Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beyond Mediocrity

Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.
Gordon B. Hinckley

Do not strive for mediocrity.

Strive for greatness beyond what others may do.

You can achieve so much more.

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Credit Card Theft

"You want 21 percent risk free? Pay off your credit cards." - Andrew Tobias

I was recently defrauded of my credit card in a local eating establishment, or at least I believe that is where it occurred. I have since been cleared and made whole by my financial institution.

So what could go wrong?

As it is, you've been out shopping during the day spending part of that bonus from work. It is much easier to carry a credit card rather then cash. So conveniently we pull out our credit cards.

You head home and while thinking about it over night, you decide that to really go back and get that one other item. So two days later you head back out to the store, pick up the item and attempt to use your credit card.

But your credit card is denied.

The card is over its limit but you are sure there is plenty of room left. You call the credit card company and find that several unauthorized purchases have occurred. None of these purchases were yours and now you have joined the ranks of credit card theft.

Its hurtful, its stressful and its just a big pain.

I have had this happen along with identify theft some years ago. I have known people who have had the same things happen as well. So what can you do to limit the probability of this happening?

Use cash only is the safest answer.

But reality means this will not always work due to credit card requirements for many things such as rental cars, hotels, etc. And a search of the internet can provide a vast array of solutions and tips to safe guard your credit card.

Utmost in all of the rules is to safe guard, your credit card number. Anyone who gets this number can pretty much buy what they protect that number.

Ensure you are safely purchasing both online (internet) and offline (store). Check to ensure the website is secure and look for that 'closed lock' at the bottom of the screen although crooks are pretty sophisticated these days.

And don't send your card information via email, this is terribly insecure and can be intercepted.

With offline (store) purchases, keep an eye on the waiter or salesperson to ensure they are not writing down your card number. And last, try not to give out your card number over the phone unless absolutely necessary.

Be wary of identity theft by keeping track of your identification papers, etc. While protecting yourself, do the following;

- Keep PIN numbers secret and don't let your small children type them in at the ATM.
- Keep photocopies of the front and back of credit/debit cards...but not in your wallter.
- Cross check your credit card statements and report any discrepancies immediately.
- In the event of credit card loss or theft, report it immediately.

Most of all, be alert.

It isn't a huge effort or task to protect yourself. Just stay alert when using and taking care of its usage. Doing so will help prevent the grief you'll endure otherwise.

Stay inspired my friends and be safe!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Life Aquatic

Life wants you to touch, taste and see the grandeur of the world's unfathomable variety.” ― Bryant McGill

Some time back my family and I toured the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. This facility holds a very impressive display of aquatic life presented in an amazing way. I have included a few pictures. What I found interesting are some of the correlations one can draw to our own lives.

There are so many of us in many different shapes and sizes. We become drawn to one another based on similarities and similar beliefs. There is also variety of life in both a population of fish as well as humans.

The type of people we encounter range from the nicest persons one would ever want to know, all the way to some of the cruelest people on earth.

If you look at a tank full of fish, you can see aggressive fish to those that go about their business not bothering others.

Some people will blend into their natural surroundings much like the Leafy Sea Dragon trying to go about life unnoticed. While others you just can't help but notice.

There are so many of us out there and life will present challenges when connecting with the wide variety of others. Many of these connections will be unexpected. Just remember there are quite a few fish in the sea.

There will be plenty of opportunity to cross paths with different people. Your impact on them and the resulting impact on you in many ways. So jump into life, the water is fine.

Stay inspired my friends!

Walk In The Rain

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” ― Roger Miller

The evening ends as a slow rain begins to fall. The gentle patter of its rhythm pulls you into a wonderful hypnotic sleep. This is going to be a great and refreshing night of slumber you think as you drift off.

Then at 5:30 AM, the alarm pulls you rudely from a dream.

The new day is upon you and it all begins once again. As you look out the window, you notice the rain continues. The first thought is that traffic is going to be awful. Ready to go and heading out the door with a cup of coffee in hand, fumbling in the rain you are seated in the car. Now you find that you have spilled some coffee on your clothes.

Yes, you tell yourself, it is going to be one of those days.

Not even 6:30 AM and your attitude is sinking. One bad attitude can beget another. It is enough to really ruin your day and those around you. But it is your choice if this is going to make or break your day though. For one good attitude can beget another as well.

In an article, IT’S YOUR MOVE: THE ATTITUDE HAND, there is an excerpt from a book by Cyndi Maxey and Jill Bremer which discusses setting 'real life' expectations. The authors list 'UNREAL LIFE' rules that people get caught up in. They also give us some 'REAL LIFE' rules, those which can truly help to change your daily life.

I must never fail.
I must always look smart.
I must work very hard at all times.
I must never get angry.
I must always look thin and attractive.
I must always play it safe.

You can’t have everything.
Things won’t always go your way.
Life is unfair.
Some people will never understand you.
You can’t please everyone.

Real life rules are not meant to say, "okay, no use in trying."

Far from it, the rules are meant to release you so that you can succeed. Once you understand there will be ups and downs, that fairness is not a guarantee and all of the other things that happen in life, then you will be able to go forward and make change.

Be a person of purpose and change. Let your good attitude come to the surface. A little rain is going to fall on everyone's life, so walk in the rain!

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Blind Side Chance

"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish." - Ovid

There is an old song titled "Take A Chance" by the group ABBA. It is a song that delivers a plain and simple message. It says what each of us want in life and that is to be given the chance to prove ourselves.

Love, school, sports or work but each of us want that chance to be given.

There was a movie a few years back based upon the book titled Blind Side by Michael Lewis. It was an Oscar nominated film that earned Sandra Bullock the Oscar's Best Actress award in 2010.

If you have not yet read the book or watched the movie, SPOILER ALERT.

This story can make a pessimist declare the family had motive for taking in this poor kid because they were a family depicted as very driven. The husband and wife were Ole Miss University graduates who saw possibility in developing a sports talented kid for the "Rebels".

What better way to give back to your alma mater.

If you believe that is what happenend, then you miss out on the great story that truly took place. When Michael Oher was noticed "on a snowy November day in 2002, ...a 16-year-old Oher walking in 3 inches of snow wearing shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes, they had no idea he was one of America's most gifted athletes." In th families eyes, he was a child in need who was basically raising himself.

His single-parent mother had bounced in and out of his life due to drug addiction. His grades were hanging on by a thread, living a life on the edge that could have fallen in either direction. I leave the story with this fact, Michael Oher is doing just fine today.

You may wonder what it this has to do with you or me.

Does it mean we should go driving down the streets looking for someone to take in? Should we be looking to save someone like Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy? No, that is not my point to all of this. It means to do what your heart is telling you to do. Just as the Tuohy family did, they saw a need and acted upon it.

Do not let a fleeting chance pass by what your hearts is telling you.

There are many needs in life which pass us by each day. There are those fleeting moments in your mind that you should have done something. I am not here to describe those needs in life, but to suggest that you to act upon them. Do not let it pass by, the chance to impact the life of someone else. An unexpected meal to a young couple, a car ride home from the grocery store for someone carrying bags or other random acts of kindness.

Let your heart guide you.

The kindness you show today will circle back around eventually to you. All it requires is taking a chance.

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mend The Broken Bridge

"He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven." - Thomas Fuller

Some years ago, my life had taken a pretty painful turn for me. After twenty years I lost my marriage which was very painful and gut wrenching to say the least for me. There is a great verse from a song by the group Elbow which goes, "I must have been working the ropes, when your hand slipped from mine."

During this time period, I went through an awful lot of anguish, anger, and angst. I said and did not say a lot of things and could feel myself letting the situation consume me. I was at a point of either spiraling downward into a cold river below me or rebuilding my bridge to something far greater.

My life appeared pretty much like an old bridge that no one would buy, if even for a dollar. I could choose to let the pain tear apart that bridge or begin a process to rebuild it and strengthen it.

What started the process was forgiveness.

I wrote in one of my books titled CHANGED LIVES about the experience and I am continue to work on that bridge. This past weekend I did some further repair by opening up a conversation with some of the people I had bitterly wanted nothing to do for what had occurred.

And my bridge is looking a whole lot better. As I exercise more forgiveness, I am able to pass over my bridge more safely.

Why foregiveness though?

As Mary J. Maciejewski wrote, "...the choice not to forgive but instead to cling to anger, bitterness and resentment, can cripple us. Those negative emotions are powerful and destructive, and as long as we hold on to them, they will escalate and keep us trapped in the past"

It really does a number on us no matter how hard we try to push it to the back of our mind. Forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to face the other person and say the words. What it means is you have to face yourself and allow forgiveness to take place.

Doing all of this will help free you from external forces having this hold on your life. Those are the external forces which are destroying your bridge to a greater life. They cripple you from repairing or building a sound and stable structure, keeping you bound by past hurt.

You have control over how you choose to deal with the pain.

However bad or horrible it may have been, you stand on one side of a deep chasm while your future lay on the other. A broken down, ramshackle bridge lay before you. It now becomes your choice to allow forgiveness into your life. It is then when the process of rebuilding your bridge really begins.

Find it within yourself to forgive others, then forgive yourself.

A broken bridge can be mended so that a greater life can be reached. Start rebuilding it now. And stay inspired my friends.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Confidence To Move Forward

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

A few years ago I was traveling on business with quite a few meetings at many different locations in the Redmond, Washington area. You can probably guess at which company and by doing so, probably understand how large their campus is. There are buildings spreading over a large part of Bellevue and Redmond, Washington and something on the order of forty some thousand people (on these campuses alone).

Still can't guess which one?

It does not matter, only to know that getting from one building to another meant figuring out where things were and getting there as quickly as possible. I would find one building, a place to park, get inside, do my one hour presentation then rush off to the next location.

My goal was to see as many groups as possible and get my message out in front of them. This can never be done unless you have a clear goal and direction in mind. In my case, I had printed out each of the meetings and information surrounding them.

It was about preparation to confidently push in the direction of my goal.

It is the same for me as it is for you. Without choosing a direction and confidently going towards it, achieving goals will be difficult. Certainly the hardest part can be moving at all. And choosing to change is scary as it pulls us from what is our comfort zone.

Once we do decide to change our lives, we need to move with confidence in the direction we have set forth for ourselves. Don't be afraid that the direction might be wrong. You can correct your course as you move. As you gain momentum, your confidence will be strengthened.

Obstacles become smaller and reality of your goal will come in view.

So move with confidence in the direction of your dreams. Eventually you will find the treasure of your dream is right in front of you, within reach, a reality.

Stay inspired my friends!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Wear Level Of Negativity

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Wayne Dyer

As described by National Geographic, erosion is the act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice. A similar process, weathering, breaks down or dissolves rock, weakening it or turning it into tiny fragments.

In our daily life, negativity is the weathering which breaks down our lives. It changes the way we view and approach our daily lives in mostly destructive ways. Until we are worn down with only tiny fragments of support left.

Eventually the imbalance causes us to fall.

In an article written by Rick Riddle titled 6 Signs Your Subconcious Negativity Is Sabotaging Your Well-Being, he states, "This is the power of your subconscious. It has been programmed with either positive or negative thoughts, put there by you, and it will bubble up to affect you in any current situation."

He writes that we fill ourselves with negative thoughts in six distinct ways.

1. Black and White Thinking
2. Your Moods Change Significantly and Often
3. You Adopt Some Bad habits
4. You Consistently Speak and Think About the Past or the Future
5. You Have Worries, Anxieties and Fears
6. You are Judgmental of Self and Others

Can you see the traps these six habits can create the view of nothing will ever go your way. These thoughts fill your head and you begin to respond to every event in a negative fashion with little hope of changing the circumstance.

Changing your perspective, changing your response, changing your attitude will change everything.

Stay inspired my friends!