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Thought-Provoking Ideas that Inspire. 

Determining the Pace of Your Marathon

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2019

"...except for the elite, marathoners do not really compete against each other"
- Harvey Mackay, "Pushing the Envelope...All the Way to the Top"


I spoke at a graduation some time ago and expressed an important thought to the graduates and their families: YOU WILL HAVE TO DETERMINE YOUR FUTURE; IF NOT, SOMEONE ELSE WILL SURELY DO IT FOR YOU!

With the uncertain state of the economy, many of us are in reactive and panic mode. Let me be sure to note that I do not take lightly the fact that an economy that crashes causes jobs to be lost, homes and vehicles to be taken away, or that retirement and college savings tend to be all but part of a disappearing act or "trick" (where, of course, the audience is not applauding in sheer and joyful amazement). I’m here to tell you, my friends, that there's something to be said about focusing on the most important things during this potential turmoil: WE determine who we ARE during this process.

The late Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst extraordinaire,...

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Empathy - Maintaining a Human Perspective

Uncategorized Aug 12, 2019

"Empathy...lubricates human relationships" - Harvey Mackay

Empathy. It has the power to let others know we're listening...it has the ability to remind us of our own brokenness and need for connection. No matter what kind of relationship we're dealing with, it is improved when the other person feels important - understood and appreciated. It's been said that "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." It couldn't be put any more succinctly!

Many of us are enduring trying times, and "good people" are facing difficult situations and the arbitrary measures we use to size people up - credit scores, for instance - matter so little. A while back, I was sitting in one of my former students' office, a Vice President at a bank, when one of his associates dropped the fancy keys of a BMW X5 - the individual who had the vehicle simply could not keep up with the payments...

Are we to judge that individual, as their credit scores will undoubtedly reflect? I do not know...

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Questions, the Seeds of Discovery

Uncategorized Jul 11, 2019

"How does a person survive his own life, the ceaseless surprises, uncertainties, struggles, rerouting in strange, inconvenient directions? What force is it, exactly, that flips a falling man back on his feet, reconstitutes him after disaster, helps him prevail in the face of challenges far beyond his previous limits? What mysterious strength is it that enables us to outsmart 'the terrorists within,' those destructive maniacs under the skin - cynicism, despair, resignation, terror - that threaten to stop us in our tracks? Finally, how is it possible not merely to survive our greatest obstacles but to prevail in circumstances that threaten to stop us?"  - "When You're Falling, Dive", Mark Matousek

No doubt, as the turbulence of our present world presses hard against our minds, we all have questions. "Are we going to make it?" "Will I keep my home?" "My car?" "My job?" "How will I feed and clothe the children?" "What kind of man/woman am I?"

Yes, these are truly potent and real...

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Your Past – An Outline for a More Guided Today

Uncategorized May 23, 2019

"We are never defined by our past...we are only prepared by it."- Alexander Phiri, Milton Keynes, England

Alex and I share many common life experiences; when we have our "almost weekly" phone conversations, it's both encouraging and challenging. Kindred hearts and spirits...we're separated by the Atlantic, but united by a bond of brotherhood like no other. Some time ago, we were discussing the past: its ability to render impotent even the most viable dreams and its uncanny maneuvers against creativity. It was then that Alex said: "You know, Sid, we are never defined by our past...we are only prepared by it." He went on to share how every single act, situation, and thought from my past is the eclectic education I needed to function effectively in my present.

I wonder, then...

...at what point does the past become a preparatory tool?

Friends, I believe that it is when we choose - when we become bold enough to face our past and declare it our "Future...

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Learning from the Past, to Navigate the Future

Uncategorized Apr 08, 2019

"Our world is changing faster than ever before, and the importance of learning is growing even faster. Any significant improvement in life...is based on learning."
– Samuel Daniel, Earl of Southampton

More often than not, I find myself in the middle of discussions about the past. A while back, I met with a friend who was sorely disappointed by the actions of someone close. The results of those actions were far-reaching, and were also causing much present grief. I could not help but think how this was a potent situation for growth - after all, I thought, what could be a greater impetus for higher level living and thinking than learning [in the words of the title of Dr. Seligman's book] "what you can change and what you can't"?

"The knowledge of the difference between what we can change and what we must accept in ourselves is the beginning of real change," says Dr. Martin P. Seligman. It worries me, this lack of appreciation for who we are. That is, our inability to change some...

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Adverse Conditions and Attitude...

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2019

"The greatest works of admiration, and all the fair examples of renown, out of distress and misery are grown."
– Samuel Daniel, Earl of Southampton

A while back I was having an online conversation with one of my college buddies, I was asked how I was doing. I responded "well" and added a "smiley face" to my post. At that, he asked if that was genuine joy or if I was "hysterically smiling in the face of adversity" - this, of course, prompted me to LOL. Oops...I mean...that prompted me to laugh out loud (really loud). We’ve been friends for about five years now and he's come to know me as the boy who pops an optimism pill as much as Dr. House (on Fox's former hit show "House") pops pain killers. Needless to say, in this instance, I was simply genuinely overjoyed; but that phrase prompted a thought process that led to what you are now reading...

Taunting, I have found, can be an effective tool to discourage and, in essence, disarm one's enemies. While my opponents during a...

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Persevering Through Adversity...

Uncategorized Feb 19, 2019

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength, but by perseverence."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Author of "Life's Little Instruction Book"

I have always wondered about people who stop just short of their goal...those who give up when a little more would have turned the battle. I am not one to judge; simply pointing out a simple observation – we tend to give up too quickly!

I recently discovered something about myself: I have no desire to run a marathon...for any reasons. I can give a plethora of excuses, but it all boils down to this simple fact: I. Have. No. Desire. There are, however, other things I wish to accomplish in life - things I greatly desire to see through. For those, I will put my head down, like a Tour de France cyclist, and fight a strong headwind towards the finish line.
When it comes to fighting through adversity, we must put our heads down and keep "cycling" - for some, it's...

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Tough Psychology: Freeing Ourselves from Our Ghosts

Uncategorized Jan 17, 2019
"Feeling inadequate has a universal zip code." - Victory Ford on Season II of NBC's 'Lipstick Jungle'

I'd like to meet anyone who does not have "crises of quality" - OK, fine; this is a phrase I use to mask the feelings of "inadequacy" or "impotence" we all experience at some point(s) in our lives. This is a time when we doubt the quality of God's workmanship in us and feel completely useless and lacking in viability. For many of us, this is a tough season marked by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, knowing that once this period is over, many of us will be forced to pick through the rubble of the financial aftermath that has hit many of our businesses and homes...

I have to say, however, that the great challenge of our age is not at the bank or on the job, but in the mind. Fighting feelings of inadequacy is a full-time job. Things may even be going wonderfully for us, yet we still feel inadequate. I had to counsel a friend recently who had just began a...

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Traversing Through the Storms of Growth

Uncategorized Nov 28, 2018
 ...the only way out, is through!!

I woke up this morning thinking about the challenges I have faced in the last ten years. As I prepared my decaf Chai Tea, I considered my response to every storm that has come in the last 120 months: death, loss, pain, betrayal, financial tornadoes...

I decided to take inventory because I was concerned about my progress; I wondered if I had grown at all. I wondered whether I was responding to every storm in the same way and asked myself if I was avoiding the storms again...

Unlike the physical storms that Mother Nature orchestrates, the "storms of growth" cannot be avoided. For those who feel they have successfully avoided them, they become repetitive patterns in their lives until the lessons are learned...

The "storms of growth," I have found, must not only be faced head on, they must be traversed through

I was speechless as I thought about how the only way I would grow ("survive") after the storm was to go through it - not try to...

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Courage & Growth: The Liberation of Imperfection

Uncategorized Nov 21, 2018
"To courageously shoulder the responsibility of one's mistakes is character." - a fortune cookie

There's something especially humbling about failure; a quality that insufficiency evokes in us. It is at these failure turns, twists, and forks in the road that we discover our inadequacy, where we become fully acquainted with our fragility and develop a heightened awareness of our mortality. The manner in which we view ourselves and the world around us changes in the blink of an eye. We are touched in a way that morphs us into individuals with a deeper sense of purpose and a singular focus - to live life fully and wholly.

I once said to my 'Introduction to Speech Communication' students years ago, that "it is the most liberating thing to not have to be perfect". When we recognize that mistakes are inevitable - that they are part of the learning process - we become less averse to making them. And, when we do, we boldly and courageously shoulder the outcomes; knowing that we have mastered...
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