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Posts Tagged ‘Perserverance’

Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior”

If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

Coaching requires giving up power and control”

The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time”

Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff”

The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management”

Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader”

A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy”

To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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Who’s TOUGHER than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy the company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But business; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

We can all dream; and for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph.

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what’s called being a Road Warrior!

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”; “Road Warrior”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right. 

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Even without calling into the radio, Lou from Littleton would be proud!

GAP

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Olympians all…

Whatever your favorite sport is today, I doubt anything can top the continuing string of Olympic popularity.  According to Wikipedia:

The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: Ὀλύμπια Olympia, “the Olympics”) were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states … They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC.

That’s 2,792 years (and counting)!  Yes, the ancient Games became a setting for collusion, conniving, and political control (just like the 21st century I suppose).  Its popularity continues nonetheless.

Are you watching the 2016 Summer Games held in Rio de Jeneiro?  What iss your favorite part?  What will be your most long-lasting memory?  The winners – Michael Phelps; Simone Biles; Ladislav Škantár and Peter Škantár – the Slovakian Gold Medalists of the Men’s Canoe Double event?  The Slovaks were able to overcome Mother Nature I think:

Andrew’s Canoeing Postulate

No matter which direction you start, it’s always against the wind coming back.

Perhaps you were more enthralled with the drama surrounding the big upsets – Colorado’s Missy Franklin; Chris Froome; the water pollution that seemed to engulf the entire city?  Yes, the television cameras (and reporters) are there in droves; up front; personal; shoving microphones and cameras in the competitors’ faces even before they caught their breath after their event.  High drama to us – I wonder what the ancient Greeks would think.

Over the centuries the purpose of the Games seems to have morphed IMHO.  The original intent was religious in nature; intended to honor the Greek Gods.  Back to Wikipedia:

In the ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus.  Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Olympus.

I didn’t know that.

Well, here’s what I do know – Olympians are not limited to the Olympic Games.  There are Olympians among us all, true?  For many of us, just facing our daily challenges requires an Olympian effort.  For many of us, just making ends meet is as strenuous as an Olympic Marathon.

And for many of us, we start each day by setting our mind for victory in order to avoid defeat:

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will –

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or later that man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can. 

Unknown Sage

Olympians will reconvene in 2020 at the Tokyo Summer Games. For the winter sports, theirs will be 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The rest of us?  We’ll rise tomorrow morning; set our mind for the competition; meet the demands of our day head-on; thinking (believing) “we can”.  Not something we refer to as “games”.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  A common greeting these days, yes?  Our response often depends on our mood, true?  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; at least a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 40 years today – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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Business Travel oh yea…

I just returned from a business trip to Montreal.  There and back; safe and sound; but I’m reminded of the grind business travelers face today.  If you’re a Road Warrior and reading this little ditty – I salute you!

I’ve been off the road and have retired all my 1K; Platinum; Gold; Premium; Preferred badges of honor.  Believe it or not, back in the day business travel was actually enjoyable.  Meals; upgrades; overhead compartment space; leg room!  Even the flight attendants had a sense of humor:

During a flight on a small airplane, the Flight Attendant asked a passenger if he would like to have dinner.  “What are my choices?”, the passenger asked.  “Yes or No”, the Flight Attendant replied. 

Unknown Sage 

Occasionally the pilots would join in:

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

Unknown Sage

But traveling in 2015 is a whole new ball game.  Extra fees replace extra leg room.  Upgrades?  Forget about it.  BYO food and beverage.  And hope our checked bags eventually show up on the carousel.

Today’s travel is tougher for everyone; travelers and airline personnel alike.  My Montreal trip harkened me back to an era where nothing dampened the Road Warriors’ sense of humor – nor that of the airline employees working on our behalf:

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction.  The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor.  Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. 

(By the way, this airline is the only major airline that has never had an accident.) 

P = The problem logged by the pilot.

S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.

P:  Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.

S:  Almost replaced the inside main tire.

P:  Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.

S:  Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P:  Something loose in cockpit.

S:  Something tightened in cockpit.

P:  Dead bugs on windshield.

S:  Live bugs on back-order.

P:  Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.

S:  Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P:  Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.

S:  Evidence removed.

P:  DME volume unbelievably loud.

S:  DME volume set to more believable level.

P:  Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.

S:  That’s what they’re there for.

P:  IFF inoperative.

S:  IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P:  Suspected crack in windshield.

S:  Suspect you’re right.

P:  Number 3 engine missing.

S:  Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P:  Aircraft handles funny.

S:  Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P:  Target radar hums.

S:  Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P:  Mouse in cockpit.

S:  Cat installed.

P:  Noise coming from under instrument panel.  Sounds like an elf pounding on something with a hammer.

S:  Took hammer away from elf.

Unknown Sage 

Yes here’s to you, Business Travelers; and to the airline employees too; getting us there and home safe and sound; thank you all for all that you do.

GAP

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Should I stay?

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a colleague; he was wondering if changing to a different sales team would be better for him than the team he has been on for the past few years.  He felt he had not been particularly successful, or appreciated.  Would going be better than staying?

Fast forward to yesterday.  I was chatting with a client of mine; he was wondering if there might be a better position for him at another firm vs. the firm he had joined 6 months ago.  He is worried whether he will be able to succeed in his role.  Would going be better than staying?

Ah yes – that all-too-familiar question.  A common conundrum many of us have wondered about, true?

Should I stay in my current role at my current company; or should I pursue a better opportunity (aka “greener pastures”)?

Been there, done that – many times.  In fact, I wrote about the outcome of my last pursuit of greener pastures (http://thequoteguys.com/2011/02/the-obvious-choice/ ).  Turned out my greener pastures were pretty brown!

So, how do we know when we should stay in our current role or pursue a new opportunity somewhere else?  What criteria do we use to weigh the pros and cons of making that move?  How can we be sure the next pasture will be greener?  The thing is – once we decide to go; the option to stay is gone.

Perhaps the cause of our concern should be carefully evaluated.  Are we frustrated in our job; with our boss?  Are we feeling unfulfilled?  Are we in over our heads?  Or are we bored because we are way over-qualified for the position?  Could it simply be fear?  A plethora of possibilities can cause provocation to pull out, yes?

Of course, we should be cautious when seeking the advice of another.  Their perspective about us is often based on their perspective of their own circumstance.  And when we seek another’s input are we looking for objective advice; confirmation of our decision; or just some guy’s opinion?  Another slippery slope for sure:

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own.  You may both be wrong.

Dandemis

Adversity can actually be a positive influence on our circumstance.  Just changing from one bad situation does not guarantee our next situation will be any better (aka “browner pastures”).  Sometimes the best option is to stay – and make a difference.  I might go as far as to suggest that if you want quality and satisfaction in your job – invest the time and energy you would expend going to stay and create that quality and job satisfaction for yourself.

“ADVERSITY”: 

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

Horace

Will and conflict also may play a role in our future job fulfillment:

Will applied to any conflict creates energy.

Conflict without Will creates frustration.

Conflict with Will creates resolution.

Michael E. Gerber

Yes, the role we are in might be difficult.  So difficult we think going might be our only option.  But if we stop a moment and really think about it; staying can also be a very viable choice, too.  Especially when it is our will to have a fulfilling job, in spite of conflict and adversity, yes?

Under the “do as I say, not as I do” category, if at all possible:  I recommend trying to stay – and make a difference!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Giving our best…

I love football – it’s my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that; it was one time that I quit.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of the season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her. I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it just took place yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even going to go out for the team my junior year.   The coach called me over the summer and asked me to reconsider.

I acknowledged his request, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  And the coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up.  Somehow I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it ever since.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches, mentors, and managers who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute video clip about a high school, underdog football team, their coach, and his expectation to giving our best:

http://youtu.be/-vB59PkB0eQ

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world, but his message does, doesn’t it?  A bit ironic I suppose – coaches aren’t magicians – we must help them help us.  And in return for their knowledge, enthusiasm, and time; they only ask we give our best.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace: 

  • “Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior” – If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.
  • “Coaching requires giving up power and control” – The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.
  • “Coaching takes too much time” – Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.
  • “Coaching is soft stuff” – The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.
  • “Coaching is laissez-faire management” – Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.
  • “Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader” – A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.
  • “Coaching is like therapy” – To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his. 

A bit ironic I suppose, but they gave their best to him.  It’s a good idea to find a coach to help us commit to giving our best too, yes?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Dates never forgotten…

September 11th comes back around this week; what dates are never forgotten for you? 

In the beginning of the novel, A Tale of Two Cities is the contrast, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” within the context of both occurring at the same time.  For Americans, 9/11/2001 seems like a demarcation point between the best of times before that morning and the worst of times after, true?  That’s when terrorism literally collided into freedom. 

Do you remember where you were when news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York was broadcast?  I always will.  It’s amazing what we can accomplish during the best of times; and what we can endure during the worst of times, don’t you think?  The 9/11 attacks were the worst of times for many Americans. 

April 20, 1999 was the worst of times for my home town.  (Although truly, we are all Columbine.) 

At a personal level, how many bests and worsts have you had?  The bad times help us appreciate and enjoy the good times even more, yes?  Here’s what Ernest Hemingway said: 

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts. 

Our ability to gain strength from adversity should come as no surprise, though.  Our ancestry is made of up generations who had to overcome adversity.  Much of today’s adversity pales in comparison to theirs, doesn’t it? 

For many of us who did not suffer a direct loss of loved ones from these tragic events, our hardships now come in the form of inconvenience and economics.  We work harder today to keep up than we did before; travel has become more difficult; guns are all too prevalent in our society; in our schools (and at our theaters!). 

Things we once dreamed of seem further from our reach.  We have extended our resources close to the breaking point in defense of our country and our way of life.   But for America, that’s nothing new.  Our country has been on the brink; had parts broken; and healed back stronger for as long as we have been a country.  Were the hardships of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Viet Nam War, the Civil Rights Movement, or any other national, local, personal, or family crisis less hard? 

We are up to facing today’s challenges.  We are strong because we come from generations of strength – families who struggled to make for this country, for their families, and for themselves the best of times.  Like past generations, Americans today have the opportunity to earn and enjoy the better things in life.  And we know why they are the better things: 

To really enjoy the better things in life, one must first have experienced the things they are better than.

Oscar Holmolka 

So this week we reflect on that never forgotten, life-changing event now known as 9/11.  Like the day an American walked on the moon, or the night the USA Olympic hockey team won the gold medal to Al Michaels’ famous words broadcast around the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”,  let’s turn to our favorite, Unknown Sage once again for this reminder: 

            The First Rule of Life: 

The best things in life aren’t things.                   

My local community is stronger following the 4/20 Columbine killings; and I believe America is stronger following the 9/11 attacks.  Both dates will never be forgotten!

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©

Our dates…

9/11/2012 has come and gone, but some dates are never forgotten.  

In the beginning of the novel, A Tale of Two Cities is the contrast, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” within the context of both occurring at the same time.  For Americans, 9/11/2001 seems like a demarcation point between the best of times before that morning and the worst of times after, true?  That’s when terrorism literally collided into freedom. 

Do you remember where you were when news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York was broadcast?  I always will.  

It’s amazing what we can accomplish during the best of times; and what we can endure during the worst of times, don’t you think?  9/11 was the worst national society experience for many of us.  April 20, 1999 – Never Forgotten – was the worst of times for my home town; although truly, we are all Columbine. 

At a most personal level, how many bests and worsts have you had?  The bad times help us appreciate and enjoy the good times even more, do you agree?  Here’s what Ernest Hemingway said: 

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts. 

My local community is stronger following the Columbine killings; and I believe America is stronger following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Our ability to gain strength from adversity should come as no surprise, though.  Our ancestry is made of up generations who had to overcome adversity.  Much of today’s adversity pales in comparison to theirs, doesn’t it?  

For many of us who did not suffer a direct loss of loved ones from these tragic events, our hardships now come in the form of inconvenience and economics.  We work harder today to keep up than we did before; travel has become more difficult; guns are all too prevalent in our society; in our schools (and at our theaters!); and our 401(k) balances are still struggling to regain their original value. 

Things we once dreamed of seem further from our reach.  We have extended our resources close to the breaking point in defense of our country and our way of life.   For America, that’s nothing new.  Our country has been on the brink; had parts broken; and healed back stronger for as long as we have been a country.  Were the hardships of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Viet Nam War, or any other national, local, personal, or family crisis less hard? 

We are up to facing today’s challenges.  We are strong because we come from generations of strength – families who struggled to make for this country, for their families, and for themselves the best of times.  Like past generations, Americans today have the opportunity to earn and enjoy the better things in life.  And we know why they are the better things: 

To really enjoy the better things in life, one must first have experienced the things they are better than.

Oscar Holmolka 

So this month we reflect on that life-changing event now known as 9/11.  Like the day an American walked on the moon, or the night the USA Olympic hockey team won the gold medal to Al Michaels’ famous words broadcast around the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”,  let’s turn to our favorite, Unknown Sage once again for this reminder: 

            The First Rule of Life: 

The best things in life aren’t things.

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.

 

Dates…

9/11/11 has come and gone, but some dates are never forgotten.  

In the beginning of the novel  A Tale of Two Cities  is the contrast, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” within the context of both occurring at the same time.  For Americans, September 11, 2001 seems like a demarcation point between the best of times before that morning and the worst of times since, true?  When terrorism collided into freedom, our lifestyles were forever changed. 

Do you remember where you were when news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York was broadcast?  I always will.  

It’s amazing what we can accomplish during the best of times; and what we can endure during the worst of times, don’t you think?  9/11 was the worst experience for many of us as a national society since April 20, 1999 – Never Forgotten.  That was the worst of times for my home town; although truly, we are all Columbine. 

At a most personal level, how many bests and worsts have you had?  The bad times help us appreciate and enjoy the good times even more, do you agree?  Here’s what Ernest Hemingway said: 

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts. 

My local community is stronger following the Columbine killings; and I believe America is stronger following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Our ability to gain strength from adversity should come as no surprise, though.  Our ancestry is made of up generations who had to overcome adversity.  And much of today’s adversity pales in comparison to theirs, doesn’t it?  

For many of us who did not suffer a direct loss of loved ones from these tragic events, many of our hardships now come in the form of inconvenience and economics.  We work harder today to keep up than we did before; travel has become more difficult; guns are all too prevalent in our society (and in our schools!); and our 401(k) balances are struggling to regain their original performance. 

Things we once dreamed of seem further from our reach.  And we have extended our resources close to the breaking point in defense of our country and our way of life.   For America, that’s nothing new.  Our country has been on the brink; had parts broken; and healed back stronger for as long as we have been a country.  Were the hardships of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Viet Nam War, or any other national, local, personal, or family crisis less hard? 

We are up to facing today’s challenges.  We are strong because we come from generations of strong families who struggled to make this country, their families, and themselves the best of times.  Like past generations, Americans today have the opportunity to earn and enjoy the better things in life.  And we know that they’re the better things: 

To really enjoy the better things in life, one must first have experienced the things they are better than.

                                  Oscar Holmolka 

So this month we reflect on that life-changing event now known as 9/11.  Like the day an American walked on the moon, or the night the USA Olympic hockey team won the gold medal to Al Michaels’ famous words broadcast around the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”,  let’s turn to that favorite, Unknown Sage once again for this reminder: 

           The First Rule of Life: 

The best things in life aren’t things.                                                     

                                                                 GAP 

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