Ten Rules For Being Human

by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott   1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period. 2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.” 3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.” 4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson. 5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned. 6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.” 7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself. 8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. 9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust. 10. You will forget all...

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Parents: “Be Where You Are!”

by Michael D. Hargrove – Soccer Dad     Tweet   When you really struggle to find 60 coaches for around 700 kids, you get to hear the words “I’m sorry but I’m just too busy” a whole lot! You want to say, “I’m busy too pal! I’ve got kids, a spouse, a business, a workout regimen, I speak all over the country, I coach baseball, soccer, indoor soccer, take the kids to gymnastics and swimming lessons, volunteer at the kids school, and I’ve volunteered to help put the club’s teams together. Okay, tell me again what it is you do?!” But of course, you can’t. You just smile and politely say how you understand how tough it is to raise a family these days…and how tough it must be to have a job like that…and how tough it must be to be them…and you go on to the next call. One point I’m fond of making in my workshops is to: “Be where you are…remember where you are and why you’re there!” The truth is, we’ve all been too busy at one time or another for the people and times we know in our hearts are the most important. Actually, I’ve been just as guilty as the next guy. We all must realize that the time to be involved with our kids is NOW, because it won’t be long before our little ones are asking us for the car keys and calling us assholes under their breath. Now, I know that no matter how talented a speaker I fancy myself to be, I can’t get through to everyone. Still, I find myself frustrated at the loss of adequate words to help others (even some of my dearest friends) come to see that these are our moments most precious. Oh, everyone says that they understand alright, but actions are the true test of understanding. So in the hope of getting more of us to act, I want to share with you someone else’s words (Michael Foster’s). I share this story to encourage us all to make the time now to notice, to listen, to encourage, to cheer, to hold, to love, and to be involved with our quickly maturing little ones.   Will You, Daddy? It’s strange, the things you remember. When life has crumbled suddenly, and left you standing there alone. It’s not the big important things that you remember when you come to that, not the plans of years, not the love or the hopes you’ve worked so hard for. It’s the little things that you remember then, the little things you hadn’t noticed at the time. The way a hand touched yours, and you too busy to notice, the hopeful little inflection of a voice you didn’t really bother to listen to. John Carmody found that out, staring through the living- room window at the cheerful Tuesday afternoon life of the street. He kept trying to think about the big important things, lost now-the years and the plans, the hopes and the love, But he couldn’t quite get them focused sharply in his mind just now-not this afternoon. Those important things were like a huge nebulous background in his mind. All he could remember now was a queer little thing: nothing, really, if you stopped and thought...

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Lessons We Learn From Geese

Lessons from the Geese, was written in 1972 by Dr. Robert McNeish of Baltimore.   Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a chevron or “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.   Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.   Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.   Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson: We need to make sure honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.   Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock. Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are...

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When My Son Looks Over His Shoulder

by Michael D. Hargrove     Tweet My oldest son, Zachary, seemed to be getting worse. He is a great kid, quite big compared to other seven year olds, with an equally big heart and a wonderful laugh. Lately, though, Zach seemed to be sad, withdrawn, and grumpy. He whined a lot more too. Every day he seemed to become more and more negative, even occasionally being mean to his younger brother, Jeffrey, which, unlike other kids his age, was completely out of character for Zach. My numerous inquiries into how he was feeling and what was wrong were always met with the same sad; “I’m okay, Dad.” Finally, his despondent attitude became much worse and more the norm rather than the exception. I realized something had to be done. “You teach this state management stuff to perfect strangers,” I thought to myself “but you can’t even help your own child? C’mon Michael, walk your talk!” So, I asked Zach to join me alone in our living room to have a “heart to heart chat.” Now announcing; “Let’s have a heart to heart chat” to any child, let alone one who presently is prone to the fatalistic, is not the best of ways to embark on any meaningful exchange. Zach’s sullen expression, pathetic groan, and lethargic lope into the living room was my first clue to that fact. Still, determined to resolve this problem, I plodded on with all the finesse of a tornado. “What’s the matter with you, Son? You’re always in such a bad mood lately. What’s wrong?” Zach’s response was somewhat predictable; “I’m okay, Dad.” I pressed on, “You just haven’t been yourself, Zach. Is there something wrong at school or maybe with one of your classmates or could it be the baseball team?” “Everything’s fine, Dad,” he said quietly, “Can I go now?” Becoming frustrated, I said in a harsh manner, “Look, something’s making you sad, what is it?!” He looked at me with what was probably the saddest eyes I ever recall seeing and said, barely audible, “I just had a bad day is all.” Now maybe it was the feeling of frustration or ineptitude or the simple pig-headedness of wanting to “fix it no matter what” but whatever it was that was that was in my way, I simply didn’t see how disheartened and vulnerable my lovely little boy was at that moment. So I said to him, with the dismay and insensitivity only a father can master, “I don’t understand how a kid can have so many bad days in a row? I mean, you’re just a kid!”  Probably the wrong thing to say. Certainly the wrong way to say it. With a curious mix of disgust and tears in his eyes, Zach’s reply hit me with a force that literally made me wince, “Of course you don’t understand, Dad, I don’t expect you  to understand how anyone  can have a bad day!” This time I heard my son. I heard the hurt in his voice. I heard his aloneness. I saw the tears welling up in his eyes. And I knew he was right, at that precise moment, I didn’t  understand him! I recognized this as a magic moment for me and my child. So, in a quieter, much more compassionate voice I...

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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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