LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “assertiveness”

Counting and Then Some

http://www.justaguything.com/5-things-that-actually-used-to-be-legal

In response to yesterday’s post  Counting, Diane at http://ranthegauntlet.wordpress.com/ wrote me a short comment expressing how much she enjoyed the content. Although her response was only two sentences long, it hit me like a well swung sledge-hammer right between the eyes…or more accurately straight to my heart. Her second sentence contained this thought…

 I want to be one who takes off the cuffs.

I haven’t though of much else throughout today. What a wonderful sentiment. Doesn’t that sum up what we want to do in life? Doesn’t it accurately portray the type of person we are striving to be?

Yes I want to be the person who takes off the cuffs, the shackles, the things that bind, the things that keep us from being free. I want to be the type of person who helps others unleash their full potential, find themselves, be free, live gloriously, set their hearts aflame, live in Truth, be peaceful, live in harmony, be fruitful, be excited, live long, flow with compassion, race with the wind, breathe slowly and deeply, touch the outer limits, live within, know yourself. taste life. fall in love…do you get the idea yet?

Isn’t that the type of person we all want to be?

So I’ve got this idea…and please keep the eye rolling to a minimum if at all possible…but I got this idea…what if sometime tomorrow…everyone who reads this post…does one compassionate act…it doesn’t have to be huge (unless you want it to be)…smile and wave at a child or an oldster, the person waiting in line with you, riding the bus with you, sitting in the car next to you at a red light…listen an extra minute when someone bitches about work…call your parents and say, “Hey nothing special, I just called to say I love you.”…call your kids and say the same thing. I really don’t care what it is, just do something nice, listen, speak softly and warmly, smile, encourage, inspire, let dead dogs lie.

Tomorrow take off somebody’s cuffs.

WARNING~WARNING~WARNING

Here is what we will be tempted to do…nothing. We will read this and think how wonderful it is and how we should do that…then the crap that fills our lives will rise up and tomorrow we’ll be busy…and other stuff will fill our mind and time…and we will do nothing.

Please don’t let that happen…we all know there are aching hurting people out there…it’s not lack of knowledge that keeps us from changing the world…it is willpower.

So tomorrow do it. 

Be encouraged!

This post is dedicated to Diane for her wonderful words which sent my mind whirling…thanks Diane…you will never know how deeply that short sentence has affected me. I will carry the sentiment the rest of my life.

This post is also dedicated to Lisa at http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/. She not only has been a source of remarkable strength, intelligence, and…she will probably snort her coffee through her nose on this next one…wisdom, but she is also filled with grace and compassion which flows like cool mountain air over pine boughs…it is always there and it makes you feel better. Thanks Lisa.

Before I Die I Want To______________________.

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Okay this is what’s going on. An artist named Candy Chang wants to change how our cities exist. She wants to make them more emotional. So here is what she did. She started with this rather rough looking abandoned building in New Orleans. Then with the help of some friends she covered it with black boards and stenciled in, “Before I die I want to ___________.” When she was finished it looked like this.

before i die street art project in new orleans on side of abandoned building

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then she put out some chalk for folks to use.

close up of chalk holder and chalk sticks for before i die project in new orleans

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then she waited and this was the result

close up of before i die wall with peoples entries

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then it spread around the world

before i die goes wordwide and in multiple languages

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

So here is what I want all of you to do. I am going to write out the statement and I want you to fill in the blank via comments. Let’s open the door and continue the process of creating a better world.

Be encouraged!

BEFORE I DIE I WANT TO ___________________.

Can/Will

Once again I found a quote on Evan’s blog http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/day-262-a-moment-to-consider/. There is no need for me to add any additional thoughts. This speaks fine all by itself.

Be encouraged!

Be encouraged!

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

http://edwardrecommends.com/people

What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

http://cheezburger.com/3057568512

There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #10–Chastity

Image Detail

http://images.search.yahoo.com

Years ago there was a rock band that played in the Midwest. Their name was Sex Sells Magazines. I liked the name because I thought it was true. Sex does sell magazines. It is also used to sell every conceivable product and service in the world; from toothpaste, to computers, to statistics. When I google  “sex sells”  I discover 5.7 million sites, of which a few are worth viewing.

It certainly is not news to anyone today to learn the use of sex as a marketing strategy. It has permeated every social strata and media stream. We are inundated from birth ( book entitled, Sexy Birth) to death (Sexy Death an alternative, gothic, industrial rock band from Stockholm) with concepts and images using sex to hype the sell.

But this basic act is anything but simple for us humans. We are familiar with its use as a vessel to display our most profound level of love. Unfortunately, there are those who have also used it as a method of degradation, control, confinement, addiction, and power. Sex never fails to be a much debated issue.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will experience some type of sexual issue. Today, more than ever, the threat of sexually transmitted diseases looms large. The AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of millions and in some cultures destroyed the family structure. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, birth control, sexual orientation, and age of consent all remain hot topics of discussion.

But what about the opposite side? What happens when we look at chastity? It seems, since it is connected to sex, it is just as inflammatory. During my research for this article I read numerous articles, books, and white papers arguing the pros and cons of abstaining from sex. Opinions ranged from; it is the answer to the humanities moral dilemma to it is ignorant and the very consideration of such an outdated concept is convincing proof of the proponents lack of intellectual reasoning.

I have found myself on both sides of this argument. At one time in my life I reasoned that “hooking up” was no big deal. After all, we were two consenting adults and what we did in private, as long as no one was physically hurt, was no one’s business. During another point, I became convinced chastity was the preferred course of action. The act of casual sex was demeaning, no matter how well intended, and was the root cause for many of society’s deepest moral pain. Of course the lines are rarely drawn so neatly. There are as many grey areas as there are people to talk about them. Everyone has an opinion.

So why in the midst of conflicting views, cultural differences, and wavering sexual orientation is chastity considered a virtue? I think the answer lies in the heart of the individual. Within each of us something extraordinarily unique that separates us from the rest of animal life. The process of sexual coupling is the most intimate act we are capable of initiating. Something transpires in the fulfillment of sex that enhances our humanity. It creates a bond between us that is traceable only in our souls. It is the mystical creation of one being. True sex is the result of true love (which is itself a current hotly debated subject, ad infinitum). It is a sacred commodity, not to be bought and sold, or passed around like a jug of Boone’s Farm. Sex is the creation of something greater than the two are apart. Chastity protects and guards the soul-life force from being used as a pawn in the brokering of heated desire in exchange for a temporary, shallow, non-fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

No doubt the comment section of this post will light up as readers share their thoughts. That is good. Open discussion of any issue is a sign of health for a society. I encourage each of you who have read this to take a few minutes and share your opinions. This was not an easy subject for me to write about ( a supreme understatement). As I noted above, my views have changed dramatically as the result of personal experience. While I have no desire to detail those experiences suffice it to say they have left deep tracks in my soul.

Be encouraged!

How I Ran Across the US

From http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com

People always have the same question when they discover I have run across the United States, “How did you do that?”

My answer has varied throughout the years. Not because I am being shifty. I want to answer as honestly as possible, but as I grow as an individual, I have discovered something quite remarkable about my past experiences. Although the events of the past are set in stone, the life lessons learned are not.  Those life lessons are active, moving, and working. Each passing year reveals more fruit.

Lately I have been giving considerable thought to how I learned my life lessons. There has been an extremely wide variety of methods. The one  constant however,  is I tend to learn by experience. This has not always been the best method. It has often been the source of intense hurt and suffering for those who love me.

Several years ago I began to think I was my own worse enemy. This thought took hold during an extremely difficult period that I had inflicted on myself. I labored to dig myself out of the hole I had so expertly dug, then dove into. This was no quick and easy fix. Lives were damaged, families hurt, feelings were rubbed raw and bloody, and this was the best side of it, and I was responsible for all of it.

After years of struggle I was able to see fruit from my effort. My life began to be about something else other than the tragedy. About the same time another idea began to germinate. I certainly wasn’t willing to embrace it. I didn’t believe I deserved it, but I certainly was willing to consider it. With the passage of time, I entertained the idea more often. I grew to like it. I kept it guarded at first. I didn’t tell any one. I wanted to make sure it was Truth before I shared it.

Finally, the time arrived that I was willing not only to share it, but more importantly, to believe it. I decided to defeat the little voice in my head that had always proudly proclaimed I was good for nothing. I realized after all those years of believing I was my own worse enemy, what I was doing was looking at the wrong end of the stick.

Instead of thinking of myself as the antagonist, I could be my best friend.

What a concept! I could set myself up to be successful instead of fail. Of course, failure is considerably easier to engineer, but success is far more exciting. I’ve never been shy of doing whatever is necessary to get the job done. Once committed to a goal, I could/would lower my head and move heaven and earth to get whatever was needed done. This was my game and I loved it. I could make my world better.

I haven’t completely defeated the little voice, but I have severely contained his ability to control how I view life. He no longer reigns supreme without any opposition.

So how did I run across the United States? By defeating the little voice inside of me that told me to quit.

Be encouraged!

Like

http://rwconnect.esomar.org/2012/01/17/why-i-hate-like/

Like is a concept I have wrestled with for the greater part of my life. Not that I don’t understand the meaning of the word, I do. It is trying to get a grasp on the whole concept that keeps me somewhat mystified.

I once watched an eight year old boy walk into a room with other boys and girls, all around his age. A total of maybe nine or ten were gathered in the room. The gender split was roughly equal. Some were no doubt a little younger and others were older, but there was no huge age discrepancy. Before this young man entered,  a couple were off playing by themselves, but most were gathered around two or three boys. They were laughing and talking and all seem to be at ease with one another.

Maybe at this point I should interject that these were not ordinary kids, they were all models and each one of them had been modeling for several years. They were out-going and completely comfortable making new acquaintances. When the eight year old boy I mentioned earlier entered the room the entire dynamics changed. Within a few short minutes every child was grouped around the eight year old and he was laughing and talking to them. He had established total control over the room. Even the couple of strays were brought into his sway.

As I witnessed this transformation I was dumb struck. He wasn’t dressed any differently. He did not possess a commanding voice, he was only eight. He didn’t say, “Hey you all, come over here.” Actually his demeanor was kind of shy. Yet every child gravitated to him. CEOs would pay dearly for his ability to command the room. What made this child so immediately likable?

This happened over thirty years ago and at times I still ponder what transpired in the room. What hidden talent, or mojo, or vibe did that eight year old boy possess that drew every one of those children to him like a magnet draws iron filings?

There is a new book published earlier this year by John Wiley & Sons, Inc entitled Likeonomics: The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action. The author is Rohit Bhargava. His writings have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Fast Company, NPR, and MarketingChina.  His first book was Personality Not Included and has been translated into nine languages. For kicks and giggles he is Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. So apparently the brother is extremely gifted in time management.

I haven’t completely finished the book yet, nor has he provided me with a complete understanding of the episode I witnessed thirty years ago, but I have read enough to realize he and I share many of the same convictions…only he writes much better than I do.

One of the first concepts he establishes is there is a real ROI on likeability He goes on to establish five key principles:

Truth

Relevance

Unselfishness

Simplicity

Timing

Yea, if you take each of the first letters it spells TRUST. At first I thought it bordered on hokie, and kind of still do, but it makes it easy to remember and drives home a very excellent point. His argument being if you are likeable then people will trust you. Being trust-worthy is the real key to standing out from the competing hoards.

I experienced this earlier this today. Susie and I are launching a new company. We are developing the content for a supremely radically different Women’s Professional Development Conference. We are incorporating acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, magicians, shadow puppeteers, drama, contortionists, unicyclists, laundry dryers, and Barbie dolls into a power packed day long seminar that will leave women feeling Stronger, Better, & Ready For Whatever in their professional and private lives.  Remember, I told you it was supremely radically  different. 

This afternoon I received a phone call from an international motivational speaker who (somehow) had heard about what we are doing. He was extremely impressed as I discussed our concepts and business plan with him. So much, that by the end of the conversation he said he wanted to mentor us and help take our message to the international market.

Our team is floored…to say the least. We never expected anything like this. We were thinking about how to take our message state-wide. He expanded our entire vision with just one phone call.

Now segue to later this evening. I RSVP’ed for a meeting of life coaches. This will be their first time meeting so everyone was encouraged to give a brief bio of themselves and their company. I wrote almost verbatim (plus some extra for more detail) what I wrote above. I described how our content empowered women to truly make changes in their lives. To be more successful and stretch their ideas of what was possible.

The response I received was this:

Is this a joke or what?

I guess I need to cultivate my believability more.

I’m going to go read another chapter.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #7–Bravery

http://inkandstardust.deviantart.com/art/Bravery-288324911

Bravery is an odd thing. It has several different qualities. There is the bravery that results in one of these:

 

http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html

This is the Congressional Medal of Honor and you don’t get these by taking the easy way out. The medal comes at a cost. A cost many of us would find to high to personally pay, but not all do. Those who have been awarded this medal all have one thing in common; none of them set out to get it, it was never a goal.  To be a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor you need to be a member of the United States Armed Forces. Right there I am ruled out, but it gets much tougher from there.

An individual must partake in “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in an action against the enemy of the United States.” That pretty much eliminates the rest of us.

Since its inception by Congress on July 12, 1862, 3,462 individuals have been recipients. Since we are zeroing in on nearly 50 million having served our nation since 1776 that means that less than .0007% of those who have been in the military have received this award.

Of course, there are many other types of bravery. I found this poem at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100403132515AAPqb7J

It Takes Courage

by Anonymous

It takes Courage

To refrain from gossip

When others delight in it,

To stand up for the absent person

Who is being abused.

It takes Courage

To live honestly

Within your means,

And not dishonestly

On the means of others

It takes Courage

To be a REAL man or a TRUE woman,

To hold fast to your ideals

When it causes you

To be looked upon

As strange and peculiar

It takes Courage

To be talked about

And remain silent,

When a word would justify you

In the eyes of others,

But which you dare not speak

Because it would injure another.

It takes Courage

To refuse to do something

That is wrong,

Although everyone else

May be doing it,

With attitudes as carefree

As a summer song.

It takes Courage

To live according

To your own convictions,

To deny yourself

What you cannot afford

To love your neighbor

As yourself.

I am not going to write anything about this poem, because I believe it stands alone. I wish the individual who wrote it would have attached their name…but after reading it, it doesn’t surprise me they chose not to.

One last thing I want to say about bravery. There are men and women, who through no fault of their own, are raising their children in single parent homes. If you are one of these individuals I commend you. Personally I don’t how you do it, but I am extraordinarily proud of you. To me you are as brave as the ones facing enemy fire. Not because of the element of danger involved, but due to the inward strength it requires each and every day to get up and do all the those things that need to be done. You your children ready for school, their hands and faces are washed, their hair brushed, you get something resembling breakfast into them, somehow during the midst of all of this you have gotten yourself ready for work. Then either off to the bus stop or you drive them to school. Next is getting yourself through  morning rush hour traffic to work on time, where you are expected to perform at a high or higher level than others. No bringing home issues to work, this is business. You already have arranged for day-care after work. So you pick up your little one(s) and then home to cook dinner, do homework, play with toys, get bathes, read a book, put to bed (whole books could/have been written about that one), get their clothes ready for tomorrow, and now it is finally your time, except it is late, you are bone tired, and tomorrow you get to do it all over again. Somehow you do all of this and still try to instill virtues into your children. You teach them right from wrong. You want them to be creative. You want a better life for life for them.

You are the brave ones. I see you in the parking lot at the grocery store. I see you at little league games. I see you at school functions. You are everywhere. I want you to know I am proud of you.

Be encouraged!

Personal Boundaries

http://sfhelp.org/relate/boundaries.htm

I am walking through the shop floor of a Global 100 manufacturing firm. The firm employs over eight hundred associates and has a well-defined and strong Human Resources office. They are involved in the work-place life of each associate and know many of them on a first name basis. I have been working for this firm for over six years and have made many good friends with both hourly and management employees. So it came as know surprise when I heard my name being called out by one of the female sub-assembly line workers. I looked up to see her smiling and waving me over as she reached for another plastic dashboard to which she would connect, depending on her worksheet, a variety of lights and sensors.

This associate had been working for the plant for over fifteen years and was considered a good and reliable worker. Although she had never worked in any of the departments I was responsible for, I had talked with her several times about various job related issues. I had a reputation as someone who might be able to better your work environment, and I was always willing to help if I could. Other than those isolated conversations our contact was nil. I didn’t know anything else about her nor did I care to. It was a relationship based only on the workplace and nothing else.

Although the company had made great strides to reduce the noise on the assembly floor and safety ear plugs where no longer required in this area, it was still loud. Consequently it was necessary to speak considerably louder than you normally would to hold a conversation. As I neared she looked up and yelled out, “Hey Steve, I’m going to get my boobs reduced!”

Over the years I have had many conversations with women. Many times the relationships were of an intimate nature and therefore the subject of discussions had, on occasion, taken on a personal tone. However, since meeting  my wife over twenty years ago, those types of conversation have been restricted to her only. So my reflexes for responding to a sudden burst of what I consider very personal information were dulled, to say the least. I believe I was able to stammer out something like, “Uh gee..uhh…I…uh…wish you…uh…the best.” Then I headed back (quickly) to my office.

Several years ago during a business flight, the gentleman next to me launched into a detailed pornographic description of why he sexually enjoyed obese women. When I tried to stop him with a firm, “I’m sorry sir, this is not the kind of discussion I wish to engage in.” He became upset and asked why I was so uptight.

A couple of days ago I was reading a blog written by young lady and she revealed her bra size.

And it is not just sexuality either. The same can apply to those who provide cut-by-stitch descriptions of their surgeries or every nuance of their latest colonoscopy. I have heard descriptions of bowel movements, vomiting, in-grown toe nails, and, far too much, of almost every other body malfunction.

There are the neighbors who involve you in a blow-by-blow narration of every family squabble they have ever had. Men who detail every aspect of their spousal disputes and acquaintances who reveal personal information about their psychological hang-ups.

So what happen to personal boundaries? Are we all so Oprah/Dr. Phil/Jerry Springer de-sensitized that every subject is open game? Can we discuss any and everything and it is okay?

Call me old fashion, but I’m thinking some boundaries are a good thing.

Why someone I barely know would inform me they are getting a breast reduction is beyond my comprehension. Nor do I understand the gentleman who thought it was perfectly okay to begin to detail his sexual peccadilloes. Why a young lady would reveal her bra size on a post that could be read by anyone in the world with an internet hookup is puzzling…and dangerous.

I will never understand those that want us know all the details of their infirmities. It is enough to know they are infirm and to have a general idea what the issue is, but that is enough. I don’t require all the gory nasty details. Same goes for family and mental issues. I don’t my being made aware there are problems, but let’s hold back on doing the CSI report.

I’m not wanting a return to the dark ages. I don’t want us to go back to the point where everyone is hemmed in and we hold everything inside. But I believe there is balance. Balance is a beautiful thing. Difficult to strike, but wonderful to keep.

Be encouraged!

Some Days

http://www.facebook.com/CoachTaraWoodruff

Some days are simply tougher to get through than others. The reasons can be counted into the billions. I’m having one of those days. This blog has never been a place where I share the minutiae of my everyday life. It’s not that interesting and I believe in boundaries.  So I’m not going to go into all the details.

I’m not sure at what point everything got away from me. but it did. The usual positive motivation, stay-on-top-of-it thing slipped a tad and everything went into the ditch. Before I knew it I was stuck straddling the fence with no way off. Let’s just say I’m having to take a dose of my own medicine.

A few posts ago, I wrote about what we have to do when our tidy lives fall apart. We need to take hold of our run-away emotions, corral the stampede, pick-up the pieces, and face in to the wind. All great words, but it is the action that makes the difference.

Today I am taking action.

Sometimes it helps to look around and count our blessings. Take a moment, inhale deeply, and look at those aspects of our lives that are, in truth, a gift we do not deserve. I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination, especially considering my past. I have a wonderfully beautiful wife, great kids, loving grandkids, awesome pets, a peaceful home, a life-style many only dream of, not in wealth, but in deep soulful satisfaction.

I control my future. I control my success. I control my income. I control my attitude. I control how I think and feel. I control my life.

There is no reason, justification, explanation, and/or defense for acting any other way.

The day is starting to get better.

Be encouraged!

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