Look within for verification and satisfaction…

January 17, 2018


This little quote from a Jack’s Winning Words blog from not too long ago, started me thinking about how much better the world would be if we took a hint from the Special Olympics and rewarded everyone who tries their best, even if they don’t “win”.

“If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough.”  (Radiohead)

We have obsessed as a society on the concept of winning and being a winner. In the process, we created the secondary concept of losing and losers. We created a zero-sum game view of the world, in which it is as important to be able to identify those who lost, as it is to give accolades to those who won. We walk around taunting those who did not win by making the letter “L” on our foreheads with our hands. It is sad that we do not pecial olympics 2take the time to also recognize the effort that the people who did not win put into whatever it is. In the Special Olympics games, every contestant is rewarded with a medal for for trying their best, even if they did not come in first.

Perhaps that also begs the question of why so many, so-called winners seem to require the adulation that comes from being first in order to have some satisfaction and for verification of their efforts. I’ve noticed that those who are more secure and one might say more mature, seem able to find satisfaction and verification within themselves. They are the ones who when interviewed after the race are happy that they may have achieved a personal best. They tried their best and that is good enough for them.

Life doesn’t always work that way, especially in the business world, where trying your best often isn’t good enough to get that promotion or raise. I guess I see that as a management problem. If you have employees trying their best every day and management doesn’t see that as good enough, perhaps they have the employees in the wrong jobs or they’ve hired employees with the wrong skills for the job. Of course that would require that they admit that try their best, they weren’t good enough in their hiring practices and management hates to admit that.

Getting back to the more personal level; you know if you’ve tried your best; and, if you have, that should be something that you find a sense of satisfaction from. If not, then admitting it to yourself should at least provide motivation for a better effort the next time. You really don’t need someone else’s opinion of your effort. After all, how would they know if you had tried your best or not. Perhaps the only other who is in a position to know whether you have tried your best or not is God; if not, you may hear God voice in your own conscious, which is His way of motivating you to always be your best and to give your best effort in life. In the end, God will decide if you tried your best. If you gave life your best effort, that is good enough for God.

Try the best that you can today. God is watching and that will be good enough for Him.


A life well lived? Defining success…

January 16, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of life advice –

“Have faith, hope, and charity; that’s the way to live successfully.”  (Dale Evans)  Jack went on to write  – Dale and her husband (Roy Rogers) were both very religious people.  Her quote is from a song she wrote, called, “The Bible Told Me So,” based on 1 Corinthians 13:13.

man reaching for starTo me, the most interesting word in that little saying is the word “successfully”. That begs the question of who is measuring the success of one’s life and by what standards? Too many people measure themselves and their achievement of success in their lives by what they think others will think of them or how they think others measure success. For those people, success equates to the accumulation of what they see as the three “P’s” of success – possessions, power and position.

Many things in our social environment seem to point to fame and fortune as the keys to success and thus to happiness. Yet there are also many indications that tell us, in the tragic, drug-related deaths of thosedepression3 who we admire and believe have achieved those things; that just achieving fame and fortune may not be the answer to happiness in life. How often we hear their stories of loneliness and insecurities after their deaths. All too often, we find out that they suffered from depression and turned to drugs as a refuge from a life of fear and torment. They seemed to have had it all; but, did they really live a successful life?

Then we can recall the story of Mother Teresa in India or closer to home of Father Solanus CaseySolanus Casey , the Capuchin Franciscan from the Detroit area who was recently elevated to the level of Blessed by the Catholic Church. They certainly didn’t accumulate great possessions, nor were they in positions of power or great prominence; yet who would say that they did not live successful lives. By what standards were their lives judged? I would submit it is by the standards that Dale Evans was espousing.

In the final analysis, the only two judges that matter in evaluating the way you lived your life are you and God; and God has the final vote. As one analyses their life, which makes one the more successful – self-esteem and arrogance or Faith in God; a sense of entitlement or hope for the future; giving a small portion of one’s great wealth (and asking for a receipt for tax purposes) or giving all that you can and wishing you could give more? I would submit that the person who does the latter in those cases is living the more successful life.

As you start a new year, resolve to live life according to the measure of success that DalePinterest Wayne Dyer graphic Evans recommends and not by that old Malcolm Forbes hack, “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Inspirational writer and speaker, Wayne Dyer, put it nicely in this quote that I saw on Pinterest.

At the end of the day, will you be able to look back in satisfaction on a life well lived through faith, hope and charity or will you still be dissatisfied that you haven’t quite accumulated all of the possessions and power and position that you believe will make you happy?

How happy or sad I will be for you.


History lived through has more meaning…

January 15, 2018

I started thinking this morning that Martin Luther King Day for me and others that lived through the events that are being honored today somehow has more meaning than it MLK image over DOwntown MIlforddoes for those who have just read about it or watched old new footage of the events leading up to his death. Thus who were alive in those days remember the context of the events that we now memorialize. We remember the nightly news casts showing black protest marchers being attacked by police dogs and being dragged away by police officers.  We remember the speeches and the great gathering on the Washington Mall. The memory of Martin Luther King being shot  at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968,  also provokes memories of where we were and what we were doing five years earlier on the day that President Kennedy was shot, Friday, November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. in Dallas, Texas. It also will be forever linked in our minds to the fatal shooting of Bobby Kennedy just two months later. Those were tumultuous times.

I’m not trying to say that those who weren’t there can’t have an appreciation of the events, the people involved and the consequences that followed; just that they will forever see it from a different perspective from those who lived through those times. It is less abstract and more personally meaningful, if one can recall how it affected us at the time.

History is also full of great breakthroughs and inventions that can leave one wondering how we ever got by before those things were available to us. Some diseases that were a fact of life back then are almost unheard of today and medical science has advanced so much that survival of what were life ending events is now possible. Even as we take these things for granted today, it is possible to look back and wonder about “the good old days.” How did we make it through those days?

Our nest big parade of the year in Milford is the Memorial Day parade in May. I have watched from my spot in the Viet Nam Veterans group of marchers as the ranks of WWII and the Korean War thinned over time. I have few, if any, personal memories of those days, although I was born during WWII. I do recall Harry Thurman and Dwight Eisenhower as the first two Presidents, of whom I was aware. I remember the glow of the short-lived Camelot Presidency of Kennedy and the turmoil of the Viet Nam War years. Those years provided the backdrop for the emergence of the civil rights movement and the leadership role that Dr. King played in that movement. They led up to my own time serving in Viet Nam at the turn of that decade.

So, Martin Luther King Day for me brings back a torrent of memories and images and emotions from my past. The day does not pass quietly by, unnoticed. It is not something abstract to me; it is something that I lived through and that has more meaning. I will go MLK Day parade in Mlfordto the MLK Day parade in Milford later today. It will be cold, as it always is this time of year. As I march, I will be reliving the memories of not just a day; but, of an era in our history at once brilliant in the ideals that it sparked and sad in the aftermath of the attempts to douse those hopes and dreams. Yes MLK’s dream is alive, but so too are the dreams of JFK and RFK and the many others of that era who envisioned a brighter future in America for all of its citizens.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Make the decision to leave the dark place that you are in…

January 8, 2018

“The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”  (John Pierpoint Morgan) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “wallowing in self-pity”. Many of us get into the state when things seem to go wrong for us. We wallow in it. One dictionary definition captures the essence of wallowing for people – (of a person) indulge in an unrestrained way in (something that creates a pleasurable sensation). You may not think about being down upon yourself as being pleasurable, but for many people self-pity has become a alcohol abusecomfortable place – a place that they are so familiar with that they seek refuge there. When you’re there, you can excuse yourself for your situation, because it is obviously not your fault. After all, when you are wallowing in self-pity, you can explain your failure as being the consequence of “the whole world is against me.”

The fact is that you’ve stayed too long at the pity party and it’s time for you to move on. As Mr. Morgan said, you need to take that first step and go somewhere else. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances were that caused you to wallow for a while in self-pity – a death in the family, a divorce, the loss of a job, whatever; it’s time to go somewhere else. Deciding to move on immediately puts that event in your rear view mirror. It’s still there, but it’s behind you now. You are facing in a new direction – the direction of your future.

Once you have made the decision to that you are not going to stay at the pity party, you women dreamingwill find that the comfort of self-pity is replaced by the excitement of doing something new. You can stop spending all of your time thinking about what was or what might have been and start focusing on what will be. A new direction will lead to new goals and new purpose for your life and the darkness that surrounded you in your sanctuary of self-pity will fade away, replaced by the lights of hopes and dreams.

One of the best ways to exit the dungeon of self-pity is to turn to your faith in the darkest hour and trust once again in God to be there for you. Take you burden, no matter how heavy it feels and give it to God. He can handle it and you can move on with life. The moment you take the step to tell God and yourself, “Not my will be

animated-light-bulb-gif-22done, but thy will be done”; a great weight will be lifted from you and His light will begin to shine in your life, pointing the way out of whatever Hell-hole that you dug yourself into. Perhaps you will recall the Sunday School song “This little light of mine.” Let in bounce around in your mind as you head off on a new direction in life.

Make the decision to leave the pity-party today. Have a great week ahead; you’re off in a new direction.

Animated light-bulb from http://bestanimations.com

Maybe faith is what we are made of…

January 3, 2018

From a post to Jack’s Winning Words some time ago comes this little piece of advice about life – “The same boiling water which softens the potato hardens the egg; it’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”  (Unknown)

One might also say that it’s how you react to the circumstances that you are in that shows depression4your character. You may know people who seem to “go to pieces” anytime they hit a tough spot in life. You may also know people for who the phrase, “adversity brings out their best” might have been coined. Those people don’t thrive on adversity; but they are able to handle it with aplomb.

We sometimes use the term “hot water” to describe bad situations. Normally these are situations that we got ourselves into, perhaps through bad decisions or maybe even onstubborn purpose. Whatever the reason, some hot water situations cause people to harden their position and perhaps even become stubborn or belligerent. Others may find that their preconceived notions about something or someone soften a bit in the midst of a shared adversity. They conclude, “We’re all in this situation together.”

How do you react to adversity? What does that tell you about what you’re made of? Do you turn inward in adverse situations, perhaps even sinking into depression; or, do you seek help from others with the problem? Do you lose sight of your faith during hard time woman-prayingor find strength by leaning upon it. Do you remember God’s promise – “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” He is right there with you and all you have to do is ask for His help.

Don’t let life’s circumstances harden you and turn you away from your faith. Even the hardest objects can be broken, while softer things tend to bend and flow with the circumstances, getting through adversity without breaking. Take strength from your faith and knowing that you are never facing life’s tests alone. If “what you are made of” is an unshakable faith in God; then, none of life’s circumstances will break you.

Have  great rest of the week. Handle life with the aplomb that faith gives you.

Living with Strong Women –

December 27, 2017

Recently, I told a couple of strong women whom I have known since they were born that Elizabeth_WarrenI would do a blog post on strong women in our society. There has been quite a bit of press coverage of strong women lately, whether in politics or business or life in general.  Later, in a moment of self-doubt, I got to thinking to myself, “What the heck do I know about strong women.” My answer to was to think of it more about a strong person, gender identity aside, and to try to identify the characteristics that makes them “strong”.

The more I thought about it the more I settled on one characteristic above all others that makes a person – man or woman – a strong person. That characteristic is self-assurance. This is not to be confused with conceit or being self-centered. Strong women have a verymystery girl clear understanding and acceptance of who they are and what they want in life. Strong women do not need a man to validate them. They are ready and looking for an equal partner, not just someone to assume the role of protector and provider. They have left the nest and their parents and aren’t looking for a man to come into their life and provide a substitute father figure.

In a prior life, when I was in the big, corporate world, I took a course that was aptly titled “I’m OK, You’re OK”. While the course focused upon how to identify and deal with praying-togetherdifferent types of people, one of the basic premises was that you are OK being you; that you aren’t trying to be someone else. Strong people and strong women are OK being themselves. They like who they are and what they are doing in life. They might invite you to share that life with them, but they are not looking to replace it or change it, just to suit you. They may be willing to make some accommodations in order to share life with you; but you shouldn’t expect subservience or too much deference to your point of view.

There is a tendency to call strong people “headstrong”; and, indeed, they can seem that way at times, even to the point of becoming argumentative. Unanswered in the complaint that they are unwilling to budge from their position on something is the question of how willing you were to move your thinking in their direction. Sometimes winner-loseryou can find compromise and sometimes you just have to agree to disagree; and, that’s OK. Life does not have to be a “winner-loser” game.  In fact it is best when lived as a win-win game.

I’ve posted here before about the importance of developing the bond of friendship with the one that you may be sharing your life with. The jewelry companies have picked up on that aspect of a successful partnership with their two stone rings – one stone for the one you love and one for your best friend. That is the relationship to strive for with a strong partner.

So, guys; when you meet a strong woman, you should not be frightened nor should you see it as a challenge to try to dominate her. Rather, see it as an opportunity, perhaps to soulmate1form a relationship with someone who can hold their own as your best friend in life’s journey. It can be an amazing trip when you have a partner alongside you who can give as much as he/she takes in the relationship. If you just want arm candy, you can find that, too; just don’t expect too much from someone who sees you as her sugar daddy. You can drag that cute, little dependent being along with you, like a puppy on a lease;  or, you can find a strong woman who will pull her load in life as an equal partner – you chose.

As for me; I’ve got to go now; my partner and I have plans for the day.

Make the fourth choice…

December 24, 2017

Jack had an interesting quote recently in his blog Jack’s Winning Words

“In life you have three choices…Give up…Give in…or Give it your all.”  (Charleston Parker)

Those are the choices from the kind of human, ego-centric point of view that most of us use in life. Quotes like that are the fodder of coaches and leaders everywhere as they rally the team or the troops. There’s certainly nothing bad about deciding to give it your all in life, whether it be to the demands of your job or to the needs of your family.

Striving to do your best is always a worthy goal; however, as we take time today and tomorrow to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas, I would submit that there is a fourth choice in life…Give it to God. You don’t have to give up on life or give in to the temptations of life; instead give yourself to God and let Him handle your fears and trials. Let Him give you the strength to resist the temptations of life and the endurance and perseverance to give it your all. With God on your side all things are possible.

So, this Christmas, as we give thanks to God for giving us the greatest gift of all time – His Son Jesus – let us also give Him a gift of ourselves. Give yourself to God and you will not have to give up or give in and you will be able to give it your all.

Not to belabor this little prayer that I’ve written about often here; but, the easiest wayman praying that I’ve found in my life to give yourself to God is to prayerfully say to Him…Not my will but thy will be done.

Make the fourth choice.

Merry Christmas to all.