Make The Call

by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet This story you are about to read is true and is dedicated to the memory of Gayle Belnap. “Make The Call” is an exercise in which I ask the audience to imagine; you are on a 747 en route to Europe. You’re traveling alone. It’s a normal flight in every way. You settle down for a pleasant but rather long flight. About fifty minutes into it, you notice a slight vibration in the plane, but it’s barely noticeable, as a matter of fact, no one else is noticing it so you don’t give it any more thought. An hour later, you notice the vibration again. It seems to have gotten a little bit worse, but then again maybe not. You figure it’s nothing and let it go. You don’t even think of the vibration any more until it suddenly gets a lot more severe, and then there’s a loud POP! and the plane makes a sudden and violent dip to the right and then levels off again under control. There are a few screams and some panic among your fellow passengers until the captain gets on the intercom and explains that you’ve just lost an engine but not to worry because this plane is designed to fly safely with the remaining three. You can make it to Europe without any difficulty whatsoever. This seems to calm everyone down and after a minute or two, the flight again becomes a perfectly normal one. That is until the captain gets on the intercom once more, “Folks, we have discovered a problem. Evidently, when our number two engine let go, it did so in a very violent way. It has severed a fuel line. It’s obvious now that we won’t have enough fuel to get to Europe or to turn around and land. So we will be forced into making a water landing.” After a seemingly endless pause, he continued, “We’ve decided to proceed on to Europe as this will be the shortest distance for safety efforts to reach us. We’ll continue to fly as long as we can to shorten the distance for rescue and to rid the plane of as much fuel as possible to help reduce the risk of fire. As we get closer to the time, we’ll go over all the safety procedures you will need to survive. Until then folks, please remain in your seats and try to stay calm. Thank you.” The first thing that strikes you as odd is how very quiet the plane has become. With the exception of a couple of muffled sobs, everyone is surprisingly calm. That is until some genius decides to grab one of the phones and start to dial feverishly which triggers a mad dash for the remaining phones. Several arguments and even two fistfights ensue. The captain bursts out from the cockpit and orders everyone to get off the phones and back into their seats. He retreats to the cockpit for a few minutes, returns, and announces; “Okay folks; we’re going to do this in an orderly fashion. Everyone will get the same chance. We have determined, that with the fuel remaining, the rate of fuel loss, and the number of passengers aboard, each of you will be allowed to make one...

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My All-Time 12 Best Ideas For Being Successful

by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. 1. Set specific goals and action steps, and write them down. The single most important step in getting somewhere is knowing where you’re going and having a plan for getting there. Your goals have to be written out, and so does your plan. Be specific, date each goal and each step on your action plan. Then follow it. 2. Read and review your goals daily. This one could change your life. Keep your goals in front of you. Always know what you plan to do next. And always take the action your plan calls for. Review your goals, review your plan, change them as necessary, and stay with it. It only takes two or three minutes each morning to read your goals and glance over your plans. You’re going to spend the next 24 hours that day doing something; you might as well be doing something that counts. 3. Set daily priorities. Your goals and action plan will tell you what to do. Next, put your priorities in order. If you make a list, keep it short. 4. Change your old programs by learning new Self-Talk. Get rid of any old mental programs that could be holding you back. Listen to Self-Talk, practice it, and get it right. Your programs will determine whether you reach your goal or not. 5. Turn off the television. The less television you watch, the more successful you will be. Most television wastes your time, while it programs your mind with the wrong input to be successful. Do your future and your family a favor. As much as you can, break the habit, spend your time doing something of value, and turn the television OFF. 6. Practice, every day, keeping a positive attitude. Your attitude actually affects the biochemistry of your brain. A bad attitude turns your success switches “off.” A good attitude turns them “on.” Never listen to the negative opinions of others, and make the choice to eliminate negativity from your life–completely. A good attitude is not an accident; it is a habit and a skill that you have to build for yourself. Practice going through life with your success switches being turned “on.” 7. Associate with people who are more successful than you are. We become most like the people we spend our time with most. Seek out the successful people; people of quality, honor, integrity, and achievement. Spend time with them in person. Listen to them on tape. Or read their stories in books. We get the most from the people who have the most to give. 8. Live your life based on “values.” Your values are the pages on which the story of your life will be written. Practice the values of honesty, integrity, trust, determination, compassion, patience, personal responsibility, the willingness to work, and the courage to endure. All lasting success is built on positive values. 9. Practice your faith. In the lives of people who are truly successful in every way, you will always find a foundation of faith. If you want to live your life at your best, practice your faith. Not just an hour a week. Every day. 10. Make the choice to believe in yourself and in your future. Believing in yourself is a choice. The people who are the...

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The Fisherman And The Investment Banker

Anonymous   The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then?” The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.” “Millions.. Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your...

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The Two Things Strategy

by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet “There are two things you must do to get anything in life you want,” my father would tell me. After turning 15 1/2, it became time to test this strategy out. The first part of the deal, I had already nailed; maintaining an A average throughout junior high school. This first condition, I must admit, was pretty easy to do. For years learning, and learning of any kind, had been my passion. So, long hours of study and excellent grades came fairly easily. The second part of the deal was going to prove to be a bit more challenging. I had to pay for the insurance and maintenance myself. If I couldn’t do that, then the car would sit. I had to get a job, quickly, and get a part time one that would pay enough to cover teenage insurance rates. There was a Super A grocery store at the corner of Mines and Rosemead, right down the street from where my family lived, that would do the trick. I had heard that a box boy (the early ’70s were less politically correct) could make good money and a clerk could make “killer bucks.” I decided to work there. Immediately after church, I rode my bike to the store, locked it up, and went in to scope things out. After watching the checkout stands for a few minutes, I asked to see the manager. Sonny had a quick gate, dark hair, brown eyes, a moustache, and was short, short in stature and short with me. “Sorry Pal,” he said, “We’ve got plenty of box boys already. I got no openings but check back with me later.” and he quickly walked away from me not even waiting to hear the witty and endearing reply I had rehearsed for just such an event. He didn’t smile, didn’t sugar coat it, didn’t even try to fake a look of empathy. I was sure he must have had something more important to attend to although I don’t think he realized that the issue before him was one of life or death. I left a little crest-fallen but still determined to work there. “The first thing you must do to get anything in life you want,” my dad would tell me, “is to ask. Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, and always remember to ask again.” It was a strategy that consistently failed on him but always worked on my mother. Maybe it would work on Sonny. The next day, after school let out, I rode my bike back to the Super A. I found Sonny. I asked him for a job. He asked, “Didn’t I tell you I had no openings yesterday?” “Yes, sir.” I replied. “What makes you think anything’s changed, Son?” “I really need this job, Sir, and you did tell me to check back with you, so I am.” I replied. “Well, I still don’t need you. You can always check back with me though.” he said smiling at me. Then he turned and quickly walked away. I thought to myself that his tone had changed and he did call me Son, didn’t he? I left encouraged. The next day, same time, same question, similar reply. I came back the following day,...

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Competitive Spirit

by Scott W. Biehl While growing up I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents home. Yes, they would spoil my sister and I like most loving Grandparents with gifts and treats but the things I loved most was playing catch, having putting contests in the living room, and playing basketball with my “Grandpa.” My Grandfather had a basketball hoop set up in his backyard and when I would come over we would always play a game of 21. The way it was scored was if you made a basket it was worth 2 points and then you could shoot free throws for 1 point a piece until you missed. My Grandfather who was a professional boxer in his younger days always stayed fit and was in great shape. As I got older, the basketball games became more competitive but he would never just let me win. Then one day when I was about 12 years old I finally did it! I beat him at a game of 21. After all those years of playing I finally won. Then a couple of days later I called to see if he would be home so I could come by and visit and then took the bus across town to his house to see him. I couldn’t wait to play him again at 21. All those years of losing to him and now I knew I can beat him. I arrived at his house and was greeted by my Grandmother and asked “where’s Grandpa”? As she turned to point out in the backyard I could see my Grandfather. He was practicing shooting free throws. My 70-year-old Grandfather was practicing shooting free throws. I then went out in the backyard with my confidence of just winning a few days prior, to play a game of 21 with Grandpa. So, we start to play our usual game of 21 and I make the first basket for 2 points and then make only 1 free throw. My Grandfather then makes a basket and proceeds to make 19 free throws in a row and beats me 21-3. Game over! I learned a lot of lessons from my Grandfather over the years but none that stand out like the lesson I received in his backyard that day. While he has since passed on, his competitive spirit still lives on through me today. Now I have a 6 year old son of my own and I know that there is a game of 21 in our future and many of life’s lessons to be learned playing it. © 2003 by Scott W. Biehl. All rights reserved. Scott Biehl is the General Manager of Mercedes Benz of...

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Von

by Jack Sommerville As I read the e-mail entitled “HOW WE TREAT PEOPLE” that my mom sent to her e-mail list on July 19th, I was taken back with a couple of the stories told. One was about a 10 year old who could only afford a single scoop of ice cream and the other was about the 5 yr old who thought he was giving “His” life to save his sick sister. If you have yet to read these short stories then please do. It seems to me we are all amazed by the young minds of our children and the things they do to make us happy. My story however is about a person a bit older than the two mentioned. My stepfather Von spent years, 19 years actually, building and working on his “garden”, as he called it. Most of us just called it “The Hill”. He started with the brick work very early on when he had intended to make my mom two planter boxes under the downstairs windows. Day in and day out he would return from the supply store with more brick, concrete and sand bags to be brought down the hill and mixed for his next project, whatever that would be. During this time, I was in High School thinking of doing anything BUT hauling 90 lbs. bags of concrete down “The Hill”. Every single day (even if it was only once a week, it still seemed like every day), Von would come home and find me to let me know that there were more bags and bricks to be removed from his trunk, and down the hill. Sometimes I might have a friend over that would help me, but most of the time it seemed to be my task alone to perform. More brick, sand and concrete….down the hill. It seemed like years. Come to think of it…. it was! Of course, I always jumped to the occasion eager to please with a smile on my face, and was always right there for him….NOT! I remember one day as if it were yesterday. Von came home after I was already back from school. He found me down stairs listening to the stereo that was up a bit too loud as he would say. Once again he was back and his trunk needed to be emptied. I said I would get right to it. About a half hour later, he came back downstairs and asked me if I had finished. I shook my head no and told him I would get right on it. About ten minutes later he was back. I had still not even moved a muscle and now was watching TV. I told him I would be there ASAP. He left. Not 30 seconds later he was back and not at all happy with me. Day in and day out, all it seemed I did was emptied his stupid trunk of bricks, concrete and sand. I was steaming as So, I reluctantly moped up the stairs to the car. All I could think was, “Get the bricks and get the bags..Get the bricks and get the bags.”. The keys were on the trunk lid of the car. I slowly opened the trunk….only to find a present. A present just...

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Life Outlook And Relationship Success

by Tim Connor Some people are naturally optimistic and positive, while others are the opposite. When two people in a relationship have opposing life outlooks, it is often difficult for one to convince the other that his way is better, right, or makes more sense then his partner’s. As a result, the positive person will always see the glass as half full and will take that attitude into most life circumstances. The more negative partner will view the glass as half empty and let that influence his attitudes accordingly. Hundreds of years of research just about confirms that optimistic people get sick less and live longer than pessimistic people. Over fifty years ago, Dr. Lionel Tiger wrote a book called Optimism, The Biology of Hope. The book is now out of print, but in it he states that the ability to laugh, smile, and see life more optimistically, positively affects your health thus the quality of your relationships. Since then, numerous physicians and psychologists have confirmed that the mind has a dramatic influence over the body and its physiology. If one of you is positive and the other negative, how did you get that way? According to research, there are two things that influence attitudes and life outcomes: your genes and your environment. No one can agree on which is the most important. However, I personally believe that you can overcome some of your genetic tendencies with new knowledge and a willingness to change your behavior. It isn’t easy, and it takes time, but negative people can become positive if they really want to. If each partner is at opposite ends of the attitude spectrum, their relationship can still survive. I know people who have been married for over fifty years, even though one person was extremely pessimistic and the other was extremely optimistic.  It isn’t easy but if you can learn to not lose your own identity as a result of your partner’s behavior there is always hope. The key is to remember that neither way is right or wrong. However, generally speaking, positive people accomplish more in life than negative people, and they are always happier. Many times when one person is more negative and the other more positive, they tend not to want to spend a great deal of time with their partner. This doesn’t mean they don’t like or love them, they just don’t want to be consistently bombarded with negative or positive messages. When you are positive, It takes a lot of energy to be around someone who is negative, and vice versa. A while back, I read that the average couple spends less than 30 minutes a week in one-on-one personal dialogue. If this is anywhere near accurate, it is a sad commentary on the quality of today’s relationships. Keep in mind that this time refers strictly to intimate dialogue. It does not include time spent having sex, having dinner with the kids, shopping, or working in the yard. It includes only time designated as talk time. You can’t build a positive, nurturing, loving and lasting relationship on 26 hours of shared time a year. It is even hard to build a lasting friendship in that amount of time. Here are some of the common reasons why people don’t spend time in intimate...

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Comfortable?

by James Jones   My uncle says that life is full of challenges. That will never change so be ready, the next challenge is coming and when you accept that fact, the challenge will be easier to overcome. If you are happy with your life, truly happy, then you are successful. Success in my mind is measured by whether or not you feel joy, love, and whole as a person, not by your status or possessions. I think most people are comfortable with their lives. I do not mean that they are or are not happy, sad, or even satisfied with the direction that their life is going. Feelings or emotions have very little to do with what I’m getting at. I’m talking about the same routine you follow week after week. It’s your life and you most likely tend to follow the path of least resistance. Being comfortable is doing the same thing every day without honestly trying or taking risks. Get out of your comfort zone. Most people think “I try”, but what have you done different lately? Trying is not doing what you do because you have to. It’s doing something different because you can! You can be happy with your life and and not be content (but your probably comfortable). Are you content? If your answer is yes then congratulations, you must have realized all your dreams. If your answer is no, I believe you and you probably dream big. Not being content doesn’t mean you’re unhappy it just means you want more out of life, you want to better yourself. If you want more out of life do something uncomfortable, different, out of your normal routine. TRY your best! If you want change in your life, real change, you have to do something uncomfortable. How can you change tomorrow if you don’t change today? You can start small, try waking up early to walk, work out or even just to get things done. Later in the day you might feel less stress. Maybe read a book or just read something, take a risk. Whatever your dream is try doing something uncomfortable to accomplish your goals. If you can control yourself you can control your destiny. If you like what I wrote try something new. If you don’t like what I wrote quit wasting your time reading this and go back to your routine. If you know me then you know I’m never content. That doesn’t mean I’m not happy because I am. It means I’m always hungry, famished actually. Life is a feast and I’m starving. This blog is something different and uncomfortable for me but the little things add up. Everyone needs a kick in the ass now and then, that’s why I wrote this as a reminder to myself not to get comfortable.   © 2007 by James Jones. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the author. James Jones is an assistant sales manager at Lithia Mazda of...

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Don’t Hope Friend… Decide!

(As published in the book “A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul”) by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about. You know, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly? Well, this one occurred a mere two feet away from me! Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First, he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, and movingly loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, diverted his eyes, and replied softly, “Me too, Dad!” Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9 or 10) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands he said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug. His son said nothing. No reply was necessary. While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one and a half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi babygirl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder and remained motionless in total pure contentment. After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, “I love you so much!.” They stared into each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant, they reminded me of newlyweds but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t be. I puzzled about it for a moment, then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?” “Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile and told me, “Two whole days!” Two days?! I was stunned! I was certain by the intensity of the greeting I just witnessed that he’d been gone for at least several weeks, if not months, and I know my expression betrayed me. So I...

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Goal Setting Basics

by Michael Hargrove     Tweet Grandpa Hargrove once told me, “Michael, life is a magnificent play. We can either be the star or just a bit player. But me…I’d rather be the playwright!” And that’s just what goal setting allows us to do. It enables us to create our life instead of letting life be something that just happens to us. Here’s the basic “how to’s” of goal setting: Goals must be clear & concise, be written down and have deadlines. If it’s not clear & concise, written down with an expected date of attainment, then it’s not a goal, it’s just a wish. And wishes are okay if we don’t mind waiting for someone else or something else to grant them. A goal, on the other hand, is dependent solely on us to become reality. We must breathe life into our goals so they can have the strength to prod us along the path of success. Next, our goals must be in harmony with our life’s priorities. If they aren’t, we’ll either experience disenchantment if we attain them, or more likely, we’ll experience a frustrating series of sub-conscious self-sabotage. Here’s how to establish our life’s priorities: First, list out everything in our life that’s important to us. Initially, we need to avoid one word answers like; peace, love, success, happiness, etc. Once we’ve done that, then we can try to reduce them into one word for each priority. Now this may require us to combine some priorities or even eliminate some of them. Also, we should only be concerned with our own definitions of the words we choose. Any other definitions are irrelevant. Lastly, we must put them in their order of importance, again as we define them…… Something else wonderful happens when we become aware of our own life’s priorities…all decision making becomes infinitely easier. To make the right decision, all we have to do is simply choose the paths that are in harmony with those priorities. Obviously, it’s imperative that we give this process the most careful thought we can. Once we’ve identified our life’s priorities, we then must list out the goals we want to achieve in these five categories:   1) Things goals; a new car, a new stereo, a big screen TV, a racing bike, a graphite tennis racquet, a cd player, a leather jacket, etc. 2) Personal goals; things like: lose ten pounds, or learn WordPerfect, or read a book a week, or run three miles every morning, or coach our son’s soccer team, etc. 3) Spiritual goals; things like: go to church, or read the bible, or study the other scriptures of the world, or meditate, or smile in the mirror, or the like. 4) Career goals; things like: deliver three more cars this month, or read a book on selling every month, or ask for the promotion, or develop a 90% demo rate, or set an annual income goal, or build our own training library, etc. 5) Financial goals; things that have to do with our net worth, like: pay off our credit card balances, or buy a house, or buy a second or third house, or start our retirement fund, or set up the vehicle to pay for our kid’s college education, or to have X amount of liquid...

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