May 272011
 

A little boy threw something out the window of his school bus. The driver saw him and gave him a note to take home to be signed. This little guy is bright, full of life, and his eyes shine with hope, joy, and irrepressible potential. Why had he done this and what is to be done?

Coming in the door, our intrepid miscreant meets his waiting grandmother. I can imagine his apprehension and hesitation. He already knows he’s in some kind of trouble. Worse yet, Grandma is a retired elementary school teacher. Grasshopper stands nervously in front of Master. She sees instantly that something is amiss. Still, she doesn’t hesitate to reward his homecoming with her biggest smile and warmest hug.

“Can I go out and play with Bobby?”

“What are you holding?”

“A note.”

“Well, then I had better read it.”

The usual suspect reluctantly surrenders the charges against him to the officer of the court and examination begins.

“What did you throw out the window?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Uh huh. What did you throw out the window?”

“A piece of paper.”

“Why?”

“A boy told me too.”

“Why?”

“I don’t remember.”

“What did the bus driver say?”

“I don’t remember.”

Grandma is no fool. “Well then, I need you to sit on this chair and try to remember while I finish cooking supper.”

For our little boy, time passes like he were crossing a turbid stream. He cannot see his feet nor the uneven bottom of the stream bed where he must place them. Surging water constantly threatens his balance. He is alone; with no one to hold his hand. The far bank is in sight, but his immediate future is clearly at risk.

Granny loves him enough to let him suffer for a while. Eventually—no, actually at a thoughtfully chosen interval—Granny turns from her work and, offering a reassuring smile, resumes the interrogation. “What did the bus driver say?”

“He said, ‘That was stupid.'”

Granny’s diaphragm spasms and she barely suppresses the impulse to cackle hysterically. “Well, do you think it was stupid?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“You know you shouldn’t litter.” Grandma has made a misstep, but she doesn’t realize it yet. She had him on the defensive but has just appealed to the knowledge and rationality of a prepubescent child.

Seizing the opportunity to object, he asserts himself. “But I wasn’t littering.”

“You threw paper out the window.”

“But, littering is when you throw a can out the window.” A cunning twitch of satisfaction caresses his lips. But now he has made a misstep; forgetting that he is arguing against prosecutor, judge, and jury.

“Littering is when you throw anything on the ground.” Objection denied. There is no further response from the accused; he has no recourse but to throw himself upon the mercy of the court. The verdict is in and It is all over except for the defendant’s statement and the reading of the sentence.

“How do you feel about your littering?”

“It was wrong.”

“Should you do things just because another boy tells you to?”

His pupils dilate momentarily as he considers the potential loophole of being told to do something by a girl. Sanity returns. “No.”

“What should you have said to the boy that told you to do it?”

“I should have said, ‘I’m not stupid.'”

“Do you promise to not litter like that again?” “Like that,” she said. Grandma has deliberately given him some discretionary wiggle room. He understands that he just got a suspended sentence with probation. This will be a test of his character.

“Yes, I promise.” No hesitation. No caveats. Just so. Well done. She signs his note and hands it back. The trial is over and the jury is dismissed.

“Okay, then I guess you have about fifteen minutes to play with Bobby before coming in for supper.” He glances at his wristwatch. Granny knows that he will be back soonish. She bends down to give him a hug and kiss before he dashes off.

Hesitating, he looks back briefly and says “I love you.” They both know that his record has already been expunged.

Copyright 2011, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0), which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

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Sep 252010
 

Self Improvement – Getting it Done

Commit to goals – visualize the results

What do you want to achieve? Knowing your destination is a crucial step in getting there.

Written goals are best; they have real power. The act of committing your goals to paper forces you to clarify and refine them. Until you write it down, a goal is just a wish or a hope. Commit.

Identifying goals actually reduces stress. Psychiatrists have discovered that helping their patients to establish personal goals is the most effective way to help them cope with problems. Establishing clear goals puts you in charge of your life.

A fixed goal, something that you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, increases motivation; you can take the measure of your progress towards that goal. And, as you progress, anticipate the satisfaction of its completion.

“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lively apparition to reveal it to the other’s eyes as mine see it.”
-Michelangelo

“A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness.”
-Zadok Rabinowitz

Set priorities

What is the most important thing to do next? If you haven’t figured out what is most important, I’ll bet that you’ll do something relatively unimportant or nothing at all.

You may have success with a to-do list revised each morning. When something new comes up, evaluate against your list of most important tasks. You will get more done just by knowing what is most important. It focuses your attention and stimulates your energy. A common mistake is to confuse urgent matters with truly vital ones. You should look for things that have the largest payoff and focus on them first.

You can evaluate your priority-setting by keeping a detailed record of how you spend your time for a week. What did you do and how long did it take? Also think carefully about what your personal responsibilities are and write this down separately. At the end of the week, compare your lists and decide if you are spending your time effectively. Make adjustments.

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
-Andrew Jackson
[Don’t stop deliberating too soon. I take exception to some of President Jackson’s decisions. ed.]

Just don’t do it

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
-C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law, (1958)

Parkinson wasn’t being funny; he was dead-on serious. You’ve seen it happen. A perfectly reasonable job gets blown out of all proportion. It might be your fault or maybe the decision just had to be run back past a committee which decided to form a sub-committee for further investigation.

If the task will produce a valuable return and it is straight-forward and clear, just do it. On the other hand, tasks that can’t be nailed down and done right away often grow into evil dragons. Ignore evil dragons. Walk away from them and refuse to pay them any attention. They will disappear and quit bothering you if ignore them.

It really is amazing how many really urgent (but actually trivial) things can simply be ignored without the world coming to an end. How wonderfully liberating!

Success ain’t easy

If you want to succeed at something truly worthwhile, be prepared for the struggle. Many have given up families, property and security in their homelands to pursue opportunity elsewhere. Many poor and disadvantaged have committed to making sacrifices to create desired changes in their circumstances. The world’s classic stories involve the struggle to overcome intimidating obstacles.

To succeed in any difficult endeavor we need to overcome fear and reach deep within ourselves for courage and determination. You may not be in favorable circumstances but there is always something more that you can try to improve your situation. Have realistic expectations. It takes about 7-10 years of persistent practice to truly master any art, craft, sport or business.

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.”
-Sidney Smith

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
-Anais Nin

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say “no.” Your hard work can be a labor of love.

“Go the extra mile”

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. “Business ethics” become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially “if they are not of our own.”

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as “sharp” as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

“Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it.”
-Marcus Aurelius

“Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)”
-Tacitus

Dare to dream

Walt Disney’s Cinderella sings: “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Would it have been better for Cinderella to have never seen the castle? Would she have been happier never knowing anything but the cinders?

Most times we are so limited by what we think is practical that we don’t see what is possible. Look up for a moment from the ground directly in front of you and see the world of possibilities all around you! You don’t have to be daring to dream of improving your situation. In fact, if you never visualize a desired future, you cannot start to make it happen.

Some people actually do live happily every after. Why shouldn’t you?

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
-Joseph Campbell

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Set outrageous goals

Miracles happen. Outrageous challenges have a special mystique and have the potential to generate unusual excitement.

  • Impress yourself with dramatic results.
  • Amaze your friends.
  • Pump up your determination to do the unusual.
  • Focus on a single goal.
  • Keep that goal constantly in front of you.
  • Put up signs and stickers everywhere to remind yourself.
  • Infect everyone with your enthusiasm.

“Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.”
-Helen Keller

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
-Goethe

Preparation + Opportunity = Advancement

If you aren’t prepared, you probably won’t even notice opportunities when they happen. In fact, preparation seems to have a way of CREATING opportunities. Without preparation, you are not in a position to take advantage of opportunities even if you recognize them.

Opportunities ARE available. Some have to be created. Others will wander by when you least expect them. They may not wait around for you. You may have to already have your resources (and willingness to commit them) ready. Then, when the right opportunity comes, just reach out and grasp it. This boldness to advance seems to create a momentum toward success.

“Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
-W.H. Murray, Member of the Second Himalayan Expedition

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say “no.” Your hard work can be a labor of love.

“Go the extra mile”

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. “Business ethics” become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially “if they are not of our own.”

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as “sharp” as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

“Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it.”
-Marcus Aurelius

“Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)”
-Tacitus

Keep on keeping on

Some people just seem to have trouble with everything they try. When things don’t seem to be working out fast enough, they give up and try something else. The problem is that by not sticking persistently to any one thing, they consistently discard their efforts by moving on too soon.

Jonas, a National Manager, explained his formula for success. “Keep on keeping on. The world will make room for the man who knows where he is going.” He explained: “If I could give the reason for our success, I could do it with just a couple of words: consistent persistence. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. There’s no formula to guarantee success in a few months’ time. You have to keep with it. We’re very excited about our business, and that helps others get excited.”

“There’s no substitute for hard work.”
-Thomas Edison

“Do not turn back when you are just at the goal.”
-Syrus

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

Sep 242010
 

Self Improvement – Getting it Done

Commit to goals – visualize the results

What do you want to achieve? Knowing your destination is a crucial step in getting there.

Written goals are best; they have real power. The act of committing your goals to paper forces you to clarify and refine them. Until you write it down, a goal is just a wish or a hope. Commit.

Identifying goals actually reduces stress. Psychiatrists have discovered that helping their patients to establish personal goals is the most effective way to help them cope with problems. Establishing clear goals puts you in charge of your life.

A fixed goal, something that you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, increases motivation; you can take the measure of your progress towards that goal. And, as you progress, anticipate the satisfaction of its completion.

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lively apparition to reveal it to the other’s eyes as mine see it."
-Michelangelo

"A man’s dreams are an index to his greatness."
-Zadok Rabinowitz

Set priorities

What is the most important thing to do next? If you haven’t figured out what is most important, I’ll bet that you’ll do something relatively unimportant or nothing at all.

You may have success with a to-do list revised each morning. When something new comes up, evaluate against your list of most important tasks. You will get more done just by knowing what is most important. It focuses your attention and stimulates your energy. A common mistake is to confuse urgent matters with truly vital ones. You should look for things that have the largest payoff and focus on them first.

You can evaluate your priority-setting by keeping a detailed record of how you spend your time for a week. What did you do and how long did it take? Also think carefully about what your personal responsibilities are and write this down separately. At the end of the week, compare your lists and decide if you are spending your time effectively. Make adjustments.

"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in."
-Andrew Jackson
[Don’t stop deliberating too soon. I take exception to some of President Jackson’s decisions. ed.]

Just don’t do it

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."
-C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law, (1958)

Parkinson wasn’t being funny; he was dead-on serious. You’ve seen it happen. A perfectly reasonable job gets blown out of all proportion. It might be your fault or maybe the decision just had to be run back past a committee which decided to form a sub-committee for further investigation.

If the task will produce a valuable return and it is straight-forward and clear, just do it. On the other hand, tasks that can’t be nailed down and done right away often grow into evil dragons. Ignore evil dragons. Walk away from them and refuse to pay them any attention. They will disappear and quit bothering you if ignore them.

It really is amazing how many really urgent (but actually trivial) things can simply be ignored without the world coming to an end. How wonderfully liberating!

Success ain’t easy

If you want to succeed at something truly worthwhile, be prepared for the struggle. Many have given up families, property and security in their homelands to pursue opportunity elsewhere. Many poor and disadvantaged have committed to making sacrifices to create desired changes in their circumstances. The world’s classic stories involve the struggle to overcome intimidating obstacles.

To succeed in any difficult endeavor we need to overcome fear and reach deep within ourselves for courage and determination. You may not be in favorable circumstances but there is always something more that you can try to improve your situation. Have realistic expectations. It takes about 7-10 years of persistent practice to truly master any art, craft, sport or business.

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can."
-Sidney Smith

"Do what you can with what you have, where you are."
-Theodore Roosevelt

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage."
-Anais Nin

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say "no." Your hard work can be a labor of love.

"Go the extra mile"

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. "Business ethics" become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially "if they are not of our own."

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as "sharp" as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

"Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it."
-Marcus Aurelius

"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)"
-Tacitus

Dare to dream

Walt Disney’s Cinderella sings: "A dream is a wish your heart makes." Would it have been better for Cinderella to have never seen the castle? Would she have been happier never knowing anything but the cinders?

Most times we are so limited by what we think is practical that we don’t see what is possible. Look up for a moment from the ground directly in front of you and see the world of possibilities all around you! You don’t have to be daring to dream of improving your situation. In fact, if you never visualize a desired future, you cannot start to make it happen.

Some people actually do live happily every after. Why shouldn’t you?

"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living."
-Joseph Campbell

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
-Thomas Jefferson

Set outrageous goals

Miracles happen. Outrageous challenges have a special mystique and have the potential to generate unusual excitement.

  • Impress yourself with dramatic results.
  • Amaze your friends.
  • Pump up your determination to do the unusual.
  • Focus on a single goal.
  • Keep that goal constantly in front of you.
  • Put up signs and stickers everywhere to remind yourself.
  • Infect everyone with your enthusiasm.

"Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing."
-Helen Keller

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
-Goethe

Preparation + Opportunity = Advancement

If you aren’t prepared, you probably won’t even notice opportunities when they happen. In fact, preparation seems to have a way of CREATING opportunities. Without preparation, you are not in a position to take advantage of opportunities even if you recognize them.

Opportunities ARE available. Some have to be created. Others will wander by when you least expect them. They may not wait around for you. You may have to already have your resources (and willingness to commit them) ready. Then, when the right opportunity comes, just reach out and grasp it. This boldness to advance seems to create a momentum toward success.

"Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."
-W.H. Murray, Member of the Second Himalayan Expedition

Hard work

It’s easy to work hard when you love what you’re doing.

Hard work is needed to build a secure business. It can take extra hours each day and can require continued work over a span of years.

Sometimes it happens that people begin coming from hundreds of miles away for help. When you can offer renewed hope and eventually, renewed health, it’s hard to say "no." Your hard work can be a labor of love.

"Go the extra mile"

This popular motto is a reference to Matthew 5:41. The point is to not be miserly with your commitments. When you hold back and only do something reluctantly you might as well have not done it; you only did what you were forced to do. If you are going to do something for someone else, give it all you’ve got. Do more than expected. This kind of behavior gets noticed and in time gets rewarded.

Honesty and Integrity

Throughout recorded history it has been a tendency of men to set their own rules and do whatever seems best for themselves. "Business ethics" become especially loose with no hesitation to profit from the ignorance or misfortune of others, especially "if they are not of our own."

Some people worry that they will be at a financial disadvantage if they are not as "sharp" as their competitors. Others understand that people appreciate obvious integrity and prefer to do business with people that they like and trust.

If you have cheated or taken advantage of someone, it is very hard to respect or even like them from that point forward. Bad relationships are death to a network marketing business.

"Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it."
-Marcus Aurelius

"Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is part of human nature to hate the man you have hurt.)"
-Tacitus

Keep on keeping on

Some people just seem to have trouble with everything they try. When things don’t seem to be working out fast enough, they give up and try something else. The problem is that by not sticking persistently to any one thing, they consistently discard their efforts by moving on too soon.

Jonas, a National Manager, explained his formula for success. "Keep on keeping on. The world will make room for the man who knows where he is going." He explained: "If I could give the reason for our success, I could do it with just a couple of words: consistent persistence. Line upon line. Precept upon precept. There’s no formula to guarantee success in a few months’ time. You have to keep with it. We’re very excited about our business, and that helps others get excited."

"There’s no substitute for hard work."
-Thomas Edison

"Do not turn back when you are just at the goal."
-Syrus

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.