24 May  2016      

Hi there!  Welcome to the newest issue of our e-zine--we hope that there's
something here that proves to be important to you, even if that may be on
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 Choose the Path That Makes the Best Story
John Izzo

 How to Experience Life as a Thrilling Adventure
Steve Brunkhorst

Make the Most of Your Opportunities
Jeff Keller

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My view is that to sit back and let fate play its hand out and never influence it is not the way people were meant to operate.

John Glenn

People judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so has a hard-boiled egg.

Good Reading

People often mistake notoriety for fame, and would rather be remarked for their vices and follies than not be noticed at all.

Harry S. Truman

The question we do not see when we are young is whether we own pride or are owned by it.

Josephine Johnson

Choose the Path That Makes the Best Story
John Izzo

How do we keep from living a life with regret?  In the introduction to this book I mentioned a woman named Margaret who told me how she tried to live her life from the perspective of an old woman sitting in a rocking chair on the porch.  She told me that whenever she had a decision to make she asked herself this question:  "When I am an old woman sitting in my rocking chair thinking about my life, what decision will I wish I had made?"  She told me that in almost every case, the path she should take became clear to her.  Deena Metzger, well-known author and spiritual guide, put it this way:  "Choose the path that makes for the best story."

This is an interesting but simple way to live a life with ho regrets.  We continually look ahead and ask ourselves when I am old or when I come to the end of my life will I regret the step I am about to make?  Will the way I am living now lead to the path of regret or no regrets?

Earlier in my life, as a young adult, I had many opportunities to do interesting things.  As I listened to the stories of people's lives, I realized that some of my most significant regrets have to do with the opportunities I turned away, often because of fear.  One of these moments occurred while I was in seminary studying for the ministry.  On two occasions I was offered a summer chaplaincy internship in two of America's great national parks, Grand Teton and Shenandoah.  Nature had always held a special place in my heart, but I grew up in a large city and I had never had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time in the outdoors.

The idea of working in a park was deeply appealing, and part of me knew the experience would be invaluable.  However, I was involved in a relationship at the time and worried about being separated from this person for a few months, so I turned down the opportunity both times.  To this day, I believe that if I had projected my self ahead to the old man on the porch, I might have heard myself say:  "If the relationship is strong, it will survive the absence, but you love nature and may never be offered this chance again."  The relationship did not last, and the opportunity never came again.

There is a more recent example from my life.  This past year a good friend of mine offered me the opportunity to spend a month in East Africa with 15 other mid-life men, meeting with tribal elders and camping in the wilderness.  This was a dream come true, but it was my busiest time of the year, and I would have to turn down a significant amount of work to take this trip.  This time, I paid a visit to that old man on the porch.  He told me:  "When you are my age, you won't miss the money you lost this month, but you will carry Africa in your heart."  I took the trip, explored several fascinating cultures, saw amazing wilderness that I had never seen before, and missed the presence of my family, which reminded me of how much they mean to me.  While in Tanzania, I sat with tribal elders and germinated the idea for this project.  My worry about the interference of a "busy" schedule almost got in the way of one of the most important experiences of my life.

The most important thing the conversations that led me to this book taught me about this second secret is to make sure we try for the things we want in our lives, because we are unlikely to regret trying and failing.  The second most important lesson is that if there is a relationship that must be healed, heal it now.  When I ask people about regrets in their lives, most of them spoke about people in their lives, about issues not resolved, words not spoken, broken relationships never healed.


In a society where old age is often
seen as weakness, The Five Secrets
is a refreshing reminder that our elders
have much to teach. Izzo writes, "Whenever
I am going to take a trip, I choose hotels
by using a website that taps into the
 experiences of hundreds of other
travelers.  It occurred to me that one
could apply this same method to discovering
the secrets to living well and dying happy."
How many pitfalls and heartaches could
be avoided if we consulted with travelers
who have taken the road before?


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How to Experience Life as a Thrilling Adventure
Steve Brunkhorst

Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side
of a mountain.  Adventure is an attitude that we
must apply to the day to day obstacles of life--
facing new challenges, seizing new options, testing
our resources against the unknown, and in the
process, discovering our own unique potential.

John Amatt

There is an old story about a mountain climber who had trained many years to reach the highest peak in the western hemisphere, the Aconcagua located in the Andes Mountains of western Argentina.

He wanted all the glory for himself, so he began climbing by himself. Eager to reach the top, he did not prepare for camping.  Even though it was growing very late, he decided to keep climbing.

Soon the night grew cold, and heavy darkness fell around him at a very high altitude.  There was no moon, and clouds covered the stars.  The blackness around him was thick, and he lost all visibility.

As he was climbing a ridge only 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell!  Falling rapidly, he only saw blotches of darkness passing by him.  He fell further and further into the darkness below.

Memories of his life raced through his mind in those moments of anguish. He thought that he would certainly die.  Suddenly, he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half!

He had taken the precaution to stake himself with a long rope tied to his waist.  In those still moments suspended in the air, he shouted out, "Help me God!  Help me!"

All of a sudden, he heard a deep voice from heaven.  It asked, "What do you want me to do?"

"Save Me!"

"Do you really think that I can save you?"

"Of course you can save me.  You are God!"

"Then I want you to cut the rope that is holding you up."

There was another moment of silence and stillness.  The man just held tighter to the rope.  The next day, the rescue team said that they found a frozen mountain climber clinging tightly to a rope and hanging. . . two feet off the ground.

Seek Out New Experiences

The word adventure can evoke thoughts of excitement, discovery, and challenge.  Those who value adventure love to seek new experiences.  They celebrate life by welcoming its terrain, both rugged and smooth.  They take responsibility for their journey with all of its highs and lows.

They thrive on unexpected slips and slides, valleys and mountains.  They fall sometimes, and their faith allows them to learn from the experience. They climb back up, and create new trails.

Recognize Your Tremendous Potential

As John Amatt suggested, adventure is a way we can choose to view life. It can also transform the way we experience life.  It is one way to learn the lessons we came here to learn.

Adventure is not simply traveling and sightseeing.  It is "seeing" from a transformed perspective.  There we can discover our purpose, and accept ourselves as worthwhile people who have both needs and tremendous potential.

Allow Experiences to be Transformative

A person peers through the misty rainbow decorating a thundering waterfall hundreds of feet above an endless glacier valley.  Her heart begins to race.  Her experience has touched her beyond the physical senses.  All of life's peaks and valleys can be transformative if we allow them to touch us deeply.

Sometimes we will feel as though we are "hanging on a rope," unable to see our way--unable to move.  Then we must remember to act with faith. Life will always be a series of peaks and valleys.  We can discover strength in climbing, and resiliency if we must "cut the rope" and begin again.  Life on earth is an adventure with one chance to live it.  That chance exists in this very moment.  Seize it completely!

* * * * * *

© Steve Brunkhorst.
  Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Contact Steve by visiting http://AchieveEzine.com



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My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So it was when my life began;
So it is now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is the father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth



Make the Most of Your Opportunities
Jeff Keller

Like many other youngsters, I played Little League baseball.  I was a pretty good fielder, but when it came to hitting, I was -- to put it bluntly -- pathetic.  That's because I was afraid of getting hit by the ball.  So, when the pitcher reared back to throw, I'd tend to back away from the plate.

One day in my little league "career" stands out in my memory.  It was my turn to bat, and I stepped up to the plate to face one of the best pitchers in the league.  This kid threw hard.  Well, he fired a fastball and I swung.  CRACK!  By some miracle, I hit the ball and sent a long line drive between the center fielder and right fielder.

Let me tell you, I was stunned, never having heard that sound come from MY bat before.  So, I began to race around the bases frantically, chugging as fast as I could.  The ball rolled so far that there was no way the outfielder could retrieve it in time.  I could have crawled around the bases and made it home safely.

Well, after I crossed home plate my teammates jumped all over me.  They, too, were amazed by my slugging prowess.  I was elated . . . until, out of the corner of me eye, I saw the catcher from the opposing team walking toward our dugout.  He had the ball in his hand . . . and he tagged me.

The home plate umpire yelled, "You're out! You missed home plate."  Talk about the agony of defeat -- not to mention the embarrassment!  My home run was snatched away from me.  Then, adding insult to injury, the first base umpire said, "He missed first base also."  Oh, well--at least I touched two of the four bases.

How did it happen?  Why did I have so much trouble running the bases and completing the home run?  My problem was, I didn't expect to hit the ball.  So when I did, I wasn't prepared.

You see, when your expectations are low, it's hard to take advantage of "the breaks" that come your way.  With that in mind, here are two specific suggestions to help you make the most of your opportunities.

Adjust Your Attitude

When I stepped up to the plate in those Little League games, I had a lousy attitude. I kept telling myself, "I'm not a good hitter," and "I'll never hit the ball very far."  This became a self-fulfilling prophecy and, as a result, I rarely hit the ball.  When I did hit the ball into the outfield that day, I was stunned and ran around the bases like a chicken without a head.  Remember, low expectations lead to disappointing results.

Are there any areas of your life where you're giving yourself negative messages right now?  If so, it's important to change your attitude immediately.  Otherwise, your performance will remain at a low level.

Be Prepared

A positive attitude, by itself, won't guarantee that you make the most of your opportunities.  The next crucial step is preparation.

Because I didn't expect to hit the ball, I didn't study the technique for running the bases. (There is a proper technique, you know!)  Had I practiced navigating the diamond, I would have been more successful when I actually hit the ball.

The same is true in your career.  Let's say John is a successful salesperson and has a chance to be promoted to district manager.  What kinds of skills might be important for him to develop?  First, he'll probably be required to do some public speaking at monthly meetings or sales conventions.  If John isn't already an accomplished speaker, he'd do well to join a group like Toastmasters to improve his speaking skills.

John may also need help in motivating and managing a staff with diverse personalities.  He can read books, attend seminars and obtain guidance from other successful managers to develop this skill.  Regardless of his approach, however, if John fails to prepare, he probably won't make the most of his promotion when it comes; and he may not even land the promotion at all.

By the way, when should John start to prepare?  As early as possible! The sad truth is, most people start to prepare when it's too late.  If John aspires to be a district manager, he should start preparing well before he gets the promotion.  That way, he'll demonstrate that he deserves to move up the ladder and, when he gets the new job, he'll be ready to show his stuff!

It all comes down to this: when you combine a great attitude with thorough preparation, you're sure to hit many home runs!


Jeff Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc.  For more than 15 years, Jeff has 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 http://www.attitudeiseverything.com



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I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience
will take me to a new level.  I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.

Diana Nyad

Ehrlich smiled.  “Precisely.  Most people sit around, doing the same things over and over, waiting for some sort of catalyst to come along and turn them into fulfillment of their potential.  They don’t understand that the catalyst rarely just comes to them—they must go out in search of it, and they must actively try to find it.

“And many people, as soon as they find that catalyst, they try very hard to put out the flame, because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen when the flame engulfs them completely.  They have the opportunity to reach fulfillment of their potential, yet they shy away from allowing that potential to break free.  They want complete control over the fulfillment of their potential, not realizing that it’s only in the letting go of the control that they can ever find the fulfillment.

“Still others, sadly, spend their entire lives running from the flame, never letting it touch them, for their fear is so strong that they cannot live fully.  They spend their lives in darkness, fearing the illumination of the flame that would allow them to see through the darkness that they choose for themselves."

tom walsh
A Lesson on Potential



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