This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


If you can sing,
When there is no song in your heart;
If you can keep on being loving, lovable, and lovely,
When those who should be loving you are blind;
If you can hold a lifted brow,
Despite the weights your shoulders cannot beat–
There is benediction there
For you to share.

If you can carry on dry-eyed
While your heart is drowning
In a deluge of tears;
If you can keep on going,
When the pain in you is just too great,
And your soul is shaken with hopeless anguish,
And your suffering, ache-filled body wants to slump;
If you can keep on going–
And keep on going…

When nerves and blood and muscle scream and sob
With the injustice and unholy ways
Of those who should be warm and just, but can’t be,
Because the abysmal holds for them more lure
Than the celestial–
Why, God?

But, if you can tilt your cheeks, sunward,
Keeping your eyes filled with spiritual light and message,
And coax a skip of childlike rhythm
Into your lagging walk–
And lift your best foot forward,
As though you had no care–
There is benediction there
For you to share.

- Virginia Stillman

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Advice from Dr. Laura

Although I haven't agreed with everything she says, I have found Laura Schlessinger to be a fount of good advice for dealing with the struggles of life and choices. Here are some of her good quotes:

1. Don't worry so much about your self-esteem. Worry more about your character. Integrity is its own reward.

2. This is all you have. This is not a dry run. This is your life. If you want to fritter it away with your fears, then you will fritter it away, but you won't get it back later.

3. Values are principles and ideas that bring meaning to the seemingly mundane experience of life. A meaningful life that ultimately brings happiness and pride requires you to respond to temptations as well as challenges with honor, dignity, and courage.

4. Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

5. The reward for doing right is mostly an internal phenomenon: self-respect, dignity, integrity, and self-esteem.

6. Make decisions from the strong part of you, not the weak.

7. Never do anything that you aren't prepared to face the true consequences of.

8. People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.

9. Situations reveal who we are, they don't create who we are.

10.The people and circumstances around me do not MAKE me what I am, they REVEAL who I am.

11. We can be negative and cynical or we can be charged and hot wired to find a way through it, over it, around it under it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

If You Should Die

Here's a poem I wrote a few years back:

If you should die, a part of me would die also.
Your life gives meaning and inspiration to mine.
Your love has filled my heart and gives me joy.
If you should leave, you would take with you much
Of what makes my life full.

Although I know that your journey would take you
To a wonderful place where we would meet again,
I would sorrow that you went there before and without me,
And that I would have to continue on
Living life without you.

Your strength has bolstered me through many challenges
And has made facing life an easier task.
Without you by my side, life would be more difficult.
Yet, somehow, I know your strength would still come to me
Through heavenly channels.

I would greatly miss being able to see you, hear you,
And feel the comfort of your embrace.
I would miss your laughter, your friendship, your love.
But these, in memory, I would hold on to until
The day we meet again.

by Ken R. Young

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


1.Do more than exist, live.
2.Do more than touch, feel.
3.Do more than look, observe.
4.Do more than read, absorb.
5.Do more than hear, listen.
6.Do more than listen, understand.
7.Do more than think, ponder.
8.Do more than talk, say something.

-John Rhoades

It’s All In the State Of Mind

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’s almost a “cinch” you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world you find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

Full many a race is lost
Ere ever a step is run;
And many a coward fails
Ere ever his work’s begun.
Think big and your deeds will grow,
Think small and you’ll fall behind,
Think that you can and you will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re 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 sooner or later, the man who wins,
Is the fellow who thinks he can.

- Walter D. Wintle

The Few

The easy roads are crowded,
And the level roads are jammed;
The pleasant little rivers
With the drifting folks are crammed.
But off yonder where it’s rocky,
Where you get a better view,
You will find the ranks are thinning
And the travelers are few.

Where the going’s smooth and pleasant
You will always find the throng,
For the man, more’s the pity,
Seem to like to drift along.
But the steeps that call for courage,
And the task that’s hard to do,
In the end result in glory
For the never-wavering few.

- Edgar A Guest

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fly Like an Eagle

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it up above the storm. While the storm rages on below, the eagle is soaring above it.

How wonderful is that! The eagle does NOT escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we, too, can rise above them by setting our minds and our beliefs towards God. The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives.

We can soar above the storm.

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. The Bible says, "but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint". (Isaiah 40:31)

- Unknown Author

"I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I'm free."

- Steve Miller

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Focus on What's Inside Your Boat

“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” – Greg Anderson

Charlie Jones is a sportscaster who has covered several Olympic games in his long career. At the 1996 games in Atlanta, he was assigned to announce the rowing, canoeing and kayaking events – a situation that left him less than thrilled, since it was broadcast at 7 a.m. and the venue was an hour’s drive from Atlanta.

What Jones discovered, however, was that it ended up being one the most memorable sports events in his career because he gained a chance to understand the mental workings of these Olympic athletes.

Preparing for the broadcast, Jones interviewed the rowers and asked them about conditions such as rain, strong winds or breaking an oar. Each time the response was the same:
“That’s outside my boat.”

After hearing the same answer again and again, Jones realized that these Olympic athletes had a remarkable focus. In their attempt to win an Olympic medal, he writes:
“They were interested only in what they could control...and that was what was going on inside their boat.”

Everything else was beyond their control and not worth the expense of mental energy that would distract them from their ultimate goal.

Jones writes that this insight made the event “by far the best Olympics of my life,” and it changed his thinking in other parts of his life as well.

There are plenty of distractions and concerns outside our boats, but to win the race we must stay focused on what’s inside our boats.

from Lee J. Colan

Friday, October 14, 2011

Famous Failures

"If you've never failed, you've never lived."

Great little movie. Check it out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finding Happiness

Everybody, everywhere
seeks happiness, it’s true,
But finding it and keeping it
seem difficult to do.
Difficult because we think
that happiness is found
Only in the places where
wealth and fame abound.
And so we go on searching
in palaces of pleasure
Seeking recognition
and monetary treasure,
Unaware that happiness
is just a state of mind
Within the reach of everyone
who takes time to be kind.
For in making others happy
we will be happy, too.
For the happiness you give away
returns to shine on you.

Helen Steiner Rice

See also:
Pharrell William's "Happy"
The Science of Happiness

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Garden

A friend sent this to me recently from the archives.

Something I wrote while a Junior in High School.

The long leaves
of the tropical trees,
Reach down on touch the path
that nobody sees.

Rare and beautiful fruits
are growing with pride
And brilliant wild flowers
who have nothing to hide.

A crack of dawn reaches down
and sparkles on water clear,
In a small bright pool
formed by a stream passing near.

Soft green fern
and multi-colored plants
Are found sitting next to
mushrooms that dance.

A beautiful garden
that waits to be seen
While it holds a feeling
of being safe and serene.

Ken Young
Poetry Winner
Prism Contest
Dixie High School 1975-76

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Woman of Character and Strength

Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international author, speaker, politician, and activist for the New Deal coalition. She worked to enhance the status of working women, although she opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because she believed it would adversely affect women.

In the 1940s, Roosevelt supported the formation of the United Nations was a delegate to the UN General Assembly from 1945 and 1952. During her time at the United Nations she chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Truman called her the "First Lady of the World" in tribute to her human rights achievements.

Active in politics for the rest of her life, she was ranked in the top ten of Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

Here are some of Eleanor's great quotes:

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.

Anyone who thinks must think of the next war as they would of suicide.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.

Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.

I cannot believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

I'm so glad I never feel important, it does complicate life!
If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.

In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

My experience has been that work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Only a man's character is the real criterion of worth.

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.

Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.

Probably the happiest period in life most frequently is in middle age, when the eager passions of youth are cooled, and the infirmities of age not yet begun; as we see that the shadows, which are at morning and evening so large, almost entirely disappear at midday.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

The giving of love is an education in itself.

The only things one can admire at length are those one admires without knowing why.

Understanding is a two-way street.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.

What one has to do usually can be done.

What you don't do can be a destructive force.

When life is too easy for us, we must beware or we may not be ready to meet the blows which sooner or later come to everyone, rich or poor.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!

You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quotes by Thomas S. Monson

Revered by many to be an earthly mouthpiece for God, Thomas S. Monson has long offered the world many sage words of advice. Serving today as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many of Thomas S. Monson's quotes are specific to his faith in Jesus Christ, while others are general words to living a good life.

Here are some of his quotes that can benefit any reader

Amidst the confusion of the times, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives.

Choose your friends with caution; plan your future with purpose, and frame your life with faith.

Choose your love, Love your choice.

Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval.

Each heartfelt prayer, each church meeting attended, each worthy friend, each righteous decision, each act of service performed all precede that goal of eternal life.

Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith.

I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it.

I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith.

I hope that you will learn to take responsibility for your decisions. Don't take counsel of your fears.

I urge you to hold fast to your standards. I plead with you not to waver.

In reality, we are all travelers - even explorers of mortality.

On occasion we need to make a second effort - and a third effort, and a fourth effort, and as many degrees of effort as may be required to accomplish what we strive to achieve.

Perhaps the surest test of an individual's integrity is his refusal to do or say anything that would damage his self-respect.

Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts, I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people.

The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.

The reward of eternal life requires effort.

Though we may not necessarily forfeit our lives in service to our God, we can certainly demonstrate our love for Him by how well we serve Him.

We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.

We tend to become like those whom we admire.

Work will win when wishy washy wishing won't.

The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.

Remember who you are and what God expects you to become.

Don't save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.

May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality... First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love.

Never let a problem to be solved, become more important than a person to be loved.

Reading is one of the true pleasures of life. In our age of mass culture, when so much that we encounter is abridged, adapted, adulterated, shredded, and boiled down, it is mind-easing and mind-inspiring to sit down privately with a congenial book.

One day each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is important.

He who gives money gives some, he who gives time gives more, and he who gives of himself gives all.

Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.

Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.

When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.

Youth need less critics and more models.

Don't forget: one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent.

There will be occasions in each of our lives when we will be called upon to explain or to defend our beliefs. When the time for performance arrives, the time for preparation is past.

Find joy in the journey.

Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present.

To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.

The good you have done, the kind words you have spoken, the love you have shown to others, can never be fully measured.

There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most.

Everyone can be discontented if he ignores his blessings and looks only at his burdens.

Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.

Our task is to become our best selves. One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.

Like the vital rudder of a ship, we have been provided a way to determine the direction we travel. The lighthouse of the Lord beckons to all as we sail the seas of life. Our home port is the celestial kingdom of God. Our purpose is to steer an undeviating course in that direction. A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder—never likely to reach home port. To us comes the signal: Chart your course, set your sail, position your rudder, and proceed.

Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future…If you are still in the process of raising children be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled, will disappear all too soon, and that you will, to your surprise, miss them, profoundly.

The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.

Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.

Glance backward, look heavenward, reach outward, press onward.

Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle.

Ideals are like the stars - you can't touch them with your hands, but by following them you reach your destination.

The most constant thing is change.

Whatever our calling, regardless of our fears or anxieties, let us pray and then go and do.

When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

You have a heritage - honor it. You have posses a testimony - share it. You will face temptation - withstand it. You know the truth - live it.

Your mind is a cupboard and you stock the shelves.

Remember that ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.

May each of us remember this truth; 'one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God.' Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.
Any excuse, no matter how valid, only weakens the character.

Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Watch your step.

Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.

We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.

Faith precedes the miracle. It has ever been so and shall ever be.

Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.

See also:
Quotes by Gordon B. Hinckley
Quotes by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ancient Chinese Wisdom: Quotes by Lao-tzu

Lao-tzu, which means "Old Philosopher", is the name given to the founder of Taoism, a religion or philosophy in China. Lao-tzu was born with the name Li Er, in 604 BC. Though he may have been keeper of the royal archives at Loyang, few details are known of his life. Lao-tzu was ‘a hidden wise man’, reluctant to found a school and gather a following.

According to legend, Lao-tzu simply decided to leave society. He would have vanished without trace had not the customs official on the western border asked him to write a book before he retired from the world. So the sage wrote about the proper way to live in the book Tao Te Ching, the most widely translated Chinese work of all time and the classic book of Taoism. Scholars disagree whether Lao-tzu was a real person or a pen name for the writers of Tao Te Ching, which is often called "the Lao-tzu." After writing the book, he went on his western journey. No one knows where he died.

A general history of China from the first century B.C. describes Lao-tzu as an older contemporary and teacher of Confucius. Compared to Confucius, who focuses on right relations in human society, Lao-tzu takes a more mystical approach to tuning into the natural order of things as a way of achieving personal and social harmony.

Many great words of wisdom, used often in today's vernacular, have come from this ancient Chinese man and his book. Here are some highlights in quotes:

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.

Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.

An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

Because of a great love, one is courageous.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

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.

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.

From caring comes courage.

From wonder into wonder existence opens.

Great acts are made up of small deeds.

He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.

He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.

He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.

He who is contented is rich.

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.

He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.

Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.

How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.

If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.

It is better to do one's own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.

One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.

One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.

People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.

Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.

Silence is a source of great strength.

The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covet praise; yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.

The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.

The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.

The words of truth are always paradoxical.

To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.

To lead people walk behind them.

To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.

To see things in the seed, that is genius.

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.

Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.

When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

When the best leader's work is done the people say, "We did it ourselves."

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete, everybody will respect you.

Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven. The further one goes The less one knows.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happiness is a Journey

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time and remember that time waits for no one, so stop waiting...

•until you finish school
•until you go back to school
•until you lose ten pounds
•until you gain ten pounds
•until you have kids
•until your kids leave the house
•until you start work
•until you retire
•until you get married
•until you get divorced
•until Friday night
•until Sunday morning
•until you get a new car or home
•until your car or home is paid off
•until spring
•until summer
•until fall
•until winter
•until you are off welfare
•until the first or fifteenth
•until your song comes on
•until you've had a drink
•until you've sobered up
•until you die
•until you are born again

Decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

by Alfred D. Souza

See also:
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"

The Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer / contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Author Unknown

Monday, August 29, 2011

Need a Good Quote?

Check my Archives, especially in 2008 and 2009, for a list of alphabetized categories of great quotes. Here and there throughout this blog I add quotes on certain topics or by certain people. But I am always going back and updating my lists in the alphabetized categories in the 2008 and 2009 postings.

If you know of a good quote that you don't think I have, let me know!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Heart Makes the Best Decisions

The heart knows best.

Here are some excerpts from an interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"If I look back at all the decisions that I have made that counted for anything in my own life and in my position as Prime Minister, I have found that it is the heart that makes the best decisions. In addition to logic and the calculation of costs and benefits, there is a computation of the heart, which I think is actually a more trustworthy guide. At a certain point, you feel that something is right and you do it. It's that feeling that will guide me to take such an important step in my life.

There is no guarantee of success in anything you want to accomplish. In fact if you seek the guarantee of success, you will never succeed! If you're not willing to take risks or to fail, you cannot succeed. That is iron-clad.

The true winners are distinguished by the fact that they sometimes lose, but more importantly that they can rise up from defeat. You cannot succeed if you are not prepared to fail."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are You a Sun or a Laser?

This is a great piece that, although has a business focus, has great interpretations into personal life as well:

The sun is an incredibly powerful source of energy. It showers the earth with billions of kilowatts of energy every hour. Yet with minimal protection, say a hat and some sunscreen, you can bask in the sunlight with few negative effects. The sun generates loads of power, but it is diffused over the entire solar system.

On the other hand, a laser is a relatively weak source of energy. It generates only a few kilowatts per hours, but focuses it in a cohesive stream of light, producing intense heat and power. With a laser, you can drill a hole in a diamond or even defeat certain types of cancer.

So, as you think of your personal goals, your team or your family, ask yourself, “Am I a sun or a laser?”

Saying “No” to activities that do not support your goals help maintains a laser-like focus.

Saying “No” helped Walgreens outperform the stock market average 15 times between 1975 and 2000. At one point, Walgreens owned more than 500 restaurants. They decided their future was in convenience drug stores and that they would be out of the restaurant business in five years – they redefined their boat. They courageously stuck to their commitment, which required saying “No” many times to ensure a redirection of resources to their new future.

Saying “No” also applies to the day-to-day decisions we make as leaders. For example, if we spend two hours in a meeting that does not help our team achieve its goals, we pay an opportunity cost by spending time on non-value-added tasks. If we find ourselves saying, “That was a waste of time,” or “Why was I attending that meeting?” – these are signs we need to say “No.”

Meetings are an important way to conduct business, but think about the salaries of each attendee and the potential time they could be working on other important goals instead of being in the meeting. Since leaders decide how to use their employees’ time, they must ensure a good return for their time investment. Meetings can be both necessary and useful, but they can also diffuse our focus.

When we know when to say “No”, we keep a laser-like focus that lights our path to success!

- by Lee J. Colan

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sail On

Many a sailor has been storm-tossed on a windy night in the midst of unfamiliar seas. Brave seafarers know that they must press forward. “Sail on! Sail on! Sail on and on!” they call to their crew. And so must we. When we are tossed and turned by life’s currents, we move forward, we carry on. Difficult though it may be, we set our sail and find our way.

American scholar Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely observed: “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving … We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”

The well-known saying is true: A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for. And neither are we. We are designed to learn and grow—in wisdom and in experience. We are created to sail—sometimes in calm and smooth waters but often through rough storms.

In physics we learn of inertia, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its state of motion or rest. We may feel the same tendency when we have suffered setbacks and experienced heartaches. We may feel defeated. We may want to stop trying in an attempt to protect ourselves from future failures. But by challenging such thoughts and not surrendering to the forces of inertia, we discover new strength. We keep sailing, and we become better at it. We refuse to stagnate, and somehow we find ourselves moving forward.

Yes, mistakes, setbacks, and even disasters happen. But the only way to find growth and happiness is not to give up but to move forward—and keep sailing.

- from "Music and the Spoken Word"
July 31, 2011 Broadcast Number 4272

For more inspiration on sailing, see also:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be a Sower of Beauty

Nothing of beauty dies without having purified something, nor can aught of beauty be lost. Let us not be afraid of sowing it along the road. It may remain there for weeks or years but, like the diamond, it cannot dissolve, and finally there will pass someone whom its glitter will attract. He will pick it up and go his way rejoicing.

Then why keep back a lofty, beautiful word, for that you doubt others will understand? An instant of higher goodness was impending over you. Why hinder its coming, even though you believe not that those about you will profit thereby? What if you are among the men of the valley? Is that sufficient reason for checking the instinctive movement of your soul toward the mountain peaks?

-Maurice Maeterlinck

Sunday, July 31, 2011


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
Other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you!
The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

by Mary Stevenson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thomas Jefferson - An Author of Wisdom

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was key to the formation of our great nation, and the author of the Declaration of Independence. He was also the author of many wise thoughts.

One that has always impressed me as to his courage and desire to stand for good is carved into the interior walls of his monument in Washington, D.C. - a very impressive monument. It says:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

There are many other great sayings by this great, though imperfect man. He offered us his own list of 10 Commandments:

1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have earned it.
4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.
5. Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6. We seldom report of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain evils have cost us that have never happened!
9. Take things always by the smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten before you speak, if very angry, count a hundred.

More quotes by Thomas Jefferson:

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.

Peace, prosperity, liberty and morals have an intimate connection.

The order of nature [is] that individual happiness shall be inseparable from the practice of virtue.

Without virtue, happiness cannot be.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

The moral sense [is] the first excellence of well organized man.

The greatest honor of a man is in doing good to his fellow men, not in destroying them.

A conviction that we are right accomplishes half the difficulty of correcting wrong.

I have ever deemed it more honorable and more profitable, too, to set a good example than to follow a bad one.

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

He does best in God's great world who does his best in his own little world.

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.

Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.

When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, count a hundred.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gandhi - Wisdom from a "Great Soul"

Some of the best words of wisdom commonly used in today's vernacular came from the mouth and soul of the great Mohandas Gandhi, of India. Here are a few of his great words we use and hear often:

"Be the change that you want to see in the world."

"Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal and not in reaching it."

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

"Nobody can hurt me without my permission."

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

"Where love is, there God is also."

Mohandas Gandhi was a pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He pioneered resistance to tyranny through mass civil resistance. His philosophy was firmly founded upon nonviolence. His philosophy and leadership helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma, or "Great Soul".

Here are some more great quotes by Gandhi:

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

A vow is a purely religious act which cannot be taken in a fit of passion. It can be taken only with a mind purified and composed and with God as witness.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

Are creeds such simple things like the clothes which a man can change at will and put on at will? Creeds are such for which people live for ages and ages.

Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.

Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.

Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.

God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.

God sometimes does try to the uttermost those whom he wishes to bless.

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Infinite striving to be the best is man's duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God's hands.

It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.

It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh.

It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.

Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith.

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.

Man can never be a woman's equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her.

Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.

Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning.

Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.

My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.

My life is my message.

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.

Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man.

Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.

Peace is its own reward.

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.

Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.

Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Suffering cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.

That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem.

The good man is the friend of all living things.

The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.

The real ornament of woman is her character, her purity.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.

Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.

Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.

Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience.

We do not need to proselytize either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study.

We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected.

Where there is love there is life.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

There is a Chinese story of an old farmer who had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and, when all the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, ‘Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?’

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, ‘Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?’

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, ‘Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?’

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

The Nine Aspects of Life

The adventure of life is to learn.

The purpose of life is to grow.

The nature of life is to change.

The challenge of life is to overcome.

The essence of life is to care.

The opportunity of life is to serve.

The secret of life is to dare.

The spice of life is to befriend.

The beauty of life is to give.

- William Arthur Ward

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

- Christian D. Larson

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Bank

A 92-year-old, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it,"' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied.

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.

"It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

"Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away….. Just for this time in my life."

"Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!"

- Author Unknown

Five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The High Place

The young man stood beneath the shade of the juniper, staring upward at the sheer face of the cliff. It reared its head above him, stretching nearly a thousand feet upward, to end in a sharp point that the old ones had called The High Place.

The hill had once been considered sacred, he knew, and this was actually the first time he had ever been this close to it. But today was the day he had determined to become a man, today he would ascend the cliff.

He had watched that cliff all his life, fearing it from the day he first realized that one day he must climb it. It wasn't so much the climbing that would make a man of him, he understood that. It was something unknown, something that would occur on The High Place, which would bring about that result.

Of his people, there were but few who had climbed it, and those who had done so refused to say much about it. Yet he and the others respected them tremendously, and more than all else he wished for the same kind of respect that was shown to them. Then too, those who had climbed it experienced a change somehow, and he desperately wanted that change in his life.

He thought of his parents, with whom he argued a great deal lately. He knew they loved him, for such was the way of his people, and he guessed he loved them also, but for some reason they could not get along with each other any longer.

The young man understood the problem very well; his parents were simply over-protective. They refused to trust his judgment, to allow him to make decisions of his own. They still thought of him as a child, little more than a baby, who would not be allowed to make his own way in the world.

It was like climbing this cliff. For years his parents had known he would one day do it, and both had worried themselves sick over it. His mother had pleaded that he not make the attempt, or if he must, to seek counsel from his father before trying. His father, never really against his climbing of the cliff, had adamantly insisted that when the young man decided to try, he involve his father in the climb. What a pathetic idea that was! He needed to do it on his own to gain the respect he desired. If his people found out that his father had helped, they'd laugh at him. There was no way he would allow that to happen.

So this morning he had crept from the house while his parents and little brothers had slept. He had totally fooled them and now he was ready to begin the ascent.

Smiling as he thought of what his friends would say when they learned of his accomplishment, he began climbing. At first it was not so bad, but then the sun appeared, and before long he was perspiring heavily. It also grew increasingly dangerous, and his pace grew slower by the hour. Before long his hands were torn and bloody, and so were his knees. From one handhold or toehold to another he inched his way upward, nearly falling several times and yet always managing, just barely, to cling to the face of the cliff.

At one point, for a hundred feet or so, he had easy going, for he found a chimney or crack in the face of the cliff through which he climbed. At another place he found a narrow ledge that wound its way upward for a short distance, and along that he simply walked. But those were the only easy places, and the remainder of the climb was a dangerous and grueling torture.

It was late afternoon when the young man, exhausted, bloody, and filled with terror at the thought of the descent still before him, finally dragged his battered body over the lip of the cliff to lie spent on the smoothly worn stone of The High Place. He had made it, he knew, but he also knew that he would spend the night there and would likely die the next day trying to get down. He was simply not capable of that descent.

At last he crawled to the edge and stared downward into the dizzy depths, and as he did, he no longer thought of the praise of his friends or of the honor, respect and glory his people would show him. He thought only of his parents and family, and of what his death would do to them.

Why, oh, why hadn't he asked his father for help, for advice? Bitterly he cursed himself, and then tears stained his cheeks as he wept openly, his grief a combination of fear, self pity, and genuine concern for his family.

For a long time he lay there, but at length, his emotion spent, he rose to his knees to move back to the center of The High Place. But he couldn't move! He was so filled with terror that his legs refused to operate, and so at last he had to worm his way back to the center.

As he worked his way around, trying to get as comfortable as possible, he began to think about his accomplishment, and for the first time he realized how proud he was that he had stood on The High Place. Not many could say that, he knew, and at least, should he die tomorrow, he would be remembered as a hero, he who had climbed the...

A flash of white under the edge of a nearby rock caught his attention, and the young man wormed his way to it. It was a torn piece of paper, and as he unfolded it he wondered what great message some previous visitor had left him. At last, hands shaking, he opened the paper, and as he read he felt the change that would take him from boyhood to true manhood. The note said simply:

"Dear Son,
When we awoke this morning and found you gone, I came immediately to The High Place to await your arrival. But you had taken so long that your little sister, who came with me, needed to get home. We have started back. If you had only asked me this morning, I would have told you of the steps of the Old Ones carved on the south end of the cliff. That would have saved you all the grief and agony, and most of the day as well.
My son, the true test of manhood is not that you have climbed to The High Place. Anyone can do that. The true test is how you did it. When a man is humble enough to involve those around him in his climb, then he is a man.
Now hurry down the trail. We'll be going slow, waiting for you.
Love, Your Father"

- Unknown


I dedicate this to my sons. I hope they read this someday, and understand its message.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Twelve Rules For Happiness

Happiness is a habit, a by product of right thinking and living.

1. Live a simple life. Be temperate in your habits. Avoid self-seeking and selfishness. Make simplicity the keynote of your daily plans. Simple things are best.

2. Spend less than you earn. It may be difficult, but it pays large dividends in contentment. Keep out of debt. Cultivate frugality, prudence and self -denial. Avoid extravagance.

3. Think constructively. Train yourself to think clearly and accurately. Store your Mind with useful thoughts. Stand porter at the door of your mind.

4. Cultivate a yielding disposition. Resist the common tendency to want your own way. See the other’s viewpoint.

5. Be grateful. Begin the day with gratitude for your opportunities. Be glad for the privilege of life and work.

6. Rule your moods. Cultivate a mental attitude of peace and goodwill.

7. Give generously. There is no greater joy in life than to render happiness to others by means of intelligent giving.

8. Work with right motives. The highest purpose of your life should be to grow in spiritual grace and power.

9. Be interested in others. Divert your mind from self-centeredness. In the degree that you give, serve and help, you will experience the by product of happiness.

10. Live in a day tight compartment. That is live one day at a time. Concentrate on your immediate task. Make the most of today.

11. Have a hobby. Nature study, walking, gardening, music, golfing, carpentry, stamp collecting, sketching, voice culture, public speaking, foreign language, chess, books, photography, social service, travel, authorship. Cultivate an avocation to which you can turn for diversion and relaxation.

12. Keep close to God. True and enduring happiness depends primarily upon close alliance with him. It is your privilege to share his thoughts for your spiritual nourishment and to have constant assurance of divine protection and guidance.

- Grenville Kleiser

See also:
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dale Carnegie: A Man of Great Thoughts

Dale Carnegie was a great American writer, lecturer, and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. Born in poverty on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People , a massive bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and several other books.

One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's reaction to them.

Many great quotes used in today's vernacular originated from this man of great thoughts. Here are some of his best:

Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.

Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.

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

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.

Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.

Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism - and wars.

Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.

Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.

Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying.

If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you up in your work. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done.

If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.

Remember happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.

Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.

Tell the audience what you're going to say, say it; then tell them what you've said.

The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.

The expression a woman wears on her face is far more important than the clothes she wears on her back.

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.

The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another's keeping.

The royal road to a man's heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.

The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.

There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.

There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.

Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.

We all have possibilities we don't know about. We can do things we don't even dream we can do.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.

When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.

You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Three Apprentices

Three apprentices were one day making swords for their Master, who had commanded them to do so. The Master also had given specific instructions on how they were to be made.

As the three apprentices worked they debated over what was really the proper procedure and the many secrets of making fine steel. The first apprentice said to the other two, as he pounded on the red hot metal:

"I think I am almost finished with this sword; just as soon as I cool it, I can begin to sharpen and shine it."

"The Master told us to wait until the glow of the metal is white to pound it out," said the third apprentice. "Then he said to fold it over and heat it until it is white again and then pound it out and to repeat it one hundred times. Your metal is only bright orange and you have only pounded it out five times; how can you say are almost done?"

"Mind your own business!" said the first apprentice. "I say it is finished and that we need not do everything the master has told us."

With that, the first apprentice took his newly-forged blade off to sharpen and shine it.

The other two apprentices continued on their own, heating the metal and pounding it out, folding it over and repeating the process until they had done it nearly one hundred times. This had taken several weeks and on the final day of their forging process, the second apprentice said:

"I can't take the heat any longer. I've done this almost a hundred times and I am too hot and tired to do it any longer. It's not fair of the Master to ask us to do this so many times when it is so hot and such a tiring process."

"I agree." said the first apprentice, who was just finishing his newly-shined and sharpened sword. "Look at this," he boasted. "It is sharp and it shines brightly. The Master will be very pleased and very proud, he'll never know that I didn't follow all of his instructions."

The second apprentice finished pounding out his blade for the last time, then he took the blade and stuck it in some very cold water. The third apprentice said:

"No, wait, the Master said that we should watch the metal until it stops glowing and crystals start to form on the crust, before we cool it in water. You cooled your blade while it was still glowing and very hot."

"What difference could that possibly make?" said the second apprentice. "I have applied enough heat and tempering to my sword and I say it will be fine."

With that, the second apprentice joined the first in sharpening and shining his blade.

The third apprentice continued to finish forging his blade until he had completed the process one hundred times. When he had finished pounding the metal for the last time, he held the metal close to his face and watched carefully as the metal turned from a bright orange, to a bright red, then to a dull red and finally the metal went black. After a moment the metal began to crackle and small white crystals began to form on the blackened crust. The apprentice knew the time was right and he thrust the blade deep into the cold water. The metal crackled and hissed as it hit the water, but when the blade was cooled it was hard and strong.

The third apprentice sighed with relief, his face was streaked with sweat and caked on ashes. He also had many blisters from flying sparks during the forging process. But he was glad the metal was now ready for the final touch and he took the blade and joined the other two who were shining and finishing their swords.

The day finally came when the Master arrived to check on their work and to collect their swords. The three apprentices stood side by side anxious to see which sword the Master would choose to be his sword. The Master stood in front of the first apprentice and took the sword from his hand. He then drew it from its sheath.

The first apprentice's jaw dropped open in disbelief, for his sword was no longer bright and shining, but had turned to a dull gray. The Master looked up and said:

"You thought you could fool me, but you have only fooled yourself. It is plain to see that you did not apply enough heat to the metal and therefore you failed to burn off the impurities in the metal and it will not hold it's shine for long."

The Master then took the sword and chopped it into a tree three times. Then he ran his thumb along the edge of the blade. The blade was bent and dulled and the Master said:

"You also have failed to fold the metal over and over one hundred times, therefore the metal is weak and soft." The Master then struck the tree with the flat of the sword and the sword bent almost around the tree.

"Leave me." said the Master. "You have not heeded my words nor did you have the patience to even test my wisdom and see if it was true."

The Master then stood before the second apprentice and took the sword from his hand. The second apprentice, having seen his comrade fail to hide his slothfulness was not so at ease as he was before. The Master drew the sword from its sheath and held it up to the light. The second apprentice let out a sigh of relief, for the blade was smooth, untarnished and it shined beautifully in the sunlight.

The Mast held the sword for a moment and then again did as he had done before by chopping the blade into a tree. When the Master pulled the blade from the tree he again ran his thumb along the edge of the blade. The sword was still sharp, but to the second apprentice's surprise there were small nicks in the edge of the blade where it had struck the tree. The Master looked up as the second apprentice in an inquisitive manner and said:

"You too have deceived yourself. You have done well in heating and folding the metal, but because you thought your wisdom was greater than mine you cooled the metal while it was still much too hot."

When the Master had said this he struck the tree with the flat side of the sword and to the second apprentice's dismay the blade broke into three pieces and scattered across the ground.

"Because you cooled the blade with water while it was still much too hot," said the Master, "the metal has become hard yet very brittle and as you can see it was easily broken. Your blade on the outside was beautiful and bright, but beauty and brightness do not make it strong, effective and useful."

"Leave me also," said the Master to the second apprentice, "for if a man were to use either of these first two swords in battle, they would have surely perished."

The Master then stood before the third apprentice and took his sword also. He then drew it from its sheath. The blade was smooth, brightly shined and there were also many characters and symbols beautifully engraved into the bottom.

The Master was in awe at the sight of the sword he held, but he being angry because of the first two swords, struck the tree with the blade again and again to see if the third had also neglected his council. Upon inspecting the blade the Master found it to still be very sharp and smooth.

The Master then struck the tree with the flat of the blade not once, but five times, each time harder than the others. The sword rang out loudly, but it did not break, bend or blemish in any way.

Humbled by what he had just seen, the Master held the sword out for all to see and said to the third apprentice:

"Come with me. For you have heeded my council and have endured the long hours of heat, pain and tempering and have produced a blade worthy of praise and because you have done this, I will show you even greater things. For you have now learned that through much time, heat, tempering and patience comes the finest metal and then it is ready to be used by the Master's hand."

The Moral
We should ever be mindful that God is continually working with us in an effort to mold us into our greatest potential.

But we must be patient and endure the trials and temptations that he sees fit that we should endure.

Our lives are like metal which need proper tempering.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hakuna Matata (No worries) !

"Lauren," Hank scolded, "you really have got to stop worrying so much. You’ve made it a full-time job! You worried about James failing high school. You worried that the girls would marry deadbeat husbands who wouldn’t provide for them. You worried about our flights getting cancelled before our vacation. Last month, when you had that cold, you even worried about getting the whooping cough, of all things. You worried about all these things, and none of them happened!"

"See!" Lauren exclaimed. "It worked!"

How many of us are like Lauren? Sure, she was making a joke, she knew worrying didn’t do any good, but in some situations it seemed to be all she could do. She had long ago fallen into the habit of worrying, and she didn’t know how to fall out of it.

Research studies have revealed that we typically worry five times as much about things that will never happen as about things that actually do occur. That’s a lot of wasted worry! If you’re this distracted, you cannot effectively live up to your potential. Worry will drain your energy and stifle your commitment. Every minute you spend worrying is a minute that you’re not committing. Worry is the opposite of faith, so stop worrying, and deepen your faith.

One good way to combat worry is to commit to memory Reinhold Niebuhr’s "Serenity Prayer": "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Once you’ve accepted the things you cannot change, how do you change the things you can? Simply take a rational approach. Let’s say you have a new job and are worried about making a mistake. The worrying mind quickly jumps to a worst-case — and highly unlikely — scenario: If you make a mistake, you’ll get fired. Rationally, you know this is improbable, but how do you prove it to yourself? It’s simple. First, you break down the chain of events that would lead to your firing. Then you assign a probability to each event; a rough estimate will do.

So what are the real odds of your being fired? Even though each individual probability is just a rough estimate, the total probability, which is the product of all these individual probabilities, is a good ballpark estimate:

Probability of being fired because of a mistake = 0.25 x 0.1 x 0.7 x 0.1 x 0.05 = .0000875, or .00875% (less than one chance in ten thousand).

Now, doesn’t that put things in perspective? This kind of rational approach can help you get a handle on your worries. If the chances of your being fired because of a mistake are less than one in ten thousand, there’s really no reason to worry about it.

I remember the words of the wise baboon, Rafiki (is that an oxymoron?) for the Lion King fans, "Hakuna Matata!", meaning "There are no worries!" Well, that works great if you are living in the jungle ... in a movie.

However, for today’s real world, I say, "No worries, take action!" Life’s rewards go to those whose actions rise above their excuses ... and their worries.

So take positive action today and wash away your worries!

- from Lee J. Colan


More great "Worry" quotes:

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. - Swedish proverb

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it come due. - Dean William Ralph Inge

Don't Worry. Be Happy. - Bobby McFerin

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. - Horace

Worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps us busy but gets us nowhere. - Unknown

It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. - Gordon B. Hinckley

See also:
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Follow Your Dreams

In following your dreams you must have a plan. But sometimes plans change and the way we deal with the change and vision is what really makes us who we are! Here's some suggestions of how to continue following your dreams as plans change:

1. Drop a Habit That Has Kept You From Reaching Your Potential

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. – Joseph Campbell

Sometimes the lessons learned along the way teach you that your plan may not be the best for you. The plan is just that, a plan. And usually, when we make a plan, we veer off because circumstances have changed by the time we need to follow through.

2. Act on Your Dreams

Great dreams contain inexhaustible truths, and orient us, like runes, toward our future. One hesitates to try to explain them; one wants to dance them, act them out in living gestures. The more we put ourselves into a great dream, the more we get back. Great dreams are wells that never run dry. – Michael Grosso in Soulmaker

Your personal well will never run dry, if when you veer off, you follow your dream each day that is not necessarily in your plan. Don’t let yourself be limited by the plan. DREAM! If tomorrow you want to be a writer then be a writer! Just because your goal was something else does not mean you cannot still keep that goal while adding a new goal. Clearly, now the goal needs to be tailored with both visions of the plan and the dream.

3. Have the Courage to Live What You Believe

In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience- the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men- each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. - John F. Kennedy

Not only should you not limit yourself by your personal plan but you should not limit yourself in your beliefs because of others. Don’t let your decisions or opinions be overtaken by others, although suggestions should be seen as possible opportunities. The opportunities will each have obstacles that present themselves throughout the way and recognizing and dealing appropriately is the goal for the dream!

4. Have the Courage to Overcome

The world is full of suffering. It is also full of the overcoming of it. We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world…. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller

When your personal plan does not go the way you planned, take it as a learning experience. Just because you are feeling consumed by the impossible and the changes take a second to let it strengthen your dream. Come out a winner!

5. Have the Courage to Endure

Coming out a winner does not necessarily mean winning. Winning is when you endure through the problems, through the bumps, and come out standing tall. The lessons learned throughout are the most important!

Winning means living your goals!

Nothing worthwhile ever happens quickly and easily. You achieve only as you are determined to achieve… and as you keep at it until you have achieved. - Robert H. Lauer

Each vision or goal that you hold is tailored by the way you overcome, how you live in your actions, and what you believe deep inside!

It is only by thinking about great and good things that we come to love them, and it is only by loving them that we come to long for them, and it is only by longing for them that we are impelled to seek after them; and it is only by seeking after them that they become ours. - Henry Van Dyke

- adapted from Shawn Bremner at