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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How to Autograph Your Life with Excellence

Every job is a self portrait of the Person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence UnknownHere lived a great street sweeper who did his job well

I had been working much too long on this job. I guess things could have been worse. I certainly wasn’t doing hard labour. But going door to door asking questions as a representative of the federal government wasn’t the most satisfying position either. It was August. It was hot. I had to wear a tie.

‘Hello. My name is Bob Perks and we are doing a survey in this neighbourhood.’

‘I’m not interested! Good bye!’

You can’t imagine how many times I heard that. I finally caught on and began with

‘Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community.’ The young woman inside the doorway, paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders confused by my rude introduction.

‘Sure. Come on in. Don’t mind the mess. It’s tough keeping up with my kids.’

It was an older home in a section of the valley where people with meagre income found affordable shelter. With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.

‘I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this may sound personal I won’t need to use your names. This information will be used’

She interrupted me. ‘Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like you’ve had a rough day.’

‘Why yes!’ I said eagerly. Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. It was her husband.

‘Joe, this man is here to do a survey.’ I stood and politely introduced myself.

Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged looking although I figured he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see the love that held them together. She smiled and titled her head, laying it on his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said ‘I love you!’

They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most people I know. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up when things are looking down.

‘Joe works for the borough.’ she said.

‘What do you do?’ I asked. She jumped right in not letting him answer.

‘Joe collects garbage. You know I’m so proud of him.’

‘Honey, I’m sure the man doesn’t want to hear this.’ said Joe.

‘No, really I do.’ I said.

‘You see Bob, Joe is the best garbage man in the borough. He can stack more garbage on the truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck that they don’t have to make as many runs’, she said with such passion.

‘In the long run,’ Joe continues, ‘I save the borough money. Man hours are down and the cost per truck is less.’

There was silence. I didn’t know what to say. I shook my head searching for the right words. ‘That’s incredible! Most people would gripe about a job like that. It certainly is a difficult one. But your attitude about it is amazing.’ I said. She walked over to the shelf next to the couch. As she turned she held in her hand a small-framed paper.

‘When we had our third child Joe lost his job. We were on unemployment for a time and then eventually welfare. He couldn’t find work anywhere. Then one day he was sent on an interview here in this community. They offered him the job he now holds. He came home depressed and ashamed. Telling me this was the best he could do. It actually paid less than we got on welfare.’

She paused for a moment and walked toward Joe. ‘I have always been proud of him and always will be. You see I don’t think the job makes the man. I believe the man makes the job!’

‘We needed to live in the borough in order to work here. So we rented this home.’ Joe said.

‘When we moved in, this quote was hanging on the wall just inside the front door. It has made all the difference to us, Bob. I knew that Joe was doing the right thing.’ she said as she handed me the frame.

It said: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ Martin Luther King

‘I love him for who he is. But what he does, he does the best. I love my garbage man!’

Today’s inspiring story was written by Bob Parks and is shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/sweeper.shtml

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How to Examine Your Life to Find Meaning

The unexamined life is not worth living Socrates

It is important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. – Dalai Lama

What does that mean?
Why do we do the things that we do? What are our motivations? What are the reasons behind our actions? How often do you ask yourself about these things? Can you tell yourself why you just did whatever it was that you did?

While it sounds like I’m talking in circles, can you really explain why you did anything you did yesterday? What were your motivations? When the phone rang, you answered it. Why? Because you’re trained to behave that way? Or because you’re waiting on a call? Were you being polite? Have you ever thought about it?

While a phone call may be a bit on the trivial side, there are plenty of other things we do each day. Why do we do them? What are our reasons? What are our motivations? Do we really want to do these things, and are we doing them for reasons that are proper, given our values and beliefs?

Why is self-examination important?  
You can imagine I believe this to be a very important and worthwhile activity, given the sub-title of this blog. Examination of our life, I would hope, includes an examination of our motivations. We know, again, I hope, what we have done. But do we know why we did it?

Saying that you did it because it is a habit is a useful excuse or reason, however it is not a motivation. Why is it a habit? Why did you start doing it, and why do you still do it? Does it still serve you, or do you have better ways to achieve those ends now?

By examining our lives, by looking into why we do things, we can begin to uncover our motivations. One can do the right thing for the wrong reasons, and be lauded. But is that the way you want to live your life?

By examining yourself and determining your motivations, you can start to change what you don’t like, and put additional emphasis on those things you do like. I believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor, do you?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Let us begin with the chain of events that leads to action. We believe something to be right or wrong. When we see something that matches or violates our beliefs, we are motivated to do something. This leads to action. Or, going backwards, our actions depend on our motivations, which rely on our beliefs or values.

Note that I didn’t list reasons or excuses in there. They usually are walls we erect between motivation and action, designed to prevent anyone from probing any deeper. If someone sees you do something and asks why you did that, do you usually respond with your actual motivation, or do you give a reason or an excuse?

I think that most of us will give a reason or an excuse, rather than get into a discussion of motivations. Why? Because it’s opening a can of worms. One answer leads to two more questions. Pretty soon, they’re asking why you believe something, or have a certain value. Not a conversation most of us are comfortable having, is it?

However, for the purposes of this post, that’s exactly what we have to do. That, in my opinion, is exactly what this quote is all about. Why did you cross the road? Was it to get to the other side? Why was that? Did you have someplace to go, or were you trying to avoid someone who looked scary?

This is something that could take hours, so I would recommend you pick one thing each day to examine. How does one pick an action? If you do something that feels a little weird, something of which you are a little ashamed, or something you feel you might not be doing for the right reasons, that might be something to examine. Anything you think is probably wrong would also be a candidate, right?

How does one do an examination? I would start like I did with the ‘cross the street’ example above. Start asking “Why?” over and over again. Throw in the rest of the questions (The 5 W’s), [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ws ] and pretty soon you are going to get some answers.

The trick is to keep digging. Don’t stop, especially when you give an excuse or a reason. Those should be red flags to you, telling you to keep digging. Try to find the underlying belief or value that led you to act in the manner you did.

Then you have to figure out if that belief or value is still valid, if it is still true. If it isn’t, it’s time to replace it with something that is true, and better serves you. Something that helps to move you towards the best possible you.

If, at one point in time, you believed the only way you could make friends was to smoke with them, I would ask if that is still true. Can you make friends through any other shared activity? Could you modify that belief to say that you can make friends through any shared activity, and no longer have smoking tied to friendship? Would that make quitting a little easier?

If you don’t examine your life, you will live a random life, like a feather in the wind. Going any way the wind blows. There may be times for that, but I prefer to examine my life, and modify it to suit my purpose. What you do is up to you, but I hope you have a new idea and some new tools to play with.

Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://philosiblog.com/2012/09/16/it-is-important-for-us-to-examine-our-motivation-in-our-day-to-day-life/

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Where the Most Important Things Are…

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart Helen Keller

5 Inspiring Lessons Learned From Helen Keller

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

1. When Helen Keller was just nineteen months old, she developed an illness that resulted in both blindness and deafness. As Helen grew into a young girl, she and her family became increasingly frustrated with her inability to communicate. She learned to recognize her family members by touching their facial features, their clothing, or by detecting the scent of their perfume. Not knowing what to do, Helen’s parents consulted Alexander Graham Bell, who worked with the deaf. He suggested they hire a young woman by the name of Anne Sullivan as Helen’s teacher and mentor. This decision changed Helen’s life forever.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

2. After establishing what would become a lifelong friendship, Anne began to teach Helen the alphabet by finger spelling the sign language letters into the palm of Helen’s hand. The most challenging lesson was to help Helen make the connection between a word and a concept. The world-changing breakthrough happened when Anne pumped well water into one of Helen’s hands while finger spelling the word water onto her other one. At that moment, Helen understood that a word represented a concept or a thing. Soon, Helen began recognizing the letter combinations and this lit a fire within her soul. From that point on, Anne had helped Helen develop a relentless desire to learn. With Anne’s help Helen soon learned how to read Braille, write, and even started trying to speak. With her newfound love for learning, Helen began to have a strong desire to attend college. Although she experienced many trials and hardships along the way, she didn’t allow her physical challenges to set her back from dreaming big and then acting on those dreams.

“It’s a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”

3. If anyone realized the importance of having a vision for your life, it was Helen Keller. One of her many accomplishments includes being the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Helen did not see her limitations as an excuse not to pursue her dreams. Many people go through their lives with perfect vision, but fail to have a clear vision as to where they want to go and who they want to become. Helen did not let her literal lack of vision stop her from having big dreams. Where many people would have used Helen’s disabilities as a setback and would be focused solely on surviving, Helen was focused on thriving.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”

4. Helen knew perfectly that without faith she would not have the strength to overcome her hardships. She learned to grapple with trials both big and small and learned the importance of looking forward to the future with faith and optimism. She recognized that without the faith that Anne Sullivan had in her, she would not have been able to become the accomplished person that she was. Similarly, if Helen did not have faith of her own that fueled her to believe in the beauty of her dreams, then she would have continued to live in darkness. She was diligent in sharing this faith with the world because she desperately wanted others to walk in the light she walked in as well.

“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.”

5. Many people spend their entire lives chasing the next “big thing” thinking that some thing or person out there is going to make them happy and bring them fulfillment. Helen recognized early on that happiness was not found, but rather created. Happiness and confidence were attributes she championed from within, not things she would magically find one day if she searched long and hard enough. She was an author, speaker, and activist with a spirit of determination that served as an advocate for people with disabilities for generations to come. Helen triumphed over adversity and dedicated her life to helping others. Her legacy and beautiful spirit will never be forgotten.

Today’s article was written by Audrey Denison and is shared from the following website: http://faithcounts.com/5-inspiring-lessons-learned-helen-keller/

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Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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