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Common enemies…

Posted Dec 6 2017 by in True North with 2 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “How will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today, tomorrow, and every day.  Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day.

On December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good – Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annals of bloody combat, or even the bloody headlines of 2017, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary and the word “Post-truth”:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Their definition continues:

‘It’s not surprising that (this word in 2016) reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  With the difficult events that have occurred almost daily throughout 2017, we certainly hope so.

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world.  The 2017 Houston Astros won the first World Series for a city that earlier in the year was devastated by Mother Nature.  Were the events related?  Only God would know.

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs continuously crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple rose to dominate personal, technology devices and the way we all consume entertainment and information today.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights.

“ADVERSITY”:

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. 

Horace

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the wounded; the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done. 

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  What lessons have we learned?  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December in the face of our many common enemies?

In every community, there is work to be done.  And in our hearts, we all have the power to do it!

GAP

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Coincidence…

I think I’ve had a fair share of coincidence in my lifetime.  How about you?  In fact, if not for coincidence, I may not be here.  More on that in a minute.

According to Wikipedia:

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, or paranormal claims.

What’s your view?  Do you believe in the paranormal?  Or, do you believe you control your own outcomes?  Perhaps a combination of the two – that’s where I align.  James C. Collins’ comment resonates with me:

Luck favors the persistent.

On the one hand, I feel I have worked very hard throughout my life to accomplish my accomplishments.  I know a lot of people who excel at excelling with a major effort intellectually, emotionally, and even physically.  They’re the early risers; the strivers; the competitors; the winners.

On the other hand, I have benefited often from random acts of kindness; luck; coincidence.  And if I were a betting man, I’d bet you have too.

For those events that we might consider having been “outside of our control”, what do you suppose the origin was; divine intervention; supernatural; coincidence?  How do you feel about having aspects of your life impacted by things “outside of your control”?

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. 

Dalai Lama

I’m comfortable with “fate” playing a significant role in my life.  Call it what you will, but without coincidence I might not be here today.  It has to do with World War II; my Dad; and Brownsville Texas.

Like so many men of the time, my Dad enlisted in the Army Air Corps to join in the defense of our country.  (The Army Air Corps was replaced in circa 1947, becoming today’s Air Force.)  Back in the 1940’s, my Dad was assigned to be a tail gunner on a B-17 bomber.  It was known as the “Flying Fortress” – but not for tail gunners.

Following basic training, my Dad was stationed in Brownsville, Texas for 6 months of gunnery school.  Coincidentally, the person in charge of records at his base knew my Dad and my Mom having worked with them at a manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago before the outbreak of the war.

This person – this “protector” – this “angel” – likely saved my Dad’s life; and I don’t even know his name.  You see after completing the 6 months of gunnery school, these soldiers were transferred to Europe where the B-17s were bombing Germany.  The person in charge of records maintained those records in a 3 x 5 card “system”.

After my Dad’s first 6 month training, when his 3 x 5 card came up for assignment, this person put his card at the back of the box of cards.  My Dad’s comrades shipped out; a new group of soldiers shipped in for gunnery school and my Dad repeated the training.  This occurred through three, 6-month cycles and then the war ended.  My Dad never was transferred to Europe.

This coincidence manifesting itself in the form of a 3 x 5 card, record keeping system and the person overseeing it meant my Dad never saw “action”.  Fortuitous for me you see because the mortality rate of B-17 tail gunners in WWII was 80%.  Had my Dad been in one of those bombers it is very likely I would have never been born.

Coincidence?  I’m a fan.

GAP

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Keys to success…

The History Channel recently telecast, “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us” the documentary stated the key to financial success in the 1980’s was greed.  Individual greed no matter what the impact; no matter what the collateral damage; no matter who was stepped on; the Michael Douglas line in the movie Wall Street surmised, “Greed is good.”

Is that the key?  I certainly hope not.  But what makes one person super successful while others struggle through life?  What makes one cause successful while other causes fail?  Or a business; or a sports team; or medical research?  What are the keys to success?

Of course, let’s not to get too carried away with the sound bite, “keys to success”.  It seems to oversimplify things.  Besides, keys are kept on key chains – and key chains make me nervous:

A key chain is a gadget that allows us to lose several keys at the same time.    

Unknown Sage

Perhaps one key to success is confidence.  Here’s an excerpt from “Critical Things Confident People Won’t Do” (see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/critical-things-confident-people-wont-do-dr-travis-bradberry ) by Dr. Travis Bradberry:

In The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda is training Luke to be a Jedi, he demonstrates the power of the Force by raising an X-wing fighter from a swamp. Luke mutters, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda replies, “That is why you fail.”

As usual, Yoda was right — and science backs him up. Numerous studies have proved that confidence is the real key to success.

And who doesn’t believe Yoda was successful?  Talk about not being able to judge a book by its cover!  But that occurred, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

OK, success sits on a foundation of confidence.  But we’ve all witnessed some pretty kooky confidence from time to time,

Even though we have admittedly fallen behind on the engine development, I feel confident that we will have the airplane’s engine there for the first flight.  

Norman R. Augustine

Not exactly the underpinnings of a successful airplane manufacturer.

Dr. Brad emphasizes another key to success we probably all can agree on – to be successful, we must believe.  Believe in what we’re doing; believe in our product or service; believe in our company or cause; believe in our team.  Most importantly, we must believe in ourselves; especially in the face of adversity.

Our self-belief is a powerfully positive influence on others too.  But we must lead the way for others:

Gentlemen, enlisted men may be entitled to morale problems, but officers are not. 

General George C. Marshall

So far confidence, good morale, and self-belief are keys that will contribute to our success.  However, we might need a few more keys on that key chain, yes?  Let’s keep looking.

How about this key offered by another thought leader:

Success, real success, in any endeavor demands more from an individual than most people are willing to offer- not more than they are capable of offering. 

James Roche

Hmmm…  James Roche suggests we all are capable of being successful but the degree of success we realize boils down to our individual will.  What do you think?  Can one will oneself to success?  Well, do you know of anyone who succeeded without a strong will?

I guess I can’t simply list the specific keys to success.  I confess I don’t have the key chain.  But if the keys to success needs to include confidence; self-belief; positive morale; and a strong will; then I believe there’s hope for you (and me) yet.

GAP

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April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Eighteen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, can bring to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become increasingly more common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for all too many youths in their teens and twenty’s.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today.

Tell them today that you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Today, help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us. 

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton – Today, we are all Columbine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Seqhcq23M

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today, and everyday!

GAP

Common enemies…

Posted Dec 7 2016 by in True North with 0 Comments

“OK Pokorn”, you might be thinking… “how will you correlate that title with peace and positivity?”  Well, there is actually great power found in emotional negativity that can be harnessed for the greater good.  And it is this appeal to the greater good that we should remember today and every day.  Today is Pearl Harbor Day.

On this date, December 7, 1941, an event occurred that summoned a powerful, driving force for the greater good– Pearl Harbor.  From a factual standpoint according to Wikipedia:

In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded.

Nothing remarkable in the annuls of bloody combat, true?  But the highly-charged political discourse that followed epitomized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Infamy Speech” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech ) united our country against a common enemy.

Moving on to the Oxford Dictionary:  “Post-truth” is Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2016:

Post-truth adjective

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

The recognition goes on:

‘It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse’, says Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries. ‘Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

“…Fueled by social media and a growing distrust of facts…”  Negative emotions can be a powerful, driving force.  But a force for good?  We can only hope; right President-Elect Trump?

We witnessed this kind of power in the sporting world, too.  The 2016 Chicago Cubs finally beat their common enemies – the 108 year World Series drought; the “Curse of the Billy Goat”; Steve Bartman (not to mention the Cleveland Indians).

In the business world we have seen evidence of power when uniting against common enemies.  Steve Jobs seemingly crusaded to be taken seriously – until Apple finally dominated personal, technology devices.  The common enemy of marketplace disrespect drove Apple to great heights:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience. 

Robert Fulghum

We’ve witnessed Oracle Corporation’s leader, Larry Ellison and his passion to conquer everything and everyone – business; technology; sailboat racing – everything!

Jonathan Whistman, author of The Sales Boss ©, speaks specifically to the ways sales leaders can harness the power of the common enemy, creating a common language in pursuit of a common cause (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5NBCIa1nM ).

The Salvation Army started in 1865 in London and The American Red Cross inspired from the carnage of our Civil War, formerly launched in 1881 in Washington D.C.  These powerful organizations are also untied against common enemies – the needy; the sinful; the destitute; the addicted; the hungry; the homeless.  There are many common enemies that give rise to great power for the common good:

In every community, there is work to be done.

In every nation, there are wounds to heal.

In every heart, there is the power to do it.

Marianne Williamson

So yes – common enemies, and the personal, emotional reactions they stimulate, can and do harness the necessary power for the greater good.

Here’s to Pearly Harbor Day and all the power it generated to propel our country forward in the face of common enemies.  How will we propel America and our fellow Americans, forward this December season in the face of our many common enemies?  In our hearts, we have the power to do it!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

We’re wired…

I was reading an article recently about how our brains are “wired”.  Our brain is an absolute wonder of the world, true?  In this article, the author zeroed in on the topic of negativity.  Here’s a critical fact:

Research shows that most people complain once a minute during a typical conversation. 

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Ishkabibble!  Once per minute?  No wonder we come across so many people that are in that negative, poop-in-the-face mood.

The Doc continues to explain in a medical context how our brains have developed a neuro-path swaying us towards negativity.  He summarized one origin of our continuous, negative attitudes stemming from deep in our brain “wiring” this way:

Neurons that fire together, wire together.

I think this is a fascinating, albeit a bit unnerving read.  Check it out:  http://www.talentsmart.com/articles/How-Complaining-Rewires-Your-Brain-for-Negativity-2147446676-p-1.html

But beware: The facts, realities and impacts of constant complaining get worse.  Dr. Bradberry states:

Complaining shrinks the hippocampus.

I say again, Ishkabibble!  Shrinks our hippocampus?  Is that why we live in a time where there is such an effort to avoid negative outcomes?  I mean, just look at our commercial products world where legal liability avoidance is such a big thing:

In case you needed further proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods:

On a Sears hairdryer:

“Do not use while sleeping.”

(That’s the only time I have to work on my hair.)

On a bag of Fritos:

“You could be a winner! No purchase necessary.  Details inside.”

(The shoplifter special?)

On a bar of Dial soap: Directions:

“Use like regular soap.”

(And that would be how?)

On some Swanson frozen dinners:

“Serving suggestion: Defrost.

(But, it’s just a suggestion.)

On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on the bottom):

“Do not turn upside down.”

(Well…duh, a bit late, huh?)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:

“Product will be hot after heating.”

(…and you thought?)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:

“Do not iron clothes on body.”

(But wouldn’t this save me more time?)

On Booth’s Children Cough Medicine:

“Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.”

(We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year- olds with   head-colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid:

“Warning: May cause drowsiness.”

(And… I’m taking this because?)

On most brands of Christmas lights:

“For indoor or outdoor use only.”

(As opposed to…what?)

On a Japanese food processor:

“Not to be used for the other use.”

(Now, somebody out there, help me on this. I’m a bit curious.)

On Sunsbury’s peanuts:

“Warning: contains nuts.”

(Talk about a news flash)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:

“Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.”

(Step 3: maybe, uh…fly Delta?)

On a child’s Superman costume:

“Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.”

(I don’t blame the company. I blame the parents for this one.)

On a Swedish chainsaw:

“Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.”

(Was there a lot of this happening somewhere?) 

Unknown Sage

Dr. Bradberry does offer solutions to “re-wire” our brains towards a more positive perspective.   One suggestion he emphasizes is remembering to be grateful.  I’m always grateful to receive practical advice.  Like this Facebook example posted by my son – who, coincidentally, is an electrician:

You can’t always control who walks into your life.  But you can control which window you throw them out of.    

Unknown Sage

Thanks Eric!  I think I feel my hippocampus growing.

GAP

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Today’s outlook…

Will today be fair and mostly sunny?  Or, are we dreading that test or that big presentation that we know we are not properly prepared for?  Are we Olympians ready to run our personal best today?  Is today’s outlook one of accomplishment or disappointment?

Depending on the context, “outlook” has a variety of meanings for us, true?  For those of you on an airplane your pilot might have this outlook:

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with broken clouds; but they’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. 

Unknown Sage

Some might be girding for a disagreement with our spouse during breakfast and if we’re of European descent we may have a different outlook:

Old Scottish Prayer

O Lord, grant that we may always be right, for Thou knowest we will never change our minds.

Some of us fear the day; some are excited to see what adventures lie ahead.  Some are working out.  Some will sleep in.  Some will simply and mindlessly go about our routine robotically.  How will you face the day?  And what outlook will you bring for yourself and share with the others around you?

On the “for our self” side, I think Guy R. Ratti offers stellar advice:

I carry a picture of myself as a child (about six years old) to remind me of two things:

  1. To remember to always look at the world as a child does, with wonder and excitement of what I can become.
  2. To remember to forgive and love myself just as would that innocent child in the picture. Too many grown-ups live their lives feeling guilty over mistakes made or lose time blaming themselves for things that could have been. I remember what it is like to be a child and know that in many ways I am not much different from that boy in the picture

When I wrote this little ditty, this passage stimulated me to go through my family album and find that childhood picture.  And that picture stimulated my memory of a world filled with wonder and excitement.  The love I felt from my family; the carefree feeling each new day brought; the adventure of exploring the neighborhood.  That child-like outlook – let’s all regain that peaceful feeling today, deal?

OK, not everyone had a magnificent childhood.  But I bet you can remember a friend, family member, teacher, preacher, coach, or mentor that encouraged you to be all that is possible to be.  I bet you have a memory of a past, pleasant time that today, would be a good day to dust off that memory and use it to reset your outlook.

For those around us, they might appreciate the effort too:

You will be happier if you will give people a bit of your heart rather than a piece of your mind. 

Unknown Sage

We’ve all been there; life beats on us until we capitulate and our attitudes give-in to the “dark side”.  Stress and anger replace innocence and optimism.  We become the recipients (or worse, the originators) of the sentiment seen by Captain Bligh in the movie Mutiny on the Bounty:

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Our day can be whatever we chose to make of it.  Today’s outlook is under our command – and from the movie Midway we might heed the line from Robert Mitchum’s role:

When you’re in command – command!

So what will you command your outlook to be today?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com

April optimism…

Ahh, April; springtime in the Rockies!  What a wonderfully eventful time of the year; snow last week; 70’s this week.  Never quite sure what Mother Nature has in mind for us.  But April has always been my personal demarcation point for the beginning of spring.  And springtime buds optimism, true?

No Winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn. 

Hal Borland

According to Wikipedia, the start of the spring season occurs at different times, based on different reasons depending on our different perspectives:

Meteorological reckoning

Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions. In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are March, April and May…

Ecological reckoning

The beginning of spring is not always determined by fixed calendar dates. The phenological or ecological definition of spring relates to biological indicators; the blossoming of a range of plant species, and the activities of animals, or the special smell of soil…

Of course, April 15th is the deadline day for filing our income tax returns – now there’s an annual “Taxpayer reckoning” American could do without!

April is a time of reckoning in the sports world, too.  The NBA is winding down their regular season and gearing up for the playoffs; the NHL too.  Winter sports you say?  Well, those winter sports haven’t ended in the winter season since last century.

April also holds optimism and opening days for Major League Baseball teams.  The Colorado Rockies’ home opener is this afternoon.

People sometimes ask me if I am a Rockies fan.  Sadly – no.  You see, I only have a place in my heart for one, bad franchise at a time.  You guessed it – I’m a die-hard Cubs fan!

Now to be a Cubs fan is saying something about optimism.  The Cubs last won the National League pennant in 1945 (71 years ago); they last won the World Series in 1908 (108 years ago).  No wonder we are referred to as “die-hard”!

But mostly, April weather and the spring season remind me of my Chicago roots; warming weather; and optimism:

Life in Chicago

60° above –   Floridians wear coats, gloves and wooly hats.                              Chicago people sunbathe.

50° above –   New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.  Chicago people                    plant gardens.

40° above –   Italian cars won’t start.  Chicago people drive with                        their windows down.

32° above –   Distilled water freezes.  Lake Michigan’s water gets                        thicker.

20° above –   Californians shiver uncontrollably.  Chicago people                      have their last cook-out before it gets cold.

15° above –   New York landlords finally turn up the heat.  Chicago                    people throw on a sweatshirt.

Zero –          Californians fly away to Mexico.  Chicago people                          lick the flagpole.

20° below –   People in Miami cease to exist.  Chicago people get                      out their winter coats.

40° below –   Hollywood disintegrates.  Chicago’s Girl Scouts begin                    selling cookies door-to-door.

60° below –   Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.                                   Chicago’s Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival”                         classes until it gets cold enough.

80° below –   Mt. St. Helen’s freezes.  Chicago people rent some                        videos.

100° below – Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.  Chicago                           people get frustrated when they can’t thaw the keg.

297° below – Microbial life survives on dairy products. Illinois cows                   complain of farmers with cold hands.

460° below – ALL atomic motion stops. Chicago people start                           saying, “Cold ’nuff for ya?”

500° below – Hell freezes over. The Cubs win the World Series!

Hang tough, fellow Die-Hard Cubs Fans.  2016 is our year!

GAP

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Recharged?

By the middle of December each year, we can get pretty run down, yes?  Business stress often peaks at the December 31st year end; holiday stress – shopping; traffic; multiple gatherings with friends, family, and colleagues; winter weather; the Denver Broncos!  Yep, we can get pretty run down by mid-December.

How about you?  Did you extend your business hours and increase your stress levels?  If you felt this intensity, what did you do to recharge?

One of the “decompression”, holiday traditions my wife and I enjoy every year is going to the movies.  Our very first date was a movie.  “Catch 21” which we saw at Chicago’s Oriental Theater in 1970.  This past December, my wife and I continued our tradition.   Because 2015 was particularly hectic, we “decompressed” six times!  (You’re welcome Hollywood.)

To me, there’s no better form of entertainment (and recharging one’s “batteries”) than going to the show.  I can unplug from the Internet; turn off my cell phone; relax in a darkened theater; and escape from the realities of our daily grind into the surreal world of cinema for a couple of hours.  Invigorating!

This year however, I noticed a pattern of movie themes that reflected more closely to our real world than the usual fantasies we find during our holiday tradition.  Coincidence?  I’m not sure.

We saw “The Big Short”, which is a theatrical interpretation of the real-world disintegration of our financial markets in 2008.  We saw “Spotlight”, based on the real-world disintegration of the Catholic priesthood.  Of course, “Concussion”, is a creative piece based on the presumed deception (and predicted disintegration) prevalent in our American sports institution known as the National Football League.

In the movie “The Martian” we saw the fictional contentions of leadership at our NASA of the future struggling with the choice between public admission of mission mistakes and acceptance of personal/professional responsibility; vs. placing trust in the team and relying on the power of problem-solving skills to overcome adversity.

“The Heart of the Sea” is based on recorded events that reportedly preceded Herman Melville’s writing of the great novel Moby Dick.  To me, this movie highlighted man’s struggle between the ego-driven forces of pride and greed; vs. the kinder forces of leadership, responsibility and personal humility.

Speaking of forces, the fictional movie, “Star Wars, The Force Awakened” continues the saga of good vs. evil; “the Force” vs. the “Dark Side”.

Although our December tradition was physically enjoyable; on the psychological side I left the theaters wondering how our society came to the point of finding the real-world disintegration of leadership-morality into greedy, conscious-less, irresponsible culprits preying on the innocent; the unknowing; and the powerless, “entertainment”?  Not exactly the recharging, year-end experience I was looking for.

So I say all of that to get to this – what will each of us do in 2016 to restore one’s faith in the morality and underlying good in modern mankind?  What leaders will arise that stand-up for the common man?  How can each of us, individually, make a positive difference at work; at home; and in our communities?

The job of leadership today is not just to make money.   It is to make meaning. 

John Seely Brown

Looks like we will all need a bit more energy than usual to make 2016 a year we can all be proud of twelve months from now, true?

We might just have to start the traditional December, recharging, movie rituals in July to make it all the way to year-end.  Pass the popcorn please.

GAP

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April showers…

Ahh, April; springtime in the Rockies!  What a wonderfully eventful time of the year.  Monday it was 75° in Denver; in the 50’s yesterday ; snow today.  Never quite sure what Mother Nature has in mind for us in April, true?

According to Wikipedia, the month of April has progressed in a very eventful way:

April was the second month of the earliest Roman calendar;

…before Ianuarius and Februarius were added by King Numa Pompilius about 700 BC. It became the fourth month of the calendar year (the year when twelve months are displayed in order) during the time of the decemvirs about 450 BC, when it also was given 29 days. The 30th day was added during the reform of the calendar undertaken by Julius Caesar in the mid-40s BC, which produced the Julian calendar.

Eventful.

April is a very eventful time in the sports world, too.  The NBA is winding down their regular season and gearing up for the playoffs; the NHL too.  Winter sports you say?  Well, those winter sports haven’t ended in the winter season since last century.  The NFL stays relevant in the spring with their college combine followed by the college draft.

April holds opening day for Major League Baseball in cities across North America.  My beloved Cubbies even hosted the first game of the season at venerable Wrigley Field Sunday, April 5th.  They lost – shut out by the St Louis Cardinals 3-0.

Now to be a Cubs fan is saying something about optimism (and hope!).  The Cubs last won the National League pennant in 1945 (70 years ago); and they last won the World Series in 1908 (107 years ago).  No wonder we are referred to as “die hard”!

Of course, April 15th was the deadline day for filing our income tax returns – there’s an annually eventful ritual for American taxpayers!  Even Hillary Clinton chose the month of April to announce her presidential candidacy.  Let the season of political commercials commence.

But mostly, April weather and the spring season remind me of my Chicago roots; of optimism; and of hope:

Life in Chicago 

60° above –   Floridians wear coats, gloves and wooly hats.  Chicago people sunbathe. 

50° above –   New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.  Chicago people plant gardens. 

40° above –   Italian cars won’t start.  Chicago people drive with their windows down. 

32° above –   Distilled water freezes.  Lake Michigan’s water gets thicker. 

20° above –   Californians shiver uncontrollably.  Chicago people have their last cook-out before it gets cold. 

15° above –   New York landlords finally turn up the heat.  Chicago people throw on a sweatshirt. 

Zero –    Californians fly away to Mexico.  Chicago people lick the flagpole. 

20° below –   People in Miami cease to exist.  Chicago people get out their winter coats. 

40° below –   Hollywood disintegrates.  Chicago’s Girl Scouts begin selling cookies door-to-door. 

60° below –   Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.  Chicago’s Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival” classes until it gets cold enough.

80° below –   Mt. St. Helen’s freezes.  Chicago people rent some videos. 

100° below – Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.  Chicago people get frustrated when they can’t thaw the keg. 

297° below – Microbial life survives on dairy products.        Illinois cows complain of farmers with cold hands. 

460° below – ALL atomic motion stops.     Chicago people start saying, “Cold ’nuff for ya?” 

500° below –  Hell freezes over. The Cubs win the World Series!

 Unknown Sage

Hang tough, fellow Die Hard Cubs Fans.  2015 is our year!

GAP

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