Fair Weather Friend?

Fair weather friends only want to come around when they need your sun to shine on their dark and gloomy days.– Author Unknown

Spring is here!  There is just something about it that brings excitement and a smile on my face!  The days are starting to get longer, and where I live, there are no longer mornings with low laying fog.  The trees are starting to bud and bring forth new life!  It is like being reborn in a sense.  The conditions bring about a feeling of being alive and it fills you with energy!

It always amazes me how we humans are so affected by what surrounds us and by our current physical condition.  It takes a special effort to maintain the same positive attitude on a rainy day than it does when the sun is shining.  We tend to equate a rainy as being “bad weather”, when in reality (if it is only rain) it is a good day, since we need that rain both to keep our gardens and the surrounding nature alive, and our water sources filled.

When you get down to it, we condition in our minds to what our surrounding may suggest to us, but the truth is you can make anything wonderful if  you can place your mind over matter.  This was a phrase used a lot in the ’60s and ’70s in reference to paranormal phenomena. And today we look to it more in line with the power of positive thinking,  The reality being, things will turn out as good or as bad as you make them out to be.

It still helps when you can enjoy a beautiful day out in the sunshine.  I get excited about the spring, the blooming flowers, the budding of the trees and the chance to walk with shorts, short sleeves and your hands free of an umbrella!  A wonderful day in the spring with all of its beauty is a reminder of just how wonderful life can be when we strive to make it that way regardless of our current conditions or surrounding, we just need to keep the faith!

So are you nature’ “fair weather friend” or can you rise above the surrounding conditions?

Look Before You Leap!

Look before you leap for as you sow, ye are like to reap.– Samuel Butler

It really pays to take the necessary time to consider every angle of a situation before taking the plunge!  I have made so many mistakes throughout my lifetime because I tend to be a person who has acted on inspiration rather than being logical.  Inspiration is a wonderful thing and it is important!  When you are inspired you have enthusiasm which can push you forward through difficult times, but it is not the all-in-all and cannot be depended upon when making decisions.

I have learned (and am still learning) the importance of taking a good long look at any new projects in order to count the cost.  When you do take a leap without looking, you are certain to learn lessons through potential mistakes, but you can be miles ahead if you are to go slow and consider all the angles and potential scenarios or ramifications.  There is a quote that often has spoken to me and it goes, “if you go slow you get there quicker or at least you get there!”  Another little saying is in regards to the fable of the hare and the tortoise which goes “the hare never made it but the tortoise did”.

You can think that you will get somewhere quicker if you rush in full speed ahead, but the fact is you may never reach your goal if you don’t study the road first and plan you trip.  I guess when I was younger, it didn’t seem so important to me to take the time and consider everything, I just wanted to get started and get going.  But now that I am mature…ahem, I cannot afford to make too many hurried mistakes, time could run out and leave me in a real fix.

This may seem pretty elementary to most of you, but unfortunately may problems, and in particular, financial problems are caused due to improper investigation.  These then cause trains on relationships with spouses and partners which then lead to even greater difficulties which may have not been taken into account.  So it pays to learn early on to look before leaping!

Do you look before you leap?

Staying Ahead And Out Of Debt!

It takes as much imagination to create debt as to create income. –Leonard Orr

I would say that the best way to stay ahead is to never get behind! That may sound pretty obvious and silly to many, but it is a simple truth! I just finished listening to a very interesting audio book by Dave Ramsey called “The Total Money Makeover” in which he counsels about how to get out of debt, and then how to accumulate wealth with an average income!

In the United States, “the American Way” has been pretty much paved with the debt, borrowing in order to have and living “the American Dream” without have the means to do so, by going more deeply in debt.  There is a verse in the Bible that I particularly like which goes, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”  Romans 13:8

I have tried to follow this principle through out my life and am thankful that I have not fallen into debt, except for one particular time with a credit card, and it quickly taught me that I never ever wanted to do that again!  From that time on, I have always paid in full my bills with any card, and have not bought anything unless I knew that I would have enough at the end of the month to pay for it.

I can’t say that I have gained any wealth, but I have lived well, and have not fallen into debt.  “The Total Money Makeover” by Ramsey is pretty thorough in sharing  tips on how to, not only get out of debt, but to even gain wealth and how to better prepare for retirement without holding on to the false hope that the federal government will come to your rescue through Social Security!

If you are fighting with debt and have fallen behind, I highly recommend that you check out this book by Dave, it could very well change your life!  You can find his site at www.daveramsey.com.  It is amazing just how well you can live by staying within your means!

How are you doing, are you staying ahead?

Personal Mission Statement-Do You Have One?

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.– Albert Camus

Whatever you do in life, whoever you may be and whatever your goals in life are, it is important that you prepare your “personal mission statement”.   If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything, and if you are not sure where you are headed then you will for certain get lost!

What do I mean by a “personal mission statement”?  Well, each of us as individuals have a great impact on the world that surrounds us.  We affect people at home, we influence people at work, we leave an impression on others in school…no man is an island.  A great sad reality today in the world we live in is; too many are influenced by the economic environment instead of a self-imposed ethic standard by which they would like to live.  Way too many of us will compromise what we believe or feel to be right, in order to gain and this is precisely what has led us into the current economic woes that we have all fallen victims to today!

Just as in business you have choices, hard choices such as, should we take a hit financially in order to right a wrong so as to satisfy the consumers..or should we leave things as they are and get what we can today at the dis-satisfaction of the customer?  When you decide to take the tough road of satisfying the customer, it costs you initially but most likely you will gain  long-term satisfaction and future and continued income.  If you choose the latter, you may earn more today, but fail on the long-term!

The same goes for your personal decisions and self-set standard.  If  you compromise your personal ethics in order to gain today, in the long-term you may end up losing big time in the long run!  You have to set what you would like to be known for, brand yourself in such a way that others will know what you stand for, and once you have done this, will have the customers that you want and need!  Sit down and write out your personal mission statement. Set your own standard and live by them, you will find that others will seek you out because of the value you have to offer!

Do you have a personal mission statement?

Umption, Gumption Get Up And Go!

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.”–W. Clement Stone

Are you excited about what you do?  Do you wake up in the morning with a burning desire to get out of bed and get started with the day because you just can’t wait to see what the day may bring? Well, you might not feel this way every day if you are human, because as the saying goes “every dog has it’s day”, however if you have a goal, a plan then most likely you will have an enthusiasm that will give you the rocket fuel you need to get through the “down days”!

We are all subject to discouragement, there will always be set-backs and times when things just don’t go as planned!  You have to remain focused so as not to allow these times to become a distraction from reaching the goals that you have set  for yourself!  Excitement and enthusiasm are very contagious, almost as much as are gloom, doom and discouragement!  It all starts up there in your noggin!  It is important that you keep your eyes on the positive outcome that you are shooting for rather than to get down and in the dumps once you hit a problem or difficulty!

People like excitement and so they enjoy being around others that are going somewhere and are able to emulate that enthusiasm which can be contagious!  Not everyone possesses this gift of enthusiasm as it comes more “natural” to be “realistic” and accept defeat, but it takes a real visionary to remain positive even in the midst of a storm!  I work with a fellow in Italy who has this gift and charisma! If you know Italy and just how difficult the government makes it to be successful through its tangled web of bureaucracy, then you would be amazed at anyone who can stay positive, especially in today’s economic climate!

My dear friend and entrepreneur surprises me with his upbeat attitude and umption and gumption, even in the face of what most of us would see as a disaster and  be tempted to turn tail and run!  But, let me tell you, this fellow despite the difficulties, the lack of formal education in his realm of business, he has been very successful and this is  thanks, in large part, to his positive and enthusiastic disposition!  I know for a fact that he doesn’t always feel like being positive, but the fact that he is able to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome has been proof to me that staying positive is very important and can mean the difference between success and failure!

Do you have umption and gumption and get up and go?

How To Stay Alive…Keep The Vision!

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18  The Bible

So much can be said for the person who has a plan and is able to stay on track with their plan as they usually end up getting to their destination!  If you were to just set out on a trip not knowing where you were going, you would have no idea if you ever got there!  This may sound silly, but it is the sad reality of a great many people, they have no idea where they are going!  There is a quote that goes, “if you shoot at nothing, you are sure to hit it!”  But there is no satisfaction in that at all!

It may sound “too predictable” to some and even “boring”, but the fact is, if you have a goal, a vision or plan, it can actually add a lot of excitement to your life.  It is always best to have short-term and long-term plans so that you can see if you are making progress towards arriving at the completion of your goal or not.  If you plan out your day by making a “to do” list, and you check off this list as the days goes on, it can be a source of inspiration!  I know that for myself, as I get things taken care of  throughout the day, I feel alive and as though I am accomplishing something!  Especially when I can check off the things on my “to do” list that are particularly unpleasant!  In fact, it is usually those things that are unpleasant that are best to take care of right off the bat, as they tend to be the what leads to procrastination!

When I get those difficult things tackled at the beginning of the day, the other things that remain on the list, that are not as difficult, are so easy to tend to!  I feel really good after I get things done and don’t feel so guilty at the end of the day to get that much-needed “chill time”!  I even feel as though I deserve it!  There is just something stimulating about getting things taken care of, but the trick is usually the getting started part. But once you get started you are pretty much half done and you begin to feel more alive and on top of the world!

It is a daily fight to keep the vision since there are so many distractions in the course of the day.  Things will come up that seem to be so important, and you can get side-tracked by them and… boom, once again you end up off track and behind on your plan!  It takes a concerted effort to stay focused, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to make it to your destination.  Not only is it reinvigorating, it will also be financially rewarding as you will see that by doing so it will lead to greater success!

Do you plan your work and work your plan?

 

Obla dee Obla dah! Life Goes On!

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.  ~Elwyn Brooks White

Gosh, with so many things to tend to in life, it can be difficult to get priorities straight at times!  Through the years, priorities tend to change!  Whilst young, having fun tends to take on front-center stage and if there is anything that is not fun, well it just isn’t worth the time of day!  That is what made it so tough to sit still in school and pay any attention to all the clamber to “get good grades” and do your homework!  My thoughts on history as a lad was just that..”it’s history, it already happened so there is nothing that I can do about it so why study it!?”

So much changes as you go through the years, mainly your perspective and what becomes important to you through time.  All of the sudden the things that mom and dad and adults were emphasizing start making more sense and you some to realize that they were not so dumb after all!  Did you ever notice how the “nerds” in school that were not so “cool” all of a sudden become cool in your adult years, and the “cool kids” from school may be sort of left behind?  The roles tend to reverse entirely! Obla-dee Obla-dah!

I like what Elwyn White said in the quote above!  I would just like to ask, why not have it all?  Why not change the world and enjoy doing it along the way. Really, in everything you do, you can have a ball doing it!  If making your world a better place is what you want, than, as you strive or work towards doing it, you can have a great time!  Work doesn’t always have to be a “four-letter-word” , it can be tremendous fun and it usually brings a greater income if that is what you make of it!

So have a blast along the way!  Don’t allow your life to become “blah”.  Make it obla-dee obla-dah exciting!  Life does go on, just don’t allow it to go on without you enjoying the ride!

Have a wonderful day!

Mistakes, Blunders and Boo Boos

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.–Mary Pickford

I love Mary’s quote as it is so true!  Who on earth has never made a mistake?  No one, but the biggest mistake anyone really can ever make is to not take the opportunity to learn for their mistake, get back up, dust themselves off and try again! You can plan things out as well as you possible, but inevitably, somewhere along the way, things will not go according to plan!  But instead of seeing this is a “mistake”, try to see if your new reality is better than the original plan.

I spent four years of my life working on a project with a long-term goal in mind, this project was going to be what I would be submerging my life and efforts into pretty much for the rest of my life!  It was a project that took all of my concentration, strength and thought power for what was four long years!  The project was a bit fragile to begin with as it was contingent on the cooperation of a family who owned a rather large piece of property that I was working on to turn into a youth training center.  Well, things did change, this family withdrew their offer after a lot of work and money had been put into the project.  I thought, “how stupid I was to even get started on this and to have not drawn up legal binding papers to hold them to the deal…why did I trust in them?”.

Yes it was a mistake, yes I “wasted” four years of my life.  However, through this “mistake”, I was able to come out with a totally new opportunity that, had I not been involved in the later project, most likely I would never have seen or recognized what was in store for my life!  As I now look back at where I came from and what I thought I was going to be doing for the rest of my life, not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for closing that one door and opening this new window of opportunity!  Was that mistake so bad? No, at the end of the day, it was really no mistake at all, it was part of a larger plan!

Have your “boo-boos”  helped you to move on to something new and exciting!  Just make sure to get back up!  All is NOT lost!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

“Love is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is life.” Smiley Blanton

It takes a lot of will power and strength to be able to get yourself up and out of bed each and everyday to go to work or to study, but this is something that we all know needs to be done.  That is if we want to be able to make it through this arduous journey called life!  If you are one who has a job that you love, and you are passionate about it, the effort is a little easier to make, but none-the-less to do anything day-in and day-out is a struggle!

We make sacrifices throughout our lives because we have a reason to this madness.  We are either doing it to reach a self-set goal, or because we have a family to take care of, either way there has to be a good reason to get us to make a move.  Of course we are also creatures of habit and can get into a routine that we follow just because that is was we are expected to do each and everyday.  This later state is less effective and usually does not lead us into anything extraordinary.  To achieve something spectacular in life, you have to be passionate about it in one way or the other.

There needs to be a real motivation behind this sometimes difficult journey of life, there needs to be a passion, there needs to be love! Love is an emotion that leads us into something great! I am not saying that you necessarily have to love your job or studies, but it sure helps! But you need to love those you care about, your own goals, your own ambitions enough to make it worth your time!  So if you ask me the question, “what’s love got to do with it”, I would have to answer…everything! It doesn’t have to be “love at first sight” either!  It can be a love that you grow into, and you will see that, if you do have a love for something, great things can happen!

How does love motivate you?

Love Is In The Air!

The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.–Henry Miller

It is that time of the year again..it is Valentine’s day! The day of love, in which everyone is scrambling to do something special for that  special someone in their lives!  Hopefully something different, something extraordinary that will make the love of your life feel just a bit more special.   Perhaps flowers, a special dinner out, a night together at a hotel away from distractions, or just simply a time for some undivided attention that breaks away from the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life.

It is difficult to measure love, and I believe that a lot of the love that is shown on a day-to-day basis can tend to get overlooked.  I have not been Mr. Romantic with flowers in my hand, or an outstanding poem or song written for my wife.  Unfortunately for me, I am sort of more the “simple guy” who shows my love by being there on a day-to-day basis attempting to do those many needed tasks or errands to render life at least a wee bit easier for her.

When you have been married or together with someone for so very many years, this demonstration of love can appear to be neglect.  It is not seen so “extraordinary” or “special” anymore since you can grow accustomed to it and lose appreciation for the one who is and has been there for you through thick and thin.  That is why for so many, they feel as though they have “lost” that love and are no longer able to see it for what it really is.  But in today’s world, it means a great deal!  All too often people run away in search of that “Hollywood romance” dream life, leaving behind them what was actually real love all along!

You can never give too much love, that is true…but you will most likely never feel as though you had too much.  It is in the little things day by day that love needs to be manifested, received, appreciated in order to recognize that you have never ever lost what you need and desire, you just need to look at it in the right perspective.

Happy Valentine’s day!  Do something extraordinary for that special someone! Can you see the love?