Believe in Your Dreams

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams for when dreams go,
Life is a barren field frozen with snow.

By Langston Hughes

Dreams are wishes, aspirations, hopes and purposes. Dreams are what provide our lives direction. They give us something to do with our days.

When we no longer dream we shrivel up and die. Therefore, dreams are a necessity of life. If we are to live we must dream. Our dreams give us reason to live. They are our fuel.

But many of us let our dreams get buried by the pains of living. They are buried under failures, divorce, bankruptcy, loss jobs, missed opportunities and a host of things that didn’t go as we planned.

When things don’t go as we planned or dreamed we become discouraged, defeated and we give up. One thing I learned growing up was to never ever give up. Winners never quit and quitters never win. You never know how things may change. You may outlast your opponent. Things may just go your way. But you’ll never know if you give up.

Everything that I was ever really good at started with me not being so good. It’s happened so often that now I expect things to evolve and get better. I don’t expect to be great at anything straight out of the box. It will come if I put in the time.

When I was in high school I went out for the wrestling team. I was very small. I weighed less than the lowest weight class. So even small guys were bigger than me.

My first year I lost every match I had. It was terrible. I had matches that didn’t even last a full minute. They would throw me around like a rag doll. I spent most of my time during the matches on my back looking up at the lights. I would strain with all my might as the pretty cheerleaders pleaded with me to get up.

I consistently put my team in the hole having us always start off with a loss. And I would cry like a baby because it hurt so bad to lose. It was so bad that my family quit coming to see my matches.

But the second year I worked harder in practice. I listened to my coaches. And I won half and loss half of my matches. That was a big improvement for me.

So my senior year I worked even harder and I made it to the State championship. I ended up with a wrestling scholarship for college and much more self-confidence. My family even came back to watch my matches.

But the important lesson was that of perseverance. I learned to keep at it. To work harder. To not give up on my dreams.

I had the same experience with public speaking.

I dreamed of being a motivational speaker. So I went to a Les Brown speaking seminar to learn to speak. We had small contests at our tables that led to a winner for the entire group and a gift from Les. I was without question the worst in my group of eight. The others were teachers and preachers, people who spoke regularly. They were better prepared and more relaxed than I could hope to be.

I was so distraught that again I went off to my room and cried like a baby. This time I was fortunate and someone who could see in me what I couldn’t, consoled me and advised me.

I went back home and joined Toastmasters. I joined two different clubs so I could get extra practice. I entered the contests, I did the work and I developed into an award winning speaker. It again came with perseverance. Not giving up on my dream.

The important thing is to have a dream and to pursue it.

Kids love athletes because they have dreams that they pursue. Sports is an area where you can see folks get knocked down, get up and pursue their dreams. We can all resonate with that spirit. It’s the human spirit and it can be hard to kill the human spirit.

That spirit shows up in our belief in ourselves. It’s an attitude. When we believe in ourselves we keep going, we don’t quit. We reach our dreams.

Setbacks can talk you out of your dreams. Just know that setbacks are a part of the process. We all grow into our dreams by persevering. Never give up in the pursuit of your dream. Dreams are a part of living.

What About Time

One of the keys to getting the most out of your time is developing the ability to ask yourself the right questions at the right time. This only takes a few seconds before you begin any given task. More often than not, you will find these few seconds will present new and better ways of doing what needs to be done.

While it is important to manage your time with calendars, diaries and daily plans, effective time management also requires that you manage yourself.

Before you set about any task, big or small, stop and ask yourself whether this is the best use of your time. Perhaps there are other, better ways of achieving the same result. Or maybe it is a task that you are not particularly suited to that another person could do in half the time, in which case you might want to delegate.

If you do decide to take on the task yourself, ask yourself what is the best way to complete it quickly and easily. It only takes seconds to ask yourself these questions and listen to the answers that come.

As time goes on you will get better at this. One of the most important things to do is to learn how to ask the right questions. In general, your questions should begin with the word ‘what’. This focuses your attention and evokes clarity. The remainder of the question needs to ensure that it opens up possibilities, is solution oriented, elicits information and moves you forward.

Here are some examples of powerful ‘what’ questions that would help you focus better on a particular task and make more effective use of your time:

“What is the most important thing for me to focus on at the moment?”

“What would enable me to use my time more effectively?”

“What isn’t getting done that needs doing?” And added to that, “What will it take to get this done?”

“What is the next step for me in this moment?”

These questions can also be used when considering more long-term goals. For example, “What do I want my life to look like in five years?”.

Once you have asked any question you need to take a little time, perhaps one minute, to listen to the response that comes to you. You may find that what comes up in your response is clear enough and you now know the best way forward.

However, you may find that your response lacks clarity. It may include all sorts of thoughts and ideas, but no clear way forward. In this case, it can be a good idea to take note of the thoughts that come to you and break the problem down into smaller parts to find the best way forward. You may find there are more specific questions you need to ask.

However, for the smaller tasks in our day-to-day professional and personal lives clear answers usually come quite easily and quickly. So, before you move on to your next task take a little time to consider whether it is the best use of your time and if so, how you can complete it in a time effective manner.

There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet.

He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It’s never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it..

When the girls find out, they’ll never speak to him again as long as he lives. The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, “Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I’m dead meat.” He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says he has been discovered.

As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy’s lap.

The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!”

Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out.

All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else – Susie. She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. “You’ve done enough, you klutz!”

Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, “You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”

Susie whispers back, “I wet my pants once too.”

Moral: All of us go through good and bad things in life. We should always remember how we felt when we were in same condition and should not mock others for being in it. Always try to understand their situation as if you are in it and help as much as possible praying to God that today you are in a condition to help someone who needs it.

It begin with just five dollars. It had taken all year but by saving ten cents a week by Christmas I had accumulated five dollars. It was my first experience with savings and it began with a goal to have five dollars by Christmas.

That lesson about savings, giving up short term pleasures for long term gains, has served me very well. It takes time and experience to learn that if we hold off on pleasure we can have even more later. You have to try it over and over again before you realize it works.

I’m glad I began to learn that lesson by saving only ten cents a week. It’s easier to save dollars if you have already saved cents. Its like earning the right to have and do more.

Have you learned the lesson of saving? It doesn’t matter how much you earn, its how much you keep. So start right where you are and save. You’ll be glad you did.

Well it almost been a year since I retired from AT&T.  So what have I learned over the past year? Plenty.

First I learned that life is what happens while you are making other plans. While we make plans for the future, when we retire, get older, have more money or whatever, the world keeps on moving.  There’s no sense in waiting because what you will discover is that life has moved on.  The world has changed. It’s better to do the things we want to do now instead of waiting for someday.  Someday will never come and meanwhile life will keep happening.

I always thought when I get to be such and such age or retire I would do great things.  Well if I wasn’t doing great things before retirement, it’s not likely that I will be doing great things during retirement.  You are still the same person you were before retirement.

I discovered that since I’m still the same person that I still have the same values.  But now I can exercise those values with the safety net that comes with retirement.  So I’m going to pursue the same interest that I pursued before but with more freedom and knowledge.

In the past my interest revolved around health, speaking and writing.  None of that has changed.  But now I’m going to take each of those to a new level.  I have the knowledge and the freedom.  Now I just need to exercise the will to get it done.IMG_4966.JPG

There are billions of people in the world and every one of them is special. No one else in the world is like you. – Muhammad Ali

We’ve heard that each of us is unique. No one has our exact fingerprints. No one has our exact voice. We are each unique and different just like each snowflake is different.
So what does it mean to be unique and different? Why are we each different?

I think we are each an individualized part of the whole. This whole can be the whole of humankind or it can be the whole of everything that is. We are each like a puzzle piece that is required to complete the picture. If a piece of the puzzle is missing the picture will not be complete or be as perfect as it could be.

So if we want the universe to be complete then we must be who we are. We don’t need to be a copy of anyone else, that’s not what is needed from us. What is needed from us is for us to be our unique and authentic self.

If you’re trying to be a copy of someone else, it won’t work. If you are trying to be anything but your authentic self, it won’t work. But if you are being yourself, if you are doing things your way, if you are doing what you can do – then you are contributing to the universe. You are helping complete the puzzle. You are being special by just being you.

 

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As I step out in faith to do something new and daring, I may feel like I did when I first went off the high diving board at the swimming pool. I was scared because when we make the conscious choice to let go of our comfortable position or surroundings, it may be fearful.

But when I’m doing something new, just like when I was diving, my fear quickly is replaced with exhilaration and excitement as I soar through the experience with complete trust. I let go of my fear. I tell myself, God is with me and all is well and I dive.

Letting go of fear is liberating. As I let go and trust God, I open the way for God’s perfect expression within me and in all the circumstances of my life. I don’t worry about the outcome, for I know that all is well. I know that God is in charge and that I am being divinely guided and blessed.

When you find yourself doing a new thing or something that is frightening – replace your fear with excitement and exhilaration. If you have the urge to do a thing, I believe you can move past your fear and do it.

Let go. Have faith. And just dive.

In Wallace Waddles book “The Science of Getting Rich” he makes a profound statement that answers the question of how do you become rich. He simply states that “the cause of success is some power within you; you have the power to develop any power to a limitless extent; for there is no end to mental growth; you can increase the strength of this power indefinitely. This is true no matter what area you are seeking success. It is true for good health, for relationships as well as financial success.”

The power for all of our successes is within us. This is the marvelous design of the universe. So no matter our circumstances we can still use this power. Since we can all use it, Life can be considered a fair and equal proposition for all of us. We surely do not have the same circumstances. Our circumstances are like our fingerprints, personal and unique. But our power to handle those circumstances is the same.

Our power is the same because we all have power over our thinking. We may not be able to determine our circumstances but we do determine what we think about them. And the power of design and creation is in our thinking.

Your power is within you. Use it or lose it.

 

Let me smile with gratitude when good fortune befalls me.  Let me never become proud, imagining that good fortune is the reward for my virtue and goodness.  Let me never become complacent, imagining that good fortune will always be my lot.  Let me never cease to enjoy good fortune when it occurs.  And let me share my good fortune with others.
I pray for good fortune for me and for you.  Because I know prayer works.  So be on the look out for the demonstration of my prayer and yours and my good fortune.