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Archive for February, 2018

Roosevelt on Character

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.

Roosevelt, Theodore

—Theodore Roosevelt

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Rousseau on Freedom

Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

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Humor Friday

It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead—and find no one there.

Roosevelt, Franklin D

—Franklin D. Roosevelt

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To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.

plutarch

—Plutarch, 46 AD—120 AD

…Most of us don’t have any problem at all identifying and admitting to our faults. In fact, we are often our own harshest critic. And that’s fine. Admitting our challenges is necessary for spiritual growth—after all, that’s why we are here, isn’t it? But, sadly, that is where it often ends. What good is it to beat ourselves up and then refuse to change?

I will bet that if you take a minute to dwell on your current faults, they are the precise same ones as a decade ago. We have identified them, yet we haven’t defeated them! Why the disconnect? As Plutarch so succinctly put it 2,000 years ago, the first part is easy; it’s the second part that takes effort. And the friction of effort typically keeps us from moving forward.

So, what should we do to free ourselves from this ravine of inaction where we remain stuck? The first step is to take a minute, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, or a laptop, and write down the one fault in your circuitry which you believe to be most responsible for limiting your success or causing you unhappiness. It may be as simple as writing down one word, or as long as a sentence. Go ahead, literally do it right now—I’ll wait.

Got it? Great! Now, underneath that word, phrase, or sentence, make a bulleted list of five to ten simple actions you can take, either on a daily or a regular basis, to defeat that fault. And make sure they are actions which you alone control.

Now, at the end of the bulleted list, I want you to write down, in parenthesis, an affirmation of the person you have become by crushing this particular inner demon. The person standing on the hill above the ravine which kept you prisoner. Look back down into the ravine and view the dark emotions swirling around. They want to pull you back in, but you vow to never go back.

Keep this sheet handy and reflect on it daily until you have effectively defeated this fault. After an adequate period of time, when you are sure you have gained mastery in this arena, consider moving on the your next battle.

MSH

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Reflection

If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.

young man on bench instag sz shutterstock_752827510

—Jean-Paul Sartre

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Perseverance

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed.

van Gogh, Vincent 789796081 fb size

—Vincent van Gogh

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One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute.

Feather, William

—William Feather

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Remain Motivated

There’s always a new challenge to keep you motivated.

Connery, Sean

—Sean Connery

…Ahh, motivation. One of the greatest challenges of the modern world. In the past, we didn’t need motivation—we were told what to do from early in the morning to late at night. We worked 12 hours a day at a factory, or on the farm, or in a home surrounded by constant chores. Failure to act was not an option. Today, we have the great luxury of “needing” motivation. We have unprecedented freedom to do it all…or to do nothing. I can promise you this, however: if we take the latter path and refuse to motivate ourselves with constant challenges, we will pay the price throughout our lives.

MSH

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Using Adversity to Grow

Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.

Wordsworth, William

—William Wordsworth

…It is never enjoyable to face adversity—those unexpected bombs thrown into our lives, or the chronic, dull ache of sadness and melancholy. We see pictures of others who seemingly have it all—wealth, fame, success—while we trudge forward, inch by inch and day by day. I think of Abraham Lincoln, a good man who moved from failure to failure in life, all while battling some pretty serious mental demons. What, ultimately, made Lincoln so great? The wisdom he gained from his many low points in life, and his ability to act upon what he had learned. When we are down and out, we tend to contemplate, and that is typically when we find wisdom. In our successes, we tend to celebrate. To be sure, most of us would rather spend our life surrounded by success and happiness; but, more often than not, our somber times allow us to cultivate the rich soil needed for our future growth.

MSH

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Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Lao Tzu

—Lao Tzu

…And don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed, no matter how big your “things” have become. Look at the first one standing in your way. Break it down into small pieces; so small that any one piece could not possibly overwhelm you, and begin knocking those pieces out!

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