When we face a challenge, we should try to focus on what we can change in the present in order to improve the future.

Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, we should focus on where we want to be and what we want.

It is important to know exactly what we want and we must act on what we want.

Action is what will transform our circumstances towards a more desirable future.

Let’s use our past experiences to guide us; while being appreciative of our present conditions.

Let’s dream of an outstanding future for ourselves, our family and friends and the rest of humanity.

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
 

Franz Kafka

novelist

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Take some time to appreciate the beauty around you.

Whether a rainbow or a butterfly, a mountain or a tree, a painting or a poem; whether crafted by nature or by a human hand.

Beauty adds a mystical element to life that differs from logic and science.

The nature of life is constant change.

The world is not the same today as it was yesterday, and it will be different still tomorrow.

We can be victims of that change, or we can drive change.

Benjamin Franklin used to say:  Drive your business or your business will drive thee.

Think about it, he wrote this thought almost 200 years ago.

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The steps towards reaching your goal and overcome your resistance to change.

Visualize the end result.

Plan.

Take action.

Obstacles will appear.

Persevere.

Receive feedback.

Adapt your plan.

Take action again.

More obstacles will appear.

Persevere.

Celebrate victory. Reward yourself.

Don’t be afraid of change!

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.

Lyndon B. Johnson

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It’s up to you!

One of the things that stands between us and our quality of life, is the underlying fear of death. From the moment we don’t fear death anymore, we don’t fear life either. When we get rid of the fear of dying, we get rid of a lot of others fears with it.

The moment that we become almost fearless, we can enjoy life to its fullest because of our willingness to take risks.

Isn’t it ironic that people who are ready to take on more risk are often the ones who are reaping the rewards? And even when they don’t get the big prize, they are having fun enjoying what they love the most, and that in itself is the reward; the satisfaction of a job well done.

My hope is that some young people understand this concept as early as possible. So much time and frustration could be avoided.

Yes but what if I fail? Try again.

And what if I fail again? Try again , and again, and again.

And what if my friends laugh at me? Ask yourself ; what risk are my so-called friends taking?

Did you take the time to identify YOUR fears of failure?

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift”

Mary Manin Morrissey

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It seems to me that Natasha Richardson had almost everything going for herself. She seemed to be happily married to Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson. She had two sons. She came from a famous British family of actors and actresses. I assume that she was financially wealthy. She left this world unexpectedly at the age of 45 (16747 days).

On 16 March 2009,  Natasha Richardson sustained a head injury when she fell while taking a skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resortin Quebec, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) from Montreal. The injury was followed by a lucid interval, when Richardson seemed to be fine and was able to talk and act normally. Paramedics and an ambulance which initially responded to the accident were told they were not needed and left. Refusing medical attention, she returned to her hotel room and about three hours later was taken to a local hospital in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts after complaining of a headache. She was transferred from there by ambulance to Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur,Montreal, in critical condition and was admitted about seven hours after the fall. The following day she was flown to Lenox Hill Hospitalin New York City, where she died on 18 March. An autopsy conducted by the New York City Medical Examiners Office on 19 March revealed the cause of death was an “epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head”, and her death was ruled an accident.

Source Wikipedia, January 14, 2011

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It reminds me of an incident that happened to me on October 1 st 2005. I was coaching at the hockey school. I wasn’t wearing my helmet that morning… I fell on the ice and hit my head really hard. My wife was sitting on the bench and heard the sound of my head hitting the ice. (do you remember how noisy it is at the arena?) I didn’t hear a thing but I sure felt it. I was completely dizzy. It took me a good 30 minutes to start feeling normal again. When I read Natasha’s story, it makes me realize that what happened to her could have happened to me.  I am so thankful that my life was spared that day.

This is another reason why I try to live each day like it’s the last.

Does this make you realize how fragile your life really is?

If your answer is YES…

Start living now!

“Making a decision usually means taking one of two roads.

One is doing the right thing.

To take the other road, you have to sit back and spin a story around the decision or action you are taking.

If you find yourself thinking up an elaborate justification for what you are doing, you are not doing the right thing.”

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 Wayne Sales

 former Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.

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Sometimes it takes less time to do the right thing than to create the story.

And you won’t feel guilty about not doing what you knew you should have done.

“ I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy. ”

Marie Curie (1867–1934)
Polish-born French physicist and chemist
two-time Nobel Prize winner

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I admit that I’m very impatient. But this attitude goes against the laws of nature.

When you plant vegetables, you have to be patient to witness the results.

When you learn a new skill or a new language, you will need perseverence.

When you invest in a financial vehicle, the return on your investment will take time.

When you start exercising after a long period of rest, you will not look like Vin Diesel in two weeks.

There will be obstacles. There will be frustrations.

It’s part of the process in your journey towards self-improvement.

You need a long term vision to overcome all the challenges that will stand on your way.

It takes many years to make an overnight success.

The plot:

A romantic comedy about an American family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple. Gil and his fiancée, Inez, are in Paris, having a vacation with family and by chance with friends. Gil is a successful but dissatisfied Hollywood screenwriter, now working on his first novel. Inez and the others are very demeaning both to Gil and the idea of him writing a novel.

While alone walking at night, Gil gets in a car with some friendly strangers. Gil soon discovers he has been transported to the 1920s, an era he admires and idolizes in his to-be-novel. While there, he encounters and interacts with famous literary icons and artists who help him with his novel and his life.

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And here is the lesson to remember from this movie…

In the end he discovers that longing for a “golden past” is a recurring theme of any time period, as some prefer to be nostalgic about a romanticized past rather than accepting the messy present and uncertain future.

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When we read about the lives of the great achievers of the past, we are often impressed with their accomplishments. What we fail to realize is that many of them had their own struggles and daily frustrations to deal with.

Just like us!

The grass always seems to be greener elsewhere.

But is it really?

The challenge at any given time (or era) is to use the resources that are available to us in the best possible way.

And before you start making excuses, try to rembember this quote from Jackson Brown, the writer,

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per daythat were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”
 

I respect all of you all the time.

I respect you when you bow in your mosque,

kneel in your temple,

pray in your church,

preach your message,

plow your fields,

invest your money,

run your business,

paint your masterpiece,

code your new software,

take care of your patients,

remove the trashes,

give a helping hand,

and when you work in your laboratory.

Because the same Sun shines for all of us.  All the time !

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Do you ever find yourself saying:

When I’m older, I’ll do this…

Later, I’ll get to it…

One day, I will…

Or when it’s time or when I have a chance…

When I finish school, I’ll be able to…

When I have more money…

When I get married, I’ll be …

When the house is paid, we’ll go …

When the kids leave the house, we’ll move…

When I retire, I’ll have more time to…

When I’m dying… Oh no not already… AHHHHHHH…

We should learn to enjoy the road while we are travelling, because if we put all our hopes on the destination, we could be disappointed.

Most of the time, the anticipation is more exciting than the actual outcome.

For years, I wanted to be older, but NOT ANYMORE.

What about you ?

This is an example of someone who’s life has been threatened by a potentially fatal disease.

I share his short message with you because it contains wisdom and experience.

Time takes on new meaning when yout life has been threatened. Zohn advises everyone to make a difference now, before something changes your mind for you.

“In the past I used to look pretty far ahead. When cancer came along, my perspective on the universe shifted a bit. It’s so cliché, but you have to take advantage of each day, each moment. We’re on this planet for a very short time, and  it’s not about how or when you leave it. It’s about making it a brighter place while you’re here”

Ethan Zohn

TV’s Survivor and cancer survivor

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I took speed reading lessons about 15 years ago. At first, I was skeptical, but after the course was over, I was able to read about 3 times faster and able to double my understanding and retention rate. It really works !

One thing with speed reading, at least in my case, is that is it useful when you’re reading your regular publications and when you are familiar with the topic. If your reading something completely unsual, you’ll probably have to take you time.

Why?

Every field has its own vocabulary and technical words that have a unique meaning to its environment.

Hurry, Hurry, it will save you time!

 

We have control over our choices, but we don’ t have any control over the consequences of our choices.

What this means is that we don’t always know how things will turn out.

What it means is that we can’t always predict how people will respond to our decisions.

That is why we should be aware of our choices as much as possible if we want to improve our quality of life.

Sometimes our decisions can result in big mistakes that will be costly in time.

From the moment that we know clearly what we want, it becomes easier to make the best possible choices for ourselves. These decisions are unique for each one of us.

Do you ever think of the BIG difference between your CHOICES and the CONSEQUENCES of your choices?

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to site than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Marcus Aurelius

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The Chinese people say that we can never step in the same river twice. I believe this is so true because even if we meet the same people and even when we encounter similar circumstances in our lives, it is different every time.

Why?

Because each one of us is changing and evolving constantly. This is a good thing. This is how we grow. If it were not, we would still be living in caves and caverns.


It is difficult, however, for people who insist on resisting change. Resisting change is simply a display of our fears. It makes us very uncomfortable and very worried about the unknown.

   

 

Vocation is the place when your deep happiness meets other people deep needs.  I believe that most of us want to live a life that is truly ours. This kind of life would fulfill our true nature and would utilize our true gifts. This kind of life is what would satisfy our souls.

When we will draw our last breath and if we are given the time to reflect on our lives, will we ask? :

Did I make enough money?

Did I get famous enough?

or

Did I live fully and to my best potential?

Did I make a difference with the people who crossed my path?

From our first cry to our last breath… I believe that most of us are craving for this kind of life whether we are aware of it or not.

From the moment that we know what we want, we should increase the amount of time that we invest on what we really care about and reduce or eliminate the time that we spend on non-important things. We should try to be aware as often as possible. I mean COMPLETELY AWARE.

Over the last couple of years, I came to realize that I was wasting time by trying to accomplish too many projects at once. By wanting to do too much , I ended up do much less than expected. I had to learn to say NO to very interesting oppornunities in order to say YES and to focus completely on THE MOST IMPORTANT.

The intensity of your desire on the project will influence how long it will take you to accomplish it.

Most people are busy, some are very busy, the question is: Are they busy doing what they really care about?

Most of us manage to find time for the things we really like. Where the ambition is, there is time.

Reading is one of my favorite activities. I like spending time with people, I like the outdoors, arts and music, I like to travel and discover new places but somehow, it seems to me that I can always find time for reading.

Why? I’m not sure, but I know it is the activity that inspires me the most. This is one of my best source for new ideas. Not that I don’t find inspiration in other activities, I do, but reading keeps me energized and motivated, especially when life gets in the way.

One of my young daughters used to read a lot, and then came Facebook, YouTube and the iPod … now reading has become a boring activity for her. I keep trying to convince her to start again, and so far I have been unsuccessful. I hope that one day she will re-discover the joy of reading.

Someone who doesn’t read is a little bit like someone who cannot read.

What can I suggest to people who don’t like to read?

Try to read on a subject that you are passionnate about. This is one way you could have a chance to turn reading  into a regular habit.

Read, read all  you can. If you keep practicing, you will soon acquire a taste for reading. In time, it will give you a lot of satisfaction and pleasure.

“Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others”

Morrie Schwartz  (  Tuesdays with Morrie p.164)

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

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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 will eventually forgive, why wait?

 

“Money won’t make you happy… but everybody wants to find out for themselves.”

Zig Ziglar

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I used to think that money and wealth were the ultimate destination, but not anymore.

How much time and energy do you invest in the accumulation of money?

Is this what you really care about?

What if there would be something else to run after?

Like fun?

Like a better work / Life balance?

Like giving back to society?

Am I getting influenced by the slacker’s generation?

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“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Anais

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It’s always very challenging to get out of our comfort zone, to take a risk, a risk of failing, a risk of other people making fun of us. But it is the only way that I know to keep growing, to keep learning and to keep young in spirit.

To be young in spirit is to be alive,  fully alive and more aware of everything that surrounds us. When we experience this state of mind, it seems that we have more energy, not only  for our daily tasks, but for our leisure time as well.

I  was watching a show on newborn babies recently. They were saying that around 2 years of age, young kids are learning about 10 new words everyday. If this is true, that means that they are learning approximately 3650 words between ages 2 and 3. Wow!

We are constantly changing. Progressing or regressing. Learning and re-learning.

How many new words or new things do you want to learn in 2011?

 

 

We come into this world head first and go out feet first; in between, it is all a matter of balance.

 

 

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What is your Wheel of life looking like?

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

Pericles

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Wow!  I like this quote from Pericles.

It reminded me of what was woven into my own life.

The person who had the most influence on my of thinking has passed away in 1912.

How did he influence me?

With a great book that he had published in 1902-03.

This book that he left is his legacy to the world. Millions of people have been influenced by this masterpiece and still are today.

The title of the book is: As_a_Man_Thinketh . It is available for free on the web at many places.

It is now in the public domain within the United States and most other countries. It was released the 1st of October 2003 as a Project Gutenberg eText edition

File:James Allen.jpg

The mystery litterary Man: James_Allen_(author)

This book is one of the shortest I ever read, one of the easiest to understand, and yet, one of the hardest to put into practice.

I have read this book dozens of time and plan to read it over and over again.

Why will I read it again and again? Because even if I understand it very well, I still don’t apply many of its principles.

I recommend  this book to you very much. To read with absolutely no distraction or noise…

Society tends to have narrow views of its scientists, especially the brilliant ones. It assumes they are consumed by science and spend most of their time with microscopes or scribbling equations on dinner napkins as Einstein once did.

I’m not a scientist.

But…

I’m addicted to writing on dinner napkins. I scribble on them all the time as I’m holding a conversation with someone. I have been doing this for the last 25 years.

Recently, I was having lunch with a friend and when she saw me write on a napkin, she said: “Here I have some paper for you…”

Why do I scribble on napkins ?

I think that it is because it saves me a lot of time when I communicate with others.

How?

It helps me organize my thoughts as I speak with someone.

When I organize my ideas as I speak, I believe it reduces my natural tendency to ramble on forever.

Notice that when someone starts to repeat himself or herself, it is because he or she made her point already.

In sales, we call this “Overselling”.

But some people seem to feel that they made their point too fast…

The “napkin method” should help some of you to get to the point faster.

The scientific method is all about organizing our thoughts, our results to insure repeatability and make sure that we separate facts from personal opinions.

Writing on napkins is simple, practical,spontaneous and it helps you organize your ideas.

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The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: “a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”

One of my kids was asking me recently why I was buying blank notebooks.

My daughter said: “Daddy, this is so weird…”

Blank Books?

I am a buyer of blank notebooks. My kids find it interesting (read: weird) that I would buy a blank book. They say: 14 dollars for a blank book! Why would you pay that?” (Thinking what I could buy them with the $ 14…) 

The reason I pay 14 dollars is to challenge myself to find something worth 14 dollars to put in there.

I must admit, if you got a glimpse of my notebooks, you’d have to say that I dream Big Dreams ( read: very unrealistic in the eyes of many) .

Writing down my ideas is very important. Re-writing my ideas over and over again is even more important.

Why? It seems to me that the more I juggle with an idea, the more I dream about it, the more I entertain it, the more it has a tendency to become a reality. It seems to work even with crazy ideas. I can’t prove it, but somehow, it seems to work. It seems to save me time because this one of ways that make me focus on a clear idea, a clear goal with a direction.

Where do you write down your crazy ideas?

37 % of Canadians are giving some of their personal time in one way or another. It can be for sports and leisure activities, for social services and education or it can for religious activities. On average, each Canadian gives 166 hours every year of volunteer work. That is quite a lot considering our busy schedules. This represents 4,75 work weeks based on a 35 hours a week schedule.

Another surprising number is that 58 % of young people between the age of 15 and 24 give some of their time compared to 36 % of people over 65 years old.

I would have lost my bet on this for sure…

What are the activities ? Participation on  some Board of Directors and in social clubs, raising funds, serving and distributing food, coaching sports team, helping elderly people and the list goes on. There is a link below that will make you more aware of the needs and different community organizations.

When we put our attention on supporting other people. It may or may not always come back to us from the people we help specifically, and that’s okay. We want to do our best not to “keep score,” as many of us often do, but instead to look for opportunities to genuinely help those around us. When we do this, we remind ourselves of the power of support.

How much time do you invest for others?

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Here is a link for residents of the Montreal Metroplitan Area.

More than a thousand community organizations are looking for volunteers.

http://cabm.net/en 

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“With money you can buy a clock but not time”

Chinese proverb

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With good health, we have the energy to be productive,
When we are productive, we can earn a good living,
When we earn a lot of money, we can afford more things,
With more things or resources, it can improve our quality of life, ( up to a certain point)

When our quality of life improves, we can become more generous,
When we become more generous, we feel good about ourselves,
When we feel good about ourselves, it contributes to our general well being and health.
If I keep reasoning this way, it seems that all this should have a positive effect on our longevity.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Why?
It is difficult to admit or to accept, but we don’ t have control over a lot of things.

One of the thing we don’t have much control over is: Time.

So money can buy us a lot of things, but not Time.

But do you take good care of your time?

Life seems like a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. And sometimes it hurts.

On January 25 th, 2011, I had a very good day at work. I came home on time and helped my youngest daughter with her homework.

After this, I thought I would have time for myself to relax…

It was about 19:15 in the evening.

Suddenly, I started to feel a sharp pain in my flank , lower abdomen and groin. My face became white as a ghost and my hands turned blue as a dead corpse. I started to tremble and was feeling cold all over. The physiological changes in my body were happening so quickly that I asked myself: What is happening to me right now?

It felt like I was watching a movie in slow motion and experiencing every painful moment vividly.

Since I was alone with my 11 year old daugther, I decided to call  an ambulance because I wasn’t able to drive myself to the hospital.

Once I was in the hospital, the pain started to intensify and I was vomitting abundantly. For a full hour, waiting for my medication, I experienced the most intense pain I had ever felt in my life. Apparently this kind of pain is almost as horrible as what a woman experiences while giving birth. After receiving the IV ( intravenous injection), the pain was slowly going away. The doctor told me that I was experiencing “a textbook case of kidney stone “.

When someone like me writes everyday about the value of time and life, an experience like this really hit me right at the center of my being because I couldn’t help but ask myself:Is my time coming right now? Is this it ?     (Ignorance makes us more afraid than we should be…)

As I was living through this adventure, I realized that it only reinforced my commitment to keep writing on the subject of time and life as long as it will be possible.

Each lesson provides a path to the future.

Never stop learning. Never stop experiencing. Look for further education in all areas of life. Even when It hurts…

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The next day, after being stabilized, I started to read on Wikipedia about kidney stones and my readings confirmed everything I had experienced the night before.

I discovered that I share at least one thing in common with Isaac Newton, Isaac Asimov ( was afraid to get addicted to morphine), Francis Bacon and Benjamin Franklin.

What?   Well if I can’t share their fame… I can share some of their pain .     🙂

I feel a little bit better now…

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The little history of kidney stones.

The existence of kidney stones has been recorded since the beginning of civilization, and lithotomy for the removal of stones is one of the earliest known surgical procedures.[61] In 1901, a stone was discovered in the pelvis of an ancient Egyptian mummy, and was dated to 4,800 BC. Medical text from ancient Mesopotamia, India, China, Persia, Greece and Rome all mentioned calculous disease. Part of the Hippocratic oath suggests that there were practicing surgeons in Ancient Greece to whom physicians should defer for lithotomies. The Roman medical treatise De Medicina by Cornelius Celsus contained a description of lithotomy, and this work served as the basis for this procedure up until the 18th century.[62]

Among the famous leaders who were kidney stone formers are Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Napoleon III, Peter the Great, Louis XIV, George IV, Oliver Cromwell, and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Other notable individuals who endured stones include Benjamin Franklin, the philosophers Michel de Montaigne and Sir Francis Bacon, the scientist Sir Isaac Newton, the civil servant and diarist Samuel Pepys, the physicians William Harvey and Herman Boerhaave, and the anatomist Antonio Scarpa.[63] Interestingly, astronauts seem to have a higher risk of developing kidney stones during or after long duration space flights.[64]

New techniques in lithotomy began to emerge starting in 1520, but the operation remained risky. It was only after Henry Jacob Bigelow popularized the technique of litholapaxy in 1878 that the mortality rate dropped from about 24% down to 2.4%. However, other treatment techniques were developed that continued to produce a high level of mortality, especially among inexperienced urologists.[62][63] In 1980, Dornier MedTech introduced extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for breaking up stones via acoustical pulses, and this technique has come into widespread use.[65]

Kidney stones were once referred to as gravel or gravel disease during the 1800s in the United States. One such example is documented in the Oak Ridge Cemetery records for Charles Muir Campbell who died 13 Oct 1874 in Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, USA

Source, Wikipedia,  January 27, 2011.

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For those of you who like Seinfeld… A little bit of humor with Kramer who gets a kidney stone.  🙂

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xk6mr_kramer-gets-a-kidney-stone_news

 

 

    We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63)
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    If someone is watching a reality show about dancing on TV, aren’t they using time as a couch?  If someone is taking dance lessons with a friend or partner, aren’t they using time as a tool?
    If someone is watching a reality show about singing, aren’t they using time as a couch? If someone is taking singing lessons, entering a karaoke contest or joining a choir, aren’t they using time as a tool?
    If someone is watching hockey or golf on TV, aren’t they using time as a couch? If someone is playing hockey or golf with friends, aren’t they using time as a tool?
     Is your satisfaction in the watching or in the doing?
    Are you a spectator or an actor?
    Which one will make you grow as an individual?

“Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them”

Dion Bousicault ( 1820-1890)

Irish-born actor & dramatist

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How could anyone in their right mind want to kill time? To want to kill time, in my opinion, is a confession of imbecility because time is what life is made of. Sometimes, we are at work thinking of what we will do on the weekend. However, when the weekend comes, do you ever find yourself doing nothing? So you wasted productive time at work because you were daydreaming, and now you are wasting free time because you did not plan in advance. You are caught off guard at the last minute.

I have a  personal example that happened to my wife and I a few times. We have 3 young children who still need a babysitter when we go out. Sometimes, we had the chance to find a babysitter at the last minute. This was great, but since we had only about 60 to 90 minutes of free time together, our options were limited. By the time we agreed on what we both wanted to do, 20 to 30 minutes had already gone by.

So I asked myself; how can I avoid this kind of situation when our time is so limited and so precious?

Solution: I made a list of dozens of activities that require very little time and that are enjoyable. When  the opportunity to have time together knocks on our door, we are ready. Since then, we can use these precious minutes in a smarter way.

Exception:  If you are a person with an extremely busy schedule, it is important NOT TO FEEL GUILTY because you need to relax once in a while and in this case, it’s not a waste of time.

When we know exactly what we want and what we like, it’s easier to use our time in a smarter way.

Do you often find yourself “killing” precious time ?