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Optimism…

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was.

“We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile.

“Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.”

“Discouraged” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.”

photo credit: allposters.com

story found at: mormonsite.wordpress.com

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Things Change…

January 12, 2012 Leave a comment

For most people, graduation is an exciting day – the culmination of years of hard work. My graduation day… was not.

I remember that weekend two years ago. Family and friends had flown in from across the country to watch our class walk across that stage. But like everyone else in my graduating class, I had watched the economy turn from bad to worse my senior year. We graduates had degrees, but very limited prospects. Numerous applications had not panned out and I knew that the next day, when my lease ended, I would no longer have a place to call home.

The weeks ahead weren’t easy. I gathered up everything I couldn’t carry and put it into storage. Then, because I knew my small university town couldn’t offer me any opportunities, I packed up my car and drove to Southern California to find work. But what I thought would take a week dragged into two, and then four, and 100 job applications later, I found myself in the exact same spot as I was before. And the due date to begin paying back my student loans was creeping ever closer.

You know that feeling when you wake up and you are just consumed with dread? Dread about something you can’t control – that sense of impending failure that lingers over you as you hope that everything that happened to you thus far was just a bad dream? That feeling became a constant in my life.

Days felt like weeks, weeks like months, and those many months felt like an unending eternity of destitution. And the most frustrating part was no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t seem to make any progress.

So what did I do to maintain my sanity? I wrote. Something about putting words on a page made everything seem a little clearer – a little brighter. Something about writing gave me hope. And if you want something badly enough… sometimes a little hope is all you need!

I channeled my frustration into a children’s book. Beyond the River was the story of an unlikely hero featuring a little fish who simply refused to give up on his dream.

And then one day, without any sort of writing degree or contacts in the writing world – just a lot of hard work and perseverance – I was offered a publishing contract for my first book! After that, things slowly began to fall into place. I was offered a second book deal. Then, a few months later, I got an interview with The Walt Disney Company and was hired shortly after.

The moral of this story is… don’t give up. Even if things look bleak now, don’t give up. Two years ago I was huddled in my car drinking cold soup right out of the can. Things change.

If you work hard, give it time, and don’t give up, things will always get better. Oftentimes our dreams lie in wait just a little further upstream… all we need is the courage to push beyond the river.


Alex is the author of a new children’s story called Beyond The River about a little fish who is looking for answers. Reprinted with Alex’s kind permission. Copyright ©2011.

photo credit: pfaustin.blogspot.com

Grow Strong by Challenging Yourself…

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

From my friends at Navigating Life’s Journey:

Here’s a great idea …

In their book, What Happy People Know, Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth say, “The human mind, body, and spirit thrive on struggle and challenge, just as a muscle thrives on exercise. Satisfaction without effort doesn’t create happiness. It creates only dissipation, alienation, boredom, weakness, and a sense of worthlessness.” (p. 164)

In other words …

Few things give us a greater sense of accomplishment than when we work hard to complete a task. We just don’t get the same feeling of pleasure when we finish a project that doesn’t require much effort. The more we can pour ourselves into the things we do the more contentment and satisfaction we can find in our lives.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Find something you can do that you enjoy, but will challenge you. It can be exercising, reading a book, or working on a new project. When you’ve finished, take some time to appreciate the effort it took and the feeling of accomplishment.

 

photo credit: seekextreme.com

Success Is 99% Failure: The Story of Soichiro Honda

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s Principle: I become what I think; therefore I will think only thoughts of greatness.

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What is a true winner? We may be very familiar of Honda Motors. They’re everywhere, from cars to motorcycles. But do you know the real story of how challenging it was for Mr. Soichiro Honda to establish Honda Motors?

Like most other countries, Japan was hit badly by the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1938, Soichiro Honda was still in school, when he started a little workshop, developing the concept of the piston ring.

His plan was to sell the idea to Toyota. He labored night and day, even slept in the workshop, always believing he could perfect his design and produce a worthy product. He was married by now, and pawned his wife’s jewelry for working capital.

Finally, came the day he completed his piston ring and was able to take a working sample to Toyota, only to be told that the rings did not meet their standards! Soichiro went back to school and suffered ridicule when the engineers laughed at his design.

He refused to give up. Rather than focus on his failure, he continued working towards his goal. Then, after two more years of struggle and redesign, he won a contract with Toyota.

By now, the Japanese government was gearing up for war! With the contract in hand, Soichiro Honda needed to build a factory to supply Toyota, but building materials were in short supply. Still he would not quit! He invented a new concrete-making process that enabled him to build the factory.

With the factory now built, he was ready for production, but the factory was bombed twice and steel became unavailable, too. Was this the end of the road for Honda? No!

He started collecting surplus gasoline cans discarded by US fighters – “Gifts from President Truman,” he called them, which became the new raw materials for his rebuilt manufacturing process. Finally, an earthquake destroyed the factory.

After the war, an extreme gasoline shortage forced people to walk or use bicycles. Honda built a tiny engine and attached it to his bicycle. His neighbors wanted one, and although he tried, materials could not be found and he was unable to supply the demand.

Was he ready to give up now? No! Soichiro Honda wrote to 18,000 bicycles shop owners and, in an inspiring letter, asked them to help him revitalize Japan. 5,000 responded and advanced him what little money they could to build his tiny bicycle engines. Unfortunately, the first models were too bulky to work well, so he continued to develop and adapt, until finally, the small engine ‘The Super Cub’ became a reality and was a success. With success in Japan, Honda began exporting his bicycle engines to Europe and America.

End of story? No! In the 1970s there was another gas shortage, this time in America and automotive fashion turned to small cars. Honda was quick to pick up on the trend. Experts now in small engine design, the company started making tiny cars, smaller than anyone had seen before, and rode another wave of success.

Today, Honda Corporation employs over 100,000 people in the USA and Japan, and is one of the world’s largest automobile companies. Honda succeeded because one man made a truly committed decision, acted upon it, and made adjustments on a continuous basis. Failure was simply not considered a possibility.

 

photo credit: jalopnik.com

Words of Encouragement

January 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s Principle: I will look for ways to strengthen those who have less than I.

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With so many people in the world telling us we can’t succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can. I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn’t accept me and even if they did I wouldn’t be able to do the work. (It’s funny that I’m a writer now). I almost didn’t apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Goldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, “If you get in, then you go. You can do it.” His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse :).

Too often we think it’s our role to inject a dose of “reality” into someone’s life. We think it’s our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We think we must point out how bad the economy is and how horrible the job market is and how the sky is falling. We think that dreams were meant for others.

I say there are enough pessimists and “realists” in the world. The world doesn’t need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers. The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others and say “I believe in you.” “Follow your passion and live your purpose.” “If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen.” “Keep working hard.” “You’re improving and getting better. Keep it up.” “The economy is tough but you can still grow your business.” “The job market is not great but I believe you’ll find the right job for you.” “We’ve hit a lot of obstacles but we’ll get the project finished.” “Even if you fail it will lead to something even better.” “You’re learning and growing.”

When it comes to encouragement I know that everyone of us loves working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great. And while we’ll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn’t accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.

Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. So often the difference between success and failure is belief. And so often that belief is instilled in us by someone who encouraged us. Leadership, after all, is a transfer of belief.

Today decide to be that person who instills a positive belief in someone who needs to hear your encouraging words. Uplift someone who is feeling down. Fuel your team with your positive energy. Rally others to focus on what is possible rather than what seems impossible. Share encouragement. It matters and we all need it.

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© Jon Gordon. All rights reserved.

Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant and author of several books including the recently released “The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work,” and the international best seller. “The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.” which has captured the hearts of readers world-wide. Jon’s next book, “Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else,” was released May, 2009. Jon and his books have been featured on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and in Forbes, Fast Company, O Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Additionally, NFL coaches such as Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith, the PGA Tour and the FBI have all called on Jon to inspire their teams.

photo credit: cherrybam.com

How Close Are You?

December 30, 2011 Leave a comment

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Thomas Edison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: projectshum.org

Visualise…

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Today’s Goal Achievement Quote at Goal Habits is a good one:

“If you don’t know where you are going, then how will you get there? VISUALISE! Make pictures in your mind. See the destination. Imagine your arrival. Dream in perfect detail. See yourself the way you want to be when you arrive. See yourself arriving. Make yourself a road map and study it every day until you know the way and the destination by heart.”
—Bryce Courtenay

 

photo credit: sociology.org