing your temper, raging, etc). None of these coping mechanisms releases us from the incremental damage of holding negative energy inside our bodies. The best way to deal with feelings is to acknowledge them, allow them, and make a conscious decision to let them go—to let the energy from our feelings flow through us, rather than leaving it stuck inside. Try practicing becoming aware of your feelings throughout the day. When you become aware of an uncomfortable feeling, ask yourself if you can just allow the feeling to be there (after all, it’s just a feeling, and it’s not permanent). Then ask yourself if it would be OK to increase your acceptance of the feeling, just for now. Could you increase your acceptance even more… and even more? Rate your acceptance of the feeling (rate your acceptance of it, not the feeling itself)—let’s say from 0 to 10 (10 being the most accepting), and see if you can ask yourself if it’s OK to increase your acceptance until you feel that your acceptance has reached 10, or at least until it has moved up significantly. Doing this little exercise will greatly increase your awareness of your feeling, and you will find that they “pass through you” much more quickly so that you can move on to feeling freer and less limited. There are many ways to learn to release feelings— the Sedona Method , EFT, or the Healing Codes are three that I know of.
  • Learn to stay in the present. This means stop looking back with regret and forward with worry! Appreciate this moment right now and do what you can now rather than getting bogged down in a pity party or in being a worry wart. You cannot fix past mistakes, and you cannot deal now with things that have not happened yet. The more you learn to stay in the present, the less stressed you will be. My favorite book about being present is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Tolle teaches you to “be the witness”—to stand back and observe yourself when you find yourself stressing over past or future events. When you do this, you bring yourself into the present which is the only place where you can really make choices.
  • Practice gratitude! This can be very powerful—there is always something to be grateful for, but so frequently we allow our minds to spin into patterns we have repeated over and over again. You can take a few moments every day, or throughout your day, to ask yourself the simple question, “What can I feel grateful for right now?” Think of some one, some thing, some place you love, and let that feeling permeate for a few moments.
  • Focus on what is working and what do you want. Stop focusing on what is not working and what you do not want. Our thoughts create our reality and what we focus on expands. If we spend time thinking of all the things that may not be right in our “reality,” we simply increase the power of that reality. When we focus on what we do want and what does work and what we can do, we create a far better reality for ourselves—one that has more possibilities, fewer limitations.
  • Forgive. Forgive yourself, forgive others. Whatever you think you or they did wrong—was just a mistake. Don’t take things personally. When someone else is gruff, rough, unpleasant, or just plain mean—it has nothing to do with you! It’s their issue, and you don’t need to take it on. Simply forgive yourself or them, have compassion for yourself or them. Empathize and forgive. We are all perfectly imperfect and judging ourselves and others simply makes our lives miserable.
  • These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a start!


Mental health, as I see it, isn’t emotional health (what I just described), but the health we gain by exercising our minds. I’m not talking about exercising your mind by allowing it to spin you into negative emotions! I’m talking about activities that stimulate your brain cells and strengthen the synapses between brain cells in memory transmission areas. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Read. Find things you enjoy reading that stimulate your interest or your imagination. Allow yourself to visualize or to engage in an internal discussion with what you are reading about.
  • Have conversations with people who interest you—conversations about ideas, experiences, perceptions, not about the weather or the latest gossip. Allow your mind to be open to new ideas. If someone has new, unfamiliar ideas, allow yourself to hear them rather than going into a mode of fear (or fight or flight).
  • If you’re addicted to TV, see if you can gradually wean yourself from the “boob” tube, or find some programs that have some real educational value. There are many interesting programs about science, nature, history, people, etc. that can stimulate and expand your thinking.
  • Search out new experiences, go to new places, and stay open to the new perspectives you encounter.
  • Do word puzzles, play strategy games, draw, paint, play an instrument, practice a new language.
  • Write in a journal or work with your hands to build or create.


Are you getting any exercise? Are you flexible and strong? Are you happy with your weight? Do you feel energetic? Recent studies show that physical exercise can increase mental abilities 20% to 30%.

  • Make a plan to be more active. Start small, but be consistent. I decided at the age of 50 that I wanted to be age gracefully. I wasn’t extremely unfit, but I was 25 pounds over my ideal weight, was stressed, and was sedentary. I started by walking almost every day. Then I decided to alternate walking and running, about a minute at a time. I started with only about 12 minutes almost every day. I gradually worked it up to 20, then 30, gradually replacing the walking with running. Not everyone can run—but the point is there is something you can do, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Don’t beat yourself up when you forget or neglect to do it—just do it the next day. If you don’t do it for two days, OK, then—do it the next day, etc. Exercise not only improves your muscle to fat ratio, it improves your metabolism, it increases the oxygen in your system, it improves the functioning of your brain, it reduces fatigue, and it creates a chemical environment which causes more feelings of well-being. If you need the motivation of a group, find a yoga class, an aerobics class, a dance class, or find a walking, running, or swimming buddy. Or maybe just go for it alone—you may be surprised to find out you can!
  • What are you eating? You are what you eat. Our bodies and our brains need certain nutrients to maintain physical health. Our bodies will build all of our cells from what we eat. When what we eat is junk, we gradually have bodies that turn to junk. Again, you don’t have to do this all at once. You can gradually add healthy foods to your diet, and gradually drop the not-healthy foods. Consult with a nutritionist or a naturopath to begin a plan of healthy eating or get yourself a book, subscribe to a magazine, or surf the web to get advice on healthy eating.
  • Do you remember to breathe? Breathing brings oxygen into our bodies and brains and allows the fire to burn inside, the fire that metabolizes what we eat and distributes energy everywhere it is needed. Taking a few deep breaths when you are feeling stressed or anxious can calm you down almost immediately. Having a good supply of oxygen clears your brain and energizes your body.


Begin a spiritual practice. This does not have to be a religious practice. You can, but you do not have to go to a church, a temple or a mosque. You do not need to believe anything that does not resonate the truth for you. Allow yourself some daily time to reflect on or practice your spiritual beliefs.

  • Start by just pondering some questions. Ask what is bigger, smarter, more intelligent, more powerful than you are? For some people the answer may be God. For others the answer may be god. For others the answer may be nature, the universe, higher self, higher power, Gaia, mother earth—but when you begin to ask the question, you will begin to get the answer. Once you begin to see answers to the question, you will begin to see yourself as part of the answer. You are a part of what is bigger than you are, you are what is bigger than you are! Start to see the part of you that is your ego-self as the part that is less real than your spirit self. Your ego-self is the part of you that wants to be separate, different, better, or worse than others. Your spirit self is the part of you that is interconnected with everything and everybody else. Begin to honor your spirit self and allow yourself to discover what feels true to that self—examine values like compassion, empathy, generosity, forgiveness, unconditional love. Beginning a spiritual practice can be as simple as beginning to ask the question, “What is true for me?” and see what comes up (like, “what feels truer, having a lot of money or helping somebody?” or “having a particular job, or doing something creative?” etc.) My own personal experience was that I started to develop my spiritual “muscle” by going to 12-step meetings. I gradually allowed myself to shift from being a total atheist to being open to the idea of “higher power.” Once I was able to believe that I am not all powerful, but I am part of something that is, I was able to move forward and grow in my life.
  • Meditate. Meditation comes in many forms. It can just be as simple as just sitting quietly and allowing your mind to wander off, then bring it back to quiet when you notice. Some people meditate by using a mantra—any word or phrase that they repeat silently to help them bring their minds’ attention away from spinning off into projection, worry, or busyness. Others focus on their breath. Others ponder a question. Mediation has been shown to be beneficial to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. My favorite meditation “tool” is Holosync audio technology CD’s.

A life coach can help you in any of these areas. Life coaching is about taking action toward your goals and desires, it’s about opening up to new possibilities, it’s about opening up to new insights, it’s about discovering what you value. A life coach will support you through the process of self-discovery and setting and achieving desired outcomes in your life.

Susan Wood is a Certified Life Coach working and living near San Luis Obispo, California. She usually coaches by telephone and serves clients across the country. She will happily provide a free session for anyone wanting to explore what coaching with her is about. You can find out more at www.susanwoodlifecoach.com or by calling Susan at 805-771-9706.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

People Who Are Alone

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.

There is only one way to bring up a child in the way
he should go and that is to travel that way yourself.

-- Abraham Lincoln

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

-- C. H. Spurgeon

Fear Is The Mind Killer - By Mark McGimpsey


In the words of a sci-fi film, "Fear is the mind killer. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!"

Anyone remember the film? It was "Dune".

It has often been said the fear we feel when attempting something new, is the fear of failure, of rejection, or of appearing foolish. It might not be a life-threatening fear, but it has been with us for as long as we can remember.

As children, (in my generation anyway), if you made a mistake in primary school, you stood a good chance of a ruler across the knuckles for ‘not listening'. We were taught from an early age – don't take the risk, everyone will laugh at you, in fact the fear of failure became so bad at times, (because of the resultant whack over the knuckles), that I was so scared of the ‘result', I couldn't get the words out, even though I knew the answer.

You know I read a book once, a great book called, "Think and Grow Rich." A great book full of great advice, but you know what I have found any time I have been faced with a challenge where I might be made to look foolish. I've found the opposite to be true, don't think, do!"

The more you think about it, the more excuses you can think up, not to do it. It's not quite the right time, everything's not quite in place. You might fail.

I have come to the conclusion that success in anything doesn't come about by thinking about it, (the ‘Paralysis Analysis' approach), but getting out there and getting something started. More often than not you find that ‘Fear' is nothing more than what people have been telling you all along – ‘False Evidence Appearing Real'.

I think it was Socrates who said that ‘Action equals knowledge', so this is not a radical new concept, but in fact a secret of hundreds of years old.

I might think I could write an article, but before I get thinking of too many excuses to fail, I find that if I stick my neck out and jump in, the article gets written. Perhaps not well enough for a Pulitzer Prize, but it gets done!

Do you think my grammar and spelling are perfect? I use the spell checker my friend.

I'm a private pilot. You realise of course that at some point, the trainee student has to take the aircraft up on their own? Go ‘Solo'. I guarantee there are not many situations you will find yourself in that are as frightening.

So how did I get to be a pilot? I overcame my fear of flying alone, by doing it alone the minute the instructor stepped out and said, "You're ready, away you go!" If I'd thought about it, I guarantee you I wouldn't be a pilot today. I flew that aircraft shaking like a leaf, saying to myself, "Now you've done it, you fool! You have to get down again!" If I had thought about it for any length of time, I think I might honestly say that today, I might still be thinking about it.

I guess my point in writing this article is to encourage you not to think just do.

If you shoot for the stars, you might just hit the moon.

The author is a web master and an Internet business owner. To visit his blog and read further articles, click here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Best

With each decision, we should be convinced that we're
doing the best we can under the circumstances -- best
for ourselves, best for our family, best for our loved
ones, and, possibly, best for society as well.

--Alexandra Stoddard

One does not need buildings, money, power, or status
to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where
you are standing, and that is the place to train.

--Morihei Ueshiba

The mind is its own place,
`` and in itself
``can make a heaven of Hell,
`` a hell of Heaven.

--John Milton

Seven Ways to Beat Procrastination - By Jim Estill

I am a student of Time Management and a big part of time management is beating procrastination. We all procrastinate, even those of us who pride ourselves in having good time management skills.

From my studies, I have come up with seven proven ways to beat procrastination.

1. Do the worst task first: I have used this technique for years. I have even created more than one “first thing.” There is first thing in the morning, there is first thing after lunch, and there is first thing in the evening. I take a look at the items on my To Do List and figure out which one I am dreading the most and spend a limited time on it at least moving it forward. This is known as swallowing the frog first thing; if you begin your day by swallowing a frog, then the rest of the day looks good.

2. Break it down: Often the reason that we procrastinate is because the task ahead of us is too big. Often there are small parts of the task that can be done. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

3. Use a friend: I am not actually referring to delegation (but of course I don’t mind that either); what I mean is to tell a friend what you want to do and get them to help you start the task. Often it is the act of starting a task that is enough to get the task done.

4. Do the pleasant part of the task: Often many distasteful and large jobs have some parts to it that are not particular distasteful. Do them so at least you are moving forward on your most important items.

5. Fifteen (15) minutes: Just spend 15 minutes on a task. I have the attitude that I can spend 15 minutes doing virtually anything and I can certainly survive spending 15 minutes on something. Often by spending the 15 minutes on a task, I either complete it or I will get it moved forward enough that it has momentum to finish.

6. Track it: The simple act of tracking a goal is often enough to keep the goal moving forward. It seems odd, but knowing that you are going to write down whether or not you have done something is often enough to make you move forward.

7. Reward or punish: The reason we do something is because it is more painful than not getting it done, so if we can make the completion a task more rewarding or the consequences of not completing it more painful, then we tend to move forward on things. Tying successful completion of a task to a reward is often a successful technique.

Remember that even successful people occasionally procrastinate. Procrastination is not a permanent condition.

Jim Estill is the CEO of SYNNEX Canada. His time management expertise is available in his ebook, Time Leadership. To read a sample chapter of his ebook, and to check out his highly acclaimed CEO blog, visit http://www.jimestill.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lived Life

Life must be lived on a higher plane. We must go
up to a higher platform, to which we are always
invited to ascend; there, the whole aspect of
things changes.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises
and hopes; but no plans.

--Peter F. Drucker

Activity back of a very small idea will produce
more than inactivity and the planning of genius.

--James A. Worsham

Getting Older: A State Of Mind Or A State Of Body? - By Craig Harper

A few years ago I turned forty - a scary time for the supreme, alpha male warrior.

I’m not sure, but I reckon there’s some correlation between decreasing testosterone levels and increased neurosis and insecurity in blokes.

Not me, of course…but I’ve heard it happens to some men.

"Darl, feel how big my biceps are."



There’s a thesis for some Phd. student right there.

I don’t know why, but I never pictured myself being so ‘old’. Not that I envisaged some untimely early death or anything, but nothing prepared me mentally or emotionally for the onset of crows feet or for the amazing ability a forty year-old body has to gain body-fat in a matter of hours (or so it seemed). I reckon there should be a government mandate that we all undertake some type of preparatory course in our thirties to help us negotiate our fifth decade on earth (actually forty one is the start of our fifth decade but you get my point).

For over twenty years I had been helping older people get in shape and then overnight, I was one (in my mind at least). Just as I was about to immerse myself into a massive depression and wallow in my own pathetic self pity, I vaguely recalled a lecture from University (one of the four classes I attended). I remembered that there are different types of age; chronological age (how many years we’ve been on the planet), emotional age (I’m nearly sixteen now) and physiological, or biological age. In order to estimate our biological age people in white coats put us through some physical testing (fitness, strength, blood pressure, body-fat, flexibility and a few others) and then they compare our results to scientific ‘norms’ (how other people have scored). Then they tell us how ‘old’ our body is. If you’re lucky they’ll say something like, "well Sally, even though you’ve been around for thirty eight years, you have the body of a nineteen year-old" (or if you’ve punished yourself, possibly the other way around).

After dragging my depressed forty year-old body around for a few days and getting

no sympathy from anyone, I decided that it was time to get over myself. ‘How can someone become old in a week,’ I thought. Last week I was thirty nine and life was good, this week I’m a middle aged man, with a sore back shopping for a retirement village’.

Well, almost.

Logically I knew that my body was no different to the week before when I was in my thirties but I ‘felt’ different. Could it possibly be that I was creating a problem? Perhaps my body was fine but maybe my attitude that was the issue. Maybe my body hadn’t aged but my thinking had. Sure a few lines had crept onto the face and the Levi’s might have been a bit tighter, but the truth is that turning forty proved to be more of an emotional and psychological challenge for me than it was a physiological one.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing

Does this story sound familiar? Perhaps someone you know?

For years I’ve watched people begin to ‘act’ old once they reach a certain age. It might be forty, it might be fifty, but at some stage they begin to live, behave and communicate like ‘old’ people: "I’m fifty you know; I need to start winding down."

The truth is that beyond thirty five is when we most need to follow some type of structured exercise program, whether it’s in a gym, at the park, around the streets or in our lounge room. Until we’re about mid thirties most of us can get away with not doing too much structured exercise. The tragedy of most suburban gyms is that the people who really don’t desperately need to be there (the eighteen to thirty age group) often spend half of their life there, and those who would really benefit from some regular, structured exercise (the thirty five plus group) are too intimidated, lazy, busy, embarrassed, fearful or indifferent to pick up a dumbbell.

Some of the best results I have seen in my twenty plus years as a trainer and exercise scientist have been achieved by people in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond; people who stop rationalising whether or not it’s ‘sensible’ or ‘appropriate’ for them to be lifting, running, riding or jumping, people who realise that age is really a state of mind not body. People who understand that we can literally turn back our body clock when we give our body what it needs.

So, maybe it’s time to stop thinking about it and start doing it.

Over the last ten years there have been countless studies conducted which have repeatedly demonstrated the ability that people have to change their body shape and their level of strength and fitness into their seventies, eighties and nineties. I have personally worked with people in their eighties who have more than doubled their strength in twelve weeks and I have worked with fifty and sixty year olds who have totally transformed their body shape and their life within a matter of months.

If a ninety year-old can get fitter and stronger, so can you.

About twelve years ago I started training a woman who was 55 years young. While she was not particularly out of shape for someone in her fifties, she was not particularly fit or strong either. Within a short amount of time she began to make amazing progress, seemingly getting fitter and stronger by the week. What amazed me most about Jan was that she didn’t have an ‘old’ mentality. She didn’t seem to think like a lot of people do once they hit forty, fifty and beyond. She didn’t provide me with the "remember I’m an old woman" line, instead she approached every session and challenge with the enthusiasm of an excitable young kid. It was so refreshing to work with someone who didn’t come into the process thinking and behaving old or limiting herself before she had even started. Some people reach a certain age and seem to adopt an old mentality; not long after, this attitude is reflected in their physiology.

Jan just came to exercise and to learn, whatever that was going to be. She lifted weights, boxed, ran, stretched, biked, rowed and did whatever was asked of her. She didn’t rationalise whether or not each workout or activity was appropriate for someone her age, she just did what was asked of her. Within a short amount of time she began to make amazing changes to her body and her life. At a stage when many people are quietly ‘sliding into their retirement years’ this average woman with an amazing attitude decided she would get fitter, stronger and leaner than she ever had before in her life; not fit for an older person, fit for a person of any age.

These days this grandmother who runs fifteen kilometres at a time, does push ups with the boys and rides her bike up to 200 kilometres in one hit, is an absolute inspiration to everyone she comes into contact with; an inspiration not because she is

extraordinarily gifted or a genetic freak but because she has an amazing attitude and a refreshing outlook on life.

Once a week Jan gets together with a group of her friends to do a killer fitness session; the session is an hour of pain and is not for the faint-hearted. These sessions are usually competitive and designed to take the participants to the ‘edge’ for a bit of a look. Every week without fail Jan is the first one ready to train. Aside from her, the average age of the group is around thirty. While most people her age would not even consider getting involved in something so ‘inappropriate’ for a 65 year old, she is sweating her butt off and not trying to rationalise whether or not her behaviour is ‘sensible’ or ‘normal’.

Some of the most amazing results I have seen have been achieved by people in their forties, fifties and beyond; people who stop rationalising whether or not it’s ‘appropriate’ for them to be lifting, running, riding or jumping.

People who realise that getting older is a state of mind, not a state of body.

Craig Harper is a qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, tv personality and owner of one of the largest appointment only personal training centres in the world.

He can be heard weekly on SEN 1116 and GOLD FM radio stations and appears on Monday's on Network Ten's 9AM.

He is also a columnist for Women’s Health & Fitness, and Alpha Magazines.

inspiration, motivation, success

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Whale

According to the local news coverage, it all began
on Sunday, December 11, 2005, when a fisherman spotted
a 50-ton humpback whale tangled up in crab trap lines
off the Marin County coast in northern California.

His call for help was answered by the Marin Marine Mammal
Center, which dispatched a group of Coast Guard divers
and whale experts to the site near the Farallon Islands
to free the animal.

The rescue operation was both difficult and dangerous.
Crew members found the whale entwined in some 20 ropes,
each 240 feet long and wrapped so tight they were slicing
into its flesh.

The lines had to be cut by hand, which required diving
perilously close to the whale and its powerful tail.
It took about an hour, and no one was injured.

All of the divers remarked on the whale's "affectionate"
behavior. One said the creature watched and seemed to
wink at him as he was cutting a line that went through
its mouth.

Once freed, the whale began circling and approached the
divers one by one to "nuzzle" them.

"You hate to anthropomorphize too much," Mick Menigoz
told the San Francisco Chronicle, "but the whale was
doing little dives and the guys were rubbing shoulders
with it.

I don't know for sure what it was thinking, but it's
something that I will always remember. It was just
too cool."

May you, and all those you love,
be so blessed and fortunate ...

to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.

Comments: True story not just another "Urban Legend".

Sources and further reading:

Daring Rescue of Whale off Farallones
SF Chronicle, 14 December 2005

Whale of a Rescue off Marin Coast
KTVU-TV News, 14 December 2005

Scuba Divers Rescue Humpback Whale Near Farallon Islands
Cyber Diver News Network, 13 December 2005

Let Go Of Your Limitations - By Tim Connor

One of the biggest factors that prevents people from achieving their dreams is their willingness to give in to self-imposed limitations that have been nurtured over the years.
Some of the causes of these self-inflicted beliefs are:

- A lack of belief in ones abilities and possibilities.

- The fear of failure.

- The fear of criticism or rejection from others.

- A fear of success.

- A lack of desire.

- Giving in to the expectations and rules of others.

- A desire to conform.

- A lack of clear goals.

- Inadequate passion.

No wonder so few people realize their dreams in life. There seems to be an unlimited number of factors that can sabotage our willingness to stretch out and reach for more as we move through the days of our lives and march to an unknown drummer. I am one of the fortunate ones. I have seldom given in to what can not be done but what is possible. Oh yes, there is more I could have done if I had had:

-A better leg up in life with wealthy parents.

-A better education.

-More money.

-A career advocate early in my life

-More successes than failures during the last 50 years.

And the list goes on and on, but what is - is and what was – was. So Tim just get over it and move on.

I have chosen to follow the philosophy: start where you are, do what you can with what you have and don’t worry about what you can’t do, don’t have and have not become yet. It hasn’t always been easy to hold on to my dreams for: happiness, achievement, peace, harmony, balance, success and recognition - but how important are any of these - if you lack a contented heart - knowing you have done the best you could with the gifts of time and talent you were given?

Most limitations are nothing more than an internal speedometer that is stuck on: be safe, don’t risk, be careful, don’t fail, what will other’s think, don’t be different and any number of internal messages that we have been given or adopted during our life. Life, my friends is too short to live without ‘going for it.’ What would you try if you knew failure was impossible? If success was assured? Why wait. Get started. Do it now. You
have nothing to lose that matters but, you have everything to lose if you end your life with: Why didn’t I, I could have, I should have…

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That’s Life, Peace Of Mind, 81 Challenges Managers Face and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at tim@timconnor.com, 704-895-1230 or visit his website at http://www.timconnor.com

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Goes On Inside

I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can
always control what goes on inside.

--Wayne Dyer

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is
the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

--Theodore Roosevelt

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.

--Henry David Thoreau

My Self Improvement Plan – Self Improvement Made Easy - By Ben Ehinger

Are you ready to change for the better, whether it be career, personal, emotional, physical, or spiritual? Changing is a process that challenges us and shows us who we truly are. There is no better way to learn who you are and become a better version of yourself than to come up with a self improvement plan. Here are a few tips to help you put together a self improvement plan.

Self improvement tip #1 – Enter the classroom of silence once a day

The classroom of silence has become a desperate need on our busy, noisy world. Stepping into the classroom of silence is incredible for the soul and the mind. Take 10 minutes out of each day and step into the classroom of silence. That is all 10 minutes and you will be on your way to self improvement.

Find a comfortable place that is completely silent. This needs to be somewhere that you won’t be distracted by anything. I prefer to go to an empty church, but it is up to you where you go. Close your eyes and just let your mind wander for 10 minutes. You will find the answers to your deepest desires and you will find the peace that you crave.

Self improvement tip #2 – Read good books and watch inspiring movies

Have you ever noticed how certain books and movies energize you and make you want to get up and go achieve your goals? Fill your life with these types of books and movies and you will constantly be taking steps towards a better you. Find 10 minutes a day to read a good book. This will change your life forever.

Self improvement tip #3 – Set goals that you can achieve and achieve them

It is important for your growth and confidence that you set goals that you can achieve and then you achieve them. Every time we set a goal and we don’t achieve it we lessen our confidence, and every time we achieve a goal, whether large or small, it is like a small victory and we boost our confidence.

Set yourself up for success with achievable goals, find 10 minutes a day to step into the classroom of silence, and find 10 minutes a day to read a good book, and you will be on your way to self improvement. There are many strategies to building a self improvement plan, but you need to make sure you set yourself up for success and stick to your plan.

Learn the discipline and the strategies that you need to become a better version of yourself. Get all the secrets to self improvement here: Self improvement Secrets

Learn more about Matthew Kelly, the author that inspires most of my writing here: The Matthew Kelly Foundation

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Transforming Experience

To be known and loved is a transforming experience.
It calls us from skepticism to belief, from caution
to action, from despair to hope.

--Larry J. Peacock

Too often in our lives accomplishment and doing
overshadow growth and becoming.

--Linda Dillow

All the best transformations are accompanied
by pain. That's the point of them.

--Fay Weldon

Minding Your Manners - By Carolina Fernandez

This weekend found me in New York City and in Philadelphia, working on my book and catching up with my oldest friend and on some window shopping, too. A good walk down Madison Avenue in the fall is always a good thing. As is a good book store browse, a slow coffee-brownie indulgence in a side street café, and a peek inside an antique shop or two. We did all of the above in spades.

There are few things that bring me more pleasure while in the city than shopping. Not real shopping, as in buying, but leisure shopping, as in looking and touching. I need not, so I am rarely tempted. And certainly not at Madison Avenue prices. But the enormity of selection, the newness of collections and the entertainment value of people-watching is just too wonderful to ignore.

And so it was with great fun that we ventured into and around the flagship Ralph Lauren store on 72nd and Madison (a must-stop on anyone’s agenda. No kidding.) It evokes awe. Masterfully designed, with gilded-framed oil paintings lining every wall, densely-piled carpeting lining every step and attentive sales assistants lining every aisle, one certainly glides through the store as if on cushioned ballet shoes. It would be difficult to escape without feeling better for having had the experience. For having tasted “Ralph’s” genius.

And so, as I walked down the heavily-cushioned staircase on my way out, I couldn’t help but feel as if I had experienced civility at its New York best. That attention to detail and to good manners was contained, if nowhere else, within four large walls on one city block in my favorite city on the face of the earth.

My visit wasn’t long and it became time for me to retrieve my car from a soon-to-expire meter on Lexington Avenue. I walked quickly toward the exit and as I leaned against the heavy glass door onto the sidewalk, a gentleman (and he was, indeed, a gentle man), called out to the two ladies who were entering at the exact time that I was exiting.

“M’am. M’am,” he called, shoving what looked like a ten-dollar bill towards them, as they looked back over their shoulders, puzzled. “One of you dropped this on the sidewalk.”

I could hardly believe it. I said, rather softly to him, “Now there’s a real gentleman,” but he either didn’t hear me, or he ignored me, as if to suggest that chasing ladies who had dropped money out of their wallets was a perfectly normal everyday thing to do and that there could simply be no other alternative.

Picking up pennies on city sidewalks is a silly thing to do. But giving them away to the first child to cross one’s path makes it a worthwhile adventure. But picking up a ten-dollar bill and chasing down a complete stranger to give it back is hardly a common occurrence in a big city. And it caught me completely off guard. It gave me renewed faith in mankind. In young men in general. I smiled thinking of the mother who, some time, somewhere, had—over the years—taught her son well.

Holding doors open for people, shaking hands firmly, smiling while talking and expressing genuine thankfulness, are all wonderful gestures of civilized people everywhere. I vow to work on that this week with my own brood. To make sure that my boys know how to treat young ladies and that my daughter knows how to treat young men. And to remind them of the rules. That they say thank you for treats and for gifts. Always. And remember to write notes by hand. That they speak clearly to adults. And look them in their eyes when they talk. That they always answer the phone or the front door cheerfully.

Little things count. And minding one’s manners—one of those littlest things of all—is one of those little things that counts the most. I trust you feel this way, too!

Carolina Fernandez earned an M.B.A. and worked at IBM and as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch before coming home to work as a wife and mother of four. She totally re-invented herself along the way. Strong convictions were born about the role of the arts in child development; ten years of homeschooling and raising four kids provide fertile soil for devising creative parenting strategies. These are played out in ROCKET MOM! 7 Strategies To Blast You Into Brilliance. It is widely available online, in bookstores or through 888-476-2493. She writes extensively for a variety of parenting resources and teaches other moms via seminars, workshops, keynotes and monthly meetings of the ROCKET MOM SOCIETY, a sisterhood group she launched to “encourage, equip and empower moms for excellence.” Please visit http://www.rocketmom.com

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dream - Goal

A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream
with a plan and a deadline.

--Harvey Mackay

You can never plan the future by the past.

--Edmund Burke

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans:
it's lovely to be silly at the right moment.


Dive In - By Jim Gustafson

I learned to swim at the YMCA. I have crystal clear recall of my first
"tadpole" class. I remember coming out of the pool with my nose running,
skin itching, and eyes blazing red from the environmental wasteland that was
the YMCA pool. That pool contained 80% chemicals, 15% water and 5% other
which I choose not to think about.

The house in which I live came with a swimming pool in the backyard. I am
not proud to have a pool. I find it to be a rather large inconvenience. It
gives pleasure to visiting dignitaries (a.k.a. grandchildren), relatives and
friends. Beyond that, its waters rarely experience submerged flesh. There
is a natural law that requires a swimming pool to be ready for swimming at
ever moment. Accordingly, the chemistry must be balanced to keep the water
pure. The pump must be going to circulate the water and avoid stagnation.
The filter must be cleaned to properly filter, I guess.

Based on the YMCA "tadpole traumas" of my youth, I have always had a
professional pool care company maintain my pool. Among my greatest fears is
awakening to find my pool has turned to slimy inky goo. So when I recently
discovered greenish brown staining on the sides and bottom of my pool, I
phoned the pool company. They made an extra call, gave an extra treatment,
and sent an extra bill. The stains continued to grow as did my slimy goo
fears. I continued to express my concern to the pool company, but there was
no apparent action. The stains continued to increase, my nightmare was

It was time to take matters into my own hands. I went to a do-it-yourself
pool store. They test water, sell chemicals, and give advice. I described
my situation to the pool guy. He calmly walked over to the shelf, handed me
a bottle of stuff. "Throw this stuff in your pool. Run the pump for 24
hours. That will be $17.87." I did as he said. 24 hours later I waited
for sunlight. When it came, my pool was crystal clear. No words could
express my joy.

I have now taken over the care and maintenance of my swimming pool. It is
clean and clear. Almost as important is the lesson I relearned. We are
better off when we dive straight into our fears, than when we work to avoid
them. The price of avoidance is much higher than the cost of confrontation.
Lessons as clean and clear as my pool.

Dive In!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Conflict Cannot Survive

Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

--Wayne Dyer

Nothing will work unless you do.

--Maya Angelou

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.

--Dean Acheson

Are You Happy To Lead A Mediocre Life Just Because Others Do - By Pat Campbell

When we read historical novels, we may laugh at the pointless lives that the gentry of that period led. The well to do who lived centuries ago spent their lives in idle pursuits totally oblivious (in most cases) to the wretchedness of the poor who spent all their waking hours working in return for meagre sustenance. And they were so overly concerned with living their lives according to regimented protocol; it just wasn’t "the done thing" to do things differently than the way the neighbours did things. The lives of the poor were just as pointless because they failed to realise that they could improve themselves if only they tried. The few who did succeed in breaking free of poverty were generally ostracised by their families because they dared to do things differently.

But are we any different today? Have we really learnt anything at all? The activities of the 21st century are vastly different from those of previous times but many are just as pointless. And today, in this current advanced era, people on the whole are still far too concerned with what their family, friends and neighbours think. Very few people are willing to change.

Is your life perfect? If it is then there is no need to change anything. But I have never yet met anyone with a perfect life, have you? Some people have a career they love but their family life suffers. Some people have very good relationships with their families and friends but their health and fitness are not very good. And some people have a totally stuffed up life in nearly all areas. Even if we have some things right, there are always areas in which we can improve ourselves, we shouldn't just get to a certain age and stop. Life is all about learning; it isn’t something reserved for the young.

People will say, "Oh I couldn’t do it that way because everyone I know does it this way!" But are all those people you know getting perfect results! Very unlikely! So why keep doing things a certain way, with mediocre results, just because everyone else does it that way? Isn't it time to make a change and do things your own way? Maybe, just maybe, you will see vast improvements in your life. And if you stuff up or don't get it quite right the first time, don't give up. Just keep on trying things out until you find what really works for you. Don’t be bothered by those who try to deter you. Your true friends will support you and the opinion of the rest of them doesn't matter!

One thing to remember - if others object to what you are doing or becoming, it is because it is a reflection of something in their own lives that they need to deal with. When they see you becoming successful in some area of your life, they feel unsettled because they know that they should be trying to make improvements in their lives too and you are reminding them of that deficiency in themselves! So it is never about you, it is about them. The sad fact is that most people are quite prepared to plod along living a mediocre existence. They really cannot see that there are better possibilities for them if only they make an effort. But you can see the possibilities, so go and live your dreams!

My aim is to help as many people as possible realise their full potential from both a human and spiritual perspective. My website provides resources for personal and spiritual development including articles, newsletter and help available by email.

Pat Campbell



Sunday, December 03, 2006

Act The Way You'd Like To Be

Cary Grant once said "I've acted like I was Cary Grant for so long that I actually became Cary Grant"

"Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you
act." --George W. Crane

"Act as if you were already the person you want most to be."
--Brian Tracy

"The truth is you can acquire any quality you want just by acting like you already have that quality." --Joseph Murphy

"Act as though and it shall be" --Bible

What is Your Choice? Depression or Joy? - By Ab Van Deemter

Looking at your life over the past year does not make you feel very happy.
Actually your life does not look so great lately. At work you have this colleague, who seemed a real colleague at first, but has become pure competition now and he or she bootlicks your boss, who even seems to like that. You see all your hopes for promotion within the company being flushed through the toilet and at the same time it looks as if you are flooded with more and more work.

You hope to finally be able to catch your breath at home but again there you find your spouse, who is as overstressed as you are and you find your extremely demanding kids, who help you to remember that they live in the same house, too. Even when you think you could possibly get rid off the feeling through your favourite sport you notice that this too does not help, because you simply feel too miserable. You start eating more and more, because you think that that’s the only thing that can still keep you happy, or you seek a different state of being by drinking too much alcohol.

You can feel yourself sinking into a miserable state. The state in which all your motivation to go on is dying. You can not remember what “joy of life” means. You slowly get close to a depression, but you keep on saying to yourself that “one day you’ll get over it”.

At the same time you see other people having a great time and you start wondering why it is so much easier for you to fall into depression. Why is it so difficult to stay happy? Why do these periods of joy disappear so quickly and why do these times of depression last so long?

You know why? Because you are thinking about it. You are focussing on it. Did you know that our brain releases chemicals in our blood that support our moods? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening! You attract whatever it is that you focus on. In other words by thinking about the things that make you feel depressed, you make yourself more depressed.

The reversed is just as true. If you would spend as much time thinking about pleasant things as that you spend thinking about depressive things, guess what you would attract in your life? Exactly! You would attract Joy! And if you would focus on the things that bring joy into your life, you would attract more joy and you would be able to maintain that state of joy.

Of course this is not about denying what’s going on in your life. You would need to see the things for what they really are.
Sure this colleague is bootlicking your boss, sure you get more and more work and sure you have kids that ask for a massive amount of attention.
But does all this need to become the focal point of every thought that passes?

You could find your colleague’s attitude amusing and continue to keep up with your own good work and become more pro active about it. The fact that all this work comes to you could also be seen as a compliment somehow.
Isn’t this a matter of either setting better boundaries or to become more efficient with your work or time?

And for as far as your children are concerned; have you tried to approach this with some humour? Or you could sift out some books about parenting or find parents with the same type of problems and speak to them. Experiment with a number of different approaches. It also helps to think back at your own youth once in a while. After all you grew up okay, did not you?

Getting into a state of joy is easy and staying there is easy. And believe me, this is not easier said than done. It is scientifically proven.

It is the will to choose how we look at the situations in our lives and it is a matter of choice whether we focus on joy or on the negative things that bring us down.

Practice to think positive thoughts! Because, let’s be fair. What is more fun: practicing depression or practicing joy?

I know what I choose.

I hope you have enjoyed the self motivation tips in this article and that they provided you with some new insights.When you use these as self motivation exercise you will obtain the necessary self motivation skills and you will become a much more joyful person.

Ab van Deemter (http://www.passiontogrow.com) is a Personal Growth specialist and a spiritual person, who believes in sharing his knowledge of personal perseverance. He has studied metaphysics and other holistic methods for many, many years and embarked on a life of success. With successful tools for personal freedom he has made it past a life full of obstacles and now mentors and teaches business owners, their staff, his own employees, as well as a large group of private individuals.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

When Defeat Comes

"When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans
are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more
toward your coveted goal."

*-- Napoleon Hill

"Eagles come in all shapes and sizes, but you will recognize them
chiefly by their attitudes."

*-- Charles Prestwich Scott

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can
alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."

*-- William James

Key To Success: Motivation - By Donovan Baldwin

Motivation is not a new concept to most of us. We have felt that first burst of enthusiasm. Perhaps it was an ad or news story on TV, an article in a magazine, a chance remark, or an embarrassing moment that brought us that sudden rush of certainty that something needed to be done...could be done. We felt a strong, perhaps overwhelming desire to DO SOMETHING...something that would change what had been or create something new. Often, this is accompanied by a clear and certain knowledge of what to do, how to do, and what the result would be.

Maybe we decided to lose weight, start a business, or write a book. Still bolstered by our reaction to what we had seen, heard, or felt, were certain of success! We would start that exercise program, or open that savings account tomorrow; we would begin writing a chapter a day...tomorrow. No! Tomorrow was too far away! We knew what we wanted and how to get it and we were going to start today!

Nothing could stop us!!

Of course, we know what happened over the next few hours, days, or weeks.

The clear image we had of our success dimmed and blurred; perhaps disappeared all together. The daily exercise routine, became a couple of times a week, and then was dropped all together. We quit making the deposit, or the notebook we bought for writing our great novel suddenly seemed too full of blank pages to ever fill.

The dream ended. If we were lucky, that's all that happened...it ended. For some, however, it lingered on as one more reminder of all the unfulfilled dreams and became part of our self image. It was another defeat to add to the stack.

So! What happened and how do we change it?

What happened was a combination of life, human nature, and personality or character.

Life supplies us with a constant stream of information, events, and opportunities. It is difficult to keep sight of the goal and the process while maintaining the initial level of motivation which burned so brightly when it was the new kid on the block.

Human nature has defense mechanisms and weaknesses which combine to cause us to lose the fervor we felt...before we begin to become aware of the obstacles in our path. Sadly, an obstacle does not have to be real to be effective. The well-intentioned doubts of friends and family, whether real or imagined, are both equally effective in extinguishing the fires of desire.

As with many things in our lives, our personalities and characters have a great impact on our success or failure in any given situation. Whether they contribute to our success or become obstacles does not, however, define us as failures! It is also important to note that the factors of personality or character which may be in the way are NOT always set in stone and may be altered so that success becomes a more common state.

Ways to maintain motivation keep our dream clear, bright, and fresh after the first giddy rush of elation we felt when we first felt we knew "the answer". We cannot change life in general, but we can change how we live it and alter the human nature and circumstances which would rob us of success.

1. Write it down: Whatever the goal or dream, commit it to paper. Often, the dream simply becomes harder to see, more difficult to focus on, as new events and factors evolve. Writing it down allows us to refocus and see the goal again as we saw it when it was fresh.

2. Read it: Carry the paper you wrote it on with you. Make an extra copy and put it on your bathroom mirror, another on the refrigerator door. Take it out several times daily and read it...out loud is best, but silently in the bathroom is better than nothing.

3. Revise it: Things change, we grow, we learn. Be real. Having to alter a dream or the process of achieving it is not failure. It is reality.

4. Log it: Make note of what you did to achieve your goal or what you can do tomorrow or next week. Don't worry about how far you got, or how much you did...just that you did it.

5. Learn it: Study the subject. You don't have to go back to school for a degree, but regularly delving into the subject will help keep you focused and perhaps give you new ideas to help you on your way.

6. Share it: If you dare, you are the judge. Letting people know what you're doing, while being aware that they may have a negative view of it, can be motivating.

7. Read about motivation: These few words are not the only ones written on the subject. There are other ideas out there, and a sentence in another article or a book may be the key you need to go farther than you have ever gone before.

The goal is to keep the motivation level somewhere near the level it was when you started.

Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer and network marketing professional. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. Get more insights on self improvement at http://web-home.ws/self-improvement/

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stay Motivated by Making a Written Commitment to Yourself - By Ross Harrison

People almost always say they are committed to their success, but rarely do they actually put it in writing. Putting your thoughts or goals in writing makes them seem more tangible and helps keep them in your conscious thoughts. This is most effective when your written commitment is kept where it will frequently be seen. The more you see and think about reaching your goals, the more likely you are to succeed.

This commitment will essentially be a contract listing behaviors or actions for which you will hold yourself accountable. You should treat this contract as seriously as you would any other important contract.

A great way to make this even more effective is by sharing your goals and even your written commitment with your family and friends. Research has consistently shown that people who make their goals public are more successful at reaching their goals. The people you share your goals with help hold you accountable and serve as an additional source of motivation. Of course, this only works well when the people you tell are supportive and encouraging.

As for the written commitment/contract itself, the actual content will influence its effectiveness. You definitely want to clearly state your primary goal(s), but you should also go beyond this and include important steps you need to follow to reach your goals.

For example, if your primary goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat, you should include objectives such as "I will engage in at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity 3 times per week" or "I will eat 5 or 6 small meals per day instead of 3 large meals." Try to include every behavior or activity that you feel is integral to your long-term success.

Now that you have your list of goals and the steps necessary to reach them, as stated earlier, be sure to put it somewhere where it will be seen multiple times each day. Also, if you like to use lists, make a daily or weekly checklist with each item on your contract and check them off as you complete them or at the end of the day. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and help keep you motivated.

After you finish your initial commitment/contract, it should not be set in stone. From time to time you should update your contract to make sure the goals/objectives are still appropriate and beneficial. For example, if you have an initial goal of walking 2 miles 3 times a week, after a while that goal will be too easy and you will stop seeing positive results. Then you should create a new goal to reflect your current fitness level.

Using written commitments to yourself will help keep you motivated to reach just about any goal you have. Whether you want to lose weight, start a business, or improve a particular skill, written commitments are a great way to improve your results.

Ross Harrison, CSCS, NSCA-CPT is a certified personal trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, and nutritional consultant who teaches people how to lose weight, get in shape, and improve their quality of life with exercise and nutrition. For more information or to sign up for his free health and fitness newsletter containing tons of useful information, visit http://precisionhealth-fitness.com/.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Execute on Goals: Periodically Evaluate Where You Are - By Shawn Doyle

If you were blindfolded and taken to a foreign country where you had never been and dropped off in the middle of a city you would at first have trouble finding your way around. You would ask for directions, then you would probably buy a map. Once you had the map and you knew the exact direction you were headed, you would find your way home. Because you are an intelligent person you would stop along the way periodically and check with a “local” to see if you were going in the right direction. This would give you the confidence and assurance that you were headed in the right direction.

The Motivational Map

I would suggest that goals are part of your map to success. An additional part of success and motivation is stopping to evaluate your progress and to periodically evaluate “ where you are.” This will tell you if you are “on track.”

Let me give you another example. Let’s say you were on a workout and fitness program. If you were on that program, you would measure your body fat, weigh yourself and possibly take measurements of your waist. This is how you would measure your progress. It would keep you motivated because as you lost weight and inches you would be even more fired up because you had seen results!
In order to get motivated, and stay motivated, it is absolutely essential to evaluate where you are on a monthly or quarterly basis for all of your goals. Doing this will have several advantages:

•It allows you to objectively stand back, take a time out in order to evaluate where you are and how you are progressing compared to the goals you have set.

•If you are meeting your goals or exceeding them, you will be that much more motivated. It feels good to be on track or ahead of schedule.

•If you are off the mark, this will give you a chance to make adjustments. This is a good news scenario, because you would rather correct your course earlier rather than later. This is much better than waiting until the end of the year to fix it.

•The exercise of periodically looking at where you are will reinforce why you set out to approach the goals that you have in the first place.

The act of looking at your progress and “where you are” is very valuable and relevant. As members of the human race, we are always changing, and sometimes as we change our goals and our direction changes as well. In looking back at the goals you may decide that you want to change some of the goals you have set and that is healthy.

Ask And You Shall Receive

In reviewing your progress, ask yourself some very in depth questions and think through the answers. As a young man, I thought that I wanted to be an actor. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, I realized I didn’t want to live in New York or L.A. I realized I didn’t want to be an actor and sacrifice as much as it was going to take. This was the result of asking myself the question “Is this what I really want?” The answer in my head was of course a resounding no.

As you take this journey called life it is very easy to get in a big hurry and to not stop and think about what you are doing and why. Asking yourself the right questions and really thinking about the answers will lead you to your own truth. The truth will be the key to staying motivated, because what you are going after is your own.

To Be Or Not To Be

Here are questions that you need to consider. Take some quiet time and find a spot where you won’t be distracted and ask yourself some of these questions:

•What were the original goals and why did I set them? Take a look at the original goals and ask yourself why you set them. What are you going to get out of these goals? Why are they important to you? How would achieving them affect your life and those around you? If you can nail down the answers to these questions it can be a fire starter for your motivation. You may say “That’s right, now I remember why this is so important.”

•How am I doing against my goals that I set? Take a look at this area and determine if you are ahead of schedule. If you are ahead of schedule, you will be very excited! You may find that you are right on track. That should be pleasing as well, because you can see that you are right where you should be. You may be behind schedule, in that case, you need to decide what obstacles are standing in your way and take some action! At one point during the writing of this book I got bogged down with being busy in other parts of my life and at times the progress was slow. I went back a few times and made adjustments in order to get things moving again. An Asian philosopher once said, “the secret of life is the constant readjustment to our surroundings.” So this constant process of evaluation and adjustment is necessary and motivating. It is also important to get a handle on how you are feeling about your progress- so you can manage your feelings. If you are frustrated or upset you need to take action to get out of that mode, because it is not a mode that is productive.

•What can I do differently? Ask yourself if you are taking the right approach and what have you learned in the last three or four months that you can apply. What modifications can you make to your habits? To your lifestyle? When can you make the changes? Where can you make them? How can you make them? Is there anyone who can help you or give you advice? This is a key point. Many people are shy and reluctant to ask other people for help. I think they are concerned the other person will say no – or will feel “put out” or taken advantage of. I have found in my experience that most people are flattered when you ask for their advice or help because it appeals to their ego. I also think people in general are nice and want to help. I have had very few people turn me down cold when I have asked for help and in general have been much more helpful then I expected. The power is just in the act of asking for help. Try this technique it really works.

•How do you feel about where you are at today? Are you very excited about your progress? Are you not excited at all? If you aren’t why not? What is holding you back from making the progress that you want to make? What are the barriers standing in your way? Going back to the trip analogy, if you were taking a long trip across the Atlantic, would you be frustrated if after 50 days you had made little progress? Of course you would! But that would be the time you would want to adjust your course! Then you would at least feel better by knowing your were off course and have made the necessary corrections.

•What is your primary objective for this goal? Why did you set it to begin with? Why is it so important? What impact will this have on your life? It is very important to ask yourself these questions because they can be helpful reminders as to why you started in the first place. One of the primary factors in motivation I believe, is the “why” motivation. You have to know why you are doing something, otherwise, you will at some point stop wanting to do it.

•What has changed since I last evaluated? Have there been any changes? What has changed with you? What has changed in your company? Your family? Your community? Your world? Because decisions aren’t made in a vacuum, it is important to look at all the factors that could, did, or will affect your decisions. If any changes have occurred, you may need to modify your course of action.

•How does this particular goal relate to the other goals I have set? Is there an interrelation between the goals? Are any of the goals in conflict with one another? Let’s say you have a goal of spending more time with your family. A second goal was to work out six times a week and really get in shape. A third goal is to go back to school and get your masters. As you can see if you try to achieve all these goals at once there is an inherent conflict.

•Are you having fun? If you aren’t having fun the questions that you answered on the last few pages don’t matter. If you are not having fun, at some point you will run out of steam and stop working on your goals. So I think that one benchmark should be that you are having fun! I was at an amusement park recently and watched a sixty year old man get on a ride. As he was buckled in I had him in perfect view. I wanted to see how he would react. He was smiling and yelling and saying “Whoa… this is great!” and he was having a ball! I mention this because there were other people at the park that day who were the same age, and looked like they were having no fun at all! Why? They had the “I am too old to ride this ride and I will look like a fool” mindset. What a shame.

•What are you doing well? As you go through this process write down what you are doing well. It is important to recognized and acknowledge what is going well for two reasons first, so you can keep doing it and second, so you have a sense of accomplishment. Even if some things are not going well other aspects are going well.

•Where are the key areas for improvement? If you had to identify one or two areas off the top of your head that could use improvement, what would they be? What kind of impact would improving these areas have?

•What would make a huge difference? If you think about it what are a few things that you could start doing today that would make a huge difference?

•What are your key barriers? What are some of the key barriers in your way? How can they be eliminated?

If you periodically evaluate where you are it will help you get motivated, and stay motivated, because the periodic check-up will be your motivational “compass” and will help you stay pointed in the right direction.

Shawn Doyle is the President of New Light Learning and Development (www.newlightlearning.com) a company specializing in Leadership Development and motivation. He has also authored five books on leadership sales and motivation. His latest book The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Training has just been published by HRD Press. Sldoyle1@aol.com