Patience is a virtue…

August 13, 2010

I’m sure everyone is familiar with that expression. Unfortunately, patience is a virtue that I have to work to achieve every day. I am especially impatient with myself. If I make a mistake, a mistake that in others would be a minor issue, I tend to get upset with myself, and then discouraged. This in turn can lead to that downward spiral-“Why keep trying? I’ll just mess up again.” It’s so important to recognize our own humanity, and to accept that we will make mistakes. The important thing is to have the patience to learn from the mistakes and to keep trying. It has been said that people who haven’t made mistakes haven’t made anything. Every endeavor is actually a process, requiring us to learn and apply new things. As we keep learning and keep trying, we are acquiring the skills and the knowledge we need to achieve that goal. “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” – – Saint Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622)

The Rust Upon The Blade

August 1, 2010

“It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Worry is the rust upon the blade.” Henry Ward Beecher

How much time do you spend worrying? I know I spend a lot of time worrying about all kinds of things. Some days, it seems like there is no irritation too minor, and no problem too big, for me to worry about. In the past, I have told myself that thinking about issues helps me be prepared. I have come to realize that thinking about issues, in the sense of preparing a plan of action to address a situation, is a far cry from worrying about an issue, and what I have been doing is nothing more than worrying. “What if…” “What will I do…” What can I do…” Thoughts that start with these and similar phrases are nothing more than fear manifesting itself. These thoughts are the beginning of a downward slide from concern to a conviction of total disaster waiting around the corner. Basically, worry is fear stealing our time and our present, reflecting our feelings of powerlessness.
“I have spent most of my life worrying about things that never happened.” Mark Twain
I realize that, in the past, I have convinced myself that, by worrying about something, I somehow prevented it from happening. It’s far more likely that I simply wasted the moments I spent worrying, and missed opportunities for joy, enlightenment, or success. How do we handle worry? It’s easy to say just stop worrying. I think it’s better to face the issue, and think or write it out: “What’s the problem or concern?” ” What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen related to that problem?”  “What would you do if it happened?” and finally “Can you live with it?” I am far from being an expert at this technique, but I have found that, in situations when I have calmed down and actually applied this method, it helped me to put my problem, concern, or choice into perspective, and helped me realize that I can handle things, and I don’t have to fear them. It is certainly much more effective to spend a few minutes or an hour looking at the matter objectively, than to spend hours or days stewing in futility, wasting time that could be better spent so many other ways.  Just as rust dulls the edge of a knife, worry dulls our mental capacity to think clearly and to solve problems.  It is up to us to bring ourselves back to clear thinking and positive action.

“Worry often gives small things a big shadow.” Swedish Proverb

I just can’t believe how quickly the summer is passing! Here are some quotes I am pondering this week:

“Begin immediately to think of and feel yourself successful.” – – Max Steingart

“What we ponder and what we think about sets the course for our life. Any day we wish, we can discipline ourselves to change it all.” – – Jim Rohn

“It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits to our abilities do not exist.” – – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

And finally

“Let your heart out of its cage. Release your heart to dream about an unimaginable future.” – – John DiLemme (Quote #30)

React or Respond?

July 18, 2010

So many times, when something struck me emotionally, I allowed myself to react based on that emotion. That reaction frequently led me in directions that I had no intention of going. The impulse of the moment had a result that I never anticipated. Whether for good or bad, I was not prepared…

Preparation, I have discovered, is essential. Preparation makes it possible for one to respond, to speak or act with intention, instead of reacting. While it is not possible to plan for every contingency, it is possible for one’s mind to be prepared to respond appropriately, even in unexpected situations. It prevents a reaction that takes one in a direction that is not in harmony with one’s values, ideals or desires.

What kind of preparation is this? For me, it is immersion in self-improvement. Personal development (or self-improvement) materials help each of us find our purpose, our “Why”, and the steps we need to take to achieve that purpose. Immersion allows us to replace the negative self-talk, the depressing media chatter, with positive, uplifting information. It helps us reshape our views of ourselves and our world, and gives us the strength of mind to think instead of react to upsetting situations, hurtful words, or poisonous people. “You must immerse yourself in as much self-development information as possible in order to build a rock solid belief structure.” – -John DiLemme

Self-improvement is helping me to acquire the confidence I need to help me take a moment to stop and think. This prevents a knee-jerk reaction that results in my saying something I didn’t mean, engaging in a pointless exercise, or committing to an action I either don’t want or am not equipped to take.

Immersion is defined as “to be submerged”, or “to engage wholly or deeply”. Books, CD’s and DVD’s allow us to choose alternatives to offensive music, depressing news, or shallow, demeaning movies. Between these materials, and finding groups of like-minded people who share the values and are going the same direction, we can create the atmosphere we need to keep us focused on achieving our goals, and provide support for when we feel ourselves getting discouraged or falling short. Self-improvement gives us the tools we need to be prepared to take that pause and think when confronted with an unexpected situation, so that we can respond appropriately. “Preparation may not guarantee a win, but it sure puts you in position for one.” – -John Maxwell

It’s important to remember that this is a process, and takes time. I still find myself reacting more often than I would like, and still find myself going the wrong way because of that knee-jerk reaction. The difference is that, now, it takes me less time to find my way back to the direction I want to go, towards my ultimate purpose. It helps me to spend less time being frustrated and unhappy in situations I did not intend to happen. “If we are not moving toward our God-given destiny, tension and dissatisfaction will always exist in our innter being.” – -Joel Osteen

Keep the Faith, Baby

July 14, 2010

Do you remember that catch phrase? It was very popular during another tumultuous time in our history. I think it’s just as relevant today. Faith is defined as “a confident belief in the truth, value or trustworthiness of a person, idea or thing.” One area that I am working on is faith in myself. We spend so much time focused outwardly, looking for ideas, causes, movements to believe in. We get excited and involved; then, over time, so often disenchantment sets in, and we look for the next one. I don’t think we spend enough time looking inside ourselves, learning to discover what we truly want and need, and developing trust in our own value and worthiness. We don’t cultivate faith in our dreams. We put ourselves down so often, in the guise of modesty, that we have come to believe that we aren’t worthy. How often have you heard someone say, “This old thing?” or “It was nothing. Anyone could have done it.” or other self-denigrating phrases in return for a compliment? There is a difference between arrogance or conceit, and recognizing our own value. We need to develop faith (trust and belief) in ourselves and our dreams. Once we have that, then I think we’ll be able to look outside of ourselves with confidence, and find that cause that we can truly embrace with full faith and confidence that lasts. 

 “Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” – – Norman Vincent Peale

Just for the weekend…

July 10, 2010

Here are a few thoughts for the weekend:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.”
— Zig Ziglar

“Things happen along the way in our path. Instead of looking at it as a wall that’s being put up in front of us, look at it as an opportunity to scale new heights and to climb that wall — to see and do things you didn’t think you were capable of.” — Robin Roberts

Here’s another one:

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
— Les Brown

And finally,

“Every failure is a stepping stone to success.” — John DiLemme (Quote #177)

Enjoy!

Attitude Is Everything

July 5, 2010

“It’s how you react to events, not the events
themselves, that determines your attitude.
Any challenge facing you is not as important
as your attitude towards it, for that will
determine your success or failure.” Max Steingart

We hear every day about the importance of a positive attitude. For me, however, this is something of a challenge. Maybe it is for you, too? We all have a close friend or family member who wants to make sure we keep our feet on the ground. We all have that negative self-talk to beat ourselves up when we make a mistake or have a set back. Some days are easier than others, too-things just seem to flow. Other days….., well, maybe the less said the better! It’s important to realize that our attitudes come down to a choice. I can look for the positive, even if it’s trying to figure out the lesson I’ve learned from experiencing a failure. I can choose to be happy, to believe in myself, in spite of those negative voices in my head. The alternative is to choose the sink into the mire of negative thinking, believing that I can’t achieve my goals, can’t be successful. Somehow, although it may be easier, the negative option is just not the route I want to go. As Jim Rohn said,
“We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices  beginning today.” Every day, I have the option to choose a positive outlook, to believe in myself. Can you imagine what life would be like that if we each made that choice every day? What an amazing place the world would be!

Saturday Thoughts

June 26, 2010

Just a few things I found…

“What we do not claim remains invisible.” Marianne Williamson

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong, because someday in life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy

and

“Don’t let disappointment become the central theme of your life.” Joel Osteen

Excuses, excuses…

June 25, 2010

I’ve been working on personal development over the last year, and I have begun to notice how many excuses I use.  “I’m too busy….”  “I’m too tired…”  “I don’t know…”  Somehow there is always a good reason NOT to take an action (especially an uncomfortable action) that is necessary.  My comfort zone has lost some of its appeal, as I want to grow and improve, but doing the hard work necessary?  Well, that’s another story.  You may be in a similar situation.  It’s so tempting to look for that easy way or to settle for the old familar pattern.  Considering the things that need to be done to effectuate real change and improvement can be very daunting, if not down-right frightening.  We are such creatures of habit, and don’t want to break out of that safe space, even if we know there is something better out there.  Doing something new or differently means risking failure, or embarrassment.  Is that really a bad thing?  John Maxwell says, “Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure.”  Identifying the dream, the reason for being, that is important to each of us, helps to determine the actions needed to achieve it.  It’s important to remember that we don’t have to do everything at once-persevere and take one step at a time.  Remember the old joke?  “How do you eat an elephant?”  “One bite at a time!”  That big dream is attainable, as long as we take each step, one by one, no excuses allowed.  It all boils down to making a choice: take the action and make progress, or make the excuse and stagnate.  Henry Ford said, “There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.”  All we have to do is choose to do it.

“Let others lead small lives, but not you.
Let others argue over small things, but not you.
Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.
Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”
— Jim Rohn

And another:

Dream it, deepen your Desire, and set a clear Direction. – – Philip Humbert

And yet another…

*Raise the Bar of Your Commitment so High
that Excuses can’t Jump Up and Pull You Down* –John DiLemme

Commitment to a dream, a big dream, will give us the motivation to find the means to accomplish it. We have all the tools we need to get going; we just need to take that first step. Take action today! Find like-minded people to share the journey. Start now. There is no more time to waste. Isn’t that big life you envision worth the effort?