Tag Archives: Relationships

An excellent idea

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

Aristotle (1811) Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice

Aristotle

Such a poignant statement that sums up how we should truly measure ourselves. As I celebrate my 54th birthday today, I will take these words by Aristotle with me as a reminder to live my life each day as someone who lives rightly. Doing so will help me be an excellent human being who has chosen to develop habits that are conducive to a life of excellence. After all, isn’t that what we all want to achieve with our lives? Today, choose to be an excellent person who inspires others to live their life in excellence. This is a most excellent idea. 

It depends upon

“A man is not much if he can’t depend on himself, and nothing if others can’t depend on him.”

~  Benjamin Black

There’s a school of psychology which holds that happiness is subjective. Good or bad things happen in life, but people return to the same base level of happiness. Researchers found evidence that people adapt completely to marriage, divorce, widowhood, birth of a child, and layoffs.

Death of a spouse, for instance, is a terrible event characterized by a radical drop in happiness, but in the year that follows happiness rises, and within two years happiness returns to normal and may even rise above the baseline (as the subject gets caught in another hedonic cycle). A similar hedonic pattern follows most negative events—and positive ones too. People get over them. In almost every unhappy situation that people are faced with, the happiness level reverts to the baseline. 

Because people have the strength to eventually rebound after any tragedy, they can depend on themselves, and others can depend on them to get them through the difficult times in life. Choose to be a happy person no matter what happens in your life and people will know they can depend on you. It just depends on you.

Happiness is a Choice

Thinking intelligently

“The essence of intelligence would seem to be in knowing when to think and act quickly, and knowing when to think and act slowly.”

~ Psychologist Robert Sternberg

How we react to something determines the outcome of a certain situation which can have a great impact on us immediately or some time after. It all depends on how quickly or slowly you act. How you act–and react–shows how intelligent you really are. Smart people typically don’t get themselves in trouble because they have thought about what their actions will manifest and the consequences they’ll have to live with thereafter. So, next time you’re in a situation that requires critical thinking and quick judgement, try your best not to make a decision either too quickly or too slowly. Whatever you decide though, make sure your course of action is based on how it effects the lives of those involved in your decision. It will end up being the best decision of all.

Golf balls, pebbles, sand and coffee

“The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee”

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with GOLF BALLS. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of PEBBLES and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of SAND and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced TWO CUPS OF COFFEE from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that:

1. This JAR represents your life.

2. The GOLF BALLS are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

3. The PEBBLES are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

4. The SAND is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Spend more time enjoying your hobbies. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the sink disposal. TAKE CARE OF THE GOLF BALLS FIRST–THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER. Set your priorities. THE REST IS SAND.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the COFFEE represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

People should spend more of their time thinking about what is most important in their lives and about those who are closest to them, then spend the remainder of their time doing things for and with those people.

The rainbow rule

The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you finish the work.

~ Pat Clifford

If you have a child(ren) in your life, then be sensitive to the fact that time won’t wait for you to find time to spend with them. Make a daily effort to spend time with your offspring so they can grow up in a way that you want them to grow up. Children are directly effected by how much effort we put into their lives. This effort comes from your commitment to make the time to help them become people you will be proud of and who will be proud of you for all the time you give to them. The best use of your time is the time you give to others; so make sure you give more time to the ones you bring into this world than those who don’t matter as much to you in the end. Put children before your work so they can enjoy the many colors of the rainbow and more importantly, your colors.

Rainbow Children

Total tolerance

“I believe with all my heart that civilization has produced nothing finer than a man or woman who thinks and practices true tolerance.”

~ Frank Knox

Accepting people as they are no matter how different they are from you is one of hardest things to do as human beings. There are division/differences in every aspect of life – culture, food, religion, dress, language, money, art, etc. Having enough tolerance to really appreciate these differences takes an awful lot of will, desire, intelligence and love. I have had to apply all of these actions into my life for the past six years while living in Asia. Everything here is different from where I came from. It took me a long time to accept the differences that exist in this part of the world. Living a more tolerant life has made me a better person; one who has an improved understanding of the human spirit and purpose for life. As you journey through this life, make a choice to accept something or someone that you never thought you could accept or something you never considered doing before. You’ll really be amazed at just how much you grow from the experience. Can you tolerate that?

Tolerant Beauty

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for use of his illustration.

Shaping your world

“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.”

~ Gary Lew

Most of us spend our lives in reaction mode. We sometimes do things without giving much thought to the consequences. But you can change this habit and begin taking control of your life. Your destiny belongs to you, and you only. If you don’t choose your own paths and methods for arriving at your desired destination, then someone or something else will. Take charge of your life everyday by structuring it with a list of goals that are attainable and feasible for you to reach. Get others involved who can support you in any way possible so that you are more able to get where you want to be in life. Choose people who can be trusted, who are loyal and devoted to helping you reach your goals. Then, together, you will shape your  own life WITH their help and not BY them. Once you begin doing this, your passion and soul energy work together to give you the tools to create an extraordinary life by YOUR design. 

Magic Mushrooms

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for use of his illustration.

Changing me; changing you

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.”

~ Braude

“You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.”

~ Les Brown

Start doing something new in your life that will improve your overall outlook on life and bring you closer to the ones you love the most. Beginning today, you can improve yourself by making changes that will make you a better person and more attractive to those around you. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously. Choose wisely. Choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Following is a list of the Top 5 things people regretted most before they died:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Be sure not to allow yourself to experience any of these regrets. Take time to show the ones you love how important they are to you and to your well-being. Just like a flower is to a bee.

Friends for Life

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for use of his illustration.

Marry well and you’ll be well

“A mother should give her children a superabundance of enthusiasm, that after they have lost all they are sure to lose in mixing with the world, enough may still remain to prompt and support them through great actions.”

~ Julius C. Hare (1795-1855)  English Cleric

Children need lots of encouragement everyday to get through their lives. If they are blessed with a mother (and father!) who raise them up in a manner that others admire and desire, then they will most likely go on to have successful families. To accomplish this, you must “marry well.” While the phrase “marry well” is typically used to describe people who marry someone rich, I am talking about something entirely different: genetics. Apparently, longevity genes can be inherited. According to a February 2005 study in Mechanisms of Aging and Development, exceptional longevity and healthy aging is an inherited phenotype across three generations. So, for you single people out there, pick a spouse whose grandparents are still alive. This won’t make you live longer, but it might help your children. Then you’ll have a better chance knowing that your children will care for you as you get older. Bless all the mothers and fathers of the world. Let them know today that you love them for all they have done for you.

Nurturing Flower

Special thanks to Tim Coffey for use of his illustration.

Happily-ever-after forever

“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.”

~ Margaret Bonnano

Be Happy

Living a happy life requires a daily devotion to it. This means going to bed with the hope of a better tomorrow and acting on having a better day as you go through the motions of your daily routine. It also means waking up with joy for the chance to live another day that can make your world better and the world around you better. Life is a gift, so we must make the choice to live it with happiness, hope, health and harmony. As you live your happy life, be sure and tell all those around you how happy you are and you will soon see their happiness shine back at you. This is something that lasts forever if you give your happy attitude away for free to everyone. Being high on happiness is the best kind of high for all of us. Remember, happiness is only real when shared.

Act tactfully

“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”

Howard W. Newton

~ Howard W. Newton

tact: a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense

Would you like to make new friends and keep the friends you have now? Then be more tactful. Saying the right thing at the right time or the wrong thing at the wrong time can be the difference between keeping or losing a friend. And if your words are tactless, then you’ll possibly make an enemy. Words can be either very sharp like a sword or sweet like the taste of honey. Choose your words carefully in every instance when communicating with those you care about. Being tactful in their presence will earn you much respect and admiration. Please consider these tactful words from me to live by.

Your life or lips?

Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith

“You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.”

~ Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) Irish Writer

Lip service never did any good for anyone except those who like to hear only what they want to hear. It’s easy to say something to someone and act like you mean it, but without action behind the words they only tickle the ears. Words are powerful but they cannot match the power of action. If you want to touch someone’s heart with your words, then you must accompany the words with liveliness to push them from your lips into the essence of their being. True friendship requires doing whatever is necessary to convince each other’s soul that you will do anything to preserve the friendship or love between you and them. Do more than tell someone you love them or like them — show them! A little action goes a long way. And a lot of action generates remarkable results.

Successfully successful

“Success is not counted by how high you have climbed but by how many people you brought with you.”

~ Wil Rose

Happiness is...

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

~ Schweitzer

Success is a lot of things to a lot of people but the one thing it isn’t is having lots of possessions and having no one to enjoy them with. If you don’t have others to enjoy all you have obtained or attained in life, then what good is it to have anything at all? Additionally, having friends who like you just because of what you own are not the kind of people you need in your life. Seek people who truly care for you no matter what you have or how successful you are. Finding them can be just as hard if not harder to obtain than any material possessions you may acquire. Close friends are the real treasure in life, so look for them like you would a chest of gold or fine jewels buried on some remote island. When you are happy doing what you like in life with people who can share in your happiness, then you are truly successful.

Nag, nag, nag!

“People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be – not what you nag them to be.”

~ S.N. Parker

Nellie the Nagger

nag
1. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly
2. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance

If you want to push someone away from you emotionally; destroy their confidence; make them angry; or show your true colors – then constantly tell them how they are doing things wrong or how much you dislike them or dislike what they’re doing. Nagging is not only negative, it’s destructive. It is the cause of many breakups in relationships of all kinds and only shows how immature and selfish you are when doing it. Starting today, make a conscience effort to not nag when dealing with someone you care about. Don’t be a nag. You’ll keep friendships alive and you’ll also mature in the process. Now that’s something to brag about!

Who are you?

Online/Offline Personality

Personality Chart

You can generally place people in four quadrants: Amiable; Expressive; Analytical; and Driver.

If you want to increase your success of building better business and/or personal relationships, then first you need to understand what kind of person you are among the 4 quadrants listed above. I am in between Amiable and Expressive with some Analytical. Since I know what kind of person I am, I know I need to find others who share my personality pattern if I want the best chance at a successful relationship. Two people who get along in a friendly manner are also inclined to work well together too. So, there really aren’t any negative factors with finding people who are more like you since you’re most suitable as best friends and/or doing business together. This is a perfect marriage that can bring forth wonderful benefits. If you want to sharpen the other personality types that you don’t possess, then make some new friends who fit those types and you’ll be on your way to finding: stress, love/hate emotions, fear, passion play, bitterness, self-reflection, etc. Aren’t relationships fun. My advice: Always be on the lookout for someone who is just like you.

What makes you a good person?

Arthur Schopenhauer by Ludwig Sigismund Ruhl.

Arthur Schopenhauer

“What a man is contributes much more to his happiness than what he has, or how he is regarded by others.”

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

The key thing to understand about this quote is what the exact meaning of “What a man is” is. By what methods do we measure someone to classify them as someone who is a good person or not? To me, it all comes down to one thing: “You have only one life to live here on earth, so you must do as much as you can to improve the lives of other people.” You don’t have to be super-rich or famous to do this; you just need a giving heart. It’s not about how much money you make in your life that you’ll be judged by, or how attractive you are, or even how popular you are to other people. Making a real indelible difference in this world is done by people who give whatever they can – money, talent, time, energy, etc. to help others be better people. This is how people should be judged in the end. 

One minute fool

Study proverb

"We learn till we are old; and even while learning till we get old, there's still 30% left we can never learn while we're alive." Chinese Proverb

“He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever.”

~ Chinese proverb

To be a fool for only a minute is quite alright in order to learn something that you can take with you for a lifetime. To be a fool forever for something that you can never take with you is senseless and truly foolish. Never be afraid to ask a question no matter how easy or difficult it may seem to you. Remember, the only stupid question is the one that never gets asked. Because we can never learn everything there is to learn in life, you might as well ask as many questions as you can so that you can be the first one to do so. My question to you is: “When will you start asking more questions that you can benefit from for a lifetime?”

How to improve yourself

“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.”

~ Swedish Proverb

Words to live by for certain. Everyone wants all the good things in life but few are able to do what it takes to earn them. If you start by integrating all the suggestions listed in the quote above into your life, then you will be on your way to a life filled with more of the good things. Remember, we must give up some things in life to gain other things we desire which sometimes turns out better for us if we are true to ourselves and don’t hurt others along the way.

Rise to glory and virtue

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

“Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.”

~ Cicero

There is no better example of someone rising to glory and virtue based on natural ability than Benjamin Franklin, the great American statesman, scientist, musician, author, printer, inventor, businessman, politician, diplomat, father and husband. He was one of 17 children, born to a poor family, quit school at 10 years of age and was never formally educated. Benjamin was able to take his natural ability and turn it into greatness which was best manifested in his written contributions to the Declaration of Independence and to the US Constitution. These two works are considered to be two of the most important documents ever written by man. In my life, I could only hope to achieve a fraction of what Mr. Franklin achieved in his life. I will do my best to achieve some greatness in my life that benefits others for generations. Why don’t you try doing the same.

Happiness comes from you

“Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled.”

Dr. Benjamin Spock

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.”

~ William H. Sheldon

Happiness is wonderful to attain and obtain in life which is why Thomas Jefferson declared the pursuit of happiness a “certain unalienable right” in the Declaration of Independence. But it seems that many people today think that happiness is something that we get from others by how they perceive us. Or, they base their happiness by what they see in the media, movies and lifestyle trends.  No matter how the world defines happiness, the only thing that should matter to you is what makes you happy. Spending time with your family and friends doing simple things together, gardening, reading in the park, enjoying a trip to a far away place, writing a book, helping others, treating yourself to something nice, or daydreaming are just a few ways that you can find happiness in your daily life. So, stop listening to what everyone else tells you what happiness is and just try to enjoy all the things you do in your life. Then, you will know what true happiness is and gain lasting fulfillment in your life. Smile and define your own happiness!