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!
Friday, August 16, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
The Tale of Two Eddies
Al “Scarface” Capone was the king of organized crime in Chicago in the 1920s, and his lieutenant was a lawyer people called “Easy Eddie”. Eddie helped Al run his affairs – bootleg liquor, gambling, prostitution, murder – and hide them from the authorities. Eddie was very good at his job, which was basically keeping Scarface out of jail.
Capone paid him well for his services. Eddie had a big house, servants, a fine car. He lived well as an industrial baron, and he didn't lose sleep over what was going on around him. Life was for the successful.
But Easy Eddie did have one soft spot – his beloved son. Eddie lavished him with clothes, a car, a good education, the best of everything money could buy. But there was one other thing Easy Eddie wanted his son to have, something Easy Eddie himself did not have: a good name.
Son one day Easy Eddie made a difficult and dangerous decision, In 1930 he asked a reporter friend to put him in touch with the Internal Revenue Service. He would reveal how Capone made his money and dodged taxes. He became what a top government investigator later said was “one of the best undercover men I have ever known.”
Capone was tried and found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. A few years later, Easy Eddie was shot to death in his car by killers unknown.
The Navy’s first Medal of Honor aviator of World War II was another Eddie, a superb fighter pilot whose many friends called him “Butch”. In the Southwest Pacific in early 1942, the Japanese launched a bomber attack on his aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington. Butch and his wingman were the only flyers aloft close enough to intercept the enemy formation, and the wingman’s guns were jammed. Butch dived at the bombers again and again, weaving in and out of formation with all six 50-caliber guns blazing, shooting down five of the nine enemy planes and so disrupting the attack that none of the bombs fell on target. Butch’s bravery and skill were credited with saving the ship, and he became a national hero.
By late 1943, because of the success of the U.S. navy’s flight tactics, the Japanese bombers had changed their operations and were attacking after dark. To counter this new tactic, Butch and his squadron were developing the Navy’s first night operations. Airborne radar and navigation equipment were primitive in 1943, nowhere near as capable as the modern gear that makes night operations routine. In this risky environment, the Navy’s first Medal of Honor aviator was shot down. Neither he nor his plane was ever found.
In 1945 the U.S. Navy named a new destroyer after him: the USS O’Hare (DD-889). The city of Chicago went a step further. To honor their hometown hero, in 1949 its citizens named their new airport after him: O’Hare International.
In the end, “Easy Eddie” O’Hare, Al Capone’s top lawyer, had found a way to transform his life from one of success – tainted though it was by the crimes he abetted – to a life of significance. He gave the world a principled son, Edward “Butch” O’Hare, who redeemed the family name.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus, not on success but significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning." – Oprah Winfrey
Posted by The Youngs at 4:29 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Most of our actions are built in behaviors, instilled by natural inclination and the weight of experience. Patterned behavior helps us function. Not having to plan our every move, every second of every day, is an enormous time saver.
But there are exceptions. We all have behaviors that are detrimental. Many are trivial, like turning on the TV even when we know there's nothing on worth watching. Others are dangerous, like smoking or speeding.
Our natural tendency is to avoid change unless it's absolutely necessary. Just keep doing the same thing and everything will work out. Change is like rain; we all know it's good for us, but we don't like to get wet.
Patient: It hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Then quit doing that.
Quitting is required for success when, in order to do the right thing, you have to quit doing the wrong thing.
Things change! We have to constantly reconsider whether we're adding value to our lives or just clutter. If something is draining our energy, can we do without it? Does a crammed schedule help us achieve our goals? Maybe it's time to quit doing some things and instead do other things that help us go where we want to go.
Priorities shift! Our personal and professional situations demand that we make changes. Sometimes on a moment's notice a budget gets cut, a former pet project is put on the back burner, a spouse gets transferred.
Timing is everything! There's a time to persevere and a time to quit. What are you doing now? What do you need to be doing now? What do you need to quit doing now in order to be doing what you need to be doing now?
Quit Taking a Ride . . . and Take the Wheel
"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi
On any of life's journeys, we have to make a choice before we begin the trip. Our options are these: we can be a passenger, or we can be the driver. It's our choice.
It's not what happens to us but how we choose to respond to what happens that determines our next move. If you choose to be a driver, you avoid potholes and stray ice chests in the road. You decide when to stop and refuel. You may choose to take a detour. You make all the decisions that affect the safety of your passengers and your success in reaching the goal.
When problems arise, what's your first reaction? Do you think like a cop, identifying culprits and assigning blame? Do you vent your anger on anyone within your yelling radius? Do you submerge yourself in regret, thinking, If only? Or do you immediately get creative and think, How can we make this right?
The more you focus on the positive side of life, the more you will attract these things. The truth is that being lucky doesn't have much to do with luck at all. In other words, luck is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent opportunity.
Quit Getting Comfortable . . . and Explore the Edge
We are all averse to change to some degree. If we changed, we might realize some benefit, but typically we weigh the chance of improvement against our comfort with the old ways and find it wanting.
In order to grow in wisdom and spirit, we need to challenge our assumptions now and then.
The comfort zone is where most of life is played. Consider a football field: 90 percent of the game is played between the 20-yard lines. That's why they call anything outside that area the "red zone" - it's where the difference in the game is made. It's okay to feel good and play well inside the comfort zone before you explore the edge and go for the score.
But like the football team that's trapped between the 20-yard lines, we cannot win in the comfort zone. Because the risk is small, so is the reward. Learning and growth occur when we are uncomfortable. Think of the defining moments of learning and growth in your life. Were you hanging out in your comfort zone? No, you were hanging over the edge.
Success naturally makes us comfortable. How many times have we watched teams take a lead, lose their momentum, then lose the game because instead of playing to win they begin playing not to lose? They get ahead, then they get nervous about protecting their lead, so they pull back and start playing more cautiously, losing the intensity that earned them the lead. Before long, their lead evaporates.
"We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." - Max DePree
We must let go to grow!
Let's Get Uncomfortable.
Recognize that discomfort is not lethal; it can be a sign of growth, a signal that changes are happening, changes that can benefit you in the long run.
Keep your eye on the teams that have a better game. Learn from them.
Challenge yourself. Your goals should force changes, require tough decisions, and inspire bold actions.
Change will come; it is inevitable. We waste energy when we resist change, and in the end we waste the opportunity to control what happens. Will this change be on our terms? Will we be ready for it? Will the inevitable change mean growth and improvement, or only discomfort and danger?
Quit Analyzing... and Follow your Intuition
"All the problems of the world could be solved easily if men were only willing to think." - Thomas J. Watson, Sr.
"Think. Then do." - IBM slogan
Think of intuition as a shortcut to higher productivity. Applying the 80/20 Principle to our thinking can help us make smarter, faster, more intuitive decisions. Example: 80% of problems are generated by 20% of causes.
Quit Managing Your Time...and Manage Your Attention
"Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus attention." - Greg Anderson
Sportscaster Charlie Jones interviewed the rowers in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and asked them what they would do in case of rain, strong winds, or breaking an oar. The response was always the same: "That's outside my boat." Jones realized that these Olympic athletes had a remarkable focus. He wrote, "They were interested only in what they could control - and that was what was going on inside their boat."
The Yellow Car Phenomenon: Let's say, you see a bright yellow car driving by. You think to yourself, hmm, I don't see one of those very often. Later that same day, you see two more bright yellow cars. The next day, you see three more. Has there been a sudden invasion of bright yellow cars? No, they've been there all along. The difference is you've suddenly become aware of them; you have a heightened awareness of yellow cars.
It's the power of personal attention.
Instead of paying attention to every single piece of information in our stimulus-rich world, if we really look for those things we want in our life, that's exactly what we will find. Need proof? Just count how many yellow cars you notice today. Now - how many did you see yesterday?
The Eisenhower Method for setting priorities: Don't be fooled into thinking that whatever seems urgent is worth taking your mind off your most important goal. Eisenhower's mantra was "What's important is seldom urgent, and what's urgent is seldom important."
Quit Showing Interest... and Commit
"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi
"When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened." - Winston Churchill
We typically worry five times as much about things that will never happen as about things that actually do occur.
"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." - Reinhold Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer"
Choosing the language of commitment creates accountability for getting best from yourself and others. Written goals build accountability to yourself and others.
Quit Moving...and Be Still
Did you ever drive a car at night in a thick fog? If you have, you know that you can see farther down the road if you use your low beams, because your high beams just reflect off the fog and blind you. But if you use your low beams instead - get away from the problem and let your creative intuition do its work - often the answer emerges and the path to the goal becomes clearer to you.
The way to find the answers is to stop moving for a while and let things settle down. Be still. Relax. Be quiet. Look around. Listen.
To get into your chillax zone, you don't actually have to go on vacation or head for the spa. All you've got to do is change the scenery in your mind.
It may seem counterintuitive to put aside your work in order to accomplish something great, but great ideas often come when you're relaxed and out of your work routine.
Winners - whether in business, at home, or in the community - generally spend at least 50 percent of their time listening rather than talking.
Quit Striving for Success . . . and Seek Significance
There's a sweet spot that you sometimes hit that makes everything seem easier. Want to know an easy way to find your sweet spot? Answer the following two questions, and think about how your answers intersect:
1. What am I absolutely passionate about?
2. Which tasks are easy and natural for me?
So- quitters always win?
All right, maybe quitters don't always win. After all perseverance is also a key to winning. You've got to keep working until the job is finished. But the key point is that perseverance counts only if you're doing the right thing. If you're doing the wrong thing, and you keep on doing the wrong thing, you'll never win.
So you do have to quit.
You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great.
Posted by The Youngs at 8:45 AM