A Light In The Woods

“There is a candle in every soul / Some brightly burning, some dark and cold . . . Carry your candle, run to the darkness / Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn / Hold out your candle for all to see it / Take your candle, and go light your world.”

Chris Rice, “Go Light Your World”

In The Dark

I grew up in the country. Beyond our backyard was a pasture, then the woods. My brother, my cousins, and our friends liked to play in those woods. One evening after supper, we ran into the woods to play a game. We were having so much fun we lost track of time and didn’t realize that it was getting late. Before we knew it, night had fallen and we were in the dark. I began running, but of course I couldn’t see and ran smack into a tree! (I suppose you could say I couldn’t see the tree for the forest.) Fortunately for the rest of us, one of the guys had a flashlight. He turned it on and then we could see him. We all gathered around and he led us out of the woods, shining his flashlight . . . no more running into trees.

Continue reading “A Light In The Woods”

The Difference Between Trying And Doing

“Trying” to do is different than doing and different than not doing. Trying lets us off the hook – we don’t have to succeed and we don’t have to fail. We don’t have to really do anything. That is languishing, NOT flourishing.

trying or doing

Trying Or Doing?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Once upon a time, as I attended a workshop, the presenter asked me to come up to the front of the room. She laid a pencil down on the table and said to me, “Try to pick that pencil up.”

I picked up the pencil. “No,” she said, “I said ‘Try to pick it up.’ Instead, you picked it up. Now, again – try to pick the pencil up.”

Continue reading “The Difference Between Trying And Doing”

Passion And Perseverance: How Effort Leads To Achievement

Having a talent for a specific endeavor does not insure that you will do it. You must exert effort to transform the talent into a skill. Turning the talent into skill does not insure that you’ll achieve your objective. You must exert more effort to transform the skill into achievement.

A Failed Dream

I was 6 years old and excited to have the chance to take piano lessons. I loved music and dreamed about playing – hymns in church or songs for my family to sing together. Although they didn’t have a lot of money, my parents bought a nice new piano and had it placed in our living room. A friend of our family, Miss Pritchard, who played piano at church, agreed to give me lessons.

The first book was a breeze. Simple songs to start my understanding of the techniques of the piano. My teacher wrote numbers over the notes and then numbers on the corresponding keys of the piano. It was a simple matter to match the numbers on the page to the numbers on the keys.

Miss Pritchard also gave me scales to practice. But for this part, I wasn’t as diligent at practicing as I could have been — I found it boring to play the same 8 keys over and over. But I practiced my songs and when we had our first recital, I was a star! I performed the best and Miss Pritchard gave me a big hug when the recital was over.

Continue reading “Passion And Perseverance: How Effort Leads To Achievement”

Practicing Accomplishment

Accomplishment is one of the elements of well-being theory. We sometimes pursue accomplishment for its own sake, as well as in conjunction with the other elements – positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, and meaning. Using deliberate practice to develop talent and skill is one path to accomplishment.

“Can You Swim?”

A professor was being ferried across a large river. To pass the time, he struck up a conversation with the boatman.

The professor asked the boatman, “Can you write, my good man?”

“No,” answered the boatman, “I never learned to write.”

“Then you have lost one third of your life,” the professor said. “Can you read?”

“No, sir,” replied the boatman. “I can’t read.”

“Then you have lost half of your life.”

Suddenly, the ferry scraped across a large rock and it tore a hole in the bottom.

Continue reading “Practicing Accomplishment”

How Purpose Leads To Accomplishment

What did you come here to do? How could you do more of it?

A Late Bloomer

I am a late bloomer. I did not follow a straight path to success or happiness or fulfillment; as a matter of fact, I am still walking that path. But over the years I have gotten closer to what those things mean for me.

My journey has been a circuitous one. I went about life for many years not really concerned about what my “purpose” was, or even if I had one. Like many people, I kept busy with work, helping to raise a family, being a husband and father, dealing with aging parents — all the every day stuff that can fill our lives.

I didn’t take much time to contemplate the larger questions: What did I come here to accomplish? What is my Job (with a capital “J”)?

Continue reading “How Purpose Leads To Accomplishment”

Your Personal Goal Achievement Plan

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ~ Yogi Berra

“We’ll eventually get somewhere.”

Imagine you are embarking on a cruise. You’ve spent months thinking about, planning and preparing for the trip. Your imagination is dancing with thoughts about the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, and the things you will see. You are ready for this adventure and ready to go.

As you settle into your stateroom, the captain’s voice comes over the intercom. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are minutes away from leaving port. We have a beautiful destination in mind but we don’t have any idea how to get there. So we’re going to get started and see what happens. We’ll eventually land somewhere and I know you can’t wait to see where we end up.”

What do you think of your cruise now? Continue reading “Your Personal Goal Achievement Plan”

Fundamentals Of Achievement

Here are two quotes from Robin Sharma.

“Success is really, really simple. It’s not easy, but it’s really simple.”

“Success lies in a masterful consistency around the fundamentals.”

Robin Sharma is the author of a number of best-selling books, including The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and several others in that series and The Leader Who Had No Title. He is a speaker and consultant on Leadership and Personal Mastery, who numbers among his clients many of the top companies in the world, as well as leaders in governments, business, and entertainment. Robin has identified 8 fundamentals of achievement [Sharma] which I share with you today. Continue reading “Fundamentals Of Achievement”

Effort or Results?

“The amateur focuses on outcomes and expects immediate results. The professional plays the long game and prioritizes the process, perfecting it for years with no immediate payoff.” ~ Ozan Varol

The Process

“We decided to use the approach that we’re not going to focus on the outcome. We were just going to focus on the process of what it took to play the best football you could play, which was to focus on that particular play as if it had a history and life of its own. Don’t look at the scoreboard, don’t look at any external factors, just all your focus and all your concentration, all your effort, all your toughness, all your discipline to execute went into that particular play. Regardless of what happened on that play, success or failure, you would move on to the next play and have the same focus to do that on the next play, and you’d then do that for 60 minutes in a game and then you’d be able to live with the results regardless of what those results were.” ~ Nick Saban [Elmasry]

Nick Saban is considered by many people to be the most successful coach in college football. He has a lifetime record of 218 wins, 62 losses (and 1 tie). He is tied with the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant for most NCAA championships. [Wikipedia] Saban credits much of his success to the fact that he and his teams follow what he calls “The Process.” Continue reading “Effort or Results?”