Can You Make a Difference?

 There is no man living who isn't capable of doing more than he thinks he can Henry FordPOTENTIAL

In his book, The Americanization of Edward Bok, Edward Bok, one-time editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal, tells a story about his grandfather, who lived in Denmark. It seems the grandfather had been commissioned by the King of Denmark to lead a band of soldiers against pirates who were playing havoc with shipping along a certain coastal area. The elder Bok set up his headquarters on a lonely, rocky, desolate island just off the coast, and after a few years was able to clear the pirates out of the area.

Upon returning to the mainland Bok reported to the King. The King was very pleased and offered Bok anything he wanted. All he wanted, he told the King, was a plot of land on the island where he had just lived and fought for so many months. They told him the island was barren. Why would he want to live there? “I want to plant trees,” was Bok’s reply. “I want to make the island beautiful.” The King’s aides thought he was crazy. The island was constantly swept by storms and high winds. He would never be able to get a tree to grow there.

Bok, however, insisted, and the King granted him his wish. He went to live on the island, built a home, and finally was able to bring his wife to it. For years, they worked industriously, persistently, planting trees, shrubs, grass. Gradually the vegetation took hold, the island began to flourish. One morning they arose to hear birds singing. There had never been any birds on the island before.

Eventually the island became a showplace and now is visited by thousands of tourists each year. When he died the grandfather requested that the following words be inscribed on his tombstone: “Make you the world a bit more beautiful and better because you have been on it.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Edward Bok, the grandson, who had become an American citizen, believed that anyone who was able to do so should retire at 50 and spend the rest of his life making the world a more beautiful and better place to live. And he was as good as his word. At 50 he retired as editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal.

One day, while traveling around central Florida, he came upon Iron Mountain, elevation 324 ft. above sea level, the highest point in Florida. Immediately the thought hit him — why not repeat in America what his grandfather had done in the old country? He bought the site and set to work. Eventually he was more than successful. The place is called Mountain Lake Sanctuary, Lake Wales, Florida. Upon his death, Edward Bok willed it to the State of Florida, and it is now a major tourist attraction. Upon the younger Bok’s catafalque were the words: “Make you the world a bit more beautiful and better place because you have been in it.”

Bits & Pieces, March 31, 1994, pp. 17-20.

Today’s story was shared from the following website: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/p/potential.htm

No widget added yet.

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/

No widget added yet.

The Power to Change…

Change your thoughts and you change your world Norman Vincent Peale

A Story That Can Change Your Life

By Mac Anderson. Founder, Simple Truths

In 1972, Jim Cathcart was working at the Little Rock, Arkansas Housing Authority, making $525 a month, with a new wife and baby at home, no college degree, no past successes, and not much hope for the foreseeable future.

One morning, he was sitting in his office listening to the radio, to a program called “Our Changing World” by Earl Nightingale, who was known as “the Dean of Personal Motivation.” That day, Nightingale, in his booming voice, said something that would change Jim’s life forever: “If you will spend an extra hour each day in study of your chosen field, you will be a national expert in that field in five years or less.”

Jim was stunned, but the more he thought about it the more it made sense. Although he had never given a speech, he had always wanted to help people grow in areas of personal development and motivation. He began his quest to put Nightingale’s theory to the test by reading books and listening to tapes whenever he could. He also started exercising, became better organized, and joined a self-improvement study group. He persisted through weeks of temptations to quit, just by doing a little more each day to further his goal. Within six months he had learned more than he had in his few years of college, and he began to believe he could turn his goal of becoming a motivational speaker into reality. All the hard work, the discipline, and study paid off. Jim now has delivered more than 2,500 speeches worldwide and has won every major award in the speaking industry.

Just like companies have market value, so do people. In the simplest terms, your market value increases by knowing and doing more. Knowledge is power, not only for your career, but also to improve your family and spiritual life. I once heard a quote that sums it up well, “Knowledge is like climbing a mountain; the higher you reach the more you can see and appreciate.”

I love stories because for me, they can bring an idea to life. This one and many others can be found in my book, The Nature of Success.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/businessstories/Astorythatcanchangeyourlife

No widget added yet.

Learning….It’s Meant to Be for a Lifetime

Ignorance is  voluntary Misfortune   Nicholas LangLearning is meant to be a life-long endeavor. I witnessed during my near-death experience, that learning is a desire that we inherently have. Even in heaven, it was our desire to learn and the increase in intelligence.

I believe that it doesn’t matter whether our learning is through formal schooling or from self-study – it is all valuable. In today’s “Information Age”, all of the information can be a little overwhelming. Yet, my experience has shown me that, with God’s guidance, we are guided to all that we need and all that we can be benefited by.

I hope that you will commit to being a life-long student! Please enjoy today’s story!:

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner

For the first twenty-two years or so of our lives, our main “job” is learning. The bulk of our time is spent in classrooms acquiring new knowledge. And then, once we graduate, we feel like the education phase of our lives is done and now it’s time to go out into the world. Have you ever thought about how odd that idea is? That only a quarter of our lives should be devoted to learning, and then we should simply rest on our laurels for the remaining three-quarters of it?

It’s an erroneous idea – but one many have absorbed, at least subconsciously. But school need not be your exclusive provider of learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean that your education is over!

Many, perhaps most, of history’s greatest men were autodidacts – those who devote themselves to self-education, either in addition to or as a substitute to formal schooling. A fantastic example of this is author Louis L’Amour. L’Amour was one of America’s most prolific and manliest fiction writers. During his career he cranked out over 120 dime Western novels as well as several collections of short stories and poems. What makes Louis L’Amour’s story all the more remarkable is that he was almost entirely self-taught.

Louis L'Amour sitting in chair drinking coffee cowboy hat

Lifelong learner Louis L’Amour

Due to family hardships, L’Amour dropped out of school when he was fifteen and spent the next eight years traveling around the American West working odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines. To earn extra money L’Amour boxed in small prizefights around the country and earned a reputation as a formidable opponent. While in his twenties L’Amour became a merchant marine and traveled the globe via steamship.

During all this time, L’Amour was voraciously reading books. As soon as he set foot in a new town, he’d locate the local library. If libraries weren’t around, he’d skip meals so he’d have enough money to order books from catalogs. He was also working on his craft as a budding writer, scribbling notes in cheap notepads that he kept with him all the time.

All of his experiences while traveling, all the books he read, and all the notes he wrote laid the groundwork for his later successful career. But even after L’Amour became an established writer, his pursuit of learning continued and rewarded him greatly. He is a perfect example of the fascinating life one can create for himself when he makes the commitment to be a lifelong learner. (If you want to learn more about L’Amour’s lifelong self-education, pick up a copy of his autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man. Super inspiring read.)

 

Not only can becoming a lifelong learner help you earn more money in traditional employment, autodidacticism can be the gateway to self-employment and starting your own business. There are countless examples from history of famous folks who learned how to create thriving businesses without any formal education: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford to name just a few. Countless not-so-famous business owners became successful without ever earning a sheepskin too, simply by teaching themselves what they needed to know and relentlessly tinkering.

You’ll be more interesting and charismatic. Those who met Theodore Roosevelt were always greatly impressed with his ability to hold a conversation with anyone regarding any subject imaginable. Scientists were blown away with Roosevelt’s knowledge of complex theories, socialites were smitten with his witty insights about the latest piece by Oscar Wilde, and cowboys out West respected the “Eastern Dude’s” understanding of desert wildlife. How did Theodore Roosevelt become such a charismatic, conversational dynamo? By developing the ability to speed read and then devouring books like a hungry lion feasting on a fresh kill. While in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast. If he didn’t have any official business in the evening, he would read two or three more books, plus any magazines and newspapers that caught his fancy. By his own estimates, TR read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages. As a result, he could connect with anyone, from any walk of life, on something that truly interested the other person.

You’ll be a better leader. Being able to connect with others doesn’t just make you more interesting. It also makes you much more influential. The greater your knowledge base, the more you can meet people where they are, and the greater the stockpile of solutions you have at your disposal to tackle problems and overcome challenges.

You’ll be independent and handy. One thing I admired about my grandpa growing up was all the cool stuff that he knew. He was always tinkering, and it seemed like he knew everything about everything. How to hunt, how to shoe a horse, how to garden (he grew grapes), how to make awesome pancakes. Even after he retired, my grandpa was always learning new things and acquiring new skill sets. For example, he learned how to restore antique horse carriages and old phonograph players. He got so good at it, in fact, that he started restoring antique phonograph players as a small side-business.

Because of my grandpa’s diverse range of skills, when something broke or he needed something done, he could do it himself. He didn’t have to call and pay an expert to do it for him. If he didn’t know how to do it, he went to the library, got some books on the subject, and figured it out.

Lifelong learning keeps your brain healthy. Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Nearly 100 years later science is validating Henry Ford’s quip. Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging says, “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life.” Her research has shown that the more education an elderly person has – whether obtained formally or informally — the better they performed on cognitive tests than other elderly folks who had less education.

Learning new things can also help stave off old-age ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study has shown that older folks who stay cognitively active and curious about the world around them are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s than those who let their minds lie fallow.

You’ll feel more satisfied with life. In his book Drive, author Dan Pink argues that we need three things to feel motivated about, and satisfied with, our life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Becoming a lifelong learner fulfills all three of these psychological needs.

When you’re an autodidact you – not your parents, not your professor, not your boss — get to decide what you’re going to learn about. Instead of being a passive consumer of knowledge, you’re actively choosing what you’re learning. In other words, you’re autonomous. As you learn new skills, you’ll enjoy the positive feeling that comes with mastery. And you’ll find yourself with a renewed sense of purpose in life as you set goals for your self-education.

The satisfaction that comes with lifelong learning doesn’t stop there. The more you know about the world, the deeper you can plunge into it, and the more levels of it you can experience. Whether you’re traveling, having a conversation, visiting a museum, watching a movie, or reading a book, your library of knowledge helps you make connections that you would never have otherwise perceived. The more you learn, the more you realize how many references and meanings you’ve missed because the author/speaker simply took that background knowledge, that fluency in cultural literacy, for granted.

Inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/18/how-and-why-to-become-a-lifelong-learner/

No widget added yet.

Finding Success and Unlocking Our Potential

Continuous effort, not strength or  intelligence, is the key to unlocking our  Potential   Sir. Winston Churchill

Today’s story is wonderful! I hope it will inspire you to live the dream of your heart…the life that you were born to create and to believe in yourself and your amazing divine potential!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy today’s story…I don’t know about you, but I am going to make sure I live my life fully today!

Living Limitless – An Inspiring Story of Ultimate Human Potential

I was ushered into the auditorium in a wheelchair. Being a tetraplegic (which means paralyzed neck downwards) I cannot move an inch on my own, nor can I do any work without the help of a caretaker. As my caretaker smoothly guided my wheelchair onto the stage, an estimated 500-strong audience broke into applause. I was conducting an inspirational seminar in Mumbai, India for an international IT company. They had certainly been briefed about me, ‘The Positive Man’ – the title given to me by The Times of India. They were curious to know how a 90 percent-paralyzed man completely confined to a wheelchair can inspire or help them in any way. In a split-second, my mind traveled back 16 years, to the accident.

In December 1999, I was in Goa, India with my wife Eesha to welcome the new millennium. That was when I was completely able and traveled internationally for my interior design projects. Deep-sea diving was one of my favorite adventure sports. The spirit of festivity was in the air. We reached my favorite point – a perfect spot for deep-sea diving and soon I was on top of the cliff ready for my dive.

I sprang with a certain experienced acrobatic maneuver towards the sea. 
A couple of seconds later, there was total darkness, only regaining consciousness on a hospital bed, with no track of time. I could only move my head. It was later in the day that the doctor explained the diagnosis – my cervical spinal cord nerves had been entirely pulverized and I was now neck-downwards paralyzed for life.

There was absolutely no cure for my condition and chances of survival were minimal. Even so, I would be living the rest of my life as a vegetable. I was devastated. Totally in denial, I refused to believe that this could happen to me. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was being sucked into an abyss.

Months passed. I did not die. Something kept me alive, giving me courage even when I had none, soothing my forehead and asking me to relax. One thing was for sure. This something was growing bigger and bigger within me, almost becoming a rebel, a stronger voice with each passing day.

Nothing made sense to me. I met the doctor who had given me the defeatist prognosis in my wheelchair. And yes. I did approach him in my wheelchair and told him with a determined and passionate voice. “Doctor. I appreciate your diagnosis. But I refuse to accept your verdict. I will not live like a vegetable for the rest of my life. Rather, I will spread hope, inspiration and positivity in the hearts of millions.”

Something was still bothering me. I confided in Eesha – “I am still feeling an emptiness within.” Eesha helped me to see that I wanted to reach out to others. Inspire them to fight against their adversities. He stared at me with definite awe. Looking at him, I knew that I had motivated him. A certain sense of confidence started building up inside me – if I can motivate a world-class doctor, I can motivate the whole world. Turning my biggest loss into my greatest strength, I can conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I can accomplish –Mission Positive Earth.

One day, our driver drove my father, my caretaker, and me to Mumbai Central Railway Station, the largest landmark in Mumbai. The newly refurbished interiors unraveled before my eyes. The revamping was planned by me, and executed to perfection by the architects, engineers, and workers. This was one of the 15 international interior designing projects, which I did after my life-changing incident.

My father had wondrously exclaimed, “Hats off to you my son. Handling such a daunting task. In spite of being 90 percent paralyzed. Possible only with willpower, enduring passion, perseverance, and sheer determination, simply because you refused to quit and give up in life.” My heart swelled with pride and gratitude. I felt happy to note that several of my projects had featured in many international architectural magazines.

I must mention here that had it not been for the tremendous moral support of my parents, my sisters and my wife, it would not have been possible for me to keep up the fight. 

However, something was still bothering me. I confided in Eesha – “I am still feeling an emptiness within.” Eesha helped me to see that I wanted to reach out to others. Inspire them to fight against their adversities. Share my own example of resilience, grit and death-defying survival into victory.” Eesha’s words got etched deep in my mind. “Yes,” I acknowledged, “Now it’s time to share my life. We came to observe life very closely.

We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living.

However, tragedy was to strike again. Eesha was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a deadly degenerative disease which also has no cure.

 Over the months and years, her condition deteriorated, and she gradually lost 70 percent of her vision and 90 percent of her speech. She too became completely paralyzed neck downward, unable to move even an inch or do anything on her own.

Despite her being completely bedridden for the last nine years of her debilitating condition, we stood stoically beside each other like pillars of support. Rock bottom became the foundation on which we rebuilt our lives.

We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living. I shut down my thriving interior designing business to answer my divine calling – which was to reinvent myself as an inspirational and motivational speaker.

Considering the world as one global family, duly loving and respecting each individual unconditionally, sharing our example of resilience in the face of grueling adversities with everybody and inspiring them to transform from victim into victory and trial into triumph – like a diehard optimist. And though my wife cannot accompany me physically for my seminars, in spirit she is always a part of Mission Positive Earth.

Looking back at all these incidents today, I feel that every adversity I went through and am still going through is actually a divine plan to prepare me for the bigger challenges lying ahead in the global pursuit of Mission Positive Earth. I also feel that each of us has that powerful voice deep within and that the deepest core of every human being is a field of infinite possibilities.

I was finally beginning to understand what that voice was trying to tell me – “If we human beings realize that all the power we need to succeed is already within us, and if we can channelize this untapped potential, nothing is impossible. In every human being’s heart lies a spark of fire, which lights up in the darkest hour of adversity. All that lies behind us and all that lies in front of us is too little in comparison to what lies within us, and when we realize this, we find that limitations are but imaginary. And if we simply accept this miracle and march ahead with a positive belief in ourselves, we can overcome all our hardships and turn all our dreams into reality.

Obstacles actually strengthen our resolve even more. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory. 
The small seminars at orphanages, old age homes, leprosy homes, home for the blind, non-profit organizations, etc., soon turned into much bigger corporate seminars for multi-national companies and educational institutions (my first corporate seminar being at Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai.) A pulsating burning desire within me broke the shackles of my disabled condition. I – “The Positive Man” – became regular news in the media. I received the Karmaveer Chakra, The Positive Real Life Hero Award, and the MTC Global Top Ten Thinkers Award. But I do not work for awards or honors.

Someone once asked me how much I earn. I replied that my current turnover is a staggering seven billion good wishes and blessings from people all around the world. My real award is when someone tells me – “IF YOU CAN DO IT, SO CAN I”. Yes, I do receive generous donations from big corporations for every motivational seminar that I conduct, most of which I channel towards similar programs for the underprivileged sections of society.

A living is made by what we get, but honestly, life is made by what we give. I sincerely believe in receiving graciously and giving unconditionally. For it is said that our potential is God’s gift to us. And what we do with it is our gift to him. I believe that ultimately the collective energy of billions of humans can achieve anything, including fighting climate change and attaining World Peace. And I am determined to achieve these through my global pursuit called Mission Positive Earth. Sharing these thoughts with people through social media platforms is the main activity of my global mission. Every fiber of my being stands for this noble cause as I believe that total commitment is paramount to reach the pinnacle of success.

Today once again, I set out to touch hearts, inspiring all to live out their highest vision. Because each man is capable of doing more than he thinks he can do. Does it matter that I have lost sensation in 90 percent of my body and my respiratory function is only about 50 percent, that I cannot drink a drop of water on my own or eat a morsel of food on my own, that my four limbs don’t function leaving me completely dependent on my caretaker round the clock, that I have zero control of my bladder and bowels or that if I am neck downwards completely paralyzed ?

What really matters in life is that I am neck upwards wise and positively analyzed. I still have a heart that beats, a soul that feels and a mind that thinks optimistically.

Dear readers – never give up in life or lose hope, as we humans are born to win. And only those who have the strength to overcome are faced with hardships. So don’t run away; don’t escape. Let those hard times ignite the strength within your heart and blow away your adversities. Let us each be grateful and thankful for this wonderful, amazing and priceless opportunity called life. Indeed our I cans, I ams, and I wills are far more important than our IQs.

With this, I take your leave, dear readers, as I commence my seminar: 

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen! What a miraculous journey life is …”

Today’s inspirational story shared from the following website: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/living-limitless-an-inspiring-true-story-of-ultimate-human-potential-bbab/

No widget added yet.