Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Value or Cost

Value or Cost – you choose

"The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows." George William Curtis.

Hi and welcome to the last blog of 2011. To you and yours, I trust the dreams that await you, serve you well in the coming year. Here’s to a fantastically successful and prosperous new year!

As I ponder the thoughts ready to be made captive in print, my mind looks back over a year full of challenges and opportunities. Some of these have taken me to the point of despair and others lifting me to great heights of inspiration. With each year of life and living, one becomes less motivated by things and more pre-occupied with causes or values. It is a truism, that many can know the cost of everything but the value of little.

The greatest gift that one can have is time. The greatest use of that gift is to use it for the betterment of others and no greater investment can be that which is invested into a child, on whom the future depends.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” proverbs 22:6.

The power of that statement is seen in both the positive and negative. Training happens whether it is pro-active or passive. Whatever a child’s character is exposed to, it will be conformed to it, both the good, bad and ugly. What influences us molds us.

“We build our life from the building bricks of habit that we pick up each day and before we know it, we have shaped the house in which we live.” This coming year, why not purpose to leave some bricks where they lay?

We have but one shot at life and the impact of a life lived, will reverberate through eternity.

New beginnings are humanities way of putting to bed the past, a way of resolving things left undone. Resolutions may not be the panacea of life, but as Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living." By all means review the year to date and if necessary list the issues that come to mind, but further to that, purpose to live your life by values that take account of the cost and the pursuant benefits.

I have purposed to enter 2011 with these thoughts in mind:

To cherish the memories

Be at peace with the present

Reach for my dreams, whilst inspiring you to reach yours.

My hope for you this coming year is that your decisions will be wise and seasoned with value

To know the value of nine months:

Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To know the value of one month:

Ask a mother who has given birth to A premature baby.

To know the value of one week:

Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To know the value of one hour:

Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

To know the value of one minute:

Ask a person Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To know the value of one-second:

Ask a person Who has survived an accident.

To know the value of one millisecond:

Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special. – Author unknown.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"In one YEAR and OUT the other"

“In one year and out the other”

“A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other, don’t let it go in one ear and out the other”!

It’s that time of year again. The battle between the flesh and the mind, have been at odds with one another throughout the year and now we have a chance to appease one or the other. Sound familiar? Of course it does, it’s the season of the New Year resolution.

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man". ~Benjamin Franklin

I’m not too sure where the tradition arose or whether it is part of humanities resolve to feel good in ones attempts to do better or lift the internal burden of guilt at having failed in ones preferred outcome? Either way, we face another year in which millions of individuals will make a mental list of promises to one’s self and others.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning". ~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set, such as, a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.[3]. Despite each goal having its own specific rewards and challenges, there are deep commonalities in the mindsets which start change [4]. more info 

I am convinced that willpower in itself assists few people in achieving their goals. In fact, people provide the many support structures that assist us in making our changes.

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” – Proverb

We should be more concerned with the process than the result as the Journey of life is littered with parking spaces, and because of this, the average person will never reach their FULL Potential in life.

"It’s easier to obtain than it is to maintain" – Edwin Louis Cole

Some years ago, I spoke to a friend who had a string of fitness centres around New Zealand. He told me, one of their fire sure marketing strategies was to sell more yearly gym memberships than they were licensed to hold, knowing full well, that more than fifty percent would fail to use them outside of their first three months! Human nature is such, that it is more enticing to start something than the character needed to complete it. That’s why:

Gym membership

New diet

Study or course commencement



Saving / Investing ….. all require a steadfast commitment to complete.

"The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months"! ~Edward Payson Powell

Some of the most popular goals include resolutions are:

• Improve health: lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking
• Improve finances: get out of debt, save money
• Improve career: get a better job
• Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music)
• Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent
• Take a trip
• Volunteer to help others Wikipedia

“Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.” - Anonymous

Here are some keys I believe will assist anyone to be successful in entering 2011 equipped and confident to succeed. In order to finish well, we must develop some consistencies in Life:

1. We have to prioritise our lives / circumstances / time

2. We live by conviction of what is true, not what “feels good”

3. We are to be consistent THROUGHOUT our life. Many Athletes “Peak” at a certain age, or event,

BUT teams seek consistency

4. To finish as well, we must be prepared to start

“A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other, don’t let it go in one ear and out the other”!

Here’s to all those in the blogosphere, who are sat with pen in hand and notepad at the ready, with a heart full of optimism for the year that beckons to us all. Set your goals in concrete and your plans in sand, for the way you get to your goals may shift, but don’t be deterred, for the journey is just as important as the destination.

“Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past”. Henry Ward Beecher

Be blessed and fulfilled in 2011.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fraudulent Living

Fraudulent Living

2010, has been one of those years. It has been a year when it seemed as if every area of life has been shaken to the core. Have you experienced a year like that? It is in such times as this that one becomes vulnerable and exposed to negative “self talk”. We are told that it is in such high risk times, stress levels increase, blood pressure is heightened and were are apt to make rash and irresponsible decisions that will only serve to place further challenges upon us.

“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them”. Charles C. West

From another perspective, it is in such times that revelation and breakthrough can occur, if only we are in a frame of mind to perceive it when it comes.

“We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them”. ~Charles C. West

It has been my life experience that personal character development and an awareness of ones self is revealed in such times, yet we rarely appreciate it until we are “on the other side” of adversity. The sky always seems it’s brightest after the storm has passed and perspective is influenced by the way we choose to view things.

“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them”? Rose F. Kennedy

Some years ago Zig Ziglar told the story of an artist who had turned his art to crime in the form of forging $20 bills. So accurate were his attempts that he remained un-detected for years until one day a local shop owner found smudged ink on one of his bills. The pursuing investigation resulted in his imprisonment. At the government sale of his estate, over one hundred paintings by the artist were sold and the resulting cash netted millions of dollars, so well received were his works. The artist had defrauded himself and deprived the world of his gift.

“Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.” Samuel Johnson

It amazes me just what lengths a student will go to, in order to cheat the system of assessment and tests. Were they to apply the same energy in preparation, they would no doubt pass with flying colours. Of course many don’t and they’re day is consumed with scouring the internet, or texting mates for answers rather than studying and applying the process of learning. We have evolved a generation that is more interested in “clocking” a game rather than learning it through experience.

“Rather fail with honour than succeed by fraud”. Sophocles

Cheat sites plague the internet and forums flood gaming sites with codes to break the normal process.

“He that will cheat at play will cheat you any way” proverbs

I recently heard of a student who was put in touch with a team who will complete ones studies on your behalf for a fee. No process necessary, no learning required just straight answers for a fee. Our pre-occupation with continued education as a means of making ones way in the world, is now devoid of a time served apprenticeship of learning. We have gone full circle and now perceive maturity as the Greeks saw it (knowledge). Knowledge in itself is not maturity. One can have masters in communication, yet a string of failed relationships, or a doctorate in business management and declared bankrupt. Why? Education prepares you for life, but it will not live it for oneself.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”. Kenji Miyazawa

Life is all about tests and you avoid them at your peril. I believe the tests we face in life are tailor made to our personality. They are designed to fashion and develop us for life and living. No one said they would be easy and at times bring one to ones knees in desperation and wonderment. One thing is sure, when we have learned what we can from these tests, were we to apply that understanding to further challenges that come our way, we will be the better for it, emotionally, physically and intellectually.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful”. Barbara Bloom

As we face this time of year when pressures mount, relationships, and finances are stretched, take time to step back and become better equipped for life and living. After all, the greatest of all frauds is to cheat one self. 
I trust all my friends, associates, blog readers and students will have a safe Christmas and a year full of realised dreams and inspired hope.

“I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much”. Mother Teresa