Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mom's Wisdom

by Catherine Pulsifer

My Mom is in her seventies, and has seen a lot in her lifetime. She faced challenges that we all face one way or the other. She has seen successes and many happy times throughout her life.

Recently, we were talking and I asked her if she could give me just three pieces of advice to live my life what would they be. After some thought, she said she would have to think about it. It surprised me that she wanted time to think about it. She always was free with her advice sometimes even when I didn't want to hear it.

I arrived at her house the next day where she handed me a piece of paper with her three pieces of wisdom written out. She explained to me that if she was only able to give me three, that these three were the most important.

As I read them, I realized the importance of what she was telling me. She wasn't telling me to save my money, nor was she telling me to work hard. Her 3 most important things to live a happy life were truly pieces of wisdom.

What were they? Here is the wisdom my Mom shared with me:

1. Make each new day count by helping someone or just making someone smile.
2. Don't dwell on life's troubles, think of the good times.
3. Don't worry about things you can't do anything about.

This was an interesting thing to do. Perhaps, like me, you have someone in your life that has been there for you, no matter what. My Mom has always been one of my biggest supporters and the wisdom she has given me over the years has helped shaped the person I am today.

Ask that person in your life to give you three pieces of advice to live a good life. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answers you get.

"You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside" - Wayne Dyer

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spilt Milk

A famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from an experience with his mother that occurred when he was about two years old. He had been trying to remove a bottle of milk from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor—a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture, or punishing him, she said, “Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?”

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, “You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel, or a mop. Which do you prefer?” He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, “You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the back yard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.” The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson!

This renowned scientist then remarked that it was at that moment that he knew he didn’t need to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even if the experiment “doesn’t work,” we usually learn something valuable from it.

Without mistakes we don't learn, we can't get better at what we do and we don't find out what is wrong.

When we make mistakes we can:
-look at things differently and find new solutions
-think creatively and find many possible answers
-find many ways of solving a problem
-find rules that are 'old' and no longer of use, whether they be rules of society or rules of our minds
-find a solution to solve another problem
-have a sense of humour
-find a new way of thinking
-change directions so we don't keep on doing the wrong thing
-learn about new things.

"To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future" - Plutarch

Friday, February 20, 2009

Slow Down Culture

(Author unknown)

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold several meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think we should help them too?" Imagine my face!

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US 's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!"

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Thanks for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stopped By A Brick

About ten years ago, a young and very successful executive named Josh was traveling down a Chicago neighborhood street. He was going a bit too fast in his sleek, black, 12-cylinder Jaguar XKE, which was only two months old. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no child darted out, but a brick sailed out and -- WHUMP! -- it smashed into the Jag's shiny black side door! SCREECH...!!!! Brakes slammed! Gears ground into reverse, and tires madly spun the Jaguar back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown.

Josh jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid and pushed him up against a parked car. He shouted at the kid, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing?!" Building up a head of steam, he went on. "That's my new Jag, that brick you threw is gonna cost you a lot of money. Why did you throw it?"

"Please, mister, please...I'm sorry! I didn't know what else to do!" pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop!"

Tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car. "It's my brother, Mister," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the young executive tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.

Straining, he lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be OK. He then watched the younger brother push him down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long walk back to the sleek, black, shining, 12-cylinder Jaguar XKE - a long and slow walk.

Josh never did fix the side door of his Jaguar. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention.

At times in our lives, we tend to become so wrapped up in other things. We become focused on ourselves or our job we do not realize there are others around us that need our help.

We can react in a negative way to a situation without fully realizing or taking the time to look at the other persons situation. Or to take the time to find out the reason the other person has taken the action that they did.

"Don't let the bricks in life hit you, be sensitive to those around you." - Catherine Pulsifer

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Clock

This clock had sat on the mantle for years. And it ran and ran. One day, the clock began to think about how many times it had to tick during the year. It counted up the seconds - it would have to tick 31,536,000 times a year. The clock seemed overwhelmed - "I can't do it, that is just too much." So the clock stopped ticking. Then somebody reminded the clock that it didn't have to tick the 31,536,000 seconds all at one time, but rather one tick at a time. The clock then realized this was okay and started ticking again!

When we set our goals, it is good to visualize the end results. But, getting to our goal is doing a little bit every day; not doing it all at once. So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed by your goal, remember the clock and the number of ticks - do a little bit every day and over time you will reach your goal. Believe me, reaching your goal is worth it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Cow And The Pig

There was once a man who was very rich and very miserly at the same time.. The villagers disliked him intensely. One day he said to them, "Either you're jealous of me or you don't understand my love of money-God alone knows.. But you dislike me; that much I know. When I die, I won't take anything with me. I will leave it all for others. I will make a will, and I will give everything to charity. Then everyone will be happy."

Even then people mocked and laughed at him. The rich man said to them, "What is the matter with you? Can't you wait a few years to see my money go to charity?"

The villagers didn't believe him. He said, "Do you think I'm immortal? I'll die like everyone else, and then my money will go to charities." He couldn't understand why they didn't believe him.

One day he went for a walk. All of a sudden it started raining heavily, so he took shelter under a tree. Under this tree he saw a pig and a cow. The pig and the cow entered into conversation, and the man overheard what they were saying.

The pig said to the cow, "How is it that everybody appreciates you and nobody appreciates me? When I die, I provide people with bacon, ham and sausage. People can also use my bristles. I give three or four things, whereas you give only one thing: milk. Why do people appreciate you all the time and not me?"

The cow said to the pig, "Look, I give them milk while I'm alive. They see that I am generous with what I have. But you don't give them anything while you're alive. Only after you're dead do you give ham, bacon and so forth. People don't believe in the future; they believe in the present. If you give while you are alive, people will appreciate you. It is quite simple."

From that moment on, the rich man has started to follow the advice.

It might cost us time, money, stepping out of our comfort zone, or sacrificing our own needs, but the rewards of giving are priceless. When we give, we reap the joy of seeing a bright smile, laughter, tears, joy, and gratitude. Giving is one of the best ways to share our joy, love and gratitude for life!

"There is no joy in possession without sharing - Erasmo da Rotterdam"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Tiny Frogs

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began.

No one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as:

"Oh, WAY too difficult!!

They will NEVER make it to the top."or:

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one,except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell,

"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But ONE continued higher and higher and higher... This one wouldn't give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who after a big effort was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?

It turned out. That the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story is: Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic, cause they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you. The ones you have in your heart! Always think of the power words have. Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions! Therefore always be positive and above all Be DEAF when people tell YOU that YOU can not fulfil YOUR dreams! Always think: I can do this!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Parable Of The Pencil

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box.

"There are 5 things you need to know," he told the pencil, "Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be."

One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God's hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.

Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you'll need it to become a stronger person.

Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

Four: The most important part of you will always be what's on the inside.

Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.

Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Mental Chain

Most people are like the circus elephant. Have you ever seen a giant elephant in an indoor arena tied to a little wooden stake. That huge creature can pick up two thousand pounds with its trunk, yet it calmly stays tied. Why?

When that elephant was just a baby, and not very strong, it was tied by a huge chain to an iron stake that could not be moved. Regardless of how hard it tried, it could not break the chain and run free. After it a while it just gave up. Later, when it is strong, it never attempts to break free. The "imprint" is permanent. "I can't! I can't!' it says.

There are millions of people who behave like this creature of the circus. They have been bound, tied and told "You'll never make it," so many times they finally call it quits. They may have dreams, but the "imprinting" keeps pulling them back.

Today, eliminate the source of your limitations. When you mentally break free, the boundaries will be removed from your future.