Notable Quotables

March 16, 2010

For those of you who know me, have heard me, or have read my blogs, you know how I feel about positive affirmation.  When a person is working on having a positive mindset, few things help them get there like a good positive reminders, and when it comes to positive reminders, few work as well as a good positive quotes.

With this in mind, Kolette helped me design 8 new cards that have positive quote on them for 8 great subjects.  We rolled them out at a recent presentation, and they went over like gangbusters.

Here’s a look a the cards.  If you think they might help you, go on over to the store (or click here) and pick up a pack.  You can use them as a motivator by placing them in places where you’ll see them, frame ones you like, or frame one and change it every month.  They even make great gifts.

The packs go for $5.00 a piece, plus $1.50 S&H.  I think you’ll agree that the quotes are moving, and Ko’s design is flawless.  I hope you enjoy them.

Jh-

Quotes:

Positive Attitude: The greatest weapon in the fight to be happy is a Positive Mental Attitude.

Drive: Any dream can be your destination; Just pick a direction and go.

Gratitude: There’s not enough room in the human heart for depression and gratitude at the same time.

Creativity: When you take the best of what you have and combine it with all that you can dream – That’s creativity.

Laughter: Few problems in the world can’t be cured by a moment of laughter.

Service: The kindest gift ever given of man, was a kind word and an open hand.

Cooperation: The more you wonder at the good in others, the less you wonder about the good in yourself.

Persistence: Be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today.


Get The “Hack” Outta Life

November 4, 2009

Hack

If you’ve never checked out Lifehacker.com, you really should.  It’s built on the idea that you can “hack” or find “work arounds” to eliminate much of the regular mundane stuff that bogs us down and eats up our time and money.  With that idea in mind, the site is filled with all kinds of great info on easier ways to get around the regular things everyone has to deal with every day.  The last time I checked the site, they had ideas for everything from a cheaper way to build a first aid kit for your car, to a way to keep your visits to the coffee shop to a minimum, to a easier way to build a theater system in your home.

It’s flat out chocked full with a whole horde of ideas on how to find little shortcuts and “hacks” to make life easier.  I love the site, and use it on a regular basis.

In a similar vein, I see people trying to teach others that they can “hack” their way through the difficult parts of their lives.  They promulgate products and offer up programs promising to have found a “work around” that’ll work for them.  It comes assured as a way to delete difficulty—and then when it doesn’t work, it’s because they didn’t work hard enough or they quit too soon.

I see it all the time. Someone comes around with an easy answer, the promise is too much to pass up, and someone takes the bait. Then, after months and months of time and money, when it’s obvious the snake oil isn’t going to take hold, the answer comes that the sufferer simply didn’t want it bad enough.

The fact is, life is hard—and some things just can’t be fixed, no matter how bad we want them to. Life is filled with adversity and frustration that can’t be “worked around.” Although there is little question that there are ideas to help buoy us up in times of trouble and discord, the majority of the hard stuff simply has to be worked through.

There’s no quick fix, no pill, no “hack” or “cheat” that can change the harsh realities of life.  For the most part the only prescription or program that will have any effect is a healthy dose of, “Pull up your bootstraps.”  “Suck it up,” isn’t real popular, and definitely not PC, but reality is that most times it’s the only answer that really makes any difference.

We all know suffering, but what we also know is that there’s no easy out, no quick fix, no magic spell that can make it ”all better.” But in the end that’s a beautiful thing, because when the balance sheet is finally made right, it’s the hard things that we’ll be most grateful for.

They are the times where we learn the most about who we are and what we’re made of.  They are the times when we get the chance to grow. It’s the struggle that stretches us; it’s the banging against the rocks that will keep us tough.

Only by being “knocked down,” do we find out if we’ve got the strength to get up off the.

There will be some that will read this and say…”So, what then?  Is there nothing to do?  Is there nothing that can be done?”

The answer is, “Of Course not.” There are so many things that we can do to lessen suffering—We just have to accept that most times we can’t have it taken away, and that we can’t take it away for others.  In fact, we shouldn’t.  For, the real irony is that it’s our own opportunity to endure adversity that gives us the ability to find out what we’re really made of.

Adversity will come (I promise you that), and it’ll be a real humdinger.  But, when it comes, embrace it and accept it.  Don’t waste your time trying to “hack” your way out of it.  Just get after the business of enduring it well and watch the lessons you learn. I’m not saying it’ll be fun—no one ever promised you a rose garden—but, if you keep on keepin’ on, it’ll shape you in ways you never dreamed.

Jh-


Pull Your Wagon

December 30, 2008

little-red-wagon

It’s hard for me to think of a time in my life that I wasn’t spending a portion of my energy selling. From lemonade to magazine subscriptions to financial services to ideas for better living, my life has revolved around convincing people to purchase a product I felt could benefit their lives.

One of my earliest memories of this passion for the exchange of money for products and services came when I was five years old.  I had figured out that in order to acquire the candy that was so beautifully displayed at the 7-Eleven down the street I would have to have money. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any money and my mother (who for some reason didn’t share my excitement about the candy) had informed me that she was not going to provide me any additional monies.

Knowing that the “bank” at the home front was closed, I began to think of other options that would help me acquire the candy. I began to wander around my yard trying to find some spare change, and when that didn’t work I began looking for something that I might sell for the money I needed. Eventually, I found a product that I felt sure would get me to my proverbial “candyland.” I loaded up my little red wagon with my product and started on my way to make my first sale.

As I started down the sidewalk my mother saw me and asked where I was going and what I was doing. I told her that I was on my way to sell my wares. She looked in my red wagon and saw it filled with rocks. These weren’t polished rocks, or painted rocks, they were just regular old rocks. She told me that people weren’t going to want to buy rocks that I had found in our yard and invited me to come back to the house where she would help me differentiate them somehow.

I looked at my rocks and felt sure that I had a product of others would pay for. After a few more attempts to change my mind my mom eventually let me go on my way to learn my lesson from the school of hard knocks.

About a half-hour later she saw me slowly returning to the house with my red wagon in tow. As she began to console me in my defeat she noticed that the red wagon I was pulling was empty and my pockets were filled with change. I had sold every one of my rocks and it wasn’t long until that candy I wanted so bad was mine.

Like that day, sometimes in our lives we feel confident in our ability to do great things. In fact, we are positive that we will succeed until someone comes along and attempts to change our mind. Often the people working to get us to see things a different way are doing so because they love us. My mother’s only motivation was to keep me from failure.

However, just because their motives are good doesn’t make their opinions right. There will be times in our lives when we are sure that we can move forward; sure we can do some thing, and in those times our success will largely depend on our willingness to press on regardless of what others say.

In my life, as I think back, I recall many goals that I accomplished even though others told me that I would fail. I think back to the people who told me I would never breathe on my own. I think back to the people who told me I never would graduate high school. I think back to the people who told me I would never get married. I think back to the people who told me I would not become a father, and I think back to the people who told me I would never find gainful employment.

In many ways the only reason I ended up right and they ended up wrong was because I moved forward regardless of what they said. It’s important to get input. It’s important to get advice. I rarely make a decision in my life without consulting wise people with my best interest at heart.

But, acquiring advice doesn’t mean you have to act on that advice. When you know you can succeed and others are sure you will fail, many times the difference between success and failure is whether or not you press on.

This kind of persistence will be the difference between a full wagon and empty pockets and an empty wagon and full pockets. Move forward. Press on. For the most part the real differentiator between selling your rocks or not is a willingness to pull your wagon down the street.

Jh-


Make Your Move

December 11, 2008

1459

In the eleven years that followed my auto accident there wasn’t one where I didn’t spend at least two full months in the hospital. During the most intense of those years it was even worse. I would go into the hospital for whatever procedure and stay in until my body simply couldn’t take it anymore, when they would release me and allow me to stay out until my body was well enough to go back in.

For the most part this meant three months in followed by three months in the hospital repeated over and over again. In the midst of one of these multi-month stays, I had understandably gotten a bad case of cabin fever. I was so tired of being in the hospital I had to find a way out.

During this stay, like many of the others, while I was healing the doctors and therapists wanted me up in my chair as much as possible. Anyone who’s spent any real time in the hospital knows that as soon as they can they get you up and going. However, because of my health I couldn’t go far. Therefore, they would sit me up in my chair wrap three of their large blankets around my body (one around my torso, one around my midsection, and one around my feet), slide my Discman in the back of my chair with my headphones on my head so I had something to listen to, and allow me to cruise around the hospital in my wheelchair.

In those months I explored every inch of the hospital. From geriatrics to genetics, from examination to x-ray, and from the lab to the lounge I knew that hospital like the back of my hand. It got to the point where I spent so much time investigating the hospital and out of my room that the nurses didn’t think twice if I was gone for hours on end.

The day finally came when I had had enough. I couldn’t spend another day in the cafeteria, on the helipad overlooking the community, or in any other department of the hospital–I had to get out.

Knowing that I had at least three hours before someone would come looking I began to formulate a plan.

During that time I spent a lot of energy collecting comic books. The comics themselves were light enough that I could hold them in bed, and collecting them gave me something to pursue. Knowing that the new comics had just come in I knew that the comic store was going to be my destination.

Picking this destination made things a little tricky. The comic book store was nearly three miles away. In my chair that would just barely give me enough time to make it there and back before the nurses noticed.

That morning just like every other morning, the nurses got me up, wrapped me in the three blankets and loaded up my Discman. That morning just like every other morning, I headed off the floor telling the nurses I would be back in a while. However, unlike any other morning I made my way to the lobby.

As I came off the elevators I could see the doors leading out of the hospital. Unfortunately, I also saw the security guard who stood in the lobby to make sure that nobody came in who didn’t look like they belonged and that nobody went out that didn’t look like they had permission.

Obviously being in a wheelchair wearing nothing more than three blankets, what was generously deemed a hospital gown, and a pair of headphones, I was a little conspicuous. Sneaking out while the guard was watching wasn’t exactly an option. So I sat there in the corner of the lobby waiting for my moment.

That day when the nurses were getting me ready I had them put a Cd by the band Sugar Ray into my Discman. I sat in the lobby listening to different songs while I waited for the security guard to get distracted hopefully long enough for me to make my move.

Then it happened; he turned to talk to a colleague and I knew this was my time. Slowly, nonchalantly, I made my way to the automatic double doors that separated me from freedom.

Just as I passed through the first set of automatic doors listening to Sugar Ray’s song  “Falls Apart” from their album 14:59  I heard their lyric run through my head as they sang, “Runaway, Runaway.” I thought, “This is a sign, I’m going to make it. I’m actually going to make it. Then again, the refrain, “Runaway, Runaway” as I passed through the final automatic doors.

There comes a time when you’ve been in the hospital long enough and you don’t care what anyone else thinks. This time had obviously come for me, because all I cared about was the fact that I was out. All I had between my birthday suit and the rest of the world were three hospital blankets, but I was out.  Free at last, I began to make my way to the comic book store.

It was a precarious journey. Unlike many places in the United States many areas in the Northeast don’t have sidewalks lining every street. As I made my way through Norwalk, Connecticut I had to pick my route carefully. Sometimes the sidewalk was only on one side of the street, sometimes I would have to change the street I was on to find the sidewalk at all, and sometimes I had to make my way on the street with the cars.

Somewhere along the journey the hospital blanket that covered my legs came a little loose and got caught under my front wheel. Before I knew it I was down one hospital blanket. This was little disconcerting. Were I to lose another hospital blanket there would be few secrets left between me and the people of Norwalk.

But, I made it. I got to the comic book store, made my purchase (while the clerk gave me the oddest look), and made my way successfully back to the hospital. I reached my room in time minus one blanket, carrying a bag of comics on the back of my chair.

This was a huge success for me. I’d gotten out into the real world and procured my comics as well. This not only made my day, but my whole week.

I had so many opportunities to turn back, so many chances to give up. But like life, if we are to succeed there comes a time when we have to make our move. I’m sure there are people who saw me driving partially clothed on the road who thought I was crazy. That’s okay, sometimes success means being a little crazy. I’m sure the nurses thought it was unsafe. That’s okay, often success means breaking predetermined rules.

However no matter how willing I was to be a little crazy and little unsafe the magic moment came when I sat in the lobby. Right then I had to decide, right then I had to move forward or give up. Making my move made all the difference.

Each of us has times when we have the opportunity to make our move and succeed, or let fear win the day and fail. So, set your goals and pursue them for all you’re worth, and when those times come and you find yourself separated from your dreams by a security guard and a pair of automatic doors remember the wise words of Sugar Ray, “Runaway, Runaway” and make your move.

Jh-

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