Category: Responsibility

Spread Some Joy Today > Responsibility

Finding Out Who You Have

 “Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress;
working together is success.”
 
— Henry Ford
 
 
 
[Classic post from 5-15-11]
 
I've seen this quote many times and then all of a sudden, today, it took on new meaning. I think it describes our relationships extremely well. I think it even describes an excellent marriage. I've seen so many that never get to the last part, but think the middle is the key. And, of course, everyone remembers the beginning!
 
It also describes business relationships and the successful ones, or lasting ones are always based on the working together part. The beginnings are all so easy, and staying together presents challenges and this is where most dabble and depart. The good news about that is finding out who your partners are and who they are not.
 
Any relationship that gets to the working together part is special and valuable. I know in my life, those are the ones that I value the most, whether I see them often or not.
 
 
Friendship. Love. Working Together.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Make sure those relationships you value know it.

Love Is Always The Better Way

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season;
the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church;
the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue;
the atheists went to parties and drank.
People passing each other on the street would say,
'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!'
or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'”
 
— Dave Barry
 
 
 
 
[Classic post from 12-24-10)
 
I saw this quote a week or so ago and thought it was very funny. . . look out for the wall. . . that's funny stuff. So, I never thought seriously about using it until tonight.
 
I was at a local event where people gathered and many of the same people come to this event. I was there early, and greeted people coming in, and said 'Merry Christmas!' to all that I greeted. A gentleman who is a regular, after my greeting, said something odd that I cannot remember, but it was curious. I just had the impression that he was not interested in Christmas because it is a religious holiday. But, I didn't think much of it as I like this gentleman and I was glad to see him.
 
A few minutes later, it was getting full in the area we were in and a woman came in with two friends and they were joyous and greeting some of the other people they know and this woman greeted this man, and said 'Merry Christmas,' and I didn't hear it directly, but later found out that he said, 'why don't you leave Christ out of it!' Well, this lady loudly called him an a**hole, which got everyone's attention. He seemed a bit embarrassed, but she was obviously mad. Then her friend was mad and fuming about his remark and so on.
 
What do you think of that scenario? I think it is interesting. Her comments certainly are an argument, but is that a strange way to defend Christ or Christianity? I think it is strange and also extremely ineffective. I guess the quote with Dave Barry is another way, and although way funnier, may still be a strange way.
 
Maybe this is a better way:
 
“May you have the gladness of Christmas,
 which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas,
which is peace;
The heart of Christmas,
which is love.”
 
— Ada V Hendricks
 
 
 

“But Now Abide Faith, Hope, Love,
These Three;
But The Greatest Of These
Is Love.”

— 1 Corinthians 13:13,
The Bible

 
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Love is always the better way.

Words Of Encouragement

 “You have it easily in your power
to increase the sum total 
of this world's happiness now.
How?
By giving a few words 
of sincere appreciation
to someone who is lonely or discouraged.
Perhaps you will forget tomorrow
the kind words you say today,
but the recipient may cherish them
over a lifetime.”
 
— Dale Carnegie
 
 
 
 
[Classic post from 3-23-11]
 
Unless it was a lot of money, I don't remember who gave me money for birthdays or other such occasions. I only remember a small number of the physical gifts that I've received over the many years. I think I might count them on one hand, and they had nothing to do with price, just how they matched my desires. I've forgotten almost every bit of advice I've received, and I have received a good deal of it.
 
Yes, all of those things hold little meaning to me, and probably to a great many people, but what I do remember and will always remember is those who really encouraged me to do, or to be better, or to keep going, or to keep writing, or whatever it may be. I find that I cherish those above all else. And, I also find it interesting that these encouragements are not all that plentiful that I could even begin to take them for granted.
 
This is one reason that I call myself a “professional encourager.” I'm not sure that means anything other than I try to encourage people where ever I find them and especially if they are looking like they could use a boost. Just to watch their eyes light up and a smile comes to their face is reward enough. Yet, the main reason that I have become such an encourager is that I know what it is like to get it and how it makes me feel, how it spurs me onward and how long it lasts. I want to give that same gift to everyone on the planet.
 
You know, there is enough negativity going on all around us, plus the pressures of survival in a fast-paced world. If you want to do something that people will remember, or that will matter, then give them some encouragement. It may just change a life, and yours in the bargain.
 
 
Sincere Encouragement Is A Pure Form Of Love.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Now that you know how much a bit of encouragement can bring joy, make it a regular event! Become a joy spreader!

Helping Them Discover It Within Themselves

“You cannot teach people anything.
You can only help them discover it within themselves.”
 
— Galileo
 
 
 
[Classic post from 9-10-11]
 
This might be your experience as well, but when I really want to teach something to someone because I know how much it will benefit them, I might as well be talking to a wall. It doesn't get in. But, have them have even a small desire to learn it and flows in and fills right up.
 
This proves what Galileo said, 'You cannot teach people anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves.'
 
I think that even as we teach a receptive student, it seems to me that they are not so much learning anything new but remembering something they already knew but weren't allowing in because they weren't ready.
 
That reminds me of a number of students I have had where they could repeat what was said and taught, but when you asked a question that required them to think it through, they had no understanding, only memorization.
 
So what to do? First, I think learning is something that cannot be forced but only encouraged. Second, don't worry about the ones who aren't ready. Third, keep going. Fourth, continue to expand your own learning and understanding to be able to state the same thing in many different ways.
 
There's been quite a number of times where I've heard the same thing many different times and then it was stated in a certain way that was different, and all of a sudden, it is as if I learned it for the first time. It's the Eureka! moment.
 
Many teachers are easily distracted and frustrated by reluctant students, but they need not be. It's not up to them, except to be the best they can be. Everything else is up to the student.
 
 
When The Student Is Ready, Teaching May Be Received.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–A belief is a thought you keep thinking. To change a belief, just gradually change your thoughts. Pretty easy.

Celebrating Irrationality

 “I never came upon any of my discoveries
through the process of rational thinking.”
 
— Albert Einstein
 
 

[Classic post from 9-12-11]

I think this statement by Albert Einstein, one of the world’s smartest people, is fascinating and can have great application in any of our lives. When these things strike me as they sometimes do, I often look them up in the dictionary and/or thesaurus. Not because I need to know what it means, but sometimes there is insight there that I hadn’t thought of.

So here is the dictionary.com and thesaurus.com rendition:

 
ra·tion·al
adjective
1. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
2. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
3. being in or characterized by full possession of one’s reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
4. endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
5. of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
 
Thesaurus:
 
Main Entry: rational
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: realistic; of sound mind
Synonyms: all there, analytical, balanced, calm, cerebral, circumspect, cognitive, collected, cool*, deductive, deliberate, discerning, discriminating, enlightened, far-sighted, impartial, intellectual, intelligent, judicious, knowing, levelheaded, logical, lucid, normal, objective, perspicacious, philosophic, prudent, ratiocinative, reasonable, reasoning, reflective, sagacious, sane, sensible, sober, sound, stable, synthetic, thinking, thoughtful, together, well-advised, wise
Antonyms: irrational, ridiculous, unrealistic, unreasonable, unsound
 
There we go. I’ve so often heard the need to be sensible, to exercise sound judgment, good sense, and to be rational, reasonable, and realistic. Often, I am those things; albeit, not all at the same time generally.
 
Now the Thesaurus opens up the virtues of reason to a whole slew of words that are meant to keep us grounded and sane, along with being of sound mind. Heck, who doesn’t want to be of sound mind? Seems rational and reasonable to me.
 
However, I have been known to be unstable, irrational, even ridiculous. I’ve certainly been unreasonable often enough and of course, I am quite an expert at being unrealistic. It’s the sales training in me I suppose. Who wants a salesperson who is realistic and balanced and calm? Certainly not I. Equally, as a sales manager, I must lead the unbalanced and ridiculous to greater success, which as Albert Einstein knows full well, is the only way to get there in style.
  
 
Here’s To Irrationality! With Just A Touch Of The Ridiculous. Oooo! Such A Wonderful Combination!
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Let the air out of your soundness of mind for little bits of fun. Full-time rationality is so boring.

Loving Things In Our Own Special Way

“I still get wildly enthusiastic
about little things. . .
I play with leaves.
I skip down the street
and run against the wind.”
 
— Leo Buscaglia
 
 
 
 
 
[Classic post from 11-30-11]
 
I love this time of year. It’s just a bit chilly, highs in the low 60’s, lows around 40, a touch of fog in the morning, sun in the afternoon. Leaves are taking their sweet time turning colors other than green, then falling gently to the ground, and right about now they are coming down in the thousands as you can see by the sidewalk in the photo.
 
I took Charlie the little black dog out for a walk and he’s not nearly as fond of this time of year as me. I had to take a photo of some of the huge leaves that are as big as he is, and he is afraid of them when the wind moves them around, especially when the wind moves them toward him. If it is calm, he’s brave enough though, yet he would rather walk around them than over them whenever that option is available.
 
I read a Leo Buscaglia book way back in the 1970s about him having a class over at his house and his neighbor coming over to complain about the leaves on his lawn. So the lover that he is, invited guests to help rake the leaves into bags and he brought them into the house and spread them all over the living room floor. Everyone was happy then.
 
I’ve always remembered that story, although I cannot remember which book, nor can I find it. So, out and about a day or two ago, I took some shots on my camera phone of some of these leaves all over the walkway. I wanted to sweep them up and put them all over the living room floor at my house. Of course, that would never work unless I lived alone.
 
Yet, I love leaves. I love seeing them all over the patio and driveway and have no interest in blowing them away or raking them up. In fact, I am done with the lawn mowing and now all the leaves that are there will remain until spring. It’s winter food for the nightcrawlers and I love watching them gather them into piles and feast on them while I sleep.
 
Other people prefer clean walkways, clean patios and all that. I’m happy for them that they like those things, but I just don’t share that feeling. The leaves add character, color, and a comfortable, relaxing view, even enhancing the concrete as far as I’m concerned.
 
So, I thank Leo every year about now for sharing that wonderful and enduring story. Thanks, Leo! I love you!
 
 
We All Love Things In Our Own Special Way
 
Spread Some Joy Today–How are you doing on your love list? Remember? Write, ‘I love. . .’ at the top of the page and then write as many things as you can, then add a few each day or each week. It’s fun and expands your joy rather easily.

It Is Impossible To Fail At Life

“One of the best things
that I have learned about life
is that it is impossible to fail at it.
Whatever life we are living,
that is a successful living.”

— Terry Minion

Some live to be over 100, but not many in comparison. Some live very short lives in comparison, and most of us are somewhere in between. It doesn't matter. It's all living. Heredity, schlemedity, malady, melody, 220 or 221–whatever. What it is, it is. What it can be, it will be, as the choice to change in any direction is available to us all.

We get to feel good or not by our own design. We get to wallow in mud or ski barefoot across the glassy lake. We can give and we receive. We can share and we can hide. We can speak and we can listen. We can think and we can write. We can delight and we can scowl. We can hold grudges, and we can release resistance. We can accept responsibility or we can lay it elsewhere.

Whether we accept our choices and our own design, or whether we say that it is all happening to us from the outside without our permission, it is what it is. It is living. It is life. Whether we believe that we can change it at will, or remain a victim with no hope of parole, it is what it is, and it is living. It is life. It is our life. And, it is a successful life. We cannot fail. Even in death, we cannot fail. Is this all there is? We can believe this is or there is more. Either way, it is what it is. We can have one dimension or many dimensions. We can have one side or many sides. We can await a life in Heaven, or Heaven can live every day in us. And, it is all, and in all, successful.

Life is. I am. We are. It is what it is. We are powerful creators! 

The Silliest Two-Word Phrase I Know

“Wars begin where you will
but they do not end where you please.” 

— Machiavelli

The phrase “war crimes” is a silly phrase and a completely crazy idea. There is no such thing to me as war crimes. War IS the crime.

Spread Some Joy Today. Make love your compass.

Driving Using The Rearview Mirror?

“Comparison need not be competition.” 
 
— Albert K. Strong 
 

[Classic post from 6-22-16]

If you were a painter and you created a painting that you were happy with, do you think that Rembrandt could improve it? If you were a songwriter and you created and recorded a song you were pleased with, do you think that Paul McCartney could improve it?

It doesn’t matter unless you make it so.

I was wandering around my office/library/entertainment room/music room this morning thinking of ideas to write about. I was looking at a series of music cassette racks that have been mounted on my wall since about 1988. Quite a number of the 150+ cassettes there were songs that I wrote and recorded. Many of them are not so good, but at the time I created them they were great.

When I began writing and recording songs in late 1983, even the very first recordings were so moving to me that I listened to them over and over again. I was inspired to try different things, to write better, to record better, to play instruments better. One of my coworkers encouraged me at every listen, and I couldn’t wait to play him the latest improvements.

Of course, fast forward to 2016, 30+ years later, and I can easily see how these early recordings were not very good and could easily be improved, but that can happen at any stage for anyone. In 1984-5, I hired musicians to play on an album I recorded. Talk about improvement! Wow. What a difference skill makes! Yet, all of these musicians could have been improved by someone more skilled and with more experience. But, it just doesn’t matter in the end. Whatever it is, it is. Whatever it was, it was. Whatever will be, will be.

Whether it is looking at my early writing, songwriting, recording, teaching skills, learning–whatever I have done or will do can be improved. But should that idea negate the accomplishments that went before? It doesn’t need to. The only time that it matters is when we are thinking competitively. Who’s better than whom? Which team won? Which of my children is the smartest? Looking at the opinions of others as judgment criteria for our own creations is opening the floodgate of criticism. Best to keep that gate closed as much as possible.

Do you suppose Rembrandt had an early period where his work was not so good? Or Leonardo Da Vinci? Paul McCartney? Well, yes and no. And both of those decisions belong to the creator, not the critic.

Being open to improvement and accepting help or suggestion is great and can be really encouraging and inspiring, but letting someone else be a critic is not. Stand as tall in your kindergarten days as your post-graduate Ph.D. travels.

It’s All Good. Let It Be. The Journey Is Ahead. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by loving what you’ve accomplished and finding joy in all that you do by not comparing yourself to another.

The Values Of Doing A Thing

“Nothing stops 
 without something else beginning.” 
 
— Alan Cohen 
 

Audio version

[Classic post from 7-11-15]

Somewhere along our travels, most of us have picked up expectations of how things should work. For example, how long should a marriage last? Until death do you part, right? Well, for sure for some and surely not for others. A better answer to the question might be until we choose otherwise.

Once I start my business, how long should it stay in business? Forever? Answer: Until is doesn't any longer. I grew up thinking Macy's was a forever store, then they went out of business. Well, let's say it is still there but it ain't the same.

I opened a musical instrument store and had it for a year and a half. Does that mean it failed? That could certainly be an assumption, but that would not be the truth. It didn't fail. I no longer had the desire for it. I had a desire for something different. So, I stopped one and started another. As far as I was and am concerned, it was a huge success. If nothing else, it was a grand educational experience which is useful in my life and that of others 35 years after the fact.

We have all manner of expectations that have been handed down to us, but you know, the only thing that really matters is our own experience and how we choose to view that experience. So, what might be some of the values of a short-lived enterprise or relationship?

  • Creation. We take nothing more (which is really everything) than an idea and then take that thought and breathe life into it (it was already alive there) and cause it to be created in our reality. In other words, it went from the non-physical into the physical.
  • Co-Creation. We did it with others. It was not a single person's creation, but all who participated helped shape the outcome.
  • The economy moved. Money changed hands. Funds were raised, expended.
  • Education. We learned. There is much to learn every single day.
  • Change. We changed. Others changed. Nothing is static.
  • Difference. We made a difference. What we did mattered. What kind of difference may not be measurable from our own perspective. We cannot do anything and not make a difference.
  • Improvement. We made some improvements. However small or large they may be, improvements are a given.
  • Benefit. We provided a benefit, or many benefits to the community, to others, to the world.
  • Friends. We find new friends. Maybe even lifetime friends.
  • Passion. Beginnings are so often about passion.
  • Love. We get to share our love. We get to expand and enrich our own love. 

This is just a shortlist, and this process of thinking about things in this way is very helpful. Everything we do is a choice. We choose here, choose that, choose an idea, choose participants, convince others, promote our ideas, all choices. We choose to begin, to continue for a time, and then we choose to let go. If it continues to float on its own for a time, so be it, and if it doesn't, it is done for now, and on to another choice.

The most important choice we have is how we want to feel about our experiences. It is as easy to feel joy in having done something as it is to feel sad that it is no longer. Time is such a poor concept on the judgment of our experiences, and time is only an idea. Our living is always this moment, this moment, this moment. How we choose to feel is this moment, this moment, this moment.

I have found from a lifetime of study that to find ways to appreciate, love, and celebrate enhances our experience immeasurably. We all get to choose that or choose otherwise.

“In A Gentle Way, You Can Shake The World.” — Mahatma Gandhi 

Spread Some Joy Today–by making it your choice to do so.

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