Sunday, January 22, 2012

NOW... it's an unrepeatable miracle

NOW is a miracle. It’s also unrepeatable. But most people spend 58 minutes of every hour living somewhere other than right here, right now. They look backwards and live in the past, regretting lost joys and feeling guilt for things done badly—both of which are useless and debilitating activities. Or, they live in the future, which they either long for or dread. In doing so, they miss the miracle of NOW—this minute!

How about you? Missed any miracles lately?
  • Did you decide not to go swimming, even though you were at the beach, because you just had your hair done?
  • Did you buy the conservative navy-blue tie rather than the more debonair salmon-colored one because the navy wouldn’t show stains?
  • Did you stay off the dance floor even when the band played your favorite song just because no other couples were dancing?
  • Did you pout and make it a miserable day for yourself because your presentation at the staff meeting didn’t go as well as you hoped?
  • Did you tell your kids, “Later, I’m busy,” and continue brooding about that huge repair bill when they asked you to play with them?
We’ve all made mistakes like these and failed to live fully when we had the chance. But berating ourselves for it is also a waste of time. Far better to just grab the next moment before we miss that too! And when you grab it, hang on. Exhaust it. Drain it of its juices. Don’t give it back until there’s nothing left. Otherwise you might create your own version of a very sad story about a young man who was about to be executed for a crime.

At dawn on the day of his execution he stood on the bench in his prison cell, reached for the iron bars across the window and pulled himself up so he could see the countryside. It was spring, and as the sun edged above the horizon he saw his world as if for the first time. He was startled by the brilliant colors of the flowers as they were illuminated by the sunlight. He noticed the lushness of the fields, the rich smell of the freshly tilled soil, and the pleasant sounds of the town stirring to life.

Straining to hold himself up to the window, he continued to stare wide-eyed. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He knew he had missed this miracle countless times before and would no longer be alive to appreciate it. When the jailers came to lead him to the gallows, he was still clinging to the window with all his might, in awe of the sunrise on this spring day. They had to pull him down and drag him away.

The wonder of life had always been there, but he had been preoccupied with regret for the past and dread of the future.

Here’s what you can do:
1.  Spend a few more minutes of every hour fully living the unrepeatable miracle that is NOW.
2.  Work at your work, play at your play, shed your tears, enjoy your laughter. NOW is the only time of your life!
3.  See things in perspective…
   dive into that ocean and forget your hair
   buy that special tie, dress or outfit
   dance to your song and ignore others
   forget the disappointing presentation you made … just improve the next one
   take time with each of your children if you have them. From the day they are born, you have only 18 summers before they’re grown and gone. Think of it! Spend time with them NOW and see the miracle daily!

Monday, January 2, 2012

When You Answer These 7 Questions It's Like Having a Crystal Ball

Here's something you can do right now to make 2012 an AMAZING year!  You're already busy, of course -- but before time gets away from you, why not take stock of your priorities for the year ahead? We're not talking about New Year's Resolutions here! They don't work!  In fact, based on Gallup Poll findings, 24% of New Year's Resolutions are broken in the very first week! 53% are broken within six months! And get this, 92% are broken by year end!
As an alternative, as you visualize your priorities for the year ahead, here's an exercise you can do, and I think you'll find it very helpful. The exercise consists of asking yourself these six questions about last year:
1.  What was your biggest success in 2011?
2.  What was the best decision you made?
3.  What was the most important lesson you learned?
4.  What made you the happiest?
5.  Who had the greatest positive impact on you?
6.  What were you most grateful for?
Now I've got one more important question for you ... and the answer to this question will help you see things even more clearly in 2012. Here's the question:
7. If you could re-live 2011, knowing now everything that happened, and everything you did to make things happen the way they did, what would you do differently?  
Answering all seven questions is like having a crystal ball! Save these, and your answers to them, in a safe place. At the end of each year, answer them again. You'll find clarity and conviction to carry you through the year, as you accomplish whatever you decide is really important to you!  
And forget New Year's Resolutions! Instead, make a commitment to yourself that you WILL MAKE 2012 a wonderful year, in spite of change, in spite of conditions, in spite of circumstances!
Your life is your choice! What the New Year brings you is up to YOU!
MAKE it a great day...every day!    JOEL