11 July 2017
finest test of character is seen in the
of gratitude we have.
Milo H. Gates
Happiness sneaks in through a
you didn't know you left open.
Integrity without knowledge is weak and
and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and
To love others you must love yourself. You can only
give to others what you have yourself. This is
especially true of love. You cannot give what you
have not learned and experienced. Since love is not
a thing, it is not lost when given. You can offer
your love completely to hundreds of people and still
retain the same love you had originally. It is like
knowledge. Wise people can teach all they know and
when they're through they'll still know all that they have
taught. But first they must have the
knowledge. It would better be said that people
"share" love, as they "share"
knowledge but they can only share what they possess.
Loving oneself does not imply an ego-centered reality like
the old witch in Snow White who reveled in the
process of gazing into her mirror and asking,
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one
of all." Loving oneself does mean a genuine
interest, caring, concern and respect for oneself.
To care about oneself is basic to love. People love
themselves when they see themselves with accuracy,
genuinely appreciate what they see, but are especially
excited and challenged with the prospect of what they can
Each person is unique. Nature abhors sameness.
Each flower in the field is different, each blade of
grass. Have you ever seen two roses alike, even
among the same variety? No two faces are exactly
alike, even in identical twins. Our fingerprints are
so singularly ours that we can be positively identified by
people are strange creatures. Diversity frightens
us. Instead of accepting the challenge, the joy, the
wonder of variation, we are usually frightened of
it. We either move away from or endeavor to twist
uniqueness into sameness. Only then do we feel
Each child born is an unmarked creation, a new combination
of wonder. In general, our human anatomy is similar
to others, but on a subtle level even how our anatomy
functions will vary with each individual. Our
personality development seems to have common elements
which affect it; heredity, environment, chance. But
there is surely an additional element, not yet
scientifically identifiable, which can be called the
"X" factor of personality, that special
combination of forces which act upon the individual so
that we will react, respond, perceive as ourselves,
alone. The child is exceptional but most learning
which he or she will receive from birth will not afford
him or her the freedom to discover and develop this
uniqueness. . . .
To love oneself is to struggle to rediscover and maintain
your uniqueness. It is understanding and
appreciating the idea that you will be the only you to
ever live upon this earth, that when you die so will all
of your fantastic possibilities. It is the
realization that even you are not totally aware of the
wonders which lie dormant within yourself. Herbert
Otto says only about 5 percent of our human potential is
realized in our lifetime. Margaret Mead has
hypothesized that 4 percent is discovered. What of
the other 95 percent?
Loving yourself involves the discovery of the true wonder
of you; not only the present you, but the many
possibilities of you. It involves the continual
realization that you are unique, like no other person in
the world, that life is, or should be, the discovery, the
development and the sharing of this uniqueness. The
process is not always easy, for one is bound to find those
who will feel threatened by a changing, growing you.
But it will always be exciting, always be fresh and like
all things new and changing, never be dull. The trip
into oneself is the grandest, most enjoyable and longest
lasting. The fare is cheap; it merely involves
continual experiencing, evaluating, educating, trying out
of new behavior. Only you can be the final judge in
determining what is right for you. . . .
Loving yourself also involves the knowledge that only you
can be you. If you try to be like anyone else, you
may come very close, but you will always be second
best. But, you are the best you. It is the
easiest, most practical, most rewarding thing to be.
Then it makes sense that you can only be to others what
you are to yourself.
If you know, accept, and appreciate yourself and your
uniqueness, you will permit others to do so. If you
value and appreciate the discovery of yourself, you will
encourage others to engage in self-discovery. If you
recognize your need to be free to discover who you are,
you will allow others their freedom to do so, also.
When you realize you are the best you, you will accept the
fact that others are the best they. But it follows
that it all starts with you. To the extent to which
you know yourself, and we are all more alike than
different, you can know others. When you love
yourself, you will love others. And to the depth and
extent to which you can love yourself, only to that depth
and extent will you be able to love others.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Thinking Never Helps
never had someone come up to me and say, "I'm always
negative and it's working out great for me. I can't wait to
get up in the morning!" And yet, positive thinking
still has its skeptics.
Some people tell me that positive thinking doesn't work or
that it's "unrealistic," especially in today's
"Look around you," they say. "How can you be
so positive?" Well, let me ask you this:
can the world be lifted out of negativity by adding MORE
The truth is, there are certain things that negative
thinking will do for you. It will make you sick.
It will make you very unpleasant to be around. And, it
will significantly limit what you can achieve.
Let's take a closer look at why negative thinking doesn't
serve us. For starters, we all operate under the Law
of Dominant Thought. Simply stated, we're always
moving in the direction of our dominant thoughts.
Most of us have heard about the "self-fulfilling
prophecy"--that we get what we expect in life.
Expect negative results and, sure enough, you'll produce
As I'm sure you've found, negative thinking also causes you
to feel more stress and to have less energy.
Scientific studies have demonstrated that negativity weakens
your immune system. How many times have you gotten
sick during a stressful period in your life?
If you're still not convinced about the effects of being
negative, take out a sheet of paper and write down your list
of all the benefits you're getting from negative
thinking. I think your list is going to be very short,
if you come up with anything at all.
Let me make an important distinction here. It's quite
natural for a person to feel sad in response to a tragedy or
the death of a loved one. There's a period of loss and
grieving that differs for each individual, and we don't
expect a grief stricken person to be positive in the short
However, even a person in that situation will not be served
by holding onto their negative thoughts indefinitely.
(By the way, if you've suffered some trauma or have had a
difficult time releasing negative thinking, by all means get
counseling. That's not a sign of weakness. It's
constructive step to help you move forward in your life.)
What Comes Naturally
From everything I've observed, babies are naturally
positive. They're usually smiling and seem to be
enjoying life. I haven't met any negative, frowning
babies. That's why I don't buy the argument that
negative thinking is just natural.
Those who think negatively do so out of habit. They
have conditioned themselves to think that way. In Western
societies in particular, we've developed the tendency to
focus on minor irritations, even though these annoyances are
only a tiny part of our overall lives. We tend to
focus on the 5% of our lives that are going
"wrong"... instead of the 95% going well.
We'll sigh and tell everyone about the traffic jam or flat
tire on the way to work. Yet, we'll never comment
about the miracle of our existence--the billions of cells in
our body that somehow allow our brain to function, our heart
to pump blood or our eyes to see.
We don't appreciate that we have enough food to eat or that
we have a roof over our heads, while there are millions of
people who don't have these gifts. It's no wonder that
so many people think negatively.
The newspaper is filled with negative news. Television
and radio reports dwell on tragedies and crimes. How
often do you read or hear about people helping each other or
doing something positive? Hardly ever. If you do
nothing to counteract this bombardment of negativity, you're
going to think negatively.
At any time, however, you could take control of this
situation. You could stop watching and listening to
all of the negative news and read something positive
instead. You could limit your contact with
"toxic" people and make sure your life is filled
with positive inputs.
If you did that, your "natural" inclination would
switch and you'd begin to think positively.
I'll show you that you have much more control over your
thinking than you might believe. Try this
experiment. Right now, think about your favorite
movie. You might even get a picture in your mind of
your favorite scene in that movie.
Now, let's think about your favorite meal. What is
it? A fresh salad ... a juicy steak ... grilled
salmon? Whatever it is, just think about it. Now
that your mouth is watering, let's move on. Think
about being out in a snowstorm, with two feet of snow on the
ground. Can you see the snow and feel the cold on your
In each case, you were able to control what you thought
about. You could shift your thinking in an
instant. It has been said that positive thinking is
harmful because optimistic people ignore things that can go
wrong or are easily duped and taken advantage of.
In other words, if you expect the sun to be shining all the
time, you're just naive and are sure to be
disappointed. But positive thinking doesn't mean that
you ignore reality or refuse to consider the obstacles that
might arise. On the contrary, the positive person
expects a positive outcome but
prepares for overcoming obstacles.
For example, if a positive person is planning an outdoor
wedding, he or she won't use the power of positive thinking
to make sure it doesn't rain on the big day. Rather, a
positive person is prepared with contingency plans, focusing
on things that she can directly control, such as having a
tent available in case it does rain.
By this point, I hope that you're receptive to the idea that
negative thinking won't help us. So, the question is:
how can we change our thinking to become more
positive? The answer, simply stated, is that you must
change what goes into your mind every day.
Start by eliminating as many of the negative inputs as
possible. While you can listen to the news for a few minutes
to catch the important headlines, there is no need to hear
reports of the same murders and bombings over and over each
day. At the same time, replace the negative inputs with
Read positive materials on a daily basis. Listen to positive
audio tapes or CDs, or to music that inspires or relaxes
Here's another technique: monitor your everyday
language. When you find yourself beginning to complain
or talk negatively, switch immediately to something
positive. Say something like, "I really have so much to
be grateful for" and start listing some of those
Condition yourself to focus on constructive solutions to
challenges, rather than harping on problems or fretting
about things outside of your control. Make a commitment for
the next 30 days. Think about what you want instead of what
you don't want.
Think about what you're grateful for rather than what you
believe is missing in your life. Saturate your mind with the
positive. After 30 days, you can then decide whether to keep
focusing on the positive or to revert to your negative
thinking pattern. I think I know which one you'll choose!
* * * * *
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
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holds no promises as to what will come your way.
You must search for your own ideals and work toward reaching them.
Life makes no guarantees as to what you’ll have.
It just gives you time to make choices and to take chances
and to discover whatever secrets that might come your way.
If you are willing to take the opportunities you are given
and utilize the abilities you have, you will constantly fill your life
with special moments and unforgettable times.
over again, I hear and read about people who are afraid
that they're not leading authentic lives, that they're not
making the most of the opportunities that they have, or
that they're simply not happy with who they are or the
lives they're living. While these may not be
completely new issues for members of humanity, it seems
that they're more likely to be expressed these days as
more and more people are willing to share their doubts and
fears with others.
One of the problems that I constantly run into, though,
when people express such dissatisfaction is that even
though they wish that things would change in their lives,
they're not willing to make decisions--and follow through
on them--that will actually bring about change for them.
More than anything else, I
believe it's our decisions, not
the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.
To use a simple example, I hear students constantly
complain about their grades, but then in the same
conversation start talking about all the time that they
spend texting friends, browsing Facebook, or playing video
games. Every time they make a decision to do one of
these things, they're also making a decision not to study,
or not to do homework, and guess what? Because
they're basically making a decision not to work on their
learning, that extra learning doesn't take place, and
their grades don't go up.
We see the results of poor decisions all the time in our
lives. The person who's late to work constantly
because he or she decides not to go to bed until one or
two in the morning. The person who's married to
someone they don't love because they made a decision based
on the fear that someone more fitting wouldn't come
along. The people who have weak relationships with
their children because they constantly decide that getting
a bit more work done is the most important thing they can
do right now--all of these people are making decisions
that are hurting their true selves, that are damaging
important relationships and their views of themselves, yet
all continue to make the same decisions over and over
again. And they continue to hurt themselves.
And most of them don't see the relationship between their
decisions and the ways that they feel, or the weaknesses
in their job performance or their relationships.
It's a pretty simple cause-and-effect relationship, but
they don't seem to want to acknowledge it.
people know this, but any decision is acceptable when you can't
The trick is to make the decision right because you made
it. In other words,
when you are torn between two roads, pick one and then make the one
picked right. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't
matter. If you can't
see down the road enough to know which decision to make, then no one
fault you for making a decision. Of course, in a pinch, you
could always flip a coin.
Life's Missing Instruction Manual
I think that part of the reason that we're somewhat afraid
to acknowledge our own negative contributions to our lives
through our poor decisions is that once we do so, we're
basically telling ourselves that another decision is
necessary, and this decision may be more difficult to
follow through on. For this decision may not be as
simple, and it may require more courage on our part, and
it may require more work to carry out.
Many of the decisions that we make don't have much effect
on our lives. Deciding to have a donut and coffee
isn't a big deal. But if we start deciding to have
two donuts and coffee every morning and we start to see a
corresponding weight gain, then isn't it time to
re-evaluate that decision? Personally, I could live
on donuts, but I usually decide to avoid them because in
the past I have weighed quite a lot more than I do now,
and it wasn't a feeling that I wanted to continue
having. I also knew that if I continued to gain
weight, I was dooming myself to some pretty serious health
problems later in life.
The decision to stay at a certain weight, though, is one
that I constantly have to continue to re-make, one that
requires me time and again to forego foods that I'd really
like to eat, and that requires me to go outside and run or
bike or walk when I'd much rather sit on a comfortable
couch in a warm room and read a good book. But I
know that in the long run, developing the habit of staying
in shape through a constant series of decisions to do
things that will keep me in shape (and allow me to avoid
getting out of shape) is the best thing that I can do for
rule of thumb for a warrior is that he makes his decisions so
that nothing that may happen as a result of them can surprise
him, much less drain his power.
Most of the time when I'm faced with an important
decision, I try to weigh the difference between the
long-term and the short-term effects of that
decision. In the short term, eating a whole package
of cookies will be a truly enjoyable experience. In
the long term, though, doing such a thing would be very
negative to my health, and it would cause me to have to do
other things that I don't necessarily want to do to
compensate for eating that many calories. In the
short term, deciding to go along with a friend and do
something I don't want to do simply to avoid conflict will
help me to avoid conflict, but in the long term, it may
cause me quite a bit of inner turmoil as a reflect on why
I did something that I wasn't comfortable doing just
because someone else wanted me to do it.
Other decisions are much more drastic in our lives.
When I decided to move from teaching college to teaching
high school a few years ago, I knew that that decision
would be much more dramatic than deciding about donuts or
cookies ever would be. But after a lot of reflection
on the ways that life seemed to be pushing me by opening
some doors and closing others, and reflecting on what I
really want to get out of teaching, I decided to make the
change, no matter how unrealistic it seemed to some
people. It was a huge decision that has led to
hundreds of other decisions, but one that at least I made
without a focus on trying to maintain a false sense of
security and comfort. It has led to many
uncomfortable and difficult moments, but it also has led
to many rewarding and fulfilling moments--and it's a
decision that I've never regretted making. The
contributions that I see myself making at the secondary
level is much more meaningful than the contributions I was
able to make on the college level.
Decision-making isn't always easy. There are almost
always more people involved, and more possible outcomes to
our decisions than we can clearly see. But the more
aware we become of the fact that our lives are to a large
part reflections of the decisions that we constantly make,
the more effective we can become at making decisions that
help us, and that don't hurt us.
practical decision-making principles.
1. Make sure that you consider both the long-term
and short-term effects of any decision. That movie
may be on tonight, but if it keeps you up late, will you
be miserably tired tomorrow at work?
2. Consider possible alternatives. You can
rent that same movie this weekend, and watch it without
all the commercials. You can play the video games
after you've done your homework or cleaned the kitchen,
and then both things will get done.
3. Learn to look deeply and honestly at your own
wants and needs. If this person isn't providing
fulfillment in the relationship, is it time to ask for
more or end the relationship? If my job leaves me
feeling empty and wasted and doesn't allow me to thrive
and advance, is it time to consider a new job?
4. Consider where life may be trying to lead
you. If religion is a major part of your life, then
consider where God may be trying to lead you. What
doors have been closing recently? Which have been
opening? Why might that be? Most of us have a
hard time with the idea that life or God may be pushing us
in certain directions--and especially with the idea that
life or God may know better what's truly best for us, but
trusting life is one of the most important concepts that
we can learn.
5. Once you've made a decision, stick to it long
enough to see if it's going to work or not. Too many
people encounter immediate obstacles and back out of their
decision, never finding out what lies beyond those
obstacles. But. . . .
6. When it becomes clear that a decision truly was a
wrong one, don't be afraid to make another decision to
change your mind. If that person who was so great
while you were dating is now abusive or disinterested now
that you're exclusive, then you made a decision based on
inaccurate information presented by that person--now that
you have the new information, make a new decision and get
out of there!
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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The need to
make wise choices encompasses every area of our lives. Since we have time for only a limited amount of
we need to choose wisely what stuff we're going to
allow to take up that time. Since we have only a
limited amount of time to spend with friends or to engage
in leisure activities, we need to choose our friends and
our activities wisely.
Elaine St. James
There is an old story about a man who wrote
to the department
in his state to find out
how to cope with the crabgrass
that was spoiling his
lawn. The department responded with a number
suggestions. The man tried them all,
but he could not
eliminate the crabgrass. Exasperated, he
noting that every method they
had suggested had failed. His
was still riddled
with crabgrass. He got back a short reply: "We suggest you learn to love it."
This is the art of reframing, redefining
something so that it is
no longer as
isn't the situation that is changed,
of course; it is your
on the situation.
Robert H. and Jeanette C. Lauer
assured me that in order to accomplish the feat of making myself
I had to work in the most intense fashion, and that it was absurd.
had now realized I could work just the same in making myself complete and
"The trick is in what one emphasizes," he said.
"We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same."
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