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Team Hoyt…

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Strongest Dad in the World
Rick Reilly for Sports Illustrated

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars – all in the same day.

Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much – except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life,” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.”

But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”

And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway. Then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”

How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 – only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.”

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. “The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”
Sports Illustrated Issue date: June 20, 2005, p. 88

Categories: Emotional Tags: ,

Shrink the World…

January 5, 2012 1 comment

Today’s Principle: I will be grateful for all that I have.

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If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.  There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 would be Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

(ONE)1 would be near death;

(ONE)1 would be near birth;

(ONE)1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education;

(ONE)1 (yes, only 1) would own a computer.

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

And, therefore . . .

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

As you read this and are reminded how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed you really are!

 

photo credit: solstation.com

story found at: rogerknapp.com

This is Good…

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s Principle: I will develop a spirit of optimism.

A lighthearted story with a good message:

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An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake. As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you!”

– Author Unknown

 

photo credit: sulfabittas.com

Categories: Emotional Tags: , , , ,

The Silver Lining…

January 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Found this story at motivateus.com. It made me pause and try to find the silver lining in some of the events that I’ve gone through recently. Is there something difficult you’re facing right now? Something that is aggravating you? Perhaps you can find the silver lining like the man in this story…

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On a recent Saturday evening at around midnight, my wife and I were just about to turn out the light and go to sleep when we heard the sounds of a group of people talking in the street, outside our home. Then out of the blue came two loud thuds above our bedroom window, followed by the noise of laughter and people running away down our street.

We both jumped out of bed, I turned on the external lights and rushed outside unsure of what had caused the two thuds or what damage I could expect to see. The silence of the night was broken by the distant sound of people laughing and at that moment I was of a mind to chase after them, however, running bare-footed on the road in the dark is not a very wise thing to do.

I could hear dripping noises on the driveway and the flood light above our garage helped me to identify just what had happened. Our home had been the victim of an egg bombing!

Being faced with the prospect of cleaning up this sticky mess in the early hours of the morning was not a pleasing thought, on top of which I was less than impressed that we had been singled out for this annoying prank. I decided that it was too late to clean up the mess, as it would disturb our neighbours, so it could wait to the morning.

Early next morning with a bucket of warm water and scrubbing brush in hand, and with the extension ladder placed on the front wall, I was now ready to wash off what was now two dry yellowish, egg grit impregnated, 1 metre long patches above our front bedroom windows.

My task was made even more challenging by the two large canvas awnings which protect our bedroom windows from the heat and glare of the afternoon sun. My annoyance with the late night pranksters was again building to the level of the night before.

After retracting each of the awnings, something we rarely do except when there is are very high winds, I then climbed the ladder to clean up the first patch of egg stain and then move the ladder to clean the second patch. As I climbed the ladder for the second time, I noticed that the glass in a small window just under the roof line was very badly cracked. On closer inspection the crack ran around over half of the outer edge of the window pane. As the awning protected the window, it was clear to me that the damage had not been caused by the egg bombing. As I carefully placed my hand on the glass, I discovered that the pane of glass was very loose and had the window been closed with any force, it would have most likely shattered and the glass dropped to the drive way, some seven metres below.

Just a few metres away, we have a basketball ring and on most days of the week there are up to six young people who play in the immediate area, including both my sons. My thoughts immediately turned to what could have happened if the broken glass in the window had gone undetected for much longer and then suddenly shattered. The likelihood of my two sons and their friends being seriously injured was extremely high.

After quickly washing the remaining egg stain off the front wall and with the help of Tom, my youngest son, I got to work with some heavy duty masking tape and secured the cracked window as best I could. Within 24 hours the cracked window had been replaced and all was back to normal, except for the small bits of egg shell I kept finding on the front drive way and stuck to our garage doors.

Over the next few days, I realised that had our home not been bombarded by those eggs late on that Saturday night, I may not have discovered the broken window pane before it shattered and came down all over our drive way.

Even though it had been an annoyance at time, the broken eggs and the stains were cleaned up very quickly, however, the pain that could have been caused by the shattering of glass would never gone away and would have haunted my wife and myself, forever and a day.

The cold shudder that ran down my spine when I first discovered the cracked window and the thought about the consequences of someone being seriously injured or even killed, made me realise just how very lucky we had been.

Frequently in life, the small things that happen to us may have a negative impact and cause some form of pain, sadness, discomfort or personal aggravation. It is often said that we should not ‘sweat the small stuff’ and always look for the positive outcome or the silver lining in those dark clouds of the current circumstance, even though at the time that is not always an easy thing to do.

My personal experience with the egg bombing on that Saturday evening reminded me that in most cases there is always a flip side to everything that happens to us and that often the flip side can provide a positive outcome or an even greater benefit, if not now, then at some time in the future.

From now on whenever I see or break an egg, I will think of the egg bombing incident and say a thank you to those late night pranksters. Equally, I will always be reminded of Jean-Paul Sartre’s quote:

‘What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us’

Written by Keith Ready – July 2005
Keith Ready is an Australian based business adviser and trainer whose specialty is working with his clients to improve top and bottom line business performance in a measurable way, through people.
You can visit his website at http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au

Jessie’s Glove…

December 28, 2011 3 comments

I found this story at feelmotivated and wanted to share it with you. Perhaps, during this holiday season, you know somebody who has a small need. Why don’t you be the one to fill that need, just like this store manager did for her employee?

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I do a lot of management training each year for the Circle K Corporation, a national chain of convenience stores. Among the topics we address in our seminars is the retention of quality employees – a real challenge to managers when you consider the pay scale in the service industry. During these discussions, I ask the participants, “What has caused you to stay long enough to become a manager?” Some time back a new manager took the question and slowly, with her voice almost breaking, said, “It was a $19 baseball glove.”

Cynthia told the group that she originally took a Circle K clerk job as an interim position while she looked for something better. On her second or third day behind the counter, she received a phone call from her nine-year old son, Jessie. He needed a baseball glove for Little League. She explained that as a single mother, money was very tight, and her first check would have to go for paying bills. Perhaps she could buy his baseball glove with her second or third check.

When Cynthia arrived for work the next morning, Patricia, the store manager, asked her to come to the small room in back of the store that served as an office. Cynthia wondered if she had done something wrong or left some part of her job incomplete from the day before. She was concerned and confused. Patricia handed her a box. “I overheard you talking to your son yesterday,” she said, “and I know that it is hard to explain things to kids. This is a baseball glove for Jessie because he may not understand how important he is, even though you have to pay bills before you can buy gloves. You know we can’t pay good people like you as much as we would like to; but we do care, and I want you to know you are important to us.”

The thoughtfulness, empathy and love of this convenience store manager demonstrates vividly that people remember more how much an employer cares than how much the employer pays. An important lesson for the price of a Little League baseball glove.

Author – Rick Phillips  (Source: Heart At Work)

 

photo credit: life123.com

How to Be Outstanding…

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s an excerpt from a great post I found at thinksimplenow. This is a great blog that you really ought to check out if you’re into personal development… I’ve spent a couple hours digging around, and there’s tons of great content there.

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Are you exceptional in your line of work? Do you love what you do? Perhaps that’s why you are or aren’t getting the results you want.

People who consistently achieve outstanding results all have this in common: they are passionate about what they do. It’s no longer work, but an active participation of joy and creativity.

This article takes a deeper look into outstanding performance, and gives guidance as to how you can manifest outstanding results in your life.

First, I’ll start with a slice from my own experience:

Five years of my life was spent in University getting a Math and Computer Science degree so that I could get a high-tech job with guaranteed security. School was tough and flew by quickly. After battling it out with other competitors chasing after the same jobs, I got what I wanted and landed in Seattle.

Very soon after, I realized that I wasn’t that great at programming software, nor was I very interested in it. I got my job done, but I felt that I had to work extra hard just to keep up with my peers. I longed to fit-in with other engineers and felt like a sore thumb sticking out in the crowd. “One day, they’re gonna find out…” I used to tell myself during the first six months on the job.

I knew better. I knew that I wasn’t average. I knew that my best was excellent. I pulled long hours, worked on weekends, was addicted to caffeine, and within a few month, I developed an immune system disorder called Psoriasis Rosea from stress. It was the drive to be outstanding, in a position that wasn’t fit for me or my interests which brought me to this low point.

 

My Story Continues …

Overtime, I recognized that I naturally gravitated towards designing graphical interfaces and that I naturally obsessed over the user’s experience while using software. I wanted to do that professionally, but lacked the education or experience. A roadblock had appeared before me. I had voiced my intentions to my manager and was told No; again, another roadblock.

I didn’t give up. I read books, took seminars, worked on personal design projects and brought my new found knowledge onto the job. I incorporated design and user experience considerations into everything I worked on as an engineer. I developed a small reputation among neighboring teams, and soon was unofficially offering my user-experience expertise to other teams within the company. Despite it not being my job, I did it anyway. I did so because it was what I loved doing, it came natural to me and I felt that I was exceptional at it.

Over the next couple of years, I faced resistance and adversity surrounding my professional transition, but I clung to my clearly desired target. Through persistence and never giving up hope for my dream job, two years later, I officially became a user-experience designer for amazon.com. Since then, I have never looked back with regret.

 

Lessons from Following My Passion

Here is a summary of lessons I’ve learned through this experience:

  • Anything is possible if you want it bad enough
  • When you follow your heart, not only will you contribute more to your organization, you will utilize less energy and you will feel happier.
  • We are all naturally gifted at certain disciplines. You’ll know when you find it, because you can quickly grasp new concepts, you find it enjoyable, and doing it comes easy to you; almost like breathing.
  • Doing something that is not natural to our abilities and interests is like swimming against the current. You’ll eventually get to the shore, but it will take you longer and will excerpt extra energy.
  • Doing things that come natural to us and align with our interests feels like swimming along with the current. You’ll get to the shore smoothly and with little effort.
  • When you are clear about wanting something, take action towards its attainment, and persist until you reach it, the universe will conspire to make it a reality. Your energy and determination will move people, and they will find ways to help you.
  • Insecurities and negative self-talk derived from fear achieves nothing, except to convince us that we are failures and losers. These are lies that only appear real in our imagination.
  • The roadblocks you encounter on the way to reaching your destination are actually gifts. Treat them as challenges that you were meant to experience and learn from. They are like small tests that the universe presents us with, as if asking: “How bad do you really want this? Have you given up yet?”
  • When you listen to your heart, follow your passion, and do what you love to do, it’s hard not to be outstanding. You’re almost guaranteed to succeed.

photo credit: startupcompany.com

 

Follow Your Passion…

December 19, 2011 3 comments

This is part of a post I found at the bassplayerdocs blog today. I’ve been thinking a lot about what my passions are lately, and trying to reorganize my life so that I can spend time doing those things that I’m most excited about. It’s funny, though, I’ve had a really difficult time identifying what really drives me. I’ve got some things that get me excited, like this blog, but nothing that really lights me up. I’ll continue searching, and keep you all posted on what I find. In the meantime, enjoy this little tidbit:

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Most of us are stuck with doing things for the sake of doing them. When we were kids, we dream about what we wanted to become when we grow old. However, when reality starts to get the best of us, we end up settling for what’s available and totally forget our dreams and passions (like getting stuck with our day jobs because it pays the bills.) Leaders, however, know that passion is a key trait that they need to keep and maintain. Jonathan Byrnes, a Senior Lecturer at MIT and President of Jonathan Byrnes & Co., writes that “Leaders are people who leave their footprints in their areas of passion.“ Customers, business partners, followers, fans and people around you will sense what you’re passionate about because they can see it in you. The late Steve Jobs understood the value of passion where he described one of his major mistakes at Apple when he came back in 1997: Letting a desire for profitability outweigh passion. Great leaders are passionate about what they do, inspire others and ignite the passion within them to do the same. We need to do the same to take our potential to the next level.

photo credit: danielfwilliams.blogspot.com