Never

DSCN0336Forever, absolutely not going to happen, zero possibility, a very long time, gone and not to come back again, not ever, at no time, absolutely not

Lost time is never found again. Benjamin Franklin

Winners never quit and quitters never win. .Vince Lombardi

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. Napoleon Hill

Never is forever. By definition never is an absolute; it has no provision for any possibility. Very often, the concept of never carries with it negative connotations. We should be very careful in how we conceive and think about “never” and the lasting impact it may have. It may be harmful to our well-being and our relationships.

We use “never” in our daily language without even thinking about what we are saying. Often as not, the odds are against never ever occurring. We have said such things as “I will never talk to that person again;” “I will never go back there again;” or “I will never forgive you.” These are absolute statements. Sometimes by making such statements we are backing ourselves into an undesirable corner. We may live to regret what we have said and there may a price to pay for our saying “never”. We should be very careful to avoid such statements.

The wise among us are careful and deliberate in what they say and mean. They do not go overboard or too far in making their points. Most of the time, it is a very bad idea to burn our bridges behind us. It is a good idea to always try to leave ourselves a little wiggle room or a way to retreat when necessary. It is good to remember and practice never saying “never.” It will save a lot of headaches, embarrassments, and having to eat crow.

There is a positive side of the concept of never. It can be used to foster determination and perseverance. Believing in never quitting or in giving up can give us the little extra that sometimes sees us through obstacles and disappointments. It empowers us to think in terms of no retreat or surrender. It supports the idea of paying the price whatever it may be. This reminds us of such individuals as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Thomas Edison. Quitting was not a concept they embraced. They turned the idea of never around. The normal or “status quo” was “never” acceptable to them.  Quitting or giving up was never going to happen.

The lesson to be learned is to be careful and cautious in how we think of “never”.  We should never use it carelessly and only use it to motivate and inspire us to think in terms of never quitting or giving up.

Challenge: Never say “never,” should be something that reminds you to be careful in what you say and what you really mean. It should help you to be more articulate and careful with your words. Do not say things that you may later regret. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be aware that you can use the concept of never to motive and inspire you. If something is really worthwhile, never quit, persevere through until you are victorious.

Wisdom: Beware of making absolute statements. They often come back to haunt you. Randall Burkhalter

Spiritual: (NIV)

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

We should be very careful about the concept of never. We should always remember that God is sovereign and controls time and everything within it. In our limited capacities and abilities, we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow or much less in a year or in many years. In our foolishness and arrogance, we get carried away with our sense of supremacy and power. The wise look to God and trust him. It makes life so much easier.

Prayer: Help me to be patient, calm and perseverant. May my faith and confidence continue to grow in You.

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To Conform or not to Conform?

100_1989Choosing to be like others or to be different

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Walter Bagehot

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. Adlai Stevenson

Nothing pains some people more than having to think. Martin Luther King, Jr

  There is a sense of safety and security that comes from being like everyone else, to fit in and not stand out. Conformity has its place. The more we conform the less likely we are to be judged, criticized or even noticed. Being normal is like being a card carrying member of society’s group comfort zone. It is a place to chill, vegetate, escape, be complacent and avoid confrontations. This has both good and bad connotations to it.

It is good for us to have a place to fit in and escape the pressures of life. Home is such a place. The saying that there is no place like home portrays safety, comfort and security. Conforming to the norm is like the concept of home is many ways. We can let our guard down, have fewer demands on us, back off and get lost in the crowd. Is there a problem with conforming; lowering expectations, fitting in and being like everyone else? There are tradeoffs. If being like everyone else fits our concept of success, joy and happiness; then conformity is a good thing for us. Do normal everyday people live the kind of lives we want? Are they fulfilled; have they achieved success? Many of them have what they want. Life meets their expectations. Some are frustrated but have they accepted lives of mediocrity?  Others are unsatisfied because their lives do not match their expectations or potential. Some are unhappy and know it, while others avoid thinking about such things. We try not to think about the things that make us uncomfortable. Everyone has to determine their degree of conformity. Society does require that we comply with certain of its expectations. The more we conform, the more we lose some of our individuality and uniqueness. Each of us does conform in our own individual way.

Everyone has a one of a kind brain, personality, heredity, and background. These things made us into what we are and greatly affects our aspirations. Some choose to march to the beat of different drummers; answering the desire to be different and willing to take some risks. Conformity is not their thing. For others, being normal may mean some compromise, escape; or even burying their heads in the sand. We do not find answers by avoiding life’s challengers. We must confront and deal with them. Maybe some of us conform more than we should.

Challenge: If you have an ache in your gut reminding you that life is not what it should be, you have issues that need to be dealt with. You do not have your ‘t’s’ crossed or ‘i’s’ dotted as they should be. There are missing pieces to your puzzle. Your life is not in harmony. The ache will not go away by ignoring it or by burying your head in the sand. Finding joy and happiness depends on balancing your goals and desires with the life you live.

Wisdom: The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them. George Bernard Shaw

Spiritual: (NIV)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11; 1

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Isaiah 3:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were created to be unique individuals, but live in a world where we must live with and interact with those around us. We are also spiritual beings meant to interact and have a personal relationship with God. These choices conflict. Choosing worldly ways leads us away from our spiritual nature and our personal relationship with God. This is a most critical issue that requires our attention. We are not meant to live this life without God.

Prayer: Help me to live in this world with my primary emphasis on the spiritual world according to God’s will.

 

It’s Never Too Late

Clock TowerCertain things are worth doing regardless of when they get done

It is never too late to have a happy childhood. Tom Robbins

It’s never too late to give up our prejudices. Thoreau

It’s never too late to mend your way. American Proverb

We measure Life too much against the clock. Things need to be done by certain points in time. If we fail to get it done by an imposed deadline, there is often a sense of failure, disappointment and even punishment; even if it was something very important and worthy of celebrating. Getting things done according to schedule may be desirable. It is almost never too late to hang in there and get certain things done no matter how long it takes.

High school graduation normally occurs at the age of seventeen to eighteen. It is an important event that acknowledges the acquiring of some needed life skills and basic education. Some do not graduate on time and eventually go on to get their GED diplomas; some never do. Some may be late according to normal, but it is still an important event. It is never too late to accomplish anything so important or worthwhile. There are those who go to college later in life, go back to finish; and some who do not even start on degrees until late in life. It is never too late to do something worthwhile. Life has its share of disappointments. Many suffer unhappy marriages, unsuccessful careers, and search in vain for meaning or purpose. There is always the ongoing quest of looking for joy and happiness. It is never too late to find these things, no matter the age, or how long it takes.

Many of life’s quests have multiple steps and many requirements. This includes such elements as completing certain prerequisites; overcoming obstacles, and learning and understanding certain things before tasks can be finished. Some things do not come together until the timing is right, necessary steps have been taken, and all the required pieces come together. It cannot happen before. A caterpillar does not become a butterfly until timing is right. We march to different drummers, keep time in different time zones; choose different paths and experience life from different perspectives. We have different learning curves and do not have to do things the same way or at the same time. For many issues, it is not so important that we get something done according to someone else’s schedule; what is really important is that it gets done, no matter how long it may take. It is never too late to accomplish things that are really worthy of our perseverance and commitment.

Challenge: You are unique and no other is like you. What you must do, experience, and learn to fulfill your destiny and potential are uniquely yours. Of course, there is something to be said for getting things done as soon as possible; but timing is probably secondary to the importance of getting it done. In many respects, it matters most that you get it done, not when you do it. Do not give up your dreams or your quests. It is never too late.

Wisdom: It is never too late to become what you might have been. George Eliot

Spiritual: (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up Galatians 6:9

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Psalm 128:2

In the spiritual sense, as far as we know, it is not over until it is over. It is never too late to come to the wisdom that life without God is a losing proposition. It does not matter so much when we realize this as long as we finally do. The important thing is; we do transform ourselves from the caterpillar stage into the beautiful butterfly. This is something that only can be done with God being involved in our transformation.

Prayer: Help me to become the butterfly that You designed me do be.

Perseverance

DSC_0693Perseverance, doggedness, tenacity, not giving up, refusing to quit

Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. Napoleon Hill.

When life knocks you down you have two choices- stay down or get up. Tom Krause

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. Collin Powell

  If we have not really learned to persist, we probably have accomplished very little in our lives. Persistence means to not give up. When it comes to accomplishing a certain goal, we become like a heat seeking missile; not giving up; and persisting until we have acquired and struck our target.

If we never persisted in order to accomplish something, then either we have accomplished very little or that which we have accomplished came way too easily. It is a condition of human life that we have to learn to strive, taking two steps forward and one step backwards, handling adversity, falling down and getting back up, and to always persevere. We need these experiences in our lives in order to become all that we are capable of being.

Those mastering the art of persistence, for all extents and purposes have no goals they cannot complete. Mastering “persistence” is evidenced when seemingly there is nothing they cannot accomplish. It would seem “persisters” are “heat seeking missiles” or “robotic computers” that do not fail. Another example would be young men and women who join the U.S. Marines and what it takes for them to graduate from boot camp. Young marines are full of self-confidence, know no fear, and will go after their objectives with all that they have.

Those of us who are trying to become more proficient at “persistence” can learn much from such analogies. Many of us are not prepared to really “pay the price”. We are not committed to staying our course of action. We are not willing to suffer adversity, setbacks, anguish, disappointment, obstacles, and the things that line themselves up in front of us to test our resolve. We are required to “earn” the right and “pay the price” to accomplish our goals. It would be wonderful, if the pharmaceutical industry could develop a drug that would enable us to ingest doses of persistence, perseverance, self-confidence, will power, and all of the attributes that would cause us to be more successful. Life just does not work that way. We have to earn our success the old-fashioned way, we have to work for it. Persistence is a learned skill. We learn it and master it by doing it and experiencing it. The more we do it, the better we get at it. If we do it long enough, eventually we will master it.

Challenge: Can you be described as a person who is persistent; one who perseveres; one who does not take “no” for an answer? Are you someone who cannot be diverted from your course of action or from accomplishing your goals? If your answer is “yes”, you have what it takes. If, your answer is “no”, learning to persist should become a higher priority in your life. Mastering persistence can make huge a difference in you and your successes.

Wisdom: Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. Emerson

Spiritual: (NIV)

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Isaiah 40:29

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:12

Prayer:   Grant me the strength and the ability to persist, to not give up and to succeed at this life.

Spirituality

TranquilityThat which animates us as human beings, our inner being, our soul

Unrest of spirit is a mark of life.  Karl Menninger

Your spirit is everything; your body is a garment that rots, and nothing more.  Allan Kardec

Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the spirit is.  Voltaire

   Spirituality is something we have a hard time defining and placing within the confines of normal scientific explanation. Many sages and philosophers throughout the ages acknowledge that which we call the “spirit”. It is one of the things believed to separate us from the animal kingdom.

For those believing in the supernatural; the spirit is something supplied to us by a deity. Some believe it is an integral part of the universal. It is also described as the soul. Many believe it pre-existed and continues to exist after death. Science cannot tell us where it comes from or where it goes at death. It is also why we seek religious answers to so many questions about the mysteries of life. There are those who do not believe that it even exists.

Our spiritual nature has something to do with our conscience. It causes us to be concerned with morality, values, principles, and even seeking to live life with a higher purpose. It equips with the ability to be able to discern the difference between our physical and mental selves. It makes us aware of our selfishness, self-centeredness, egotism and many of our undesirable traits. Spirituality allows us to separate ourselves from the physical world and can give us a sense of inner peace and spiritual power. It gives us our sense that there is more to the world than “Me”. In various movies and TV shows, robots and androids are portrayed without a spiritual dimension. A normal part of these plots is the absence of their spiritual dimension and how it makes them so different from their human counterparts. Like Pinocchio, we are less than totally human until we acquire or develop a spiritual dimension to our lives.

We must develop our spirituality to truly achieve our potential. Until we do we cannot objectively see ourselves as we really are; our true nature; our weaknesses, shortcomings, faults and limiting beliefs. A developed spirituality allows us to live larger; to love and accept ourselves even though we know we are far less than perfect. It allows us to become capable of truly loving others as well. Our spirituality gives us a sense of freedom and power that allows us to transcend the limitations of our physical self. Without it, we may not be much more than an automaton or puppet that lacks the spark that makes us truly human.

Challenge:  Neglecting your spirituality leaves you woefully inadequate of finding joy and happiness, and meaning and purpose in life. You are a spiritual being. There are many questions about your spiritual nature that you may never be able to answer. The wisdom of the ages shouts that your spirituality is real. Listen to your spiritual side; open up the door and look within. It may be the most important thing you can ever do in this life.

Wisdom: It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are-not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within-that you can begin to take control. Oprah Winfrey

Spiritual: (NIV)

That everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:15

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Galatians 5:22, 23

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7

We are much like Pinocchio without God in our lives. It is like we are a puppet on a string being controlled by other forces than ourselves. It is the power and strength that comes from a right relationship with God that gives us the freedom to get rid of the outside forces that control and manipulate us. Until we allow God to empower us, we are far less than we are intended to be. Without God in our life we are only a mere shell of what we can be.

Prayer:  Help me to let go and let you have control of my life. Help me walk in the power of your spirit.

Tough Love

100_2300Strict, blunt, disciplined approach to teaching life’s principles and lessons

Do not consider painful what is good for you. Euripides

Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild. Immanuel Kant

There is nothing wrong with tough love and long as it is unconditional.  George W Bush

Society is weak-willed, undisciplined, whiny, impolite, selfish, patronizing and has a long list of other undesirable traits and characteristics. There is a lack of love and concern, low expectations, and poor accountability. What we need is more tough love.

The true concept of love requires a degree of toughness. When raising children we have to say ‘No!’ be willing to discipline; withhold privileges and practice accountability. Some allow their children free reign. All we have to do is to look around and see the undesirable results of children whose parents have not practiced tough love. Some of us can look back and be thankful for the tough love of our parents, and some of us can look back and wish our parents had practiced more tough love. The more faults and short comings we have today may be related to the amount or lack of tough love we received or did not receive from our parents.

Many lack sufficient skills in self-discipline, accountability, delaying gratification, work ethic, patience, perseverance, and others. Those having some mastery of these are functioning and flourishing at higher levels than those who do not. Many of us are aware of our need to strengthen these skills. The more we tended to learn them from our parents, the more likely we acquired them earlier in life. Some of us are having to learn these things more on our own. As adults we need to practice tough love on ourselves as well as on our children.

The need for discipline, motivation, and accountability never ends. Just as kids need tough love from their parents, we need to practice tough love on ourselves. We need to do this in order to grow and reach our potential. Many of us are doing a poor job. Once no longer under the authority of our parents, we have to become our own parent. We have to be able to love ourselves and hold ourselves accountable to high standards. We have to practice self-discipline, delay gratification, be able to say “NO’, and limit our exposure to undesirable influences, and practice many other ‘tough love’ activities. Just as a parent fails his child when not practicing tough love, we fail ourselves in a similar manner. The need to learn and grow does not stop at adulthood, it is never-ending, ever-challenging, and a life-long need. We do need tough love in our lives.

Challenge: Do you practices tough self-love? Are you self-disciplined and self-accountable? These are very necessary skills to have. Chances are you can use some improvement in this area of your life. It behooves you to be aware of this need and responsibility. Are you less than you can or should be? Commit to becoming a good parent to yourself; practice tough self-love; you owe it to yourself to hold yourself to have high standards.

Wisdom: No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined. Author Unknown

Spiritual: (NIV)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5

God is the perfect parent. He would be less than perfect if He did not discipline and teach us the lessons of life. He does not make bad things happen, but uses bad things to teach and help us learn the lessons of life. This is tough love in action. God is the creator of love. We should learn from his example. We should practice tough self-love on ourselves. The more we are able to do this, the more we will grow and prosper in this life.

Prayer:  Help me to practice ‘tough self-love’.

Standards

201_3386Our code of ethics, morals, how we live and manage our lives

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Henry Ward Beecher.  

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. Ray Kroc

Let every man judge according to his own standards, by what he has himself read, not by what others tell him. Albert Einstein   

Standards are the expectations to which we are held accountable. They can be someone else’s standards or our very own. All of us are held accountable, to the “Rule of Law” as administered by government and our courts. We are also held accountable to standards in the workplace, and to standards of society in general.

There are standards to which we hold ourselves personally accountable (or not). Each of us can hold ourselves marginally, somewhat, or very accountable. Those who do not hold themselves accountable have a life filled with problems and are likely problems to those around them and to our society in general. When there are no standards there is something missing in upbringing, mental processes, socialization skills, and overall make up.

Many of us fall into the ‘somewhat accountable’ category. We hold ourselves accountable in conjunction with our “path of least resistance”. This means we verbally hold ourselves accountable to a degree if it is convenient and not too ‘painful.’ If holding ourselves accountable causes us any mental anguish or feelings of guilt or disappointment, we sometimes abandon our standards because it is so easy for us to do so. We think that there are no repercussions for our lack of discipline and integrity. The truth is that this is very damaging to ourselves.

There are those who hold themselves very accountable. Very often these are the people who have their lives going in the right directions. They are growing and realizing their potentials. They are their own managers and supervisors and hold themselves to high standards and expectations. However, some of these individuals can be so rigid and out of balance in their handling themselves, they provide no room for failure or mistakes. They can become very unhappy and miserable because they fail to live up to their own high expectations.

We need to establish our own set of standards, ethics, morals and principles to live by. They should be committed to memory. We should hold ourselves accountable rigorously and faithfully. However, we must handle ourselves in a loving and forgiving attitude at the same time and be prepared to forgive ourselves when falling short. The idea is to grow and develop a little at a time, making room for our mistakes, when they occur.

This is a life-long effort. Sometimes, we take two steps forward, while taking one step backwards.

Challenge:  Most claim to have set standards. How do we hold ourselves ‘accountable’ to personal standards, to growing and becoming what we can become?” It is so easy to let ourselves ‘off the hook’, to look the other way, and so forth. Take the time to establish and identify your standards; hold yourself accountable, monitor and supervise yourself. When you fail, examine the reasons, forgive yourself, make changes and go forward again.

Wisdom: You can become an even more excellent person by constantly setting higher and higher standards for yourself and then by doing everything possible to live up to those standards. Brian Tracy

Spiritual: (NIV)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.  Proverbs 16:3

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Not holding ourselves accountable to high standards results in less than our best. Those setting high standards and measuring themselves against those standards will fare better in life than those who do not. Gods hold us all accountable for what we do in life. In our own power and strength we will fall short of reaching our potential. When we let go and let God guide and direct us, He empowers us to do much better than we can do on our own.

Prayer:  Help me to be hold my accountable to become what it is You would have me to be and do.