The Two Saplings – A Story About How to Maximise Personal Growth

Even the tallest mountain is conquered one step at a time

An eight-year-old boy went to his grandfather and proudly announced, “I am going to be very successful when I grow up.  Can you give me any tips on how to get there?”

The grandfather nodded, and without saying a word, took the boy by the hand and walked him to a nearby plant nursery.

There, the two of them chose and purchased two small saplings.

They returned home and planted one of them in the back yard.

The other sapling was placed in a pot and kept indoors.

“Which one do you think will be the most successful in the future?” asked the grandfather.

The boy thought for a moment and said, “The indoor tree.  It’s protected and safe while the outdoor one has to cope with the elements.”

The grandfather shrugged his shoulders and said, “We’ll see.”

The grandfather carefully tended to both plants and in a few years, the boy, now a teenager came to visit again.

“You never really answered my question from when I was a young boy.  How can I become successful when I grow up?”  he asked.

The old man showed the teenager the indoor tree and then took him outside to have a look at the towering tree outside.

“Which one is greater?” the grandfather asked.

“The outside one.  But that doesn’t make sense, it has to cope with many more challenges than the inside one.”

The grandfather smiled, “Yes, but the risk of dealing with challenges is worth it as it has the freedom to spread its roots wider and its leaves towards the heavens.  Boy, remember this and you be successful in whatever you do; If you choose the safe option all of your life you will never grow and be all that you can be, but if you are willing to face the world head-on with all of its dangers and challenges, the sky’s the limit.”

The young man looked up at the tall tree, took a deep breath and nodded his head, knowing that his wise grandfather was right.

The same is true for all of us.

If you choose the safe, well-worn path, then a life of mediocrity awaits.

But if you have the courage and capacity to live in the elements, you give yourself a great chance of reaching your full potential and being successful in your chosen field of endeavour.

God created trees to grow outside.

He created people to live lives of significance.

So let me ask you, are you an indoor tree or an outdoor one?

Today’s story was shared by Darren Poke and is shared from the following website: https://betterlifecoachingblog.com/2013/03/08/the-two-saplings-a-story-about-how-to-maximise-personal-growth/

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How To Use The Power of Gratitude; An Easy Way To Feel Happier Everyday

Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy Fred DeWitt Van Amburgh

In my book Nothing Changes Until You Do, I tell the story of a simple but powerful conversation I had with a cabdriver a few years back that had a profound impact on me. I was in Houston, Texas, on my way back to the airport to fly home after speaking at a conference. The driver and I began talking. He had a beautiful accent. Based on how he looked and sounded, I assumed he was from somewhere in Africa, but I couldn’t tell exactly where. It didn’t come up in what we were talking about, so I didn’t ask.

Right before we got to the airport, however, there was a pause in our conversation, so I inquired, “By the way, where are you from originally?”

“I’m from Ethiopia,” he said. He then proudly stated, “I’ve been here in the U.S. for twenty years. I’m an American citizen now; so are both of my boys and my wife.”

I’m not exactly sure what prompted me, but I then asked him, “What’s your perspective on American culture, given that you didn’t grow up here?”

At first he didn’t say anything, and I thought maybe I had offended him. We were just arriving at the airport. He pulled up to the curb, put the cab in park, turned around, and looked me right in the eye.

“Can I be honest with you?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Well,” he said, “I think most people in this culture act like spoiled brats.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Look, I’m from Ethiopia,” he said. “Every day here is a good day.”

I was taken aback by the simplicity, wisdom, and power of his statement. And, I was grateful for the reminder.

Gratitude is a Practice, Not A Concept
I’ve been speaking and writing about gratitude for many years, and I’m still amazed at how challenging it can be to focus on what I’m grateful for at times. We live in a culture that has an obsession with negativity, and it’s easy for us to get caught up in how “bad” things are, as well as in our own personal and insatiable desire for more, thinking that what we have and how things are in our own lives is never quite good enough. However, regardless of the specific circumstances of our lives, even and especially when they’re difficult, if we stop, pay attention, and look for it, there are always so many things we can be grateful for—if we choose to be. Gratitude is a practice, not a concept. And, like any other practice, the more genuine and consistent we are with it, the more valuable and beneficial it is.

Most of us, especially those of us on a path of personal growth and discovery, know that gratitude is important. We’ve heard about it, read about it, and been taught about it for years. In the mid 1990s a wonderful book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach came out. Sarah was a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Oprah talked about how Sarah’s suggestion to keep a daily gratitude journal—to write down five things each day that you’re grateful for—had a profound impact on her life. Oprah became a passionate advocate for the power of gratitude and since that time has continued to encourage millions of people around the world to keep their own gratitude journals.

Create A Gratitude Journal
Like so many other people, I took Oprah’s advice and started my own journal many years ago. I found it to be fun, inspiring, and empowering to look for, find, and write down things I was grateful for. When I started speaking, coaching, and writing, much of my work focused on gratitude and appreciation. The technique of the gratitude journal was something I often suggested to people. However, over time it became one of the many things that I “know” and even “teach,” but had stopped practicing consistently in my own life.

A few years back, as a New Year’s resolution, I recommitted myself to the practice of my gratitude journal. I bought a new, beautiful journal and decided I was going to start using it. It took me a little while to get back into the practice of writing in it consistently, but once I was in the swing of it, it was pretty easy. Later that year I had a few months where things were going really well in many important areas of my life. As I sat down to write in my gratitude journal one morning, I decided to look back at some of the things I’d written over the past few months.

As I turned the pages, I realized that I hadn’t missed a day of writing in over three months. I was amazed. It was less about the consistency of my writing, and more about the consistency of my excitement to do this exercise and the benefits I got from it. Things were going so well in my life, and the positive turns seemed to be directly connected to my use of the gratitude journal. I said to my wife, Michelle, “I’m not sure if things are going so well because I’m writing in my gratitude journal every day, or I’m excited to write in my gratitude journal every day because things are going so well. I bet it’s a combination of both. At some level, I don’t really care—I’m just grateful for how things are going and for my journaling practice.”

The way gratitude works is that the more we focus on feeling grateful, the more we have to feel grateful for. And while many of us have experienced this personally, recent scientific studies have concluded that gratitude can have significantly positive effects on our health, our moods, our productivity, and our relationships.

In one specific study, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, they kept a short journal. One group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another was asked to record five hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they weren’t told whether to focus on something positive or negative specifically.

Ten weeks later, the people in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole, plus they reported fewer health complaints, and exercised more.

Like many other things in life that we know are good for us (exercise, eating healthy, sleeping enough, drinking lots of water, telling the truth, and so on), it’s not the knowledge that will benefit us; it’s the practice. The amazing thing about gratitude is that there’s no “right” way to practice being grateful. Whether you choose to keep a journal, thank the people around you, use positive affirmations, ask other people what they’re grateful for (one of my favorites), focus on gratitude in your quiet time of prayer or meditation, or simply remind yourself to slow down and breathe—taking time to focus on what we’re grateful for is one of the easiest and most effective ways to empower ourselves, calm ourselves down, and remember what matters most in life.

Today’s article was written by Mike Robbins and is shared from the following website: https://www.healyourlife.com/how-to-use-the-power-of-gratitude

 

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6 Steps to Change Your Life

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out

It Only Takes 6 Steps to Change Your Life

Don’t get stuck in the same old average routine. Here’s how to start the domino effect of change.

Hope is the foundational principle for all change. People change because they have hope, and if people do not have hope, they will not change. You are responsible for the changes that you make in your life.

The good news? You can change your life if you really want to. You can improve it, make it better. And it all starts with changing the way you think. So are you ready? I am going to walk you through a six-step plan for achieving positive change.

Here’s how you give yourself a little hope:

Step 1: When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.

Change begins with the mind. Beliefs are nothing more than a byproduct of what you have thought about long enough, something that you have bought into—always remember that. What you believe, what you think, is just a collection of continual thoughts that have formed themselves into a conviction. When you break down the process of thinking into a manageable number of steps, you reduce the perceived risk associated with change.

Step 2: When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.

Belief is the knowledge that we can do something. It is the inner feeling that what we undertake, we can accomplish. For the most part, all of us have the ability to look at something and know whether we can do it. So in belief there is power… our eyes are opened, our opportunities become plain, our visions become realities. Our beliefs control everything we do. If we believe we can or we believe we cannot, we are correct.

Step 3: When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.

Your expectations are going to determine your attitude. Most people get used to average; they get used to second best. Nelson Boswell said, “The first and most important step toward success is the expectation that we can succeed.”

Step 4: When you change your attitude, you change your behavior.

When our attitude begins to change, when we become involved with something, our behavior begins to change. The reason that we have to make personal changes is that we cannot take our people on a trip that we have not made.

Step 5: When you change your behavior, you change your performance.

Most people would rather live with old problems than new solutions. We would rather be comfortable than correct; we would rather stay in a routine than make changes. Even when we know that the changes are going to be better for us, we often don’t make them because we feel uncomfortable or awkward about making that kind of a change. Until we get courage and get used to living with something that is not comfortable, we cannot get any better.

Step 6: When you change your performance, you change your life.

It is easier to turn failure into success than an excuse into a possibility. A person can fail, turn around and understand their failure to make it a success. But I want to tell you, a person who makes excuses for everything will never truly succeed. Don’t you know some people who just have an excuse for everything? Why they could not, should not, did not, would not, have not, will not. I promise you, when you excuse what you are doing and excuse where you are, and you allow the exceptions, you fail to reach your potential. It is impossible to turn excuses into possibilities.

Today’s article was written by John C. Maxwell and is shared from the following website: https://www.success.com/article/john-c-maxwell-it-only-takes-6-steps-to-change-your-life

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Exercise will change your life, and here’s why…

We do not stop exercising because we grow old - we grow old because we stop exercising. Kenneth Cooper

ONE AFTERNOON not long ago, a friend and I were talking at her dining-room table, and I’ll admit it, we were feeling a bit self-righteous.

We’d gone bowling with her parents, and we both noticed her mom could barely roll the lightest ball down the alley. She struggled with a lot of other tasks, too. We didn’t think of her as an elderly person. But there she was, looking feeble.

“Well,” my friend said, shaking her head, “she doesn’t really exercise.” I nodded knowingly.

The way my friend and I see it, there are two kinds of people: exercisers and everyone else. We — the exercisers — prefer to sweat, not sit. They — we’ll call them “the relaxers” — prefer to read, not run. They think we’re nuts. We think they’re slowly letting themselves wither.

We’ll call this The Great Divide, and my friend and I patted ourselves on the back for being on the right side of it. Then we got up to leave.

“Ouch,” I winced, grabbing at my hamstrings.

“I’m sooooo sore!” she groaned.

And as we hobbled away, we felt decidedly less smug.

ARE YOU laughing at us? Nodding sympathetically? Either way, we’ll hazard a guess: Whichever side of The Great Divide you’re on, you can’t imagine living the other way.

“People internalize an image of themselves as an exerciser or not,” says David B. Coppel, a sports psychologist at the University of Washington.

So before we go any further, I’ll confess. I used to think people like me — who exercise four, five, six times a week — were crazy. Three years ago, in the pages of this very magazine, I described my physical condition as being “what you might expect for someone who types for a living.”

Another confession: Despite the incident at the dining-room table, this article is not going to say exercise is bad for you. Sorry, relaxers.

Because we can hear the complaints already, we will admit that at times, if you go overboard, it can definitely beat you up. OK, it can beat you up even if you don’t go overboard.

But we’re going to explain that, too. So stick with us as we take a run at some of the biggest hurdles to becoming an exerciser.

I’m perfectly fine the way I am, thank you. I’m not even overweight.

The truth is, getting up and moving is good even if you’re thin.

It turns out being sedentary is a health risk. Period. It’s up there with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, even smoking, according to a 2010 article in the Journal of the American Heart Association. In fact, fitness level is a “more powerful predictor” of survival than traditional risk factors, the journal says. That means an active person who’s overweight can have a better prognosis than a thin, sedentary person.

Really?

Yes. Exercise:

• Can reduce your risk of getting, or dying from, certain cancers;

• Can delay or avert Type II diabetes, as well as reduce your mortality risk if you have diabetes;

• Can help maintain your cognitive function into old age.

Is that enough? OK, one more thing:

Studies — including one by the American Cancer Society — have shown that sitting itself can take years off your life. It’s not just that you’re burning fewer calories. It’s that certain bodily processes go silent — processes that do things like regulate your insulin and get the fat out of your bloodstream.

“Excessive sitting,” a Mayo Clinic researcher was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “is a lethal activity.”

But I do exercise . . . sometimes.

That’s what a lot of people tell themselves.

In surveys, a consistent 30 to 35 percent of people report moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity. But in the past few years, researchers have begun to outfit study participants with devices that record movement, and the truth has come out: Fewer than 5 percent of adults are doing the recommended level of activity.

Do I really need this? I’m young and healthy.

Yes, says Kevin Conley, a UW radiology professor who has developed contraptions to measure muscle activity as well as something in the muscles called mitochondria. These are the powerhouses, where the body turns fuel into activity.

Conley compared three groups: active adults, inactive adults and the elderly, and looked at fitness in a variety of ways. As expected, the seniors had fewer mitochondria. But so did the inactive adults. In fact, in each area measured, the inactive adults had scores that were close to — or worse than — the old folks.

“Inactivity does the same thing as aging,” Conley says. “It was so astonishing at first I didn’t believe it myself.”

Why should you care? Because it becomes a vicious cycle. Don’t exercise and your mitochondria decline, which makes you less able to move, which leads to fewer mitochondria and so on.

The moral of the story is, you can choose to get old before your time.

But I’m so out of shape.

This is a pet peeve of another local academic, Glen Duncan, associate professor of epidemiology and nutritional sciences at the UW.

“I get very frustrated when people say things like, ‘I can’t walk up the steps,’ ” he says. “The reason you can’t walk up the steps is because you’re deconditioned, and the reason you’re deconditioned is because you never walked up the steps.”

He pauses. “You did it to yourself.”

Didn’t you hear me? I said I can’t walk up the steps.

OK, don’t walk up the steps (yet). Try strength training. Every local expert we talked to, as well as a number of national groups, say strength training, like weight lifting, can be more important than aerobic activity, especially as we age.

If you don’t maintain your strength, things start to slide. It might be the stairs that give you trouble first. Then it’s flat ground. Then it’s getting out of a chair. Seriously. It happens.

I’m afraid I’m going to hurt myself.

You’re right: When you exercise, you’re putting strain on your muscles, your bones, the whole shebang. But that very stress is what tells the body to build.

Scientifically speaking, says Michael Regnier, a bioengineering professor at the UW, “When you exercise, it stimulates the release of hormones that signal the cells to start protein synthesis.”

When you lift a heavy load, it puts compressive forces on your bones. Those compressive forces tell the bones — uh-oh, we’d better get stronger. It increases their density. Cartilage, as well, gets its nutrients from moving. So you are stressing your body; you’re also building it up.

But I’m afraid I’m really going to hurt myself.

Perfectly reasonable. How many times have you read the warning, “Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program”?

It used to be that health authorities thought it could put people at risk of a sudden heart attack. The advice has always been, take it easy!

Regnier thinks people have followed that advice a little toowell. “They’ve overminimized,” he says.

Health authorities now believe it’s riskier not to exercise. “Sudden death,” a major federal report says, “is, more accurately, a risk of inactivity.”

But I’m too old! Why bother at this point?

Admittedly, when we age, our bodies tend to fall apart on us.

But professor Conley found something interesting with his mitochondria-measuring contraption.

Scientists used to think the decline of those powerhouses was inevitable, and that it started as early as the 40s and 50s.

The bad news is, it is inevitable. The good news is, the inevitable part doesn’t start in middle age. We can stave it off until we’re in our 70s or 80s — if we take the time to exercise.

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Creating a Life of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit Aristotle

10 tips for creating a life and living your dream

Stop doing things just because others expect them of you.

Your heart must be in it to finish the race. When we do things just because we ‘should,’ we eventually reach a place of resentment, anger, and rebellion.

Get your priorities straight.

Spend your time, talents, and resources with the people, activities, or things that are meaningful to you. Stop wasting these on people or things that are not adding value to your life or that keep you from moving forward towards what you want to be or do.

March to the beat of your own band

The most satisfying experiences in our lives are when we are engaged physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or intellectually. Life is meant to be effortless. If you’re tugging and pulling, and everything feels like an uphill battle, then you’re doing the wrong thing.

Do what you’re good at and the money will follow.

Whether you’re a brain surgeon or a dogwalker, be the best you can be at it because you love it. Your enthusiasm and love for what you do is what will make you successful in the long run. Enthusiastic and positive people attract others to them who want that too.

Share your dream with others, but be discerning.

Realize that not everyone you share your dream with will be thrilled for you. Avoid the nay-sayers and focus on those people who can support you even if they don’t agree with you

Stop making excuses and just do it.

The reason (excuses) for why you have not taken that first step does not matter. What matters is that you take that first step NOW.

Determine what your ideal life looks like.

Most people’s initial response to this is ‘I don’t know.’ If you did know, what would your ideal life be like? Who would you want to live with, who would you like to meet, where would you like to live, what activities/shows/parties/places would you like to experience or be with?

Identify the stumbling blocks that can be turned into stepping stones.

Your past experiences and adversity can create opportunity for you. It’s all in how you look at life and how you choose to use those experiences so that you eliminate the blocks and move on in spite of them. Victory is yours!

Reduce your learning curve.

Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. Instead of reinventing the wheel, take what you can apply from the trials and challenges others have overcome then tweak the process to fit your own situation.

Align yourself with a role model/mentor. 

Having someone who’s ‘been there and done that’ is one of the best ways to get yourself on track with what you want to accomplish or be. A mentor will be supportive, offer the benefit of his/her expertise and knowledge, and will listen to you when you need the support the most. Author Unknown

The Art of Achievement

You hold in your hand the camel’s-hair brush of a painter of Life. You stand before the vast white canvas of Time.

The paints are your thoughts, emotions and acts.

You select the colors of your thoughts; drab or bright, weak or strong, good or bad.

You select the colors of your emotions; discordant or harmonious, harsh or quiet, weak or strong.

You select the colors of your acts; cold or warm, fearful or daring, small or big.

You visualize yourself as the person you want to be.

You strive to make the ideal in your mind become a reality on the canvas of Time.

Each moment of your life is a brush stroke in the painting of your growing career.

There are the bold, sweeping strokes of one increasing, dynamic purpose.

There are the lights and shadows that make your life deep and strong.

There are the little touches that add the stamp of character and worth.

The art of achievement is the art of making life – your life – a masterpiece.

The Art of Achievement was written by Wilferd A. Peterson. Materials from today’s post were shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/Art.shtml

 

 

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