If there were nothing
wrong in the world
there wouldn't be anything for us to
George Bernard Shaw
Appreciation is like an insurance
It has to be renewed every now and then.
When I begin to sit with the dawn in solitude, I begin to
really live. It makes me treasure every single moment
were so strong in their beliefs that there came
a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those
beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness.
Others Be "Right" Most of the Tme
the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is,
"Do I want to be "right"--or do I want to
be happy?" Many times, the two are mutually
right, defending our positions, takes an enormous amount
of mental energy and often alienates us from the people in
our lives. Needing to be right--or needing someone
else to be wrong--encourages others to become defensive,
and puts pressure on us to keep defending. Yet, many
of us (me, too, at times) spend a great deal of time and
energy attempting to prove (or point out) that we are
right--and/or others are wrong. Many people,
consciously or unconsciously, believe that it's somehow
their job to show others how their positions, statements,
and points of view are incorrect, and that in doing so,
the person they are correcting is going to somehow
appreciate it, or at least learn something. Wrong!
about it. Have you ever been corrected by
someone and said to the person who was trying to be right,
"Thank you so much for showing me that I'm wrong and
you're right. Now I see it. Boy, you're
great!" Or, has anyone you know ever thanked
you (or even agreed with you) when you corrected them, or
made yourself "right" at their expense? Of
course not. The truth is, all of us hate to be
corrected. We all want our positions to be respected
and understood by others.
Being listened to and
heard is one of the greatest desires of the human
heart. And those who learn to listen are the most
loved and respected. Those who are in the habit of
correcting others are often resented and avoided.
It's not that it's
never appropriate to be right--sometimes you genuinely need to be
or want to be. Perhaps there are certain philosophical
positions that you don't want to budge on such as when you hear a
racist comment. Here, it's important to speak your
mind. Usually, however, it's just your ego creeping in and
ruining an otherwise peaceful encounter--a habit of wanting or
needing to be right.
heartfelt strategy for becoming more peaceful and loving is to
practice allowing others the joy of being right--give them the
glory. Stop correcting. As hard as it may be to change
this habit, it's worth any effort and practice it takes.
When someone says, "I really feel it's important to. . .
" rather than jumping in and saying, "No, it's more
important to. . . " or any of the hundreds of other forms of
conversational editing, simply let it go and allow their statement
to stand. The people in your life will become less defensive
and more loving. They will appreciate you more than you
could ever have dreamed possible, even if they don't exactly know
why. You'll discover the joy of participating in and
witnessing other people's happiness, which is far more rewarding
than a battle of egos. You don't have to sacrifice your
deepest philosophical truths or most heartfelt opinions, but,
starting today, let others be "right," most of the time!
a stress case in your life? Of
you do: "Without question,
many of us
have mastered the
neurotic art of spending
of our lives worrying about a
of things all at once."
Carlson's cheerful book
make us stop and smell--if not roses--whatever is
sitting in front
noses. Don't Sweat the
Small Stuff... offers
designed to make you
being alive, keep your
(especially anger and
in proper perspective,
other people as the unique
miracles they are. It's an owner's
of the heart, and if you
directions, you will be a
more harmonious person.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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to Handle Criticism
no denying it: criticism can (and often does)
hurt. But no matter what you do in life, you expose
yourself to the possibility of being judged
unfavorably. Even if you try to remain in the
background, avoiding all confrontation, you still must make
decisions--minor ones, maybe, like where you eat and what
you wear. And, rest assured, not everyone will agree
with your choices.
since you are going to receive criticism no matter what,
let's take a closer look at how you can best handle (and
even benefit from) it!
next time you are criticized, consider the following points:
Criticism is often nothing more than a reflection of
Again, regardless of what you do, somebody won't like
it. For instance, to get feedback from the audience at
my seminars, I often hand out speaker evaluations.
Without fail, two or three people will say that they wish
there had been more time for audience participation during
my presentation; at the very same program, two or three
others will say that they wish there had been less time
spent on group involvement. Accept that people have
diverse backgrounds, preferences, and interests. You
won't please everyone, so don't even try.
Don't take it personally.
Sure, this is easier said than done. However, the
critic generally isn't trying to prove that you have no
value as a person. Rather, they're revealing
their dislike of your idea or your performance. Let
them have their opinions. In the end, you decide
whether or not to let another person's remarks bother you.
Strive to learn from their words.
Find some truth in their statements--even if only a
shred. Usually, there is some accuracy in critical
comments. The critic may not be tactful, and the remarks may
be greatly exaggerated, but there is often helpful
information which you can glean. It's your job to seek
out this kernel of truth and benefit from it! For
example, let's say your spouse accuses you of
"never" being on time. While this statement
is not entirely accurate, you should still consider in what
ways, if any, you might improve your punctuality.
Don't critique the critic.
It's an equally bad idea to adopt a "consider the
source" attitude. Even if someone is generally
untrustworthy or, for whatever reason, you don't get along
with him or her, it doesn't mean that their comments will
always be completely without merit.
Don't be defensive.
Resist the temptation to argue with the critic. While
it's only natural to try to prove that you are
"right" and that the other person is
"wrong," this generally gets you nowhere.
(Of course, there will be some instances where it's
important to establish that you won't tolerate abusive
remarks and that you deserve to be treated with
respect. Use your best judgment.)
Accept that many people focus only on negatives.
The critic rarely gives a full, accurate assessment.
He or she tends to report only the negatives, even if there
are plenty of positives to mention as well. Recognize
that some people simply think it's unnecessary to tell you
what you've done right. Instead, they focus
only on "helping" you--which, to them, means
Realize that vicious, harsh comments come from people who
are unhappy with themselves.
Here again, there might be a shred of truth or something you
can learn from the criticism. But I've found that
mean, angry, insulting remarks spring from unhappy, insecure
people. They have to vent their anger and frustration
on someone and you've been chosen as today's target!
Don't let these people bring you down. NOTE: If
you repeatedly receive harsh words from others, it's
not a coincidence. You are attracting criticism based
on your beliefs and your level of self-esteem. Take
responsibility and look inward at what you can change to
achieve more harmonious relationships with those around you.
not everyone will like you, your goals, or your
actions. But don't let the fear of criticism stop you
from doing what you want. Accept criticism as a part
of life, and learn from it where possible. And, most
importantly, stay true to your own values and
convictions. If others don't approve, so what?
* * * * *
Jeff Keller is the
President of Attitude is Everything, Inc. For more than 20 years,
Jeff delivered presentations on attitude and motivation to
businesses, groups and trade associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is also the
author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is Everything. For
more information, go to attitudeiseverything.com.
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
picture that appears
in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
photo's from a spring
day in Kootenay National Park)
x 800 - 1440
years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things you
do than by the ones you did do. So
throw off the
away from the
Catch the trade wind in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
So much of life seems
unacceptable. So many things that happen to us are so
unpleasant that the last thing that we want to do is to accept
them for what they are--a part of our lives, whether we like them
or not. But what is the alternative to acceptance?
Fighting their very existence, which is a task that is hopeless
and useless--these things and situations already do exist, don't
they? Fighting them or denying them simply leads to high
levels of frustration, and doesn't help us a bit in our lives.
One of the most important things to remember about acceptance is
this: accepting something is not the same as approving of
it. If I lost my job and face bankruptcy, I'm doing no one
any good by denying that there's a problem. If a person in
my life is abusive, I'm not helping anything by denying the
abuse. If I want to do anything to work towards a resolution
of any situation, I first have to acknowledge that a problem
exists and accept it completely, for then I'll be able to do
something about it. And only then.
I'm constantly finding areas in my life in which I've lived in a
state of denial. I've preferred to think that certain things
that were happening were simply temporary, or would work
themselves out and no longer be a part of my life soon--and I
convinced myself that I therefore didn't need to do anything about
them. Money problems? They'll work themselves out in a
couple of months, so I don't need to accept them for what they
are. Problems at work? Well, they have to do with
other people more than me, and since there's nothing I can really
do about them, I don't need to accept them.
people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's
all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish
what can and cannot be helped; acceptance makes the
distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action;
acceptance frees it
by relieving it of impossible burdens.
One of the main
dangers of not accepting situations is that we will
never be able to improve things if we don't accept
the facts that the situation exists and that
something needs to be done. If I don't accept
the fact that I weigh more than is healthy, I'll
never be able to work towards reaching a healthy
weight. If I don't accept the fact that this
person is lying to me, then I'll never be able to
take steps to make sure that it doesn't continue to
An important strategy for developing an accepting
attitude towards the world is questioning our own
perception. There are always clues to tell us
when things aren't going extremely well in a certain
area, and it's important that we pay attention to
those clues. If this is the fourth time that
what this person has told me has turned out not to
be true, perhaps it's time for me to accept the fact
that this person lies to me consistently.
This is especially important of our perceptions of
things that are unpleasant to us. It's easy to
accept things that we like. It's difficult to
accept things that we don't like. We must ask
ourselves questions about how we see the
problems: Is this really going to go away by
itself soon? Is this really not as bad as it
seems, or is it as bad as it seems? Or
worse? Could the problem in this situation be
me, or my behaviors, rather than others?
Think of the words, "this is what it
is." Have you lost your job? The
situation is what it is, and we cannot change the
past--so we have to accept the fact that we are now
job seekers. And it's important that we not
attach negative words to the statement--no
"This is terrible" or "There's no way
I can get past this." Those types of
words only hinder our attempts to accept
something. Has a loved one left you (or have
you left someone)? The situation is what it
is, and while it may change in the future, right
here and right now, we must accept it. Telling
ourselves "this is what it is" without
adding judgmental words to the statement can help us
to accept it for what it is and move forward.
is a letting-go process. You let go of your
and demands that life can be different. It's a
I like the idea
of acceptance being about letting go. We all
bring our own expectations and even demands to
life--things must be this way, or things should
be as I believe they should be. When they
don't end up that way, we experience disappointment,
frustration, and even anger. If I do something
for a friend and I know that person should
thank me, I become indignant when he doesn't do
so. I experience frustration and possibly
anger, and I consider him to be inconsiderate and
rude. But when I look at the situation and
think, "Well, that's just the way he is,"
then I'm not going to experience the same amount of
anger or frustration. I'm going to go on with
my life in peace because I've let go of my need to
hear certain words.
Practice on strangers. Smile and say hello as
you walk by. They should smile and return the
greeting, shouldn't they? That may be our
expectation, and if they don't do so, we feel
disappointed and even judgmental--we figure this
must be a very rude person if s/he doesn't even say
hi. But if we're practicing acceptance, then
we think simply this: That person didn't
return the greeting. Period. And it's no
big deal. That person may be thinking about a
business deal or a fight with a spouse or a paper
that's due this afternoon. They may have a
pain in their abdomen and they're very worried about
it, or they may simply be extremely shy and unable
to make eye contact or exchange greetings. If
we choose to judge concerning reasons or motives,
then we're probably going to be wrong. If we
simply accept what happened for exactly what it is,
we save ourselves a lot of stress and aggravation.
And if you say hi to ten people and six return your
greeting, how much more productive and positive is
it to focus on the six that did say hi than
the four who didn't? And won't you feel better
not attributing motives or personality flaws to the
people who didn't? Won't you feel better if
you simply accept without judging?
Acceptance is observation of life and
suspension of judgment
about whether what
is happening is good or bad, right or wrong.
Life and other
people do throw us curves very often. Some of
those curves are very negative, but just because
they're more negative doesn't mean that we should
not accept them--they are what they are, and judging
them and getting frustrated because they aren't what
we want simply makes us more unhappy; it doesn't do
a thing to change things. We may not
necessarily like the situation, and that could be a
signal for us to change it., but we do need to
accept it. After all, we can't change anything
that we don't accept.
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning
sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love ennobles all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.
love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working. A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thous renderest.
Thoughts to Help You Avoid Discouragement
Look at life as a journey and enjoy the ride. Get the
most out of the detours and realize they're sometimes
Do your best, but if what you're doing has caused you
discouragement, try a different approach. Be
passionate about the process, but don't be so attached to
Wish the best for everyone, with no personal strings
attached. Applaud someone else's win as much as you
would your own.
Trust that there's a divine plan, that we don't always know
what's best for us. A disappointment now could mean a
victory later, so don't be disappointed. There is
usually a reason.
Ask no more of yourself than the best that you can do, and
be satisfied with that. Be compassionate towards
yourself as well as others. Know your calling, your
gift, and do it well.
Don't worry about something after it's done; it's out of
your hands then, too late, over! Learn the lesson and
Have the attitude that no one, except you, owes you
anything. Give without expecting a thank-you in
return. But when someone does something for you, be
appreciative of even the smallest gesture.
Choose your thoughts or your thoughts will choose you; they
will free you or keep you bound. Educate your spirit
and give it authority over your feelings.
Judge no one, and disappointment and forgiveness won't be an
issue. No one can let you down if you're not leaning
on them. People can't hurt you unless you allow them
Love anyway. . . for no reason. . . and give. . . just
is "The Abundant Life?"
may mistakenly believe that it is about wealth or
prosperity. Others may believe it involves
health and well being. However, the abundant
life is not about wealth, health, or prosperity.
It is not about bliss or freedom from suffering.
It is not even about life beyond death. Nor can
we measure it by the quality, quantity, or length of a
life. The abundant life is not a measure of life
at all, but a way of living. It is not about
having, but about giving.
The abundant life is about abundant love and abundant
giving; it involves trust, courage, and sacrifice.
It shows in our willingness to give of ourselves
freely and fully to others without expectations or
qualifications, letting our lives and our love
overflow to fill the voids and wants of a broken and
hurting world. The abundant life reflects God's
gifts of love and life, as they become fully present
in our lives. Resting upon the hope and promises
that in spite of death and suffering, life will
prevail; that in spite of hatred and violence, love
and peace will triumph, we live in the face of death
and we love in spite of hatred. Living in the
faith and assurance that God, who is the very source
of our life and being, loves us, we are made free to
live for others and to love others. The abundant
life is the reflection of the abundance of God's love
on earth, manifested in and through our lives.
of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a
mode of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change
its form without being
disappointed by the change; happiness, like a
child, must be allowed to grow up.
a year of one-sentence reminders
of ways that we can
make the most of our lives each day that we live.
New expanded edition!
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
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and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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