Three little words that can change your life… Be a victor.

April 11, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today’s three little words – “Be a victor” – were coupled with three more words – “Not a victim” – in a quote by Joell Osteen; however, they have often been used within the context of articles, weighty psychological papers  and blogs about the “victim syndrome” and the tendency of many angry woman 2people to see themselves as the victims of situations that occur in life. This is the “poor me, why does this always happen to me” reaction to life. There is comfort for some to wallow in self-pity; but, in the long run that is just a precursor to depression. Don’t go there. That is the flight reaction in the “fight or flight” choice that we all have to make when faced with confrontation or issues. You can shrink back into a pitiful little ball or you can suck it up, thrust out your chin, and Be a victor.

While researching the origins of this little quote I ran across some really good reads – posts that have been done and papers that have been written about the victim syndrome and how to avoid that. One of the better ones was by Guy Harris, a motivational speaker who describes himself as The Recovering Engineer. To paraphrase Guys three suggestions for avoiding being the victim – 1. Own your piece of the problem, 2. Talk it out, and 3. Forgive the other party.  Let’s expand upon those so that we both can see how to avoid being a victim and start to Be a victor.

angry coupleAs Guy says in his blog, there are seldom any conflicts or problems that are totally one-sided. It took two to tangle and it will take two to Tango again. Perhaps the other party did something to set you off, but the fact that you responded in a way that now defines this as a conflict makes you a willing participant. You must own your piece of this brouhaha. Until you admit to yourself that you are also a player in this situation and not just some innocent bystander that got swept up in things, you are playing the role of the victim. Don’t go there. Man up. Be a victor.

Guy’s second suggestion is to initiate conversation – to talk it out. All too often we get involved in something that has offended us or caused us pain or made us mad and we just hold it in and let it fester.  Instead of confronting the issue with the other party involved, we may turn silent, perhaps angry accusereven avoiding that party. We allow our own imagination to take whatever the incident was and turn it from a minor or off-hand thing into a huge deal of epic proportions. We may even back ourselves into corners by creating elaborate scenarios of what the other party will have to do to get back into your good graces. After all, they committed this grave offense against you. You were the victim of this injustice, right? They need to apologize to you because you were the victim. Don’t go there, either. Be a victor.

Guy’s final piece of advice is one that I have written about here in an earlier post (Click here to review that post) – Forgive the other party. It is essential to being able to move on to let the issue drop in your mind and forgive the other party. Nothing can sour a friendship, a relationship or a marriage quite as much as that lingering and unresolved disagreement that floats around in the back of your mind to be dredged up again and again whenever anything new happens between you. Let it go. Put it to bed. Forgive the other party. As long as that little thought floats around in your head you are playing the role of the victim. Get it out of there and Be a victor.

While I thought that Guy’s advice is great and the best way to deal with situations that have already happened, let’s take a moment to advance the thought for today into proactive territory. When you get up in the morning, ready to face a new day; you have the same choice to make before anything has even happened that day. If you get up with a dread about going to work, afraid of what might happen or a fear in your heart about maybe facing a test at school today or ju

Joan of Arcst a general feeling of waiting for something bad to happen to you; you are setting yourself up to be a victim. Don’t go there. Instead look yourself in the mirror and say “This is my day and I’m going to handle whatever comes my way and Be a victor.”

Remember as you face the day and whatever challenges you hit that you and only you can determine whether you will retreat and hide in the mantle of the victim or take up the sword of the victor and fight back by using the advice that Guy gave you. You own your piece of the problem and your reaction to whatever it is, so talk it out and forgive the other side and forget about it. Move on because you have other more important things to do in life, now that you have decided to Be a victor.

Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat…

July 10, 2014

From the Jack’s Winning word blog for today comes this tidbit – “I’m the best failure you’ve ever seen.”  (Matt Paxton)  Matt, a recovering alcoholic and gambler, a social loser, got an idea while cleaning his grandma’s basement.  She didn’t just give him money; she gave him a job.  That’s how Clutter Cleaners began.  He hires ex-cons (who need a job) to clean out basements, garages, you name it.

Now, obviously you needn’t become a failure to be successful; however, did you ever notice how many really famous and successful people embrace failure as a path to success. Here are some good quotes from  some of them:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. – Dale Carnegie

man winning racePerhaps the underlying message is not that you should strive not to fail (that would be an impossible goal anyway), but rather that you should use your failures as a learning experience and find a way to build a positive base for success from them. Hopefully, when you have an “Oh, Crap” moment of failure, you don’t just say “let me try that again”; it’s better to think about a different way to try that again and to keep trying until you get it right.

So, get out there today and start failing your way to success. Just remember to keep your desire to succeed stronger than your fear of failure.

You don’t need a key –

October 22, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this  lyric  from The Eagles song Already Gone (listen to it here) –

“So often in time it happens, we all live our life in chains,

and we never even know we have the key.”

It’s interesting that the lyrics right before that line provide the insight to understand it –

“Well, I know it wasn’t you who held me down
Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free”

Many things in life try to hold us down, to put us in chains and show us no way out; however we always hold the key to release ourselves from whatever it is that may be weighing us down – remorse over a past event or angst over a coming event.

The Eagles song was about a relationship that was ending and it was intended to be a victory song from the point of view of one of the people in that failed relationship. In the song the singer celebrates that he is already over the breakup by stating that he is already gone – gone on with life.

I’ve posted here a few times about getting over things and moving on with life – see my posts What’s Next For You and Are You Moving On?

The point is that you don’t even need a key to break the chains that you think are holding you. Someone else didn’t put those chains on you; you put them on yourself and you can throw them off. Maybe it is as simple as declaring victory as the song lyrics state and telling yourself that you are already gone – that you are already over it and you are moving on.

Sometimes throwing off the chains of guilt or self-doubt can be as simple as uttering the simple little prayer that I’ve used many times here – “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” You will be surprised at the immediate feeling that the weight of the chains that you have imposed upon yourself is lifted from your shoulders when you give your chains to God. You will feel free to move on with life.

Perhaps then, you will feel like singing the lyrics that the Eagles used later in the song –

Cause I’m already gone
And I’m feelin’ strong
I will sing this vict’ry song
I’m already gone.

You hold the key to your own happiness – use it and get on with life.

Crying time will pass…

August 23, 2014

I was ask the rhetorical question “Will I ever stop crying?” recently by a client going through a divorce. It may asremorseful
well have been someone who had just experienced the loss of a life-mate. The obvious answer was yes, but at that moment more was needed. A hug was needed. Sometimes a good cry is a wonderful thing. It lets out the tension. It drains away some of the emotion and frustration of the moment. It is cathartic.

Unfortunately, many seem to use crying as an entrance into the realm of being a victim or worse as the slide into depression. Those are doors best left closed. You are not a victim unless you let yourself become one. Read or re-read my post on “Be a victor, not the victim” and/or “Make happy memories today.” But, eventually one must end the crying and get on with life.

Sometimes things change so fast in our lives that it can make our heads swim and become overwhelming. The person who used to do so many of the shared tasks of living is no longer there and all of a sudden it is your responsibility to think of everything, to do everything to be responsible for everything. For people whose long-term life mate is suddenly no longer there, even simple things like paying the bills or the taxes or cleaning the gutters or preparing meals or hundreds of other day-to-day tasks can suddenly start piling up.  In times like that it caringis often the help of a friend or relative that gets you through. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Many times you will find that there were people just waiting and wanting to help, but they didn’t want to offend you by “butting in.”

So, go ahead and have a good cry; but, when crying time has passed, put away the Kleenex, put on your big girl/boy pants and get on with life. I’ve posted several posts about that – facing reality and finding a way to survive and then thrive. The point of all of them is that life goes on, no matter what we may think or feel for a short while; and we must find a way to go on, too. Keep in mind, too, that there are people in your life who are standing ready to help. Ask them to help, accept their help and then thank them for their help. You’ll feel better and they will, too. Crying time will pass. Life will go on and so will you.

Three little words that may change your life… Seize the day.

April 25, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today’s three little words are often seen in their Latin version – Carpe Diem! Whether in Latin or plaicarpe diemn
English the thought is the same, that one should take control of their life and not let the event of life take control of them. One should make the most of each day and the opportunities which are presented that day. Rather than just wandering through the day in a passive way, one should seize the day.

While some might think the words to be a bit too aggressive and perhaps even too macho, the message applies to everyone equally, whether men, women or children – take control of your life and decide what you want to do today; don’t wait for the day to throw things at you to react too. That means starting out each day with some plans and goals in mind. What are your goals for today? Just hoping that you can get through the day is not a goal; that’s a defeatist attitude that starts by positioning yourself as a victim. Go back and re-read my post, Be a victor. Seize the day.

Imagine how much better you’ll feel if you start each day by spending just a little time thinking about good and positive things that you are going to accomplish that day and visualizing your success. Amp yourself up, by saying to yourself, “this is my day and I’m going to make the most of it.” Greet people that you meet with a smile, a warm greeting and a handshake or hug. Be satisfied and happy with all of the small wins that you may have during the day and with the progress that you are able to make against the larger issues or tasks that you are facing. You can’t eat the whale in one day, but you can take a good bite out of it. Do not let the day rule you; instead, seize the day.

girl with smile pictureSome people actually have T-shirts that say “Carpe Diem” on them or maybe even “Seize the Day”; if it helps you feel better about it, imagine that you are wearing one of those T-shirts. You can also find tons of quotes and saying about seizing the day, so go read a few of them for further inspiration. The real point is to take some action, to have some plan, to make some effort, to imagine something different, or to just to launch into the day with enthusiasm, hope and faith that this is going to be a great day – seize the day!

Getting there from here…

April 29, 2021

“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  (Earl Nightengale)

I’ve had that little quote hanging around for some time and thought it deserved to be commented upon.

Many people have hopes or dreams, most of which never get beyond that stage, because they remain in that vague, unorganized state in their minds. Hopes and dreams at least made it further than “passing thoughts” that pop in and out of our heads and are gone forever. Hopes and dreams that are not acted upon eventually turn into regrets and that’s not a good thing.

What keeps those hopes and dreams from becoming reality is the lack of a plan of action to make them come true. It is those plans and the road maps to success that results from them that Nightengale is referencing in his quote. Once you turn a hope or a dream into a goal, you can begin breaking down the steps that are necessary to achieving that goal (that dream) and making plans on how to approach and achieve those steps.

Hopes and dreams are a little like problems. Sometimes they can loom so big that they seem impossible to solve. But, just like big problems, one can break hopes and dreams down into smaller incremental steps. You begin to think in terms of, “I’ve got to do this, before I can do that.” Each this and that along the way to achieving your goal (your dream), becomes a stop along the roadmap. Reaching each stop on the roadmap by accomplishing that task represents a little victory. Take time to celebrate each victory to keep yourself motivated, but make sure that it is only a pause to celebrate and not a reason to stop.

Breaking down your hopes and dreams into small steps and mapping out a road to success also makes getting up the courage to press on easier. After all you aren’t trying to do it all at once, just this one little thing today. Rather than asking God for the courage and strength to take on the whole dream at once, you can ask for His help on achieving the little step that is front of you. And at the end of the day, when you have achieved that little step, you can thank God for his help and line up support for the next step. You might also acknowledge the need to ask God for the patience to take on the journey in the small steps that you have mapped out. Patience is one of God’s strong suits.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Have you really thought about them enough to start mapping out a roadmap to achieve them? If so, have you started down the path that you have defined? If not, why not? After all, you have a plan.

Perhaps it’s time for your to ask God for the courage to begin or continue that journey. Your hopes and dreams await. Just take that first step or that next step. You can do this, and God can help.

Have a great day and good luck with today’s small step in your journey. Maybe we’ll bump into each other along the way to our hopes and dreams.

What will you do today that scares you?

April 21, 2021

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

That piece of advice from a famous First Lady, rings as true today as ever. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do something stupid or dangerous; rather, that you should challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.

Everyone develops a comfort zone – that nice, quiet, sometimes boring place in which we try to live; not because it is so satisfying so much as because it is so safe feeling. Our comfort zones require little of us and where there is little required there is also little reward. That is why so many answer the question “How are you doing?” with the response “OK” or “good” and not “Great”. Having a great day requires effort, it requires a victory or some successful new experience. An OK day just requires that nothing unusual happen.

So, Eleanor’s advice is that you do something unusual, something out of the ordinary for you, something that scares you. It could be something as simple as saying hello to people as you pass them when you would normally just keep your head down and walk on by them. Maybe it involves introducing yourself to that person at work whom you been secretly hoping that you could meet somehow or asking that secret someone that you like out for a date. Maybe it means going somewhere that you ‘ve always been afraid to go or perhaps doing something that you’ve hesitated to do out of some unfounded fear.

Getting out of your comfort zone immediately causes a physiological reaction in your body. Your adrenaline flows. Your heart may race. You may begin to sweat. All of those things pass quickly once you break through the barrier that was holding you back and realize that your fears were unfounded. The feeling of dread is quickly replaced by a sense of accomplishment and maybe even joy. Even if the encounter does not pan out as you had hoped, the fact that you got there and did it still gives you a feeling of accomplishment and victory over the fear.

So, take Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and pick our something that you’ve been avoiding doing or fearing doing and just do it today. At the end of the day, you will have something to look back on and learn from – a new experience. We must always keep pushing against the walls of our comfort zones, moving them further rout; otherwise, they can close in on us and become suffocating.

So when someone asks you, “How are you doing today?, you can answer, “Great, I just met someone new or I did something new, and it feels wonderful.”

Get out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares you today.

How to get rich quick…

April 13, 2021

The blog, Jack’s Winning Words, contained advice this morning on how to become rich that originated from an ancient Greek philosopher – “By desiring little a poor man makes himself rich.”  (Democritus)

Pastor Freed referenced the movie The Jerk and its main character Navin as an example of someone who was happy (rich) with just the few simple things around him. All of us are not simpletons like Navin, but we can all still be happy and feel rich by appreciating the things that we have and not lusting after things that we don’t have.

The starting point for that happiness and rich feeling is to be thankful for what you do have – starting with life. If you wake up in the morning and feel grateful that God has given you another day. That is a good start. Taking the new day for granted is a start down the wrong path- the path of entitlement. It is this feeling of entitlement that eggs us on to lust after the things that we don’t have.

A good way to ground yourself at the start of each day is to utter a short prayer to God, thanking Him for giving you another day and another opportunity to appreciate the things and people around you. Assuming that you are not in survival mode, scrambling for your next meal and your very existence, you can also be more aware of and thankful for the things that you already have.

Most in America, and in most civilized countries of the world, have much more than someone living at subsistence level or in survival mode out in the jungle somewhere. We may have a roof over our heads or at least somewhere to stay. Most have enough food to survive readily available and most have more than one set of cloths. There are many in the extremely poor parts of the world who would consider themselves rich if they had just those things. So, right away, you are richer than that poor, starving naked person huddling under a tree for shelter somewhere.

The real key to becoming rich quick is to control your desire for more, for things that you don’t have. There is already a scientific explanation for not being happy by accumulating more things. It is called “The law of diminishing returns.” This axiom basically states that the satisfaction or happiness realized by obtaining another item of a certain type diminishes with each added item. So maybe you were still very happy when you got your second pair of pants or shirt; however, buying the 10th or 20th pair of pants or shirt is much less satisfying. The thrill is gone, and you may event start to question yourself about why you “needed” another pair of pants or another shirt or blouse? The real answer is that you don’t need them.

So, why do we keep accumulating things that we really don’t need? I suspect that the answer in most cases is that we think that owning them will make us happy. For some it is the pursuit of that ownership that provide them the happiness; a happiness that quickly fades once it has been achieved. It turns out for them that victory in one pursuit just leads to the start of another chase for the next shiny thing.

Maybe, after you thank God for giving you another day, you can ask Him to help you find happiness is what you have. Ask God to open your eyes to see the beauty in the things and people around you and to appreciate them. Once you stop to think about all that you already have and the love that you share with those around you, you may find that you are already a rich person indeed.

So, the secret to getting rich quick it to be thankful for, and happy with, the things that God has already given you. Then you can stop chasing the next shiny thing and start enjoying the things and people who are already there. Instead of buying that 10th pair of pants for yourself, buy them and donate them to a charity and see if that doesn’t make you feel richer than hanging them in your closet.

God has given you another day. What more do you really need? Be happy. Enjoy the riches that God has already given you.

Is Winter a state of mind?

January 13, 2021

Two recent posts to the blog Jack’s Winning Words just seem to belong together and point to our ability to deal with the season we call winter –

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the face.”  (Victor Hugo)


“Even in winter it shall be green in my heart.”  (Frederik Chopin)

Chopin and Hugo both point to solutions to the gloom and depression that winter can bring on. The shorter days and cloudy darkness, especially in northern areas can exacerbate effects of the cold and being forced to stay indoors so much. This year in particular with the COVID-19 pandemic overlaid on top of the winter weather, it can be an especially tough time. Yet, like other events in our lives, we hold the key to how we react to the dark and unhospitable physical environment of winter.

Pastor Freed wrote that Chopin was a romantic and that it showed in his music. Romanics, I believe, also tend to be optimistic about life, since they imagine successful romantic outcomes to situations. Victor Hugo was also an important figure in the French Romantic Movement.

Perhaps the difference is that the romantic looks ahead and imagines the end of winter and the rebirth offered by spring. In the heart of the romantic, they imagine the green of Spring and that vision sustains them through the gloom of winter. The romantic might also find things to laugh at amidst the gloom and that helps keep winter at bay.

Like everything else in life, taking a passive approach doesn’t really work. One can’t just sit there and say, “All right, make me laugh” or “Show me the green”. The effects of winter on us mentally has even got a name (doesn’t every thing these days). It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). So, if you are sad because of SAD, here is a link to a nice article of things that you can do about it. As you read the article notice that much of the advice revolves around how to implement the advice of Hugo and Chopin.

All of this points to the conclusion that the title of this post aims at. While the winter season is very real, it is the “Winter” in our minds that we must deal with. We must not let gloom and doom creep into our lives along with the cold of the season. We must work at finding the things that we can laugh at and maintain the hope of sprint, the sure knowledge that better days are ahead.

For the Christian that hope is found in Easter, which portends the Spring in our lives. We first had Christmas to brighten up the beginning of winter and now we have Easter to chase winter away and usher in the rebirth of Spring. We can laugh in the face of the gloom and maintain the green in our hearts because we know what is coming and what is next.

So, is the Winter in my mind one of gloom and sadness? No, that is not my state of mind; for I am already looking forward to Easter and the rebirth for the earth and for me personally that it heralds. It is green in my mind already and that makes me want to laugh at winter.  How about you?

But, it’s not an automatic door…

December 17, 2020

Pastor Freed used this quote today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Every wall has a door.”  (Emerson) 

That quote gets used a lot in inspirational posts or signs and is meant to encourage people to not quit, but to look for the way out of the situation that they find themselves in – to look for that door. Pastor Freed went on to relate how Michael Jordan used it to explain that he never quit when he had early rejections or failures in life – he found a way through, or over, or around the walls that life threw up in his life.

I suspect that many of us approach those doors like we would the door of a major retail store, like Kohl’s or Target. We expect them to be automatic, to open as we approach them. Most are not that way. The doors to opportunity in life require not only that you look for them; but, also that you actually work to get them open and go through them.

Some doors may even be locked when we get there and we have the further challenge of finding the key to unlock them, so that we may open them and go through. Some doors are even hidden. I saw a post on Linked In recently were a man approached a wall that had an obvious door in it, but he pushed on the seemingly solid stone wall next to the door and a passageway opened for his to go through. Maybe the message there is that one must also look for hidden solutions to life’s problems and challenges.

What do you do when you walk up to the storefront door and it doesn’t automatically open? Do you give up, turn around and go back to your car? No. You reach out, grab the door handle and open it yourself.

The doors the we may face in life are not automatic and we must work to find and open them, so that we might go forward in life. The important take-away is to not allow yourself to be satisfied with being shut out of what’s behind each door that is preventing your progress.

This morning, in your prayers, ask God, not that He make the doors that you encounter in life open automatically; but, rather for His help in finding the key needed to open them and allow you to move on with your life. Ask Him to strengthen your faith and give you the patience and perseverance to work at opening those doors.  We read in the Bible –

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

If you think about it, God has already given us the ultimate key to life’s last door – Jesus. For, with faith in Jesus, we can open the door in the wall of death and enter into eternal life.

Keep working at it through prayer. It is not an automatic door.