Friday, October 31, 2008

Celebrate The Goodness

The head of a cloistered monastery became very frustrated with the bickering and conflict among the monks who were in his charge. He felt helpless in finding a solution to this ongoing problem. One day, he was brilliantly inspired with the right and perfect solution. Knowing that behaviors can change if there is a compelling reason to do so, he called all of the monks together.

He said, "I am so pleased to share this wonderfully exciting news with you today. I have learned that one among you is a divinely chosen and blessed being who is one of God's specially selected ministers. We are so fortunate to have this person among us. I know that each of you shares this excitement with me." With no further word, he turned and left the monks alone.

The monks sat for a moment and looked around at each other. The puzzlement and then the wonder in their eyes were evident as they looked to each other for some sign of the "blessed one." There was outer silence, but each monk experienced similar inner dialog. "I wonder who it is? Who among us seems most likely to be God's special being? I wonder if I have insulted the blessed one?..." On and on went the inner dialog.

The bickering among the monks seem to cease almost immediately as they did their best not to insult or antagonize the one who was held in special esteem by God. Since there was no indication of who the special monk was, all of the monks treated each other with respect, courtesy, and great fondness.

Weeks went by. The excitement and curiosity abated and the monks settled down into their usual routine. However, the habit of bickering had been replaced with the habit of respect, courtesy, and a willingness to explore solutions to their problems. There was peace in the monastery.

This wonderful story reflects what actually takes place every day in the workplace. What if we treated our co-workers as though they are "divinely special beings" with our motive not being one of fear, but simply wanting peace in the workplace more than we want anything else?

When we begin to look at others with compassionate eyes, speak words of kindness, and think of others with a desire to understand them, we will begin to change. And, interestingly enough so will they. What goes around, comes around.

"Just for this moment, this day, this week, I will look for the goodness in others, as I look for and celebrate the goodness in myself."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Window

A young couple moves into a new neighbourhood. The next morning, while they were eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said, “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbour would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look! She has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her.”

The husband said” “I got up early and cleaned our windows!”

And so it with life:

What we see when watching others, depend on the purity of the window through which we look. Before we give criticism, it might be a good idea to check our state of mind and ask ourselves, if we are ready to see the good rather than to be looking at something in the person we are about to judge.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Turtles

A turtle family decided to go on a picnic. The turtles, being naturally slow about things, took seven years to prepare for their outing. Finally the turtle family left home looking for a suitable place. During the second year of their journey they found a place ideal for them at last!

For about six months they cleaned the area, unpacked the picnic basket, and completed the arrangements. Then they discovered they had forgotten the salt. A picnic without salt would be a disaster, they all agreed. After a lengthy discussion, the youngest turtle was chosen to retrieve the salt from home. Although he was the fastest of the slow moving turtles, the little turtle whined, cried, and wobbled in his shell. He agreed to go on one condition: that no one would eat until he returned. The family consented and the little turtle left.

Three years passed and the little turtle had not returned. Five years...six years... then on the seventh year of his absence, the oldest turtle could no longer contain his hunger. He announced that he was going to eat and begun to unwrap a sandwich. At that point the little turtle suddenly popped out from behind a tree shouting, 'See! I knew you wouldn't wait. Now I am not going to go get the salt.'

Some of us waste our time waiting for people to live up to our expectations. We are so concerned about what others are doing that we don't do anything ourselves.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Frogs

A farmer came into town and asked the owner of a restaurant if he could use a million frog legs. The restaurant owner was shocked and asked the man where he could get so many frog legs! The farmer replied, 'There is a pond near my house that is full of frogs - millions of them. They all croak all night long and they are about to make me crazy!' So the restaurant owner and the farmer made an agreement that the farmer would deliver frogs to the restaurant, five hundred at a time for the next several weeks.

The first week, the farmer returned to the restaurant looking rather sheepish, with two scrawny little frogs. The restaurant owner said, 'Well... where are all the frogs?' The farmer said, 'I was mistaken. There were only these two frogs in the pond. But they sure were making a lot of noise!'

Next time you hear somebody criticizing or making fun of you, remember, it's probably just a couple of noisy frogs. Also remember that problems always seem bigger in the dark. Have you ever laid in your bed at night worrying about things which seem almost overwhelming like a million frogs croaking? Chances are pretty good that when the morning comes, and you take a closer look, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Pretty Lady

Once upon a time a big monk and a little monk were traveling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river. There was a pretty lady who was stuck at the damaged bridge and couldn't cross the river. The big monk offered to carry her across the river on his back. The lady accepted. The little monk was shocked by the move of the big monk. 'How can big brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?' thought the little monk. But he kept quiet. The big monk carried the lady across the river and the small monk followed unhappily. When they crossed the river, the big monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her.

All along the way for several miles, the little monk was very unhappy with the act of the big monk. He was making up all kinds of accusation about the big monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the big monk had no inclination to explain his situation. Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the little monk could not stand it any further he burst out angrily at the big monk. 'How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your teachings to me make you a big hypocrite”. The big monk looked surprised and said, 'I had put down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?'

This very old Chinese Zen story reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate us and they make us angry. Sometimes, they cause us a lot of hurt, sometimes they cause us to be bitter or jealous. But like the little monk, we are not willing to let them go away. We keep on carrying the baggage of the 'pretty lady' with us. We let them keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause us a lot of agony. Why? Simply because we are not willing to put down or let go of the baggage of the 'pretty lady'. We should let go of the pretty lady immediately after crossing the river that is after the unpleasant event is over. This will immediately remove all our agonies. There is no need to be further hurt by the unpleasant event after it is over.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts Of The Day

1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
4. You can’t please everyone. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5. Don’t let your neighbour set your standard. Be yourself.
6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10.Don’t hold postmortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.
11.Do what you can for those less fortunate than you.
12.Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Many Apples are in One Apple Seed?

Clark and Mason were sitting in the break room talking about business strategies for their small company. Mason, ever the worrier, was expressing his frustrations over how "quick success" seemed to be eluding them. Mason said to Clark, "I can't see any evidence of our hard work. It seems like every thing that we have done has been to no avail."

Clark, a more seasoned businessperson, sat listening to his business partner, while peeling a big red apple. He understood Mason's frustration. Early in his business career, Clark had similar feelings and often gave up on his goals prematurely because he did not believe in himself. Fortunately, Clark gained understanding of the need for belief and patience.

Holding up the apple he was peeling, Clark said to Mason, "See this apple, Mason. When I cut it in half, we can count the number of seeds in it." Clark cut the apple in half and noted the number of seeds in the core of the apple. He held up one seed for Mason to see. "However," Clark continued, "we cannot count the number of apples in one seed." Mason looked at Clark as he momentarily struggled to understand how Clark's example related to his concerns.

Clark continued, "We cannot know how many “trees” will grow and bear fruit from our efforts thus far. Now is the time to assume that our seed will bear fruit, to see the orchard filled with trees loaded with apples, which have been fertilized with belief and confidence, and watered with enthusiasm. We must be careful not to allow the weeds of negativity and doubt strangle the new plants as they struggle to grow into fruit-bearing trees."

Often, it is very difficult for us to see beyond what is present, or absent, for a period of time after we have made a decision and taken action. The silence between the time that we launch our goal and when we begin to see the results of our efforts can be deafening. It is during this time that we may lose momentum and enthusiasm for our goals.

Also, our ability to see thousands of apples in one apple seed may separate the truly successful people from those who experience only a modicum of success.

“I will maintain a vision of what I want, need or desire, confident in my abilities to achieve success even when I cannot yet see the results of my effort”.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A carrot, an egg and a cup of coffee..

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first pt, she placed carrots, in the second pot, she placed eggs, and in the last pot, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see." Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity..boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Square Watermelon

Japanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than their US counterparts and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it. That is how I would assume the vast majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, "How can we provide one?" It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.

The solution to the problem of round watermelons wasn't nearly as difficult to solve for those who didn't assume the problem was impossible to begin with and simply asked how it could be done. It turns out that all you need to do is place them into a square box when they are growing and the watermelon will take on the shape of the box.

This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the US meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

What does this have do with anything besides square watermelons? There are a few lessons that can you can take away from this story which help you in all parts of your life. Here are a few of them:

Don't Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don't even realize that I'm making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.

Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. I have changed a large number of habits that I have had after taking the time to question them and continue to do so. Some of them I have know idea where they came from while others I can trace to certain people or instances in my life. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.

Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. I am not a creative person, but I've found that the more that you look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.

Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. I try to ask if there is a better way of doing the things that I do and I constantly write down the things I wish I could do (but currently can't) since these are usually hints about steps I need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, "Is there a better way I could be doing this?" and you will find there often is.

Impossibilities often aren't : If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Many of the lessons above are what I used to create my online income. As I've said many times, it's not easy, but it's certainly not impossible. Even for those of us that are not A-List Bloggers, creating a full time online income is quite possible as I have shown.

Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

Courtsey: Veda Srinivasan Suraj
Infosys Leadership Institute, Mysore

Monday, October 13, 2008

Emotional Well-Being..Basic Human Needs

If you are suffering from an emotional problem such as depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior or repetitive addictions, there is only one place you should start when looking for a solution. Your Basic Human Needs . . .

It seems obvious, but all too often, when it comes to psychology, common sense goes out the window, and the textbooks come off the bookshelf. Why not leave them there for just now, and ask yourself the following questions...
- If you had no petrol in your car, would you be wondering why it won't start?
- If your garden hadn't seen rain for 6 months, would you be racking your brains about why all the plants had died? Of course, not! But ask human beings to apply the same objective observation to their own lives and you are setting a much trickier task. Apparently, if you chuck a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will hop straight out again. But if you put him in cold water and slowly heat it up, he will sit there until well and truly poached. Problems due to missing 'basics' in peoples’ lives tend to develop over time, and so can be easily missed. Then, when the problem arises - be it anxiety, depression, addiction or some other nasty things - they can't for the life of them fathom out as to why! It's therefore a great idea to know what your own garden needs in order to grow well, so when you see something starting to wither, you can check your list and apply the necessary nutrients.

So here's the list. (The number may vary as per varying discernment and exposures)

1. The need to give and receive attention"
No Man Is An Island" - Without regular quality contact with other people, mental condition, emotional state and behavior can suffer quite drastically. This is often particularly obvious in elderly people who have become isolated. After days alone, their first contact may be their doctor, who sees them for 10 minutes. They are highly likely during this short period to appear 'strange' as their thwarted need for attention asserts itself in an outpouring of communication. If the doctor takes this as representative of the patient's general mental condition, they may prescribe drugs, where really a few hours of being listened to would suffice. You may also have noticed this in evening-class attendees who command the teacher's attention all the time, asking seemingly daft questions and not really listening to the answers!

2. Taking heed of the mind body connection
This is so important, and so often neglected. Without correct and regular nutrition, sleep and exercise, your psychological state can suffer considerably. It is often seen that young people, on leaving home and the structure that provides, succumb to one mental illness or another. Their mealtimes, sleep patterns and other regular habits become disrupted, with predictable consequences. It seems that people are increasingly treating themselves as machines!

3. The need for purpose, goals and meaning
"The devil will make work for idle hands to do." Perhaps the overriding element that sets human beings apart from other animals is the ability to identify, analyze and solve problems. This is what enabled us to develop to where we have. If this ability is under-used, the imagination can start to create problems of its own - perhaps in an attempt to give you something to do because it is not occupied doing anything else. Regardless, if a person is deprived of the outward focus and satisfaction created by achieving goals, mental illness is often close behind. The need for meaning is perhaps even more profound.

4. A sense of community and making a contribution
Tying in with the need for meaning, this basic need provides a context for a person. It gives them a reason for being, over and above their own personal needs, that has been shown to benefit the immune system, mental health and happiness. One obvious fulfiller of this need is religion, but can also be an idea shared with others, a club, charity or community work. In fact, anything that takes the focus off the self.

5. The need for challenge and creativity
Learning something new, expanding horizons, improving on existing skills all provide a sensation of progress and achievement. Without this, a person can feel worthless, or that there is no real reason for their being.

6. The need for intimacy
Tying in with the need for attention, it seems that people have a need to share their ideas, hopes and dreams with others close to them. For some, this can be as simple a talking to a loved pet, but for most of us, it requires that we have at least one individual with whom we can converse 'on the same level'.

7. The need to feel a sense of control
"All your eggs in one basket." The results of total loss of control over your surroundings, relationships or body are not hard to imagine, and have been well documented.From survivors of torture, to someone losing their job, those who are able to maintain a sense of control somewhere in their life fare the best. This is why having a variety of interests and activities is so important.

8. The need for a sense of status
It’s important to feel important. And we all know some people for whom this need is too important! However, if someone feels recognized for being a grandmother or parent or good son or daughter, this may be enough. Young people finding their feet can have improved self-esteem if they feel they have attained a position of trust and recognition.

9. The need for a sense of safety and security
We need to feel our environment is basically secure and reasonably predictable. Financial security, physical safety and health, and the fulfillment of other basic needs all contribute to the completion of this need. As with all of the following needs we can take it too far and become obsessive about it – you will see this sometimes if the need for creativity is not met.

Many Needs, One Life
It may seem that a life that meets all of these needs would be intolerably busy. But of course, one activity can meet many needs. Charity work for example, could be said to fulfill 1, 3, 4 and 5, and could contribute to 6 and 7. Walking with a friend as a pastime might go towards 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Generally, what this suggests, and what has been borne out by recent research, is that a more complex life is a healthier one. Then if one area of life fails or is taken away from you, your basic needs are maintained, at least in part, by those that survive.

So the message is...
If your progress through life has gone a bit awry for you or a friend, check if there is petrol in the car, and that the battery is charged before going to a mechanic to have the engine taken apart!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Riches, Mediocrity And Poverty Begin In The Mind

Good news or bad news? It depends on how you see things. You can be bitter after being cheated. Or you can choose to move on with your life....

Robert De Vincenzo, the great Argentine golfer, once won a tournament and, after receiving the check and smiling for the cameras, he went to the clubhouse and prepared to leave. Some time later, he walked alone to his car in the parking lot and was approached by a young woman.

She congratulated him on his victory and then told him that her child was seriously ill and near death. She did not know how she could pay the doctor’s bills and hospital expenses.

De Vincenzo was touched by her story, and he took out a pen and endorsed his winning check for payment to the woman. "Make some good days for the baby," he said as he pressed the check into her hand.

The next week he was having lunch in a country club when a Professional Golf Association official came to his table. "Some of the boys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won that tournament." De Vincenzo nodded. "Well," said the official, "I have news for you. She’s a phony. She has no sick baby. She’s not even married. She fleeced you, my friend."

"You mean there is no baby who is dying?" said De Vincenzo.

"That’s right," said the official.

"That’s the best good news I’ve heard all week." De Vincenzo said.

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you'll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. People avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers.

You can give in to the failure messages and be a bitter deadbeat of excuses. Or you can choose to be happy and positive and excited about life.

The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life's direction.

Being positive or negative are habits of thoughts that have a very strong influence on life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

STOP Negative Thoughts

What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?"

Negative thinking can make all sorts of things incredibly difficult. It is like a leak in our confidence bucket - constantly drip-drip-dripping away our confidence and self esteem. However, once you begin thinking about what you're "thinking about", you've already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts. Next time you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym:

1. S - Say the word STOP

Interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to "STOP" over thinking. Be strict, and don't let them intrude on your thoughts. It also might be helpful to visualize a box to place all your negative thoughts in, which you may open at a later date or time.

2. T - TAKE a break!

Take a deep breath. Then, take a break. Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking, and if possible, change the environment. Also try some relaxation exercises, they often focus on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

3. O - Focus on the OUTCOME!

Focus on the OUTCOME of your goals. Affirm why you are committed to your goals. The way we feel and what we experience in our body comes from what we focus our attention upon during a given moment. And at any moment, we are "deleting" most of what is going on around us. That is, to feel bad, we have to delete (not focus on, not think about) everything that's great in our life. And vice versa. For us to feel good, we have to delete the things we could feel bad about.

4. P - PRAISE yourself!

PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you're looking for progress, not perfection! Give yourself a reward every time you're successful with overcoming negative thoughts. And remember small changes make a big difference.

By recognizing that you do have negative thoughts you've taken the first step. Now, start playing Devil's Advocate and challenge yourself to find the positive. Turn your thoughts around and your moods will follow suit.

And remember, You Are What You Think!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When In Doubt, Risk It

A blind man had been waiting a while at a busy road for someone to offer to guide him across, when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

"Excuse me," said the taper, "I'm blind - would you mind guiding me across the road?"

The first blind man took the arm of the second blind man, and they both crossed the road.

Apparently this is a true story. The first blind man was the jazz pianist George Shearing. He commented on this incidence “What could I do? I took him across and it was the biggest thrill of my life."

There are times when we think we cannot do something and so do not stretch or take a risk. Being forced to stretch and take a risk can often help us to reduce our dependencies (on others, or our own personal safety mechanisms), and to discover new excitement and capabilities.

Action Plan-

Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase - that's what wild geese are for.
Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Source Of The Problem

A man feared his wife wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family Doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the Doctor a better idea about her hearing loss.

Here's what you do," said the Doctor, "stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and s o on until you get a response."

That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, "I'm about 40 feet away, let's see what happens."

Then in a normal tone he asks, 'Honey, what's for dinner?"

No response.

So the husband moves to closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Still no response.

Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again he gets no response so, He walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

Again there is no response.

So he walks right up behind her. "Honey, what's for dinner?"

"James, for the FIFTH time I've said, CHICKEN!"

Moral of the story:

The problem may not be with the other one as we always think, it could be very much within us!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Needing Each Other

Have you had the desire to isolate yourself recently? As conflicts arise in the workplace and remain unresolved, we may become convinced that we could work better alone. At times, we may also become convinced that we do not need others in our lives. The following story demonstrates why the exact opposite is true.

A boy was extended an invitation to visit his uncle who was a lumberjack up in the Northwest... His uncle met him at the depot. As the two pursued their way to the lumber camp, the boy was impressed by the enormous size of the trees on every land. There was a gigantic tree, which he observed standing all alone on top of a small hill. The boy, full of awe, called out excitedly, "Uncle George, look at that big tree! It will make a lot of good lumber, won't it?"

Uncle George slowly shook his head, then replied, "No, son, that tree will not make a lot of good lumber. It might make a lot of lumber, but not a lot of good lumber. When a tree grows off by itself, too many branches grow on it. Those branches produce knots when the tree is cut into lumber. The best lumber comes when they grow together in groves. The trees also grow taller and straighter when they grow together." It is so with people. We become better individuals, more useful timber, when we grow together. (Author unknown)

It takes more than one tree to make a forest. When there is a storm, the surrounding trees share the punishing winds, rains, and snow, sometimes affording protection to the trees in the middle. Such is the case with the people with whom we work and live. Their presence can help us grow tall and strong as we grow personally and spiritually.

While there is beauty in the many branches that a solitary tree may spawn, the knotholes may weaken the fiber of the tree just as isolating ourselves from others may weaken us.

“I stand tall and strong, secure in the knowledge that the presence of other trees around me makes me even stronger.” - Mary Rau-Foster