Morning Coffee Archives

Morning Coffee Archives

morning coffeeThank you for visiting! We hope you enjoy our growing archive of Morning Coffee inspirational stories.

12/11/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

 

"Money often costs too much."

 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest."

 

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

IMMACULATE CONSUMPTION!

 

A cartoon recently ran on the editorial page: A very large sport-utility vehicle was releasing a large belch while someone's hand desperately reached out from inside the fuel door, a gas pump lying on the ground beneath. This humorous observation on rising gas prices immediately brought to mind the question, "Are we the consumers, or the consumed?"

 

As the rising cost of fuel forces prices for everything else to rise in tandem, we are likewise forced to consider just how much we're willing to consume and at what cost. As you plan for your future and retirement, forget about all the hoopla surrounding the privatization of Social Security and consider another strategy: Don't spend your money (or at least not as much of it as you have been)!

 

Think what you might get for $1,000: a new sleeper couch, 2 Super Bowl tickets, a riding lawnmower, a three-day weekend getaway? Regardless of how useful or entertaining any of these options might be, imagine how much $1,000 could really cost you.

 

Let's say you're thirty years from retirement and are lucky enough to be managing a mutual fund with a steady return of 10%. (That's really not unreasonable if you are highly pro-active and educated in your investments.) If you spend that $1,000, instead of contributing it to your investment fund, you'll have reduced your future savings by at least $17,400!

 

Do you want that $1,000 now or do you want that $17,400 in the future? Play around with the figures all you want, but the truth will remain constant: wealthy people get that way and stay that way by pinching pennies. Keep your goals well in sight, and avoid the temptation to be consumed by consumerism!


12/4/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."

 

~ Edmund Burke

 

"Inches make a champion."

 

~ Vince Lombardi

 

LESS IS MORE! 

 

During an NFL matchup, one of the announcers observed that the favored team’s quarterback had been guilty of trying to do too much on the field. Apparently linemen, receivers, and running backs had not been pulling their weight last season, and the quarterback was feeling all of the pressure to produce a winning performance for the team.

 

What changes did the coaching staff make? For one, they brought in players who could run the ball better and more often, relieving their offensive leader of having to throw so many passes. With other players stepping up their performances, the quarterback didn’t feel so much pressure, and his completion percentage went way up.

 

It’s a classic case of “less is more.” When the pressure is released and we feel that we don’t have to do so much, we actually feel free to do more! We learn to share the responsibility with those who are there to support us when we let go of our “universe will end if I don’t make this work” mentality.

 

By asking others to step up and share responsibility, we become more successful. It should never be up to one person to make the project work, although having a leader helps keep everything organized and focused.

 

The leader understands that success is not all about leaps and bounds. It’s about each individual taking the right small steps that will carry everyone forward. Louis L’Amour wrote that "victory is won not in miles, but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more."

 

Don’t make the mistake of doing nothing because you think you can only do a little. On the flip side, don’t try to do everything because you feel you must. Sometimes doing less will allow you to do even more.

 

11/27/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

 

DON'T FORGET TO PACK YOUR INSIGHT! 

 

How wonderful it is to learn new things and see new places! How would we ever grow as individuals if we never experienced anything different from that which we see and do in our daily lives? Two different voyages come to mind, however, when considering the discovery of that which is "new" - an outward journey, and one which turns inward.

 

Your outward "voyage of discovery" takes you to different places and new people. You begin to understand other things outside yourself. This can be as simple as discovering new-found beauty on a wilderness "adventure," or having an engaging conversation or correspondence with someone from a completely different part of the country or the world. The ultimate goal here is not just looking at new things, but looking at things in a new way! A change of scenery can effect a change of mind.

 

But you can still experience a voyage of discovery even if you don't travel anywhere, even if you don't meet anyone new. You don't have to change your surroundings, just the way you look at them - with "new eyes!" Sometimes stepping back and looking again at the Big Picture can reveal things that you never saw before. The solution to an ongoing problem can suddenly manifest itself.

 

This can often be the key to unlocking the door to your happiness - finding a way to change yourself instead of changing what surrounds you. For all those situations that seem to be out of your control, you have to realize that you are always in control of yourself. So much stress comes from frustration. Don't keep running up against that rock that represents your problems. Try to act like the water that simply flows around the rock as it continues its journey downstream. Your inward voyage of change can have dramatic results on how you see what's around you! Enjoy your new outlook!


11/20/2017


INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

 

~ William Shakespeare

 

LEAVE A LIGHT ON! 

 

Remember when you were a teenager leaving the house on a date? Your parents’ last words as you went out the door were, "We'll leave the light on for you". Think about that. So what if they did or didn't leave the light on? Their words were really more of a verbal hug. They cared about you - wanted you to know it - and applied the hug with kind words.

 

With Thanksgiving in just a few days, why not take the time to "leave the light on" for someone who may not get many hugs? There's still time, and it's easy.

 

First, learn who needs hugs. Check with your local fire, police, or sheriff's department. Ask whether they know of three or four families or individuals who could use a hug. Ask also whether they would consider delivering your hugs at the appropriate time. Two groups stand out as needy - the elderly and families with small children. Of course, we're talking about individuals who are experiencing difficult circumstances in their lives, be they physical or financial.

 

Next, consider what type of hugs you have to offer. Perhaps you might prepare three or four Thanksgiving turkeys with all the trimmings. Live in the country where people heat their homes with a wood stove? Deliver firewood. Live in a cold climate? Add some warm socks or a sweater to your dinner box. It's really not that difficult to come up with ideas that would make a difference to your chosen recipients. If you aren't able to provide "things," consider visiting with some nursing home residents. Brighten their day by listening for a while.

 

It goes without saying that our country is truly blessed. Although practically invisible to most of us, however, there are some individuals who are being challenged. They need a hug, and we can brighten their lives by way of simple gestures. Make a family project out of it - involve your kids. Do it anonymously. Afterwards, when you get home, we'll leave the light on for you!


11/13/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"I compensate for big risks by always doing my homework and being well-prepared. I can take on larger risks by reducing the overall risk."  
 
~ Donna E. Shalala
 
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
 
There has been a very amusing but very telling commercial on television in recent times. If you haven’t seen it, try to guess what it might be promoting...
 
The scene is set in a small Italian village, with excited townsfolk lined up on a bridge spanning a wide river. A man stands at the edge of the bridge, with large “wings” constructed of fabric, metal and wood attached and spread wide on his back.
 
The man jumps, the onlookers gasp, he begins to flap madly, and then soars beautifully over the water. The crowd goes wild, cheering, “He can fly! He can fly!” But one wizened old gentleman in their midst turns to admonish them, “But he can’t swim...”
 
The next frames show the great innovator crashing into the river, and presumably meeting his demise. It’s no “accident” that this ad is for an insurance company!
 
Just as we should never fear to push our boundaries or attempt great things, we should also never overlook the possibility of failure. We also shouldn’t remain so focused on our goal that we ignore all other possible outcomes.
 
Confidence is a critical ingredient of success, but humility is what carries us through to our ultimate goal. The fact that the Titanic sank has been a popular illustration of this principle, “pride before the fall.” Like our friend in the insurance commercial, even Icarus did not consider that the wax in his wings would melt if he came too near the Sun.
 
The next time you begin a project, consider writing yourself an “insurance policy” before you start. First, visualize the goal and the best way to get there. But then, imagine all the things that might come up along the way that may have an adverse effect on the proceedings.
 
Finally, imagine the impact that your success may have on you and those around you. What might change or go wrong after the fact?
 
None of us can predict the future, and we mustn’t avoid greatness for fear of failure. We simply need to be smart in our approach and anticipate problems before they arise. Preparation can prevent a glitch from becoming an all-out debacle. Make sure you pack your floatation device!

 

11/6/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

 

~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

TOUGH LESSONS! 

 

In an old "Peanuts" cartoon, Sally is making a list while Charlie Brown looks on. Sally says, "I'm making a list of all the things I've learned in life . . ." In the next panel she continues with, "Well, actually, I'm making two lists." Charlie questions, "Why is one list longer than the other?" Holding up the much longer list, Sally explains, "These are the things I've learned the hard way!"

 

It's easy to chuckle a little at the part about "learning things the hard way," isn't it? We've all done that. There's really a more revealing message in this simple cartoon.

 

The short list of things we've learned generally contains lessons that required no effort, or lessons we learned passively, while just listening or observing. For instance, we learned simple courtesies from our first grade teacher. We learned historical names and dates from our history teacher. We learned to tie knots from our scout leader. Our parents taught us to share. The list goes on.

 

The important list, the one that's much longer, contains the things we've learned from experience. These lessons are endless, and no matter how trifling the lesson, we learned one every time we took action. We dared to try a two-wheel bicycle and crashed - several times. We tried out for the school play - and made fools of ourselves in front of friends.

 

By attempting - at the possible expense of our pride, our self-esteem, or our physical well-being - we either succeeded or failed (and learned a lesson). It is our actions that produce results and teach us those valuable lessons. Teddy Roosevelt said it right: "Far better to dare mighty things . . ."


11/1/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Your imagination is the preview to life's coming attractions."

~ Albert Einstein

 

YOU'RE THE STAR! 

 

Do you believe Orville & Wilbur were first to fly because they had a hammer, nails and a free weekend? Think the television was created by accident? Did Bill Gates just stumble upon the software code that has changed the world? Not a chance!

 

The Wright brothers created the previews of their first flight in the theatre of their minds. Naturally, there were no limitations to their imaginings as they dreamed of flying. Who knows how the dream of television became reality . . . how it was transformed from a mere visualization into vacuum tubes, knobs, and channels?

 

What went through Bill Gates' mind prior to his early experiments? Surely his first visions were not of a colorful package entitled "Windows 2000." Nevertheless, his vivid imagination took us all from the concept of "1's" and "0's" to today's monumentally complex world of computer software and internet browsers.

 

What about you? What goes on in your mind's eye while no one is looking? What do you see yourself doing in one, three, or five years? Do you hear a special future beckoning you to create an action thriller from the previews running through your imagination? Is there a stirring inside you that begs to be brought to fruition?

 

Why not grab some popcorn, a soft drink, and settle quietly into your favorite chair to enjoy the previews of your own imagination? Then, with a clear picture fresh in your mind, create the main attraction - your life!


10/16/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't."

 

~ Gloria Steinem

 

OPPOSITES DETRACT! 

 

Don't you just love the irony of today's quote? Steinem implies that simply separating people into two categories is too simplistic, but at the same time, she uses that very same technique to convey her meaning!

 

Learning what something is by defining what it is not has been an age-long practice in education. It's hard to understand light without knowing darkness. How could we appreciate quiet without suffering through loud and constant noise?

 

While dichotomies or contradictions help us in our understanding, it's very dangerous to define everything we experience in this way, that it's simply one way or the other. Is every declaration either true or false? If so, what do you make of the next two sentences?

 

The following statement is true. The preceding statement is false!

 

Okay, all philosophical joking aside, it's easier to categorize the world into "is" and "is not," but we also realize that there are "shades of grey" between the black and the white. If we always expect people to act in just one of two ways, we're in for some nasty surprises.

 

This world cannot be divided into two kinds of people, no matter how simply you look at it. Can we say that if you make war, you must hate peace? Or that if you love peace, you must not make war? This isn't politicizing - it's a simple observation that we all have within us the capacity for understanding and appreciating not both sides of a situation, but ALL sides.

 

By avoiding generalizations that reduce everything said or done into good or bad, we open ourselves up to varieties of interpretation that allow us to make truly educated decisions. Sure, it's more complicated and challenging that way, but it keeps us from morphing into the very stereotypes we’re trying to avoid. Vive la difference!


10/9/2017


INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinions of the things that happen."

 

~ Epictetus

 

NO FEAR! 

 

A well-known motivational speaker once said, "No one knows enough to be a pessimist." He also quoted statistics showing that a very high percentage of the things we worry about are either A) things that never happen, or B) things over which we have no control anyway. His point? Not only do we not have enough information to justify our worries, we also are virtually unable to alter the outcome of most situations.

 

Our worst fears are generally of the unknown (not enough information). Our imagination runs wild, conjuring up worst-case scenarios. We become fearful, anxious, and even overwhelmed - yet the source of our fear is non-existent (except in our minds). Consider these oft-quoted phrases:

 

"Think you can - think you can't - either way you're right." "As a man thinketh, so is he." "Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours."

 

In other words, by your thoughts alone, you control the outcome. Although there exist many risks to our peace-of-mind during uncertain times, we still have the ability to pursue our very best hopes and dreams. We may find that their achievement requires more effort than usual. Doubt may creep in. Nevertheless, as you have heard many times, "It's all in your head."


10/3/2017


INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

"The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next."

 

~ Abraham Lincoln

 

TEACH VALUES 101! 

 

What do children and government have in common? That depends on which classroom you visit. If you have children and are actively involved in their lives, you are likely to encounter a classroom filled with intelligent, interested, involved and respectful children.

 

Unfortunately, many teachers today will tell you that's not what they are seeing. In some 1st & 2nd grade settings, children fall asleep because they spent the night in the family car while mom or dad sold drugs. Others are antagonistic and disrespectful, traits also learned from other family members. Still others are raised in a "no rules" family, where parents simply abdicate their parental responsibilities.

 

Many parents still take their responsibilities seriously. In fact, there appears to be a resurgence of young parents who teach their children the values of honesty, integrity, and service to others. It's about time. If you're one of them, I applaud your commitment to making the world a better place.

 

There has also been a dearth of honesty, respect and morality over the past 30 years or so. Children brought up during that time often experienced the negative effects of a no rules society. Today those same individuals are beginning to lead companies and be elected to office, yet we are surprised that company CEO's and elected officials could ever lie and mislead as they have been exposed to do recently.

 

As the children of today's classrooms are disposed to believe and behave, so will they as the adults of tomorrow's generation. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, you can make a difference for the next generation of leaders. Take time to encourage, nurture, and teach the children in your family. Sometimes, a single comment or gesture can give a child the impetus to become great.

 

9/25/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

 

~ Unattributed

 

FALL FORWARD! 

 

With the arrival of the fall season, life’s pace picks up a bit. With the dog days of summer behind us, we look toward the seasonal shifts in business and the approaching holidays. Our “To Do” lists start to get longer, and our enthusiasm sometimes wanes.

 

So as the days get shorter, how do we increase our productivity? The short answer is “a little bit at a time.” Specifically, just fifteen minutes at a time, according to REALTOR Magazine “Sales Coach” John D. Mayfield.

 

The argument is simple: you get more done by organizing your day into small chunks of time, instead of devoting three hour blocks to a project. It’s only when we’ve fallen too far behind that we force ourselves to spend so much time and effort on an unfinished task. Then we burn out and can’t seem to get anything done at all.

 

Take something as routine and unexciting as catching up on phone calls or email messages. Put it off all week, and suddenly you’ve got thirty calls to return and ninety messages in your Inbox. But just fifteen minutes a day spent on each of these two tasks adds up to two and half hours of quality work during the week. Extend that concept to other things like exercise and reading, both of which improve the rest of your day and your labor.

 

Devoting fifteen minutes isn’t difficult, and once you’ve begun, you might find yourself working even longer. Maybe you’ll feel that the project at hand isn’t so overwhelming after all, and once it’s behind you, you’ll feel renewed enthusiasm for the next item on the “To Do” list.

 

Ultimately, just remember that fifteen minutes a day is better than nothing at all, and in one hour you can begin to attack up to four different responsibilities. John Mayfield reminds us of the old Chinese proverb: “A minute of time is an inch of gold.” Invest just a few minutes and discover your reward!


Posted 9/18/2017

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"We're not out to change the world, just the way you talk to it."

 

~ from a Vonage television commercial

 

"The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate."

 

~ Joseph Priestly

 

TALK IS CHEAP! 

 

How ironic that today’s “inspiration” comes from a marketing campaign for a communications company. It’s touted that technology saves you time and helps you to communicate better. But isn’t it more apparent that technology now leaves us with so little time that we barely have occasion to properly interact with others?

 

Anything that “saves time” is simply making more time that you can then devote to some other pursuit. Dishwashers and clothes dryers were supposed to be modern time- and effort-reducing marvels, but did people just sit around and relax after the cleaning was done? No, because all the “extra time” created by technology has only served to increase the hectic pace of our lives, allowing us to do more and more in less and less time.

 

What about cell phones and email? Promoted as easy and inexpensive ways to communicate, they have ultimately diminished the personal aspect of communication. Ever gotten a phone call from someone who was killing time in line at the grocery store, or even worse, in traffic? Critical for emergencies and conducting business, cell phones otherwise give us an excuse for quick calls on the run, before the battery dies or the signal drops out (or another calls beeps in).

 

Email is another beast altogether, having reduced our language skills to nothing more than “emoticons” and run-on sentences without capitalization. Email has replaced the answering machine as the new way to ignore communication. The sender feels good because at least they made an effort to get in touch, but the recipient is in the privileged position of responding whenever they wish.

 

Ideally, we would all be able to sit down at home with undivided attention and give someone an hour of quality time on the phone. Or perhaps sit down with pen and paper and actually handwrite a personal letter to a friend or relative who lives at some distance. But really, who has the time?


Posted 8/14/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."

 

HAS THE DOG BEEN FED? 

 

When was the last time you had a vivid, golly-gee-wow, gotta-do-it-now type of dream - a dream that made you come alive at the very thought of it? Did you put a plan in motion to achieve that dream?

 

OK - forget about the dream for a moment. What about the rest of your life? Do you know where you're going and which principles you've adopted to get you there?

 

Sometimes dreams and plans fail to mature into reality by neglect. The good dog isn't fed properly, becomes weak and tentative, and eventually loses out to the mean dog - the one that is all too happy to fill our life with meaningless trivia.

 

The good dog we're discussing here is your personal constitution, that quiet inner voice that directs your life in the right direction. It's the part of you that thrives on hope, knowledge, service to others, perseverance, honesty, commitment and many other worthy principles. It's the "you" that knows you can make the world a better place for all, and sets out to accomplish the task.

 

The mean dog thrives on fear, deceit, worry, irresponsibility, and ignorance. This ugly dog can flourish and take over by simply filling the void left when the good dog is too weak to eat. Surely you've seen this dog face-to-face. He sometimes appears as a "friend" who douses your latest brainstorm with cold water, or encourages you to shade the truth a bit to make the deal work.

 

So how do you feed and encourage the good dog? Inspiration and knowledge are excellent ingredients to build strong hopes and sound dreams. Inspiration is available in many forms ranging from personal relationships with those we admire and trust to biographies of others who have succeeded in spite of the odds. Incidentally, you can easily starve the mean dog by avoiding negative relationships altogether.

 

Increased knowledge builds skill levels and ultimately confidence and self-esteem. It is difficult to feel vulnerable and defensive when you have all the facts. Knowledge combined with inspiration strengthens principles already adopted, and may introduce you to new ones. Remember, the mean dog thrives on ignorance and fear, both of which can rob your constitution blind.


Posted 8/7/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out." ~ Anton Chekhov
 
IMPROVING THE DAILY GRIND!
 
Conventional Wisdom tells us that life’s most traumatic moments provide opportunity for personal growth and discovery. More often, however, it’s the mundane, everyday trials and tribulations that really push us to discover the scope of both our achievements and our patience.
 
We undervalue our daily functions, simply because we do them on such a regular basis. But consistently performing those “menial” jobs, and consistently performing them well, is the real gauge of accomplishment.
 
Just trying to prevent boredom is a real challenge. You have to be careful not to neglect the “small stuff” as you look ahead to bigger and more exciting things. You needn’t be in “crisis mode” all the time, but do be aware that even your most routine responsibilities are critically important. That’s why you have to do them so often!
 
If you’re becoming bored by your “day to day living,” then you need to “change things up.” You insult yourself with boredom – you have it within you to educate and entertain yourself, to fill your time with activities that develop your mind or your body.
 
This is why so many people actually fear retirement. They fear they’ll have nothing to do. They’ve spent so long on “autopilot” that they have trouble imagining new routines. But there’s always volunteerism, continuing education, recreational activities and hobbies, second careers, and more.
 
If your autopilot has taken command, imagine what you would suddenly try to do if you discovered you had one year to live.

 

Posted 7/31/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"If someone wrote a book about your life . . . would anyone want to read it?"

 

~ TV Recruiting Ad (U.S. Navy)

 

FICTION OR NON-FICTION? 

 

Fast-forward your life 20, 30, even 40 years. Now . . . imagine someone writing a book of your life story. Think of the possibilities. Would it be motivational, a mystery perhaps, or even science fiction? What about reference, a novel, true crime, short story, or an expose? Would it be found in the children's section of the library, the reference section, or under biographies?

 

Wow - the possibilities are endless. The good news is - YOU are the lead character, and get to make all the choices! Close your eyes and visualize how it would read. Assume that the author is an unrelated third-party who knows every detail. That's a scary thought, isn't it?

 

If the chapters were written in chronological order, which ones would make the best reading? Undoubtedly, the ones from age 12-20 would provide some interesting material. From 20 to 40 would be excellent transitional chapters with lots of "Ah-ha!"s and course changes. The final chapter may be the most revealing, however. Think how many readers like to skip to the end to see how the book ends.

 

If you could skip to the end of your own book, how would it read? Summarizing the entire book, would you say it was a thriller, a shocker, a spell-binder, a tragedy, a romance, or an inspiration?

  

Your life is a book waiting to be written - write it well!


Posted 7/23/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes softly and sits on your shoulder."

 

~ Anonymous

 

DRAW YOUR OWN MAP! 

 

Imagine you've planned the trip of your dreams - say from North Carolina to Colorado. You've charted all the roads, have a fist full of maps just in case, and have your priorities straight in your mind. You get started on a beautiful sunny day, and begin enjoying the ride.

 

Late in the day, as you approach the Mississippi River, you drive straight into a bank of heavy fog. You turn on your lights, but still cannot see 10 feet ahead. Just because the highway is out of sight doesn't mean you've lost your way. Continuing on the path you've set for yourself, you soon break out into the sunshine again - still headed in the direction of your dreams.

 

In perspective, consider that the trip represents your life's goal - your first priority. Steering your vehicle down the highway hour by hour represents your efforts to reach your goal. The fog bank illustrates the momentary interruptions and obstacles encountered on your journey.

 

As day #2 begins, you find that you've come to an unexpected intersection - one that's not on your map. Confused, you pull over and examine the map closely. Stay to the right and you'll end up in Colorado. Take a left and you may arrive at an unanticipated, yet equally wonderful destination.

 

OK, let's cut to the chase! Sometimes your priorities change, don't they? Just as you think your goal is in sight, a new opportunity arises. Remember the saying that "life is a journey - not a destination"? What's exciting is that YOU are in control of the steering wheel, and whatever destination you choose is OK - so long as it's YOU who has made the choice.

 

Happy motoring!


Posted 7/17/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you'll find you've done it."

 

~ George Bernard Shaw

 

"Before enlightenment - chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment - chopping wood, carrying water."

 

~ Buddha

 

FEELING STRESSED? 

 

Oh - the frustration of it all. The first quote for today deals with the importance of having direction - goals - in your life. You know - we've all heard it for years - our life will be happier, more prosperous, more meaningful if we have a plan, know where we're going, and work systematically at getting there.

 

If you've tried to do that, you've undoubtedly met with a great deal of frustration along the way. It's like the expression "Life is what happens to you while you're planning other things." No matter how hard you work at your plan, there are those constant interruptions that get in the way, and make it seem so difficult. You are not alone.

 

As important as the first quote is, think about the second one. A modern paraphrase might go like this: "Before setting and achieving your goals, and having control over your life, your days are filled with trivia, interruptions, hassles, disappointments, family responsibilities, etc. After working your plan and achieving all your dreams and goals - your life is filled with trivia, interruptions, hassles, disappointments, family responsibilities, etc."

 

Taking control of your life can result in great personal satisfaction, provided you understand it does not bring you to perfection. Intertwined in our desire to achieve peace, success, and enlightenment, there is still plenty of wood to chop and water to carry. The day-to-day responsibilities of life do not disappear. We simply gain the strength to bear them more readily - and with a smile.

 

So - carry on with your plans and your dreams. They are vital to a great life. Yet remember the words of Jules Renard, who said, "There are moments when everything goes well; don't be frightened, it won't last."


Posted 7/10/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinions of the things that happen."

 

~ Epictetus (55-135)

 

LIGHTEN UP! 

 

Ever feel yourself getting perturbed by something that happens during your day? Ever have the urge to say something about it, when silence might be the best approach? Perhaps you feel the need to make a judgment about each situation that arises.

 

Maybe it's time to slow down a bit. As the song says, "Don't worry - be happy!" The truth is - none of us have the right to judge others, nor their actions. We can control only one thing - our own actions. If there is something to be judged, it would be our reaction to things that happen, not the events themselves.

 

In Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits," Habit #5 says, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." In explaining, Covey states that "People do not see the world as it is; they see it as they are - or as they have been conditioned to be." He goes on to make the simple statement that "When you understand, you don't judge."

 

Once you take the time to understand each situation, there is no longer a need to judge. Interestingly, when others realize that you no longer make those judgments, you will find that they no longer judge you either.

 

Want to free yourself from being disturbed about the events of the day? Just follow the advice of Epictetus, who said, "When considering the future, remember that all situations unfold as they do regardless of how we feel about them. Our hopes and fears sway us, not events themselves."


Posted 6/26/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault."

 

~ John Henry Cardinal Newman

 

SELF PROMOTION! 

 

Been chasing success? Have you caught it yet? Maybe you finally landed a big contract, got that promotion, or reached bonus level at work. Setting a goal and achieving it is gratifying, but it's not usually the end of the journey. Most of us tend to set yet another goal, and take off running again.

 

There's no such thing as taking one grand step and reaching the summit, even when that one step is the last of many already taken on the journey. If you are not satisfied with every small success, and are always looking towards the next achievement for your ultimate gratification, the likelihood is that you will never reach it.

 

What drives your need for the big listing or promotion or bonus will not leave you once you've gotten what you thought you wanted. You must take great care not to let your drive for more and more success belittle what you have accomplished so far. Ultimate success does not come with this or any future achievement. It's about the "whole package" or the "big picture."

 

Do you love what you do for a living? If you say yes, but find yourself constantly pushing for more fulfillment, you might need to reconsider that question. Loving what you do creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, regardless of your position on the ladder. If you're happy not to "keep up with the Joneses," or build mountains of wealth, you are to be congratulated on reaching your own form of nirvana.

 

Your sense of self-worth is not (nor should be) tied to any one positive or negative event. A happy and successful self is a combination of feelings and beliefs, based on experiences at home and at work. Remember that you are greater than the sum of your parts!


Posted 6/19/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking."

 

~ William James (1842-1910)

 

 

YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! 

 

Walk into a totally dark room. What do you see? "Absolutely nothing," you say. Now, turn on the light. Where did the darkness go? Really - where is it now? Hopefully you will agree that darkness cannot exist in the face of light.

 

During a lifetime, we experience many types of "darkness." It may appear in the form of discouragement, fear, hopelessness, grief, ignorance, or poverty. Yet, in every case, there is a "light" in which such darkness cannot exist.

 

Fear, for example, cannot exist in the face of courage. Education denies ignorance any chance of survival. Grief disappears in the presence of peace-of-mind. Discouragement ceases when hope prevails. Wealth denies poverty its chance.

 

No matter what form darkness takes, it cannot exist when faced with its opposite. That also means we have the ability to send darkness on its way at any point in time. No matter how overwhelming the darkness appears, it is our thoughts and our minds that ultimately control the outcome. How powerful is that?

 

In the words of several favorite authors: "Think you can, think you can't, either way you're right." "Your life is what your thoughts make of it." "We are what we think about all day long." Finally, in the words of Tom Bodett, from one of his Motel 6 commercials: "We'll leave the light on for you!"


Posted 6/12/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"Gardner's Law: Eighty-seven percent of all people in all professions are incompetent."

 

~ John Gardner

 

PERSONALITY TEST! 

 

Let's hope today's "inspiration" isn't actually true, although we've all probably felt that way at one time or another. Regardless of the percentage, however, it cannot be denied that incompetence really does exist in every profession, even those like physicians, attorneys, school bus drivers and stock brokers.

 

Some people do a great job no matter what it is they do, while others can't seem to succeed even after trying several careers. Sometimes it's not really a matter of competence so much as matching a job to specific abilities, interests and personality. An introvert who enjoys working alone probably shouldn't pursue a career in communications, while a creative person who enjoys the outdoors likely wouldn't be happy in accounting. No matter how hard you try, you just can't force yourself to love brussels sprouts!

 

How much of the "incompetence" that we encounter is simply the result of a person who is mismatched for their job? We all have certain skills and personality traits that better suit certain types of careers, but we often start down that path before we've ever gotten to really develop and know ourselves. We believe our parents, guidance counselors, and spouses more than we do ourselves sometimes.

 

Realizing your true personality is challenging. Applying that knowledge to your choice of career is even more difficult, but absolutely necessary if you want to be happy in your choice. If you're feeling dissatisfied, try to find at least some small aspect of your job that you find enjoyable, and aggressively apply your personality to it to produce more satisfying results.

 

If that's not working for you, perhaps it's time to take a long hard look at where you've been and where you are and why you don't like it there. Matthew Arnold said, "Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery." You've probably learned a lot about other people in your lifetime. Aren't you ready to know yourself?


Posted 6/5/2017


INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

 

"Until one is committed there is hesitancy,

a chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,

there is one elementary truth,

the ignorance of which kills

countless dreams and splendid plans.

That the moment one definitely commits oneself,

then Providence moves too."

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 

THE RICH GET RICHER!

 

In "Rich Dad's Guide to Investing," the author talks about taking risks. As an example, "Rich Dad" says, "There is risk driving a car. But driving the car with your hands off the steering wheel is really risky." With regard to driving a car, his point is easily understood.

 

His real message, however, goes a little deeper. He's really speaking of the risks people associate with investing. While there are inherent risks in any investment (just as there are in driving to the grocery store), if you don't take control of the risks (as in keeping your hands on the wheel), the risks can quickly overwhelm you. Rich Dad goes on to say that, "It is not necessarily investing that is risky, it is the investor who is risky."

 

Whether you are investing in yourself, your business, real estate, or a stock portfolio, Rich Dad advises that you first gain control over yourself. This is accomplished in two steps: first by creating a written financial plan, and second through intensive study. Both make it possible to get a firm grip on your investment wheel. The written plan is your road map to successful investing, while study provides the knowledge level needed to invest wisely. Collectively, they put you in the driver's seat, giving you control over your investing direction.

 

If the idea of investing your way to wealth appeals to you, you must first commit to pay the price in time. You do not necessarily have to "have money to make money." Like any successful endeavor, however, you must be willing to invest your time, and we all realize just how valuable that can be!


Posted 5/30/2017


INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle."

 

~ Father James Keller (1900-1977)

 

GOT A LIGHT? 

 

We all love a compliment. Your manager says to you, "I noticed that your last sale was handled very smoothly. Thanks for offering your customer such excellent service!" Your wife or husband tells you, "I'm so proud of the way you encourage our children!" Your grown child returns home for a visit and says, "Thanks for making it possible for me to get my degree!" Those are "feel good" times, aren't they?

 

If you live a more or less normal day-to-day sort of life, compliments are always welcome, but aren't absolutely critical to your sense of well-being. You don't have to get them to make it through the day. If you are fortunate enough to enjoy high self-esteem, why not consider becoming a "candle" to others?

 

There are many around us each day, both children and adults, who suffer from mild to extreme "compliment" deficiencies. They may have never been told that they are good, or attractive, or intelligent. As children, they may have never experienced the exhilaration of getting a base hit, or making an "A" on a test, or receiving an "Honorable Mention" in art class. As adults, they may have lost a job, a spouse, or their health. In short, many around us have never even had their "candle" lighted once.

 

You can become the greatest philanthropist of all time without giving away a dime. All it takes to make a life-changing difference in someone's life is to share the light from your candle. Each day, look for opportunities to encourage, compliment, or offer your knowledge to those who are "candle deprived." Think back to when you were a child. Was there some special person who took that time with you - someone you've never forgotten?

 

Sharing your candle by lighting many others can warm both hearts and souls. Make a difference - starting today!


Posted 5/22/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY: 

 

"First of all, you must find the right track, So you can start right away and not be held back. But which track is yours? Well, that all depends On which way it's going, and where it might end."

 

~ Craig Dorfman in "I Knew I Could!"

 

THINK YOU CAN? 

 

Regardless of your age, you were probably introduced as a child to a wonderful book entitled "The Little Engine That Could." If you will recall, it was the story of a small red locomotive personality who believed it was possible to pull a very heavy load uphill - a task that was shunned by other larger locomotives. The little engine huffed and puffed up the hill, all the while repeating the mantra, "I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!"

 

It was a cute story that contained a very powerful message about persistence and the ability to overcome adversity. Now there's a sequel entitled "I Knew I Could!" A quick ten-minute read, it clearly outlines our ability to make our own choices in life. Using illustrations of train tracks and those cute little locomotives, you are easily led to the understanding that we choose the life "tracks" upon which we travel.

 

The book suggests that before picking one of those tracks, we should determine the direction it might take us, and the destination we might reach by so choosing. Sounds like real life, doesn't it? How many times, and in how many ways, must we be taught this lesson? If we fail to make our choices wisely, we have consciously made the choice to live at the mercy of happenstance - as did Alice in the following excerpt from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland":

 

"Cheshire-Puss...," said Alice, "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where -" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "... so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

 

Life - it's your choice. Toot! Toot! 

 

Posted 5/15/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

 

"You will be what you will to be."

 

~ James Allen

 

START SOWING!

 

You say to yourself, "I think I'll go shopping," - and you do. You say, "I think I'll buy a new blu-ray," - and you do. You say, "I think I'll put it on my credit card," - and you do.

 

James Allen lived from 1864 until 1912. As was popular in the early 1900's, he wrote a series of short essays known as pamphlets. The best known, "As A Man Thinketh," was his most famous work. In it, he provided timeless inspiration on the value of thought as it motivates us to action.

 

In his pamphlet, Allen states that, "All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts." Speaking of mankind, he continues with, "They themselves are makers of themselves." Thought precedes all action; thus, he reasons that by controlling our thoughts, we also control our destiny.

 

Notice in the first paragraph above that the "I think" part always seems to lead to the action of "doing." Rarely do we hop in the car, drive aimlessly around, accidentally arrive at a music store, plunk down our credit card, and then say to ourself, "I think I'll go shopping."

 

If we are the sole controller of our thoughts, it stands to reason that we can also control our actions - and our outcomes in life. Our mind and our thoughts are the seedbed of our futures. What a novel thought. Plant some great thoughts in your mind. Do it today!


Posted 5/9/2017

 

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

 

"If you keep on saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet." ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

 

 

PREDICTION VS. PRODUCTION!

 

If you’re familiar with many “motivational” speakers and writers, you’ve probably heard or read a hundred times that you must make a “declaration.” It seems that without uttering your deepest desires, they will not come to fruition. Want a better job? Then you must declare that it will be so. Want a fitter body? First you must affirm you will have one.

 

But be aware of the definition of motivation, “the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” Just stating that something will happen is not enough – you must “act” or “behave” in a very specific fashion to make that dream come true.

 

Declarations comfort us, enthuse us, and even energize us, but only for a short period of time. After the initial emotional rush of acknowledging our desire to pursue something, our energy wanes, other issues become more pressing, and we lose sight of our goals. Unfortunately, when the outcome we visualized doesn’t happen, we feel disappointed and our self-esteem takes one on the chin.

 

The vicious circle completes itself when we make our next declaration, recalling previous shortfalls, and losing our enthusiasm even more quickly. We say, “Ah, these affirmations don’t work. Just saying it doesn’t make it true.” EUREKA!

 

Now you realize that success doesn’t come from motivational “tricks,” but from a profound effort to produce the desired outcome. Of course you must acknowledge (if only to yourself) what you want in this world, or you’ll just drift aimlessly. But be sure to follow through with a solid plan that anticipates plenty of detours.

 

Want a better job? Declare it will be so, and then start taking courses in that field, find a mentor, polish your resume, and apply for the positions for which you have qualified yourself. Want a fitter body? First affirm that you will have one, and then sign up for a fitness club membership, actually go to the club regularly, stock your shelves with healthy food, and eat less of it.