July 2013


To follow your dream, you don’t need the greatest amount of knowledge about anything, but it does call for the persistent use of whatever knowledge you may have.

Knowledge without action is not as valuable as applied knowledge.

Richard Branson calls this “Learning by doing”

Donald Trump advice is “Always question”

Reg Revans used to say: “The best knowledge happens in real life with real problems and real people. It doesn’t happen in the classroom with Know-it-all-teachers.

So what is your dream?

What is your major purpose in life?

How are you using your time?

How much of it are you wasting, and how are you wasting it?

What are you going to do about your dream?

Do I do my best every day with the resources that I have?

If I only give you 60 % of myself today, I cannot give you 140 % tomorrow.

Why?

Because it’s impossible to give more 100 % or yourself.

Period.

 

“ Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ”

Ferris Bueller 
American student
from the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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Will you take some time today to really enjoy every moment?

What are we doing right now?

Will it make us healthier?

Will it make us smarter?

Will it give us peace of mind?

Will it make us more likable?

Will it make us self-reliant?

Will it inspire us?

Will it make a difference in our lives or the lives of others?

Will it leave the World a better place?

If your answer is YES, it should be a good use of your personal time.

You can write down your own questions because they are different for each one of us.

DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And you want to smile but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but dont you quit.

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Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.

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Often the goal is nearer than,

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

And he learned too late when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

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Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint on the clouds of doubt,

And you can never tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar.

So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

Unknown

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

 Abraham Lincoln

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Are you tempted to do what is easy instead of what is necessary?

With your health?

With your personal finances?

With your job?

With your employability?

With your kids education?

With the time you invest with family and friends?

In our leisure society, it is very tempting to get busy with non-important things.

Let’s take our responsibilities first, and after, the leisure times will be even more enjoyable.

 

Time is so precious that we should make sure no one ever comes to us without leaving BETTER and HAPPIER.

How do you do this?

Instead of thinking: What’s in it for me?

Ask yourself: What can I do NOW to make a difference in this person’s life?

All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder IS THE LADDER.

Author Unknown

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Recently,I spent the week-end in Burlington, Vermont. On that Sunday Morning, it was graduation day.

As I was watching all these young people ,I was thinking…

Many of us, when we receive our diploma or when we experience some kind of success, fall into the temptation of thinking;

That’s it! I got it made! I have arrived!

Wrong. Dead Wrong.

Why?

We never stop learning. We never stop being challenged. We must always get out of our comfort zone.

Because if we don’t, we stop growing.  Even worst, we shrink in every possible ways.

You don’t believe me.

Think of muscles that atrophy when not used.

Think of a brain that is never challenged intellectually.

Think of the fear of public speaking when you don’t practice often enough.

Think of every possible skill or activity that you haven’t practiced for a while.

The time that you invest in challenging yourself, in stretching yourself is what you need to grow out of your comfort zone.

Everything we do in life is similar to climbing the rungs of the ladder.

We must climb one rung at a time. We must climb regularly.This involves a continual effort.

There is no such thing of something for nothing. We must pay the price day in day out.

Let’s not fool ourselves by the thought that we have reached our destination, we are constantly travelling and discovering.

That’s what makes life exciting. That’s what make this life worthwhile.

Graduates!  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the staircase”

Martin Luther King Jr.

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In other words, start and see what will happen…

But please, do something now !

“Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others”

Morrie Schwartz  (  Tuesdays with Morrie p.164)

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Why is it so important to forgive ourselves?

Why is it so important to forgive others as soon as we can?

Forgiving ourselves and others is an act of letting go, it is also an act of selfishness because when we let go, we let go of the emotions that are poisoning our day.

Who needs these emotions?

Shouldn’t we use our limited time and energy for more exciting activities?

Morrie said “Forgive yourself and others before you die”

But since we don’t know when we are going to die, why not forgive NOW?

If we know that we should eventually forgive, why wait?

“Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions.”

John Randolph

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If this is true, why do we waste so much of it in so many ways?

 

When I was younger, I had heroes and I wanted to be like them.

I wanted to wear their masks.

When we choose an inspiring hero, it helps us grow personally up to a certain point.

Eventually, it is in our best interest to shed any mask and appear to the world with our own face.

Why ?

The effort we make to emulate our heroes can lead us astray from what we can really become.

Elvis was inspired by Dean Martin, but he had to become Elvis. Not a second-rate Dean Martin.

Ray Charles didn’t unfold his genius until he stopped copying Nat King Cole.

AC / DC admired the Rolling Stones but their music evolved into a different style.

The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin admired Robert Johnson, Muddy Water and Buddy Guy.

They eventually created their own respective styles.

There are an infinite number of examples in too many  fields for me to keep on writing. But I’m confident that you get the point.

Insist on being yourself!

Why?

Because everyone else is taken!

How?

Take off your mask!

We Learn…
10% of what we read,
20% of what we hear,
30% of what we see,
50% of what we see and hear,
70% of what we discuss,
80% of what we experience,
95% of what we teach others.

 William Glasser

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When I look at these numbers, I can’t help but to check where I invest my time.

One number that gets my attention is the 50 % of what we see and hear.

I guess watching TV isn’t so bad after all…  ( those of you who know me well know I’m always railing against watching TV)

Even if I take these percentages lightly, I think they are useful to benchmark the way we invest our time and the return we get on this investment.

 

 

And moving means initiating projects, taking risks, getting out of our comfort zone, trying something new for the first time as often as possible.

It also means perservering in spite of obstacles, challenging our cherished beliefs, facing our fears, risking failure and exposing ourselves to ridicule.

Sometimes we are hesitant to start something and all we need is a good K.I.T.A. ( Kick in the ass)

Once we’ve started, we can experience a feeling of satisfaction and sometimes pride.

Satisfaction of a job well done.

Try to remember a task that you have been delaying for a long time.

Try to remember the feeling after you finally did what you knew you had to do.

You were probably thinking… Why didn’t I do this before? Why didn’t I get this out my way or out my mind?

Another benefit of a good K.I.T.A. is to move you beyond your comfort zone.

I read another good book recently. I recommend you to read it. It is a very short new book by Seth Godin.

The Title is “Poke The Box”

What I like about Seth Godin is that he delivers the same message over and over in hundreds of different ways.

You will be challenged by messages that tell you :

Start something.

Initiate something.

Take a risk.

Act now.

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Will you kick yourself before life circumstances do?

Will you remain a spectator or will you become an actor?

 

 

Many people working with me have said that they have trouble following my ideas.

They are absolutely right.

Sometimes, I have a hard time following my own ideas.

Why do they say that?

It is because I don’t hesitate to change my mind even if  I think or say the exact opposite the next day.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote many years ago:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

What is the wisest thing to do?

Is it to try to defend a point that  no longer stand in the light of newly acquired information?

Or is it simply easier and faster to change your mind and change your direction?

So what if I said something yesterday and I change my mind today? Doesn’t it prove that I am more experienced and more knowledgable?

One of the most important qualities we can develop in a time of rapid change is flexibility.

Today, perhaps the most important factor affecting our life is the speed of change.

We are living in an age where change is taking place at a faster rate than ever before in human history.

And if anything, the rate is increasing, year by year, if not day by day.

Change today is not only faster, but it is also discontinuous, not following a straight line but starting, stopping, and moving in unpredictable directions.

Change is coming at us from all sides and in so many different ways that it is often impossible to anticipate what might happen next.

Change causes enormous stress for people who are fixed or rigid in their beliefs about how things should be.

They fall in love with what they are doing  and are unwilling to change, even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Don’t let this happen to you!

To remain flexible, you must constantly be open, alert to new ideas and knowledge that can help you.

One new idea can be enough to change your entire life.

Another driving change is the rapid growth and development of new technology.  Every advance in technology aimed at helping people to get things done faster, better, cheaper, or easier. And the speed of technological change is increasing every day. It’s exponential.

Be willing to admit, in each area of your life where you experience stress or resistance, that you could be wrong or that you have made a mistake.

Why?

Because it will happen to all of us at times.

What will you do to make sure you are not resisting change?

Will you be brave enough to change your mind?

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

Aldous Huxley

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This is so true. But why is it so hard to admit or to accept?

Gandhi said;

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

 

Will you try it today?

Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans”

John Lennon (1940-80) British rock musician

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We often say things like, “when I’m older, I’ll do this;

if I had more time, I would start this project;

when my children are grown up, I’ ll have more time to take  care of myself.”

If, If, If, when, when, when…are just excuses to test our determination.

When we really care about someone, we do what we must do.

When we really care about something, we become very creative in order to get what we want.

What we can be, we must become, ultimately, it is one of the best ways to be at peace with ourselves.

Stop waiting and start acting NOW.

 

 

So many times, in different  circumstances, I am guilty of not giving my full attention.

My mind is wandering in many directions and even though I am there physically, I am elsewhere emotionnally and mentally.

Examples? Yes I’ll give you many…

One of my kids will come to me to ask me something and I will give them a quick answer and expect a quick understanding.

A colleague at work will come to ask me a question and I will give them an quick answer so I can resume what I was doing.

Keeping our smartphones ON in a meeting is very rude to others and very distracting as well. ( I have stopped doing this completely, well almost…)

Giving our full attention in every conversation is essential to building and maintaining good relationships.

Another surprising thing is that we often act this way with people we care about the most.

Many times, I have fooled myself by thinking I was saving time by multi-tasking. VERY WRONG.

Giving our full attention to people we care about is a good investment of our time and it shows respect for the time of others.

 

 

 

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.”

Julie Andrews, actress

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Why do we give up on some of our projects? Because it’s too hard. It takes too much time. We don’t have the patience.

The irony is that when we keep persevering, we usually save time in the long run.

 

 

Seize the Day, Carpe diem, the Latin sentence for “seize the day,” is all about being right here, right now.  The more willing we are to surrender to the present moment, embrace it, and fully experience it, the more we can appreciate and enjoy life.

As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”  Living like we’re going to die is about remembering to fully engage in the present moment, being grateful for the gift that it is, and doing our best not to dwell on the past or worry about the future.

If today were your last day, how would you want to live?

“There are very few men – and they are the exceptions – who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment”.
 Carl Von Clausewitz 1780-1831
 
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One of the most difficult things to practice in our lives is to delay gratification and to take a long term perspective with our projects. Our consumer society doesn’t help us when it encourages us to BUY NOW and PAY LATER. Many times, we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people who don’t care. We should always try to make the difference between an expense and an investment. We should try to avoid instant gratification. It’s a big challenge because it goes against every major trend in our society.
It applies to other areas in our lives as well;
The Olympic athlete has to make a lot of sacrifices to reach his/her goal. The medical student has to concentrate on his/her classes in order to get the diploma. The investor has to learn patience if he or she wants to earn dividends.
It is difficult because we should enjoy every day as if it is the last and at the same time invest our efforts and our resources for the future. The challenge for us is to find the balance between these two concepts.
Do you struggle with your short term desires and long term objectives?
 
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“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

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Yesterday is gone.

Gone. Gone. Gone. There is nothing we can change. The only opportunity is to profit from past experiences.

Tomorrow has not yet come.

None of us know the future. All we can do is adapt and give our best in all circumstances.

We have only today.

Today is the day to do what each one of us is supposed to do. And it’s different for everyone. Face the challenge. Do what you don’t feel like doing because it’s probably the right thing for you to do.

Let us begin.

The time is now. Not tomorrow, not after tomorrow, but now. Let’s act now.

Work is hard.

Distractions are plentiful.

Time is in short supply.

 

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”


Denis Waitley

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Lifestyle is style over amount. And style is an art—the art of living. You can’t buy style with money. You can’t buy good taste with money. You can only buy more with money. Lifestyle is culture—the appreciation of good music, dance, art, sculpture, literature, plays and the art of living well. It’s a taste for the fine, the unique, the beautiful.

Lifestyle also means rewarding excellence wherever you find it by not taking the small things of life for granted. On Valentine’s Day, I wanted to illustrate this with a personal anecdote:

Many years ago my lady friend and I were on a trip to Carmel, California, for some shopping and exploring. On the way we stopped at a service station. As soon as we parked our car in front of the pumps, a young man, about eighteen or nineteen, came bouncing out to the car and with a big smile said, “Can I help you?”

“Yes,” I answered, “A full tank of gas, please.” I wasn’t prepared for what followed. In this day and age of self-service and deteriorating customer treatment, this young man checked every tire, washed every window—even the sunroof—singing and whistling the whole time. We couldn’t believe both the quality of service and his upbeat attitude about his work.

When he brought the bill, I said to the young man, “Hey, you really have taken good care of us. I appreciate it.”

He replied, “I really enjoy working. It’s fun for me and I get to meet nice people like you.”

This kid was really something!

I said, “We’re on our way to Carmel and we want to get some milkshakes. Can you tell us where we can find the nearest Baskin-Robbins?”

“Baskin-Robbins is just a few blocks away,” he said as he gave us exact directions. Then he added, “Don’t park out front—park around to the side so your car won’t get sideswiped.”

What a kid!

As we got to the ice cream store we ordered milkshakes, except that instead of two, we ordered three.

Then we drove back to the station. Our young friend dashed out to greet us. “Hey, I see you got your milkshakes.”

“Yes, and this one is for you!”

His mouth fell open. “For me?”

“Sure. With all the fantastic service you gave us, I couldn’t leave you out of the milkshake deal.”

“Wow!” was his astonished reply.

As we drove off I could see him in my rear-view mirror just standing there, grinning from ear to ear.

Now, what did this little act of generosity cost me? Only about two dollars—you see, it’s not the money, it’s the style.

Well, I must have been feeling especially creative that day, so upon our arrival in Carmel I drove directly to a flower shop. As we walked inside I said to the florist, “I need a long-stemmed rose for my lady to carry while we go shopping in Carmel.”

The florist, a rather unromantic type, replied, “We sell them by the dozen.”

“I don’t need a dozen,” I said, “just one.”

“Well,” he replied haughtily, “it will cost you two dollars.”

“Wonderful,” I exclaimed. “There’s nothing worse than a cheap rose.”

Selecting the rose with some deliberation, I handed it to my friend. She was so impressed! And the cost? Two dollars. Just two dollars. A bit later she looked up and said, “Jim, I must be the only woman in Carmel today carrying a rose.” And I believe she probably was.

Can you imagine the opportunity to create magic with those around you, and all for the cost of a few dollars, some imagination and care. Remember, it is not the amount that matters but the thought and care that often has the greatest impact upon those you love.