Is It Positive or Negative? How About Neither?

December 30, 2011

In our society today, it is typical to judge the events and circumstances in our lives as negative or positve. It’s usually one or the other, right?

I recently read a very interesting article to challenge this notion. I apologize that I did not save or record the author and website to provide a direct link. I will provide the nutshell version. The author suggested that we avoid classifying things as positive or negative. The key is to just take each life event as it comes and to be thankful for it.

At first I thought this was one of those easier said than done challenges. However, after further thought, it made sense. In most cases, when someone sees something as negative, they tend to dwell on it. And when we dwell on the negative it only seems to get worse. When we see things as positive, we can dwell on that and be thankful. In this case, we are likely to see more of the positives in our lives.

I decided to try this philosophy. I will say that it has given me a great peace. When negative things have occurred, I have been able to focus on the event instead of the negativity of it. I took the time to thank God and ask that He use it for my good. In every case, my frame of mind became positive. It also took away some of the difficulty of maintaining positive thoughts. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself trying to remain in a positive frame of mind. This can then develop into a negative. When I just take things as they come using this philosophy,  the positive thoughts even seemed to arrive and remain more naturally. It actually makes it easier to stay in that positive frame of mind.

This formula may seem a bit too simple to some. However, I recommend you try it. It is very helpful in maintaining a positive frame of mind and an attitude of gratitude. When we do this, it affects our own lives and those of the ones around us in a very positive way.

I will conclude with a Bible verse that sums up this concept. The apostle Paul says…I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. (Philippians 4:12).

As always, I would love to hear your success stories. Enjoy the blessings : )

The Power Of a Clear Goal

December 29, 2011

I invite you to listen in on a conversation that occasionally occurs in my home. Usually, my wife is the one who cooks dinner. She has everything in line and doesn’t need to ask questions. There are some occasions where she is not home, and it is up to me to make dinner. The normal routine is me asking my kids, “what do you want to eat”? The normal response…”I don’t know.” This of course makes things difficult for me. I want to please them, but if I don’t know what they are looking for, it is difficult to do. I may need to make several considerations before a decision is made. Even then, it is possible that someone won’t be satisfied.

In the above example, things would be made much easier if one of us would just set a goal, settle on it, and act upon it. If my daughter gave me a direct answer and said she wanted spaghetti, I would make spaghetti without hesitation. Or, if I told them they were having chicken, it would be a done deal and I would make the chicken.

This situation reminds me of the importance of having set goals. I hear it very often. Have a clear idea in your mind about what you want. Keep the thought fixed in your mind, along with a picture of it’s accomplishment. Then take the necessary action.

In the example of my kids’ dinner, time is wasted by the indecision. The kids then get hungrier, and we both become less patient. The same is true for our personal goals. If we are not perfectly clear on what we are trying to accomplish, we procrastinate and become frustrated as time goes by without our goal’s accomplishment. When our goals are clear, the opposite is true. We have direction and we are more likely to take action. And the action we take is more focused and effective, usually resulting in a successful completion of our goal in a shorter amount of time.

It is often said that it’s difficult to shoot when we don’t have a target. When you are looking to accomplish something, determine exactly what you want to accomplish. Set a measurable goal and keep it fixed in your mind. You don’t even have to spend lots of time thinking about how you will accomplish it. If you keep your mind fixed on the final outcome, those ideas will come to you, and then you can act on them effectively.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend you follow this guideline. Take some time to determine exactly what it is you would like to accomplish in the different areas of your life. Stay focused on them and work towards their completion. I believe you will see excellent results. Now please excuse me. Our dinner is ready. Have an excellent day : )

Wonderful Creations

December 28, 2011

Please allow me to take you back to art class in school. Remember those first grade paintings you did? Or maybe the middle school wood project you created (for me it was a napkin holder. Fancy, eh?). Regardless, think of how you felt after you completed it. It was your proud creation, and you couldn’t wait to take it home and show it off to the people closest to you. Sometimes we colored outside the lines, or they may have had some minor defects. In any case we were still very proud of our creation.

I am sometimes reminded of an important fact, especially when I am feeling a bit down on myself. That fact is that God feels the same way about us. We may not always believe it, but God is eternally proud of the wonderful creations He has created in you and me. We too have our blemishes (that we’ve created, not Him), but our Creator still sees us as wonderful. We are the work of His hands, and His hands can create anything beyond the most wonderful art project or portrait you can imagine

Someone once told me that God doesn’t create junk. It’s true! No matter how you may be feeling at the present moment, be sure to know how much your Creator cherishes you. Know also that He has great things in store for you, as long as you can believe it. He loves you more than you can ever imagine, and only wants the best for you.

 For me, when I carry this confidence, I know I can succeed in any endeavor. The same is true for you. Have confidence in the fact that you are a wonderful creation. Be thankful for it, and share that joy with those around you. Blessings will abound. Enjoy them!

Can We Fool Ourselves To Success?

December 20, 2011

Here’s a funny story from the other night…I was talking to my youngest daughter about Christmas songs. We had also been talking about dogs, so I asked her if she had ever heard the Barking Jingle Bells song where the dogs bark in the tune of Jinge Bells. She said she hadn’t, so I put it on Youtube so she could hear it. The funny part is that I have a dog and a cat. When they heard this, the cat ran off, and the dog was going crazy looking out every window for these barking dogs. She then became one of them herself!

These were obviously not real dogs, but our pets were fooled into thinking that they were. How does this relate to my title? I am reading more and more how our lives are influenced by the beliefs of our subconscious minds. If those beliefs are positive, the outcomes and levels of success in our lives are usually at high levels. Unfortunately, the same is true with negative thoughts as our outcomes and success levels mirror that.

I am also reading about how the subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between something real or imagined. For example, I’ve heard stories of people who imagined they put their hand in a bucket of ice cold water. Their hand then actually became cold! I decided to try this. I was in the car and wouldn’t be stopping for over an hour. I was thirsty. I imagined myself drinking a cold glass of water, and the cold water going down my throat and sinking into my stomach. I then enjoyed the imaginary sensation of having my thirst quenched. I laughed because I actually enjoyed the experience, and my thirst was gone!

I have discovered that, if I can fool my mind into believing my thirst is quenched, I can “experience” other successes as well. Anyone can do this. Think of a goal you wish to accomplish. Perhaps it is greater self-confidence. Or a more positive attitude; or better health; or anything. The key is to imagine that you have already accomplished it. See it happening in your mind. Experience the joy of its fulfillment. Smile and enjoy the experience.  As mentioned, your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined experience. It thinks it’s all real. What happens is that your mind begins to believe it. It believes that you are successful, healthy, positive, wealthy, or whatever else. And whatever your subconscious mind believes is carried out in your life. This is because we act according to the new positive belief, not the old can’t do one.

Knowing this information empowers us. Spend time each day to stop and play these positive mental movies in your mind. As you play these positive scenes, you are convincing your subsonscious mind they are true. You will act accordingly, and eventually see these scenes play out for real.

Ok, now that my dog and cat are back I need to go feed them. Enjoy the day’s blessings : )

The Magic Of Tebow

December 17, 2011

I’ll begin with this question…which athlete or celebrity have you ever idolized? Almost of all of us can think of at least one. Many of us looked up to these people as kids, but many also do so as adults. For me, it’s been a while since I really locked in on a celebrity or athelete and called them my favorite. However, for the first time in a while, that may change.

Many of you know the current football player named Tim Tebow. If not, here’s a brief introduction…He was a star football player in high school and college. However, the general consensus was that he was not a pro type quarterback and that he would not be successful in the NFL. However, he is now a starting NFL quarterback that has brought his team from last place to first, often by winning games late and in incredible come-back fashion. He is also an openly, devout Christian, and is quick to proclaim his views, openly thank God, pray, etc. This has attracted much attention, and unfortunately, some criticism. Either way, one has to believe that divine intervention has something to do with what’s been happening on the football field.

I enjoy football, but it is not one of my favorite sports. I watch a handful of games, but don’t pay much attention otherwise. That’s why I had heard of Tebow and all he was doing, but had never seen him speak. The other night, a football program was showing highlights from his most recent dramatic victory. I had to stop and watch. Afterwards, I was in awe. Not of the the come from behind victory, but of the amazing presence of this man.

Once again I will say that I do not play favorites when it comes to athletes or celebrities. However, this one was immediately different. I immediately saw several qualities that, if followed by myself or anyone else, could bring impressive victories to our own lives. They are obvious, but often taken for granted or not followed, at least in my case sometimes. They are:

  • Constant communication with God – I often pray, but sometimes lose touch with God throughout the day. After all, I am busy, and I am dealing with over 150 students and adults that demand much from me. OK, whatever. This young man was in prayer throughout the entire game. He’s on a field with almost 100 players involved, in front of 80,000 fans. He wasn’t ever too busy to pray and focus on God’s presence.
  • Gratitude – On this football show, the players were miked, so you could hear what they were saying. It was amazing how many times Tebow thanked God, and thanked the players around him for the great things that were happening.
  • Faith – Not only did He pray throughout, but he obviously had faith in God’s ability to lead him. This was evident through his language, communication, and demeanor.
  • Positivity – I did not hear a negative word come from his mouth. More impressive was the press conference afterwards. Even when asked some difficult questions, he smiled, provided a full answer, and gave full attention to the interview. Not once did you get the impression he wanted to be somewhere else.
  • Impact – Due to all of the factors above, his team was glued to his words and his leadership. They were completely sold on his ability to lead them to accomplish the goal. When we demonstrate the qualities above, people will do the same for us.

I don’t believe in idolizing famous people. They are human and often make mistakes (just like us). However, there are some positive examples that we can certainly learn from. Tim Tebow is one of them. After seeing this example, I have challenged myself to be sure that I demonstrate the above qualities on a daily basis. It is my desire that the people around me would see God’s light shining in me, and would look to me as a positive leader who can help them get to where they need to go.

The cool thing about this is that, with God’s guidance, we can all be this type of person. Let us take the time to communicate and meditate with God, regardless of any business or distraction. Let us faithfully know that He is with us every step of the way. He wants to and will answer our prayers as long as we believe. Let us be thankful for all that we have, and let us express our appreciation to those around us. And let us maintain a positive attitude, looking for the good in all things. If you follow these guidelines, you too can experience the magic of Tebow. Enjoy the blessings : )

The 15 Minute Challenge

December 11, 2011

I recently posted a time management article about breaking the day down to 15 minute increments to help manage the day more effectively and become more productive. It has been very helpful to me.

I recently read about another similar challenge that I wanted to share. It was from a minister who, in order to keep in close contact with God, made it a challenge to pray for one second out of every minute. As I read this, I thought it was a good challenge. However, it is hard enough for me to keep track of 15 minutes, never mind 1. When I thought of this further, I realized it is only one minute of every hour. I thought, “that’s it?” Only one minute every hour? This is easy to manage, but I thought I could do even better than that.

As presented in my recent post, it is very effective to break the day down to 15 minute chunks. You can manage it effectively, and things get done. I now present another challenge based on the information above. How about, in every one of those 15 minute chunks, taking one minute to stop, say a short prayer, think a wonderful thought, or do anything to connect with God at that moment.

Your next question may now be “does it work”? I will say that, at first, it is not easy to do. Throughout the first days, I missed several of my divine minutes. However, I am finding that by stopping every 15 minutes to connect with my Creator, I am reaping a bundle of benefits and blessings. I feel more peace; I feel much more in control as I know my day is being handled by the all-knowing Creator who looks out or my best interests; Instead of focusing on fears, I am focusing more on the power that is in me and readily available to me. As a result, I am also happier and more confident. I can already see the positive reactions of those around me.

This may seem like a difficult challenge, but the more I work it into my routine the easier it becomes. Do I still get caught up in the busy day and forget? Of course. However, it is becoming the simple truth that the more I follow this guideline, the more I experience the blessings mentioned above.

I now invite you to take this 15 minute challenge. I believe it will increase your days in a positive way. Please share your victories.

Enjoy the blessings : )

Seeking the Best In Ourselves and Others

December 3, 2011

Why is it that so many people tend to see the negative in themselves and other people? I would consider myself a positive person. However, I too notice that sometimes I tend to focus a bit much on the faults of myself and those closest to me.

It is true that we all have our faults, so they are quite easy to find. However, I believe we also need to remember that we are gems created by God. So the next time you look around at God’s beautiful creations, please consider yourself as one of them.

I want nothing more to make positive impacts during my time on earth. Here are a couple of suggestions I recently read:

  • Love ourselves – This is a dangerous one for me. I am already a bit too self-centered for my liking, and this can be taken as encouraging that behavior. However, I believe that is not what is being offered. An old book by Josh McDowell says we should see ourselves as God sees us. Nothing more, nothing less. We are unique creations of the creator of the universe. That in itself is enough to be grateful for. Here’s the key…if we can love ourselves in a healthy, Godly way, it will not only make our own lives better, but it will also overflow into the lives of others. Joy is contagious, and what better way to share with others by just being happy ourselves.
  • See the positive in others – As mentioned, it’s easy to see faults. The problem is that if that’s what we look for, that’s what we’ll see and get. Everyone has something positive about them. Why not focus on the positive in all individuals we deal with? We are much more likely to bring it out in them if we do.
  • Show Appreciation – Why is it that the words “thank you” are not heard half as much as they should be? I’ve heard so many stories about how a simple word of appreciation completely changed individuals and situations for the good. Words of appreciation can positively impact any individual of any age.

So the challenge for myself and anyone else who wants to join with me is to see the good in ourselves. Yes, we all have faults, but we have so many positives to offer. Let us focus on those positives and then watch as our worlds change for the better each day. I can’t wait to see and hear about the results.

A Helpful Time Management Tip

December 1, 2011

Are you looking for ways to manage your time more effectively? If you are like me you can always use some extra help in this area.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received recently comes from Jim Britt in his book, “Do This, Get Rich”. In one of the chapters he suggests breaking the day down to 15 minute blocks, trying to accomplish as much as possible in each of these blocks. This is in line with his theme that the most successful people are given no more time in a particular day than anyone else. It’s just that they use their time more effectively.

After taking a closer look at this theory it makes sense. The author points out that in an average day we have about 60 of these blocks. By focusing on each of these 15 minute blocks, it helps us become more aware of the time and using it effectively. He mentions that 15 minutes is enough time to accomplish something, and short enough that, if we are moving off track, we can take corrective action quickly without wasting a great deal of time.

Since I need much help in managing my time this classic procrastinator and time waster decided to give it a try. I will admit that focusing on every 15 minute block is not an easy task. In the first weeks I tried this it was difficult to make it through a whole day of managing each 15 minute time frame. However, gradually improved efficiency by one or two blocks a day. I’m still not perfect at it, but I believe I am setting the tone for greater efficiency that eventually will become routine.

I have mentioned this information to some of my family and friends who have said they noticed an immediate difference in time awareness and efficiency. Overall, I love this philosophy because it can help us become more aware of our actions, time spent on them, and the results we are actually producing. I recommend giving it a try. Please let me know how it goes.

Enjoy the blessings : )