Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Do Not Go Gentle

Do not go gentle into that good night ~Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

As described in many places, Dylan's poem is a strong summoning for us to live boldly and to fight. It wants us to not simply "go gentle into that good night," but to fight against it.

And even at the end of life, when "grave men" are near death, we are instructed to burn with life. The poem's meaning is life affirming.

Stay inspired my friends!

Friday, May 17, 2019

In A World That Can Always Use It

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
― Plato

Do you remember that feeling when someone, a complete stranger did something such as holding the door open for you? Or maybe there was another, small and random thing they did which put a smile on your face. The thing that occurred was an unsolicited and random act of kindness.

Kindness does not have to be random though, it can be intentional.

Kindness whether given or received has a biological impact on our well being. Studies by neuroscience show that kindness triggers higher levels of endorphins. These are the chemicals that make your body feel good. They also activate a part of the brain that is associated with enjoyment. Over many years, researchers have consistently corroborated the benefits of doing good. And what are those benefits?

It can make you happier.
A study done at University of California Riverside, had subjects practicing five small acts of kindness each week. Small things such as donating blood, thank you notes or helping someone in a small way. The results showed an increase in happiness but those in the control group, who did nothing, reported a slight decrease in happiness.

It can make you healthier.
This chemical releases within our body by being kind will produce a hormone called oxytocin, which helps keep your heart healthy by relaxing cells along the walls of our arteries, allowing more blood to flow through and be delivered to the heart and other organs. This will reduce your blood pressure and lower risk of heart disease.

It might even lead to a longer life.
There have been studies showing those who volunteer their time tend to achieve better overall health outcomes than those who do not. For those people, it lead to a 22% lower death rate when researchers checked back with both groups many years later.

You should try to make it a goal to enact some level of kindness towards others each day. The following list are examples to possibly inspire you.

- Give a genuine compliment
- Treat a friend or coworker to coffee
- Pay for a stranger’s parking
- Send an unexpected thank-you or "thinking of you" note
- Hold the door open for someone
- Call a friend to ask about their day
- Let a stranger cut you in line
- Offer to take a task off of a coworker's plate
- Share a funny or uplifting video
- Cook a meal for a friend or loved one

Want even more ideas?

- Choose forgiveness
- Grab lunch with a new coworker
- Give up your seat on public transportation
- Lend an ear to someone who needs it
- Visit an elderly relative
- Donate to a non-profit
- Send a thank-you note
- Leave a quarter in a laundromat
- Send a care package
- Share an umbrella
- Offer words of encouragement to someone who needs them
- Support a local business
- Leave a generous tip
- Host or organize a gathering for your community

Doing something good is good for everyone involved. Make the change in our world by you being the change that happens.

Stay inspired my friends!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Shaking the Hand of Innovation

From the great folks at Despair.com

"An innovation is one of those things that society looks at and says, if we make this part of the way we live and work, it will change the way we live and work."
- Dean Kamen

I love the thought of innovation and how it can change our lives. But I also love the way the good people at Despair.com make us step back and think about what we are doing or saying.

Many years ago, there were more people employed delivering milk to your doorstep, building cars, typing up stock purchase orders, and cleaning your windshield at the gas pump. But innovation has pretty much done away with these and many other types of jobs.

I am not saying we should go back in time to the horse and carriage days with crank phones on the kitchen wall. But there is something to consider about moving ourselves, humans, forward in life.

We have to understand that many new technological advances can and do make much of what we get paid to do, irrelevant. And what that means is you need to be aware of it and to make changes in your life and career to remain relevant. More and more automation along with the advances in artificial intelligence, we as humans have to find other purposeful ways to stay engaged.

New innovations will also create new types of opportunities for jobs. You simply have to be willing to adapt and change in order to take advantage of those new opportunities.

One day you might be shaking the hand of an android, and not the smartphone kind. But then again, maybe it will be.

Stay inspired my friends!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Changing Journey

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are."
-Tobias Wolff

Anything we do in life is going to have some level of resistance. The resistance will come in many forms and places before us obstacles to completing that which we want to accomplish.

Think of the mundane things we do such as driving to work each morning. The varying traffic can be an obstacle to overcome in getting to your place of business. Or possibly the check out line at the grocery store with a long slow moving line.

There are also much larger or more important things in life in which we work to overcome. A job advancement goal you might be struggling to grab hold of. In all of these things we do, persistence is your greatest ally.

In a book I wrote, I went out looking for stories of 'change' from people in all levels of life. Average everyday people to the famous and powerful people have been contacted. This can present a problem when you are asking people to open up to someone they do not know. My persistence was in knowing there are people who really want to tell their story.

There were of course some who did not wish to participate and I can fully respect those decisions. The varying letters of rejection were sometimes amusing, while some were very blunt. There were of course letters that provided me with great encouragement for success. And each of those letters, regardless of the response, reminded me that I was connecting with people.

It is the connection that gives me encouragement to persevere in my efforts. It is a strong belief in connection that can cause influence in their lives. It provides me with motivation to keep pursuing my goal. The same can be done by you in the journey you are on.

Obstacles represent opportunities to assess and find new paths to those goals. Motivation is the culmination of things or reasons why you are on your particular journey. Perseverance is key to continuing on that journey and never give up; once again, never give up.

The path may change, just don't give up on the journey.

Stay inspired my friends.