Friday, November 21, 2014

Here's the Truth

The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming sweet, bitter…and that is everything. - Anatole France

Good intentions are not enough

Movement is not necessarily progress. More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly. Nobody -- remember this -- neither Hitler, nor Lenin, nor any despot you could name, ever came forward with a proposal that read, "Now, let's create a really oppressive and evil society." Hitler said, let's take the means necessary to restore our national pride and civic order. And Lenin said, "Let's take the means necessary to assure a fair distribution of the goods of the world."

In short, it is your responsibility... not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. Not merely in their ends, but in their means. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person, then when you follow your conscience, will you be headed in the right direction.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Commencement Address at Langley High School
June 17, 2010

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Truth and Love

Truth and love are two of the most powerful things in the world; and when they both go together they cannot be easily withstood. - Ralph Cudworth

Are you in the mix?

You don't have to be "deep" or constantly talking about profound issues. You just need to be "in the mix" so that you venture outside of your box. People who don’t peek out and over the lids of their cardboard hovel live in very small worlds. They may follow others into change, but they do not own it.

One way to clarify who is in the mix and who is not, is to ask, "Would I go to this person for advice when some significant life issue confronted me?" Not just for encouragement or some sage piece of advice--but because this person is a fellow struggler.

These types of friends and acquaintances are "in the fight" to move beyond white picket fences and 9-to-5 jobs. They whet your appetite for substantive relationships and make you want to become more than what you are. These are friends who are open to paradigm shifts in their own lives. They are not just focused on “straightening you out” so that you will become more like them. They want to grow like you do.

Stephen Goforth

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Self-Made Man

Occasionally, I’ve seen a man stand up and say, “I’m a self-made man.” So far I’ve never seen the guy or gal who DIDN'T make it, stand up and say, “I’m a self-made failure.” You know what they do? They point the index finger and say, “I’m not successful or happy because of my parents.” Some say, “My wife or husband doesn’t understand me.” Some blame the teacher, the preacher or the boss. Some blame everything from skin color and religious beliefs to lack of education and physical deficiencies. Some say they’re too old or too young, too fat or too slim, too tall or too short, or that they live in the wrong place.

Zig Ziglar
See You at the Top

Monday, November 17, 2014

A man's true measure

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. - Samuel Johnson

Becoming Real

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

“Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "Your become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Margery Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit

Friday, November 14, 2014

A True Friend

A true friend stabs you in the front. -Oscar Wilde

Dependency in Marriage

Dependency may appear to be love because it is a force that causes people to fiercely attach themselves to one another. But in actuality it is not love; it is a form of antilove. It has its genesis in a parental failure to love and it perpetuates the failure. It seeks to receive rather than to give. It nourished infantilism rather than growth. It works to trap and constrict rather than to liberate. For passive dependent people the loss of the other is such a frightening prospect that they cannot face preparing for it or tolerating a process that would diminish the dependency or increase the freedom of the other. Consequently it is one of the behavioral hallmarks of passive dependent people in marriage that their role differentiations is rigid, and they seek to increase rather than diminish mutual dependency so as to make marriage more rather than less of a trap. By so doing, in the name of what they call love but what is really dependency, they diminish their own and each other’s freedom and stature.

M Scott Peck
The Road Less Traveled

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Power of Free

Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is free, we forget the downside. Free! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is. Why? I think it’s because humans are intrinsically afraid of loss. The real allure of FREE! is tied to this fear.

Zero is not just another discount. Zero is a different place. The difference between two cents and one cent is small. The difference between two cents and one cent is small. But the difference between one cent and zero is huge!

If you are in business, and understand that, you can do some marvelous things. Want to draw a crowd? Make something free! Want to sell more products? Make part of the purchase free!

Dan Ariely
Predictably Irrational

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Praise and Criticism

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise rather than saved by criticism.

Stop Limping!

To utilize the ability you have you must start by getting rid of any loser’s limp you might have. A typical Loser’s Limp is, “I’m not a born salesman, or a born doctor, lawyer, artist, architect, engineer, etc.” In my travels, I have picked up newspapers from the rural villages of Australia, to the bulging metropolises of North American and Europe. I’ve read where women have given birth to boys and girls, but thus far I have never read where a woman has given birth to a salesman, or a doctor, lawyer, artist, engineer, etc. However, I do read where doctors, lawyers, salesman, etc., die. Since they are not “born.” But they do “die,” obviously, somewhere between birth and death, by choice and by training, they become what they wish to become. I’ve never seen where a woman has given birth to a success or to a failure. It’s always either a boy or a girl.

Zig Ziglar
See You at the Top

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Best Moments

Contrary to what we usually believe.. the best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times — although such experiences can also be enjoyable — the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Struggling to overcome challenges, and then overcoming them, are what people find to be the most enjoyable times in their lives. People typically feel strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities. Find rewards in the events of each moment . . . to enjoy and find meaning in the ongoing stream of experience, in the process of living itself.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Monday, November 10, 2014

Today!

Today: one which I’ve never lived before and one which I will never get to live again. The surprise of unwrapping it holds wonder and the privilege of excitement. – Tim Hansel

Boredom and Cowardice

Teenagers and their younger siblings grow bored quickly. It's their job to figure out how not to be bored.

Life is filled with dull meetings and duller people and many empty moments. Either you hate a large part of your duties in life or you figure out ways to make that time interesting for you. Boredom is a wake up call for us to get involved in process of life.

As Scott Peck wrote in The Road Less Traveled, "Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs." Embracing what we are handed and then turning it into something worthwhile is a lifelong struggle. We all face it.

It isn't the job of parents to keep children entertained. The kids' job is take charge of their own situation to figure out what captivates them.  Parents just need to provide opportunities for their kids and a sense of direction to help them discover what works.

If we are not in the hunt for the compelling, we are not in the game and will certainly be miserable people. There's no one to blame but ourselves. There are many escape attempts from the dullness of life that can temporarily distract us. It takes something meaningful and awe-filling to engage us over the long run.

Stephen Goforth