Sunday, January 01, 2023

Business English With Julie

Did you know my wife, Julie Perry, started her own online tutoring business? It's called Business "English With Julie." 

If you have friends from other countries who need assistance with test or interview prep, or simply want to practice conversational English, send them her way! 

#EnglishTutor #BusinessEnglish #LearnEnglish

Sunday, January 01, 2012

But I'm not a...

...fill in the blank.

 Go on, admit it. You've said that phrase in protest to something or other in your past. Someone recommends a book. "But I'm not a reader." A friend suggests you take Zumba together. "But I'm not coordinated." Your Language Arts teacher asked you to write a story in middle school. "But I'm not a writer."

And so you let the nottas control your life. The truth is we are (and can do) anything we decide to be (or do). It's a matter of choice. Oh sure, there're some genetic limitations that limit an insignificant number of our choices in life. But those miniscule exceptions prove the rule - we can choose to do and be and create! We have the ability to choose what our life looks like.

At least have the guts to say, "I choose not to read, dance, or write." For at the point that we admit "we are choosing" we take ownership of our current state.

So, if you were not happy with 2011, then you chose not to be happy with it. You didn't read that book, not because you aren't a reader but because you chose not to read it. You didn't write that story, not because you aren't a writer but because you chose not to write it.

The good news is that you can do something different this year. And you can choose to be happy with the results. So, what's holding you back? Be someone different this year. Create something. Do it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Change Your Feelings, Change Your Attitude

It almost goes without saying, but when I'm grumpy I have a bad attitude. 

What this tells me is that my attitude - which can be fairly easily ascertained by my facial expression and body language - is simply an external representation of my internal feelings. 

 If I'm feeling down, my body sags. Doesn't yours? 

Now it's not any secret that the answer to a bad attitude is a good laugh, a smile, and pleasant thoughts. Why? Because you can't genuinely laugh and smile without a corresponding good feeling. Our feelings have a direct impact on our outward demeanor. 

The challenge is controlling our feelings. Here's the principle: Change our feelings, change our attitude!

Good news is that we can control our feelings. We're not at the mercy of our emotional life. Emotions (the well from which our feelings arise) serve as a barometer of what's going on inside of us. 

And we can change what's going on inside. How? By monitoring our thoughts. Our thoughts affect our feelings which in turn shows up in our attitude.

I've found that the best way to monitor our thoughts is by listening to our self-talk. In other words, we need to think about our thinking. 

This might be a true difference between humankind and the animal kingdom. We have the ability to consider our thought process and not just react by instinct (which seems more emotional in nature, doesn't it?) 

Therefore, since we can control our thoughts, we have the ability to influence our feelings and thus change our attitude. That is good news indeed!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Selling the Dream

Personal success requires courage to attempt something great. And that means boldness which is, at times, confused with arrogance.

But there's a difference between arrogance and confidence. It has to do with one's attitude and motivation. In Selling the Dream (HarperCollins, 1991) Guy Kawasaki explains the difference by exploring the concept of "evangelism."
Evangelism is the process of convincing people to believe in your product or idea as much as you do. It means selling your dream by using fervor, zeal, guts, and cunning. (page 3)
Although I'm inclined to retain a theological definition of the term ("spreading the good news") I can understand Kawasaki's point. He wants to contrast this view with traditional sales. And the main difference is the motivation: To change the world!
To the luckiest of people, a time comes when they join or launch a cause that forever changes their lives and the lives of others. Losing yourself in a cause is delicious and intoxicating. The best word to describe the sensation is "crusade." (page 5)
This is a key to personal success - finding a cause that's big enough for us to jump into and is also big enough to invite others to jump into. What's your crusade?

UPDATE: You can now follow Guy Kawasaki on Twitter!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Inspirational Quotes for the Day

Inspirational Quotes for the Day:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (from Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love)
John Eldredge writes about his response to this quote in Waking the Dead (p. 87)
When I first read this quote, I thought, No, that’s not true. We don’t fear our glory. We fear we are not glorious at all. We fear that at bottom, we are going to be revealed as . . . disappointments. But as I thought about it more, I realized we do fear our glory. We fear even heading this direction because, for one thing, it seems prideful. Now pride is a bad thing, to be sure, but it’s not prideful to embrace the truth that you bear the image of God. Paul says it brings glory to God. We walk in humility because we know it is a glory bestowed. It reflects something of the Lord’s glory.
I agree with Eldredge. Although not "powerful beyond measure" (as Williamson states) we human beings, created a little below the angels, are indeed glorious (small g) beings. And that is something for which we can glorify the Father, who is all Glorious (big g).

By the way, Waking the Dead is a good book. I also enjoyed Eldredge's two books on masculinity, Wild at Heart and The Way of the Wild Heart. You can discover more of his writings at Ransomed Heart.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Vision Worthy to Embrace

This is part of a talk I gave recently on
encouraging educators to "hang in there" in their
ongoing endeavor to make a difference in young people’s lives.

Vital to society are women and men who are committed to the vision of providing quality education for today’s students.

Now I do not use the term vision lightly. I believe that in any endeavor – whether it be in business, sports, parenting, teaching – without a vision of some greater good to be accomplished, without a vision of a better or preferable future, then the sustainability of that endeavor diminishes with time.

Novelty, freshman enthusiasm, excitement at the beginning of the journey will eventually wane. Although mountain top experiences, renewal conferences, and rewards for jobs well done are all very important, it is the vision of what you want to accomplish with your life or your career that keeps you in the game until the job is done.

The challenge for many people is that they do not have a vision big enough to sustain them long-term. Most people are living too shallow a dream, so no wonder they’re frustrated when the initial enthusiasm wears off. A big vision will answer that challenge.

You’ve heard this quote. The saying has been attributed to Victor Hugo, "Dream no small dreams. They have not the power to stir men’s souls." The bible puts it like this: "Without a vision, the people perish."

I want to make the case that assisting in the maturation process of young adults into healthy, well-rounded, individuals who can better society because of the skills you as a teacher handed down to them is a worthy vision to embrace.

Let me repeat that. Assisting in the maturation process of young adults into healthy, well-rounded, individuals who can better society because of the skills you handed down to them is a worthy vision to embrace.

For three reasons...

The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door
The Surprising Secrets of American's Wealthy
by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

Good Review from Talia Mana:

According to authors Stanley and Danko there are seven wealth factors that set the wealthy apart from the rest of the population - and it isn't fancy cars, cigars and pinkie rings!

Check yourself off against this list and see if you've got what it takes...

1. Millionaires live well below their means
2. They allocate their time, energy and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth
3. Millionaires believe financial independence is more important than displaying high social status
4. Their parents didn't provide economic out-patient care, i.e. they were left to make and correct their own financial mistakes
5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient
6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities
7. They chose an occupation that they enjoy and that best suits their talents

Essentially the book advocates frugality and caution with finances that at times borders on miserly, but the results speak for themselves. The individuals interviewed for the book amassed wealth and held onto it through economic downturns and trained their children to be financially independent. Food for thought!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unlimited Power & Giants Within

Reposting and updating this blog entry from 2005...

Awaken the Giant Within
by Anthony Robbins

A giant best seller!

Almost everyone familiar with self-help is aware of Anthony Robbins and NLP (google it if you aren't). I was skeptical before reading both Unlimited Power (1986) and Awaken the Giant Within (1991) but was impressed with the practical, no nonsense principles that Robbins espouses.

Although sprinkled with Christian verbiage and a bit of God-talk, I didn't catch Tony syncretizing religious beliefs, at least not in these books. I have not kept up with his current work to determine if he's maintained a "Norman Vincent Peale" approach to faith and self-help or not.

The books are very practical, full of great exercises, and with too many ideas to summarize with one quote. But I did find his explanation of our Reticular Activating System (RAS) helpful in Awaken the Giant Within.
This shift in mental posture aligns you more precisely with your goals. Once you decide that something is a priority, you give it tremendous emotional intensity, and by continually focusing on it, any resource that supports its attainment will eventually become clear. (p. 288)
This makes more sense to me than magically "magnetizing" wealth into our lives (like The Secret advocates with the Law of Attraction). Simply put, the RAS works because when we focus on a question or problem our mind becomes engaged to find solutions. An example is when we car shop. We never noticed lime green VW Bugs before, but now that we're buying, everyone is driving one! That's your RAS at work.

So, if you're looking for an indepth analysis of the connection between our beliefs and our actions - along with practical steps to take for improving yourself - Robbins has a lot to offer in these thick books (both over 400 pages). Read with discernment, but go ahead and pick one up from a used book store.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Positive Affirmations

~ Part 6 ~
Some Daily Statements on Developing Persistence

Positive self talk is critical for personal development. This set of daily affirmations originally comes from Harold Sherman, author of How to Turn Failure into Success. This "code of persistence" was copied from another source, however, and I'm not sure where I found it. Great statements to memorize though!
  1. I will never give up as long as I know I am right.
  2. I will believe that all things will work out for me if I hang on to the end.
  3. I will be courageous and undismayed in the face of poor odds.
  4. I will not permit anyone to intimidate or deter me from my goals.
  5. I will fight to overcome all physical handicaps and setbacks.
  6. I will try again and again and yet again to accomplish what I desire.
  7. I will take new faith and resolution from the knowledge that all successful men and women have had to fight defeat and adversity.
  8. I will never surrender to discouragement or despair no matter what seeming obstacles may confront me.
For those who are interested, I have linked solid scriptural principles to each of these statements and turned them into biblical affirmations as well. Email me and I'll send the references to you.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
by T. Harv Eker (2005 HarperBusiness)

And mastering the "inner game" is exactly right. The strength of this book lies in the helpful explanation of the "Money Blueprint" that each of us has grown up with. We each have a subconscious "financial blueprint" that may or may not be set for success. (And if yours isn't "set" on alert, then reading this post will not help because you'll simply dismiss what you are reading or skip it all together.)

This is explained in Part I - how each of us is conditioned to think and act a certain way when it comes to money. Our thinking has been programmed by the attitudes and actions of people that have influenced us, typically our parents. But the good news is that we can implement some key strategies so that we can revise our mental money blueprint.

Part II examines the differences between how rich, middle-class, and poor people think. And it's true, we think differently at different socio-economic levels. The author then provides 17 attitude and action exercises that will lead to a change in our thinking and thus a subsequent change in our financial life - if we take action!

The basis for this change - any change really - is this simple formula: Thoughts lead to Feelings lead to Actions lead to Results. The challenge is to change our thoughts - and this is done by re-programming what we think and believe about wealth and money. We've already been programmed by our past. Let's take control of our thinking and re-program our minds so that our future isn't simply a repetition of the past.

Like most other books of this nature, the author's strength is practical in nature not theological. He mixes a bit of God talk in for good measure but doesn't provide a solid biblical basis for his thesis. The scriptural arguments exist, but T. Harv Eker is not biblically equipped to deal with them. This is unfortunate as many who are seeking help here from a spiritual perspective will come away with something less than satisfying. But, that being said, the principles he espouses are solid and (can be) life changing.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Think Spring!

Mum Sidebar Photo
(click the pic to get the code)

Let's THINK SPRING and spread the joy of life abundant. Here's how you can participate:
  1. Write a Spring-related post (mine is below).
  2. Find & link to three other Spring-related posts.
  3. (Tell them you've linked so they can join the fun.)
  4. Add the Think Spring button/code to your blog.
  5. (Also, let James know you're thinking Spring!)
  6. Then comment at RoseWoman, the meme host.
  7. (For more info and to join the blogroll go here.)
Okay, time for some Spring Thoughts...

First, some selected quotes from the Apostle Paul as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15 (NIV):
Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet."

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is often said that the changing of the seasons is like the cycle of life. There is birth, there is youth, there is maturing, there is death. And then re-birth! We are taught that Spring is the continual reminder that all things are re-born.

Nice sentiment as far as it goes. But one day this cycle will end. For the winter of life is actually a disruption of God's good order. Death was never meant to be, as some put it, a "natural part of life." Winter's Death is the enemy, and it will be swallowed up in toto when Christ's eternal Spring arrives at his coming.

C.S. Lewis describes a land where it is "always winter but never Christmas" in the Chronicles of Narnia. It is an unnatural occurrence. But one that all the creatures held captive by the White Witch have come to accept. Until the whispers of Aslan's return begin to circulate. (If you're unfamiliar with this literary work, go here.)

How like those spell-bound creatures we are. We've come to accept as final this seasonal cycle - as wonderfully refreshing as it may be this side of heaven.

But it is not the last word. One day death and pain and weeping and suffering and war and violence will end. The last vestiges of sin will be destroyed never to be "re-born" for another season. Eternal Spring will dawn. Christ will reign. Alleluia, He is Risen!

Other Suggested Readings for Spring:
  • Wayne at Q&A titles a piece "All Alone" - I want to call is "Almost Spring"
  • Barbara at Tidbits & Treasures has posted "No Room For A Savior"
  • Paint at Play is "Back to Work" with another piece that's almost Spring.
Are you thinking Spring? Spread the word.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Magic of Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking BigHow to set your goals high . . . and then exceed them!

So encourages the subtitle of The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. This classic best seller...
"Presents a planned program for living on a big scale - in one's job, marriage and family life, and in social and cultural activities. [It] proves you need not have great intellect or great talent to be a giant among men. But you do need the habit of thinking and acting in the manner that brings success - and this book gives you the secret." (from the introduction)
Of course, "the secret" to accomplishing anything is believing you can and then backing up that belief with massive action. This book, originally published in 1959 and a bit dated in some of its examples and illustrations, nevertheless delivers a positive, powerful message for those who want to learn the habits of "living big." Topics include:
  • Believe You Can Succeed and You Will
  • Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease
  • Build Confidence and Destroy Fear
  • How to Think Big
  • You Are What You Think You Are
  • Manage Your Environment
  • How to Turn Defeat Into Victory
  • How to Think Like a Leader
These chapter titles will have a familiar ring to them because this book was at the vanguard of the self-help movement we know today. So much of what is written today is based on the principles espoused by personal development leaders like William James, Napoleon Hill, Russell Conwell, James Allen, Les Giblin, Maxwell Maltz, Norman Vincent Peale, and of course, David Schwartz.

Bottom line: Some solid principles taught in an enticing manner, encouraging the reader to go ahead and think big! (Hmm, wonder if Donald Trump read this book ;-)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Here's a Quote from John Newton...

... to William Wilberforce in 1796 upon the defeat of his proposal to end the slave trade in the English colonies. Not knowing it would be another 11 years of sustained effort before success, Wilberforce was expressing to his old friend Newton (pictured here) his willingness to consider retirement from public life. Here is Newton's reply, which convinced Wilberforce to stay the course.
Daniel, likewise, was a public man, and in critical circumstances; but he trusted in the Lord; was faithful in his department, and therefore though he had enemies, they could not prevail against him.

Indeed the great point for our comfort in life is to have a well-grounded persuasion that we are where, all things considered, we ought to be. Then it is no great matter whether we are in public or in private life, in a city or a village, in a palace or a cottage. The promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee," is necessary to support us in the smoothest scenes, and is equally able to support us in the most difficult. . . .

[Christ] is always near. He knows our wants, our dangers, our feelings, our fears. By looking to him we are enlightened and made strong out of weakness. With his wisdom for our guide, his power for our protection, his fullness for our supply, and proposing his glory as our chief end, and placing our happiness in his favour, in communion with him, and communications from Him, we shall be able to "withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand."
Source of Quote: William Wilberforce: A Hero for Humanity by Kevin Belmonte (Zondervan, 2007, pages 137,138)

John Newton is the author of the hymn Amazing Grace, which also serves as the title to the wonderful film that captures the life of William Wilberforce (see pdf study guide).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

On the Road to Easter

For those who are interested, I've posted an Easter Sermon (or pre-Easter, as we are still in the Season of Lent) at my other site, Fwd: Thoughts titled, On the Road to Easter - Can You Hear Him Call? Here's a paragraph:
Traveling heavenward requires a different mind than the way of the world. It is a life marked by service and humility, not greatness and control. This is a hard message to hear for modern day followers of Christ. Jesus would indeed have us experience a vibrant, wonderful life, but first he beckons us to follow him to the cross and die to ourselves so that we can take hold of the new life he offers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Poverty vs Middle vs World Class Thinking

The two greatest influencing factors on how we think (and thus how we live) are:
  1. The books we read, and ...
  2. The people we associate with.
The types of books we read reflect how we think about ourselves. Are we constantly in "fantasy land" trying to escape reality by reading novels with little or no moral redeeming value? Or are we learning from history, engaging in personal development, and understanding how money and business works?

The types of people we associate with is also critical in how we think about ourselves and even where we end up in life. Take our income level, for example. Add up the annual salaries of your several closest friends and divide it by that number and you'll likely have your annual income. We are who we hang around.

What this means is that we generally gravitate toward five broad categories of thinking and living based on the books we read and the people we hang around. According to Steven Siebold (author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class), those categories are poverty, working, middle, upper, and world class thinking.

Those with a poverty or working class mentality talk about (and mostly grumble about) the past. They are constantly blaming others for their failures, for not getting ahead, for their bad breaks in life. Could be a boss, a parent, a teacher. They got screwed over by someone and that's why they are where they are at. It's a victim mindset.

Those with a middle class mentality talk about other people - comparing up or down and always trying to position themselves a little better than their peers. It's either keep up with the Joneses or it's bragging about their latest toy. The middle class have also deluded themselves into thinking that they are where they're at because of their hard work. Most middle class folks thought they hit a double when in fact they were born on second base.

Those with an upper, or better yet, world class mentality talk about ideas. They are always looking for ways to grow, increase, become better, build, influence more, impact more, do more, be more. And so they are reading books that help them think better. They associate with positive, excited people and avoid negative, limiting people.

Questions to Ponder:
  • Are you focused on the past, other people, or big ideas?
  • What books are you reading that support the direction you want to go?
  • What people in your life do you need to limit your exposure to?
  • When will you begin to implement the answers to these questions?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Reminder from Oswald Chambers

With all this interest in The Secret and Rhonda Byrne's heresy that we are gods, a timely reminder from a classic Christian author is in order:
"The nature of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realization which leads us to say, 'I am my own god.' This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality or in improper immorality, but it always has a common basis - my claim to my right to myself." ~ Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest (Entry for October 5 - written between 1911 & 1915!)
Self-realization is not a new thing, nor necessarily a bad thing. But Chambers took note of it's dangers nearly 100 years ago. Without God, the self becomes the arbiter of good and evil. This was the sin of the garden. And the same devil tempts us today with the same proposition: "You shall be like God." This is a fundamental flaw in the teaching of the Secret and those who advocate it's doctrines.

And note that we are not talking about whether the teachers of the Secret are moral or immoral. I am sure that many who profess to follow universal principles like the Law of Attraction are quite nice and giving people. That is not the issue. The issue is idolatry. Ultimately, the Secret is about claiming my right to myself.

If ever we travel within to find ourselves, rest assured, it will be a very short trip.

God is My CEO

A surprisingly helpful little handbook is God is My CEO by Larry Julian (published by Adams Media 2001, 2002). It's actually a compilation of short chapters on a wide range of business topics by various corporate leaders, sports authorities, and even a former governor.

Normally I would shy away from books like this that tie God with politics, business, or sports, but the subtitle - Following God's Principles in a Bottom-Line World - sounded better than the title. It struck a chord with me as this is my desire.

I was pleased with the resource. Just flipping through the headings and authors piqued my interest: Tony Dungy (Super Bowl Champ Head Coach) on Patience; Horst Schulze (CEO Ritz Carlton) on Servant Leadership; Truett Cathy (Founder Chick-fil-A) on Priorities; Bob Buford (author of Half Time) on Success. Etc.

Okay. Not an instant classic. But a nice gift if you are looking to impact others in a positive way.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thought Renewal Quotes

Summarizing some recent posts with a few key quotes on the various topics I've covered so far in Thought Renewal.
  • Success has to do with living a life of abundance that comes from the hand of God.

  • Communication requires distributing the right words to the right destination at the right time, which also requires receiving the right information from the other person.

  • What excuses are we willing to eliminate from our lives right now so that we can live the life of abundance that God intends for us? Go to the ant for some life lessons.

  • Your luck increases in direct proportion to the extent that you live your life on purpose in a cause that is bigger than yourself.

  • Harnessing our mental faculties for creating positive environs for ourselves and other people is a laudable and attainable goal. In fact, it is a biblical mandate.

  • We haven't been taught that it is a virtue to create wealth for the benefit of our family and others. So we have to teach ourselves the validity of this belief.

  • We do not have the ability within ourselves to break free from our prison that separates us from our Creator. But wait, there is good news...

  • The Law of Attraction seems to me to be a restating of the biblical principle, "You reap what you sow."

  • Did you know that each one of our beliefs is a choice? Sadly, we've chosen to accept most of our beliefs "without argument."

  • Jesus has a clear goal in mind for each of our lives and has a plan that, if followed, will take us to our destination with banners waving.

  • While we shouldn't ignore our 5 natural senses, I believe there are supernatural senses which give us a heavenly perspective that our physical nature will miss.

  • It is not our humanity that gets us into trouble. It is the inhuman sin nature that infests and corrupts God's good earth that is the problem.

  • Are we going to persist in fear and give in to our anxieties or are we going to do everything we can to "flunk out of the school of worry" and live the life of abundance that God has in store for us?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Defining Terms: Success

Starting an ongoing series of posts on the various terms and phrases I use throughout Thought Renewal. Definitions are sometimes a bit elusive; and one challenge in communication is talking past each other due to the misinterpretation of what the other actually means.

The first word I want to tackle is Success. One reason is that this is unabashedly a success blog. The purpose of Thought Renewal is to help people help themselves to a life of abundance that God intends for us. This is also a Christian blog in that my starting point, motivation, and end goal is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. (We'll be "defining" God in a later post :-)

So what I mean when I write about this topic incorporates at least those two components. Success has to do with living a life of abundance that comes from the hand of God. When we are enjoying the life that Jesus offers (see John 10.10) we are successful.

Yes, there is a pragmatic aspect to success. When we accomplish a certain goal, win a competitive test, reach a particular benchmark, then we have successfully completed the task in front of us. My definitions is broader than that and addresses more the attitude or position of the heart.

It borders on Earl Nightingale's famous motto: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." That's a process definition which I like. John Maxwell is right when he says that success is not a destination, but rather a journey (see my quick review of his Road Map to Success). Maxwell has this to offer:
Success is . . .
knowing your purpose in life,
growing to reach your maximum potential,
and sowing seeds that benefit others.
That's good. It speaks to the overflowing life that marks a true follower of Jesus. You see, striving for success is not a selfish endeavor; it is pursuing the life of impact and joy that God intends for each of us.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Daily Affirmations, Part 5

Today's affirmations come once again from Think Like a Winner. It is a matter of teaching one's mind on a dialy basis that changes our thinking. That is why...
  • Today, I have a positive mental attitude. I have eliminated criticism and impatience from my life, and replaced them with praise and tolerance.
  • Today, I totally believe in myself. I believe I am capable and worthy of high achievement.
  • Today, I have a big, challenging goal I am working toward. It is adding meaning and momentum to my life.
  • Today, I accept full responsibility for all my actions. Whatever results I achieve, I know they are the result of the thinking I am engaged in.
  • Today, I manage my time effectively. I know every minute is precious and irreplaceable, and must be used to the best advantage.
  • Today, I am pursuing a personal development program. I dedicate at least one hour each day toward improving myself.
  • Today, I value my health, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am taking very good care of myself.
  • Today, I am a creative person in setting and attaining my goals. Possibilities abound in all my thoughts and actions.
  • Today, I have a service-minded approach toward my employment and fellow human beings. I always to more that what is expected of me, knowing I will receive more of what I want in return.
  • Today, I am excellent at what I do. I believe it is through excellence that I will find my true self.
  • Today, I am effective in all my interpersonal relationships. I believe people take priority over problems, and that they deserve my total respect and attention.

    Go here for more Affirmations!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Distributing Good Words

Did a word study awhile back on "communication."

Surprising definition, really. It means to have things in common. To communicate means to share or distribute items so that both parties may enjoy them.

What items are to be shared? Words. Good words.

Here's a principle to apply from the Apostle Paul: "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." I use this old fashioned translation of the bible (the King James Version of Galatians 6.6) to point out the word behind communicate. It's koinonia, the Greek word for fellowship or sharing.

A modern translation would use the word share: "Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with the instructor." (same verse, New International Version)

This does not necessarily mean financial support. Yes, we should pay our teachers an adequate salary. But more than that, we can bestow upon those who instruct us - and upon anyone for that matter - a gift of words.

Some call this speaking a blessing. I think of it as distributing good words. Isn't this what communication should be about? Every day we have opportunities to give encouraging, nourishing words to others. Every day we have opportunities to practice our communication skills.

But distributing good words on a consistent basis is difficult. I've found that I need to monitor two areas of my speech if I'm going to become a better communicator.

First, I need to watch for the rise of hurtful words that tear people down. I need to stop the flow of negative words before they dribble out - or gush out as the case may be - and do damage to others.

Here's another great principle to apply. The Apostle Peter says that love "covers over" a multitude of sins (see 1 Peter 4.8). In other words, love "puts a lid on it" and doesn't broadcast a failing. When tempted to "share a concern" about another's faults, love zips the lip.

Second, I need to be sensitive to the situation of the person I want to communicate with. That is, I need to watch for the green light and say a good word at a good time. Understanding another's needs, pressures, and dreams helps us with what to say and when to say it.

Of course, this entails listening. To distribute good words to the right destination at the right time requires receiving the correct information and signals from the other person. So becoming a better communicator not only involves sharing good words, but listening so that those good words can be received at the best time.

Questions to Ponder
  • Do you see your communication as the distribution of good words?
  • What might be preventing you from communicating more effectively?
  • Develop a list of people with whom you want to share good words.
Looking forward to sharing with you and receiving good words from you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anybody, Nobody, Somebody, & Everybody

You’ve heard the story about Anybody, Nobody, Somebody, and Everybody?
An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Ant Music

Life Lessons from Our Tiny Neighbors

"Go to the ant, you sluggard!" (Proverbs 6:6-11, see below)

Ouch! Ever get super-charged at an event and make all sorts of commitments only to wake up the next morning and "chicken out" on whatever you decided to do? Making that first phone call or starting that project seems overwhelming in the morning light.

Let's "go to the ant" and consider its ways and be wise!

First, the ant is self-motivated to work. It has no boss telling it to get going. It is driven by habit and instinct to succeed. God has placed a success mechanism in us as well. We can cultivate that habit.

Second, the ant stores up for the future. It works when it can, knowing that winter is coming when it can no longer work. Big clue! We can play now and pay later or we can pay now, save money and build wealth.

Third, sluggards, by contrast, work when they feel like it - and they never feel like it! They are full of excuses: "I'll get back to work after a short little nap." And that nap lasts all day long. Like I said, "Ouch!"

Fourth, poverty will eat the unprepared alive. Like a bandit, like a thief, it'll take away everything the sluggard has. If we play now and neglect our work, we'll not only pay later but we'll pay with compound interest.

Fifth, there's good news! We can change, we can consider the ant and be wise. In fact, we can get wise today! The definition of wisdom is applied knowledge for godly purposes. Success is a choice. It's simply a matter of daily choosing to do those things we know is best for ourselves and those around us.

Questions for Reflection
  • Are we driven by habit and instinct to succeed? We were designed to be. What habits do you need to start or continue to develop?

  • Are we storing up for "winter"? We know instinctively that we should prepare for the future and yet we're full of rationalizations.

  • What excuses are we willing to eliminate from our lives right now so that we can live the life of abundance that God intends for us?
I don't know about you, but I want to get wise right away so that I can experience God's favor now and in the days ahead. Let's get wise together.

Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV)
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Break for Humor

"You're the creator of the HMO plan?
Sure you can stay ... For three days!"

This was a gag line I came up with awhile back that a cartoonist acquaintance of mine, Steve Phelps, put into picture form. So, yes, I am a published author. :-)

Creating Your Own Luck

It's your lucky day!

Why? Because today you have a choice. You can choose to live this day on purpose. And when you make that decision, you put yourself in a position to receive everything that today has to offer. You can make today your lucky day. And that's great news!

But how? What's the "first step" to becoming lucky?

To continually receive good things in life, you must surrender yourself daily to a worthy cause. I believe your luck increases in direct proportion to the extent that you live your life on purpose in a business or cause that is bigger than yourself.

Many people think success is just a matter of chance; that good things in life are flukes (this is not what I mean by luck). People say, "They were just in the right place at the right time." Now that part is true. But what most people don't realize is that we create our own luck by preparing ourselves to be in the right place at the right time. Like in the movie Facing the Giants we must not only pray but prepare for rain.

How to Create Your Own Luck

Let's Get L.U.C.K.Y. - A Five Point Strategy

1st Strategy: L – Look for people to serve. We must take the initiative. This is a mindset, an early life decision that has to be managed every day, as John Maxwell says. It's also a "heartset" - a decision to serve from love in everything we do.

The byproduct is that you benefit as well. Doesn't Zig Ziglar make sense? "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

2nd Strategy: U - Understand, accept, and work the numbers. In any business or cause, some will, some won't, so what, someone's waiting. Truth is, you can't beat the numbers, but it's also true that the numbers can't beat you.

Don't treat people as numbers, but if you're going to get lucky you must play the game daily. A game you can win. This is not like the lottery. Winning in Las Vegas is a fluke. Winning in life is not. But it is about working the numbers.

3rd Strategy: C – Commit to consistent activity. John Maxwell, a leadership expert, states that he could spend a day with you and tell you with 95% certainty whether you will be successful. He said the secret to one's success (or failure) is discovered in one's daily agenda.

It's not the home run record that makes a person a success, it's the daily batting practice. Tornadoes and hurricanes make the news, but termites do more damage. (It's the little things that count!)

4th Strategy: K – Know your business well. You don't have to be the greatest at your business or service, just be good. And get better every day. Become excellent at your craft. Of course, it takes hard work. And time. But not as long as you think.

5th Strategy: Y – You decide how fast, how hard, how much. It's a choice. You determine how lucky you get! Work hard. Get lucky. Put yourself in the right position at the right time with the right people. You can have it all when you live your life on purpose.

It's Your Choice . . .
Look for People to Serve
Understand, Accept, & Work the Numbers
Commit to Consistent Activity
Know Your Business Well
You Decide How LUCKY You Get!

© 2007, Lyn Perry - Permission to reprint this article with acknowledgment.
Photo source: Henry Li at Kronka, utilizing the Creative Commons Deed.