Posts Tagged: freedom


5
Sep 13

The Lie about Lying

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Just so you know, I’m not trying to be cutesy with the title.  I don’t want to dilute the message of this blog entry by trying to be clever.

It may sound weird but there are lies about lying… really.

When I look at the issue of lying and habitual liars in particular, I tend to see people falling into three groups.

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Side Note: My writing about lying seems very strange to me.  I don’t know much about lying.  Frankly, lying is not one of my personal issues.  Believe me when I say I have plenty of flat spots in my life… but lying isn’t one of them

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As I was saying, I see habitual liars falling into three groups.

Group One:  Proud Liar

As mentioned in my previous blog entry, there are people who are really good liars… and proud of it.  They clearly know they are liars and are proud of having mastered the art of deception and enjoy working their craft.

After a successful display of deception they stand puffed in conquest over the carcass of the gullible.

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The essence of lying is in deception, not in words.

-        John Ruskin

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Group Two:  Diluted Liar

There are those who know they stretch the truth or may leave out relevant facts to reach their end goal.  But they have no idea that they are in reality, habitual liars.  They have lived in the shadowy world of lies for so long that their lives have lost distinction of color between truth and lies… there only exists shades of grey.

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The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

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This type of liar, lies to himself.  They conveniently apply the same false logic to themselves as they do to their prey.

They alter the reality of who they are to accommodate the lie they want to believe about themselves.  They lie to themselves, and believe the lie that they are not liars.  They justify their craft by believing that they are not as bad as other people, or that the situation demands the stretching of truth.

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I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do him of whom I tell a lie.

- Michel de Montaigne

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Group Three:  Trapped Liar

These are the people who have given in to their dark side and have done things that no one knows.  They live a lie and are entombed by their hidden choices.

They live in fear that someone will find out the things they have done and their world will collapse.  As much as they put on a good face to the world, fear is slowly suffocating the life out of them.  They feel the slide of the slippery slope into the darkness.

To the person reading this who is in this last group… I say very directly and loudly…don’t believe the lie that there is no way out.

Yes, there may be consequences for decisions you have made.  But the ability to breathe the fresh air of freedom is worth it.

This blog entry is not meant to be dramatic.  I write what I think I am to write.  Who knows, God may use my simple words to do a profound work in someone’s life… maybe yours.

See you later.

Ciao.


27
Aug 13

The Truth About Lying

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I am not totally sure why I am digging into this topic today.  Nothing has happened in my own life that added the flake that started the avalanche of thought.

But I feel pressed about this topic, so I write.  I am a firm believer that God on occasion (probably a lot more than we think) will reach down and prod someone to do something for the purpose of helping someone else.

So I believe that I am writing this for someone.  I don’t know who it is, but someone out there in cyberspace needs to hear about and think about lying.  I have a feeling this topic will require more than one blog entry to do it

Here goes.  I want to tell you the truth about lying.

First of all, it’s important to know that I am not going to get into the weeds of what constitutes fibs and white lies.  Yes, telling children there’s a Santa and a Tooth Fairy is a lie.  We have our adult versions of white lies too; such as telling someone you’re busy so you won’t have to go to lunch with them.

Spending time to dissect this surface layer of lying will only clutter the landscape and keep us from the deeper truth about lies.

Let’s be real for a moment.  You know when you lie.  You know the kind of lie I’m talking about.  The lie you tell (or the truth you don’t tell) that crosses the line where trust is violated and destruction begins.

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I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.

- Tim Allen

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There is an insidiousness about lying that corrupts us on levels we cannot gauge and distorts the reality around us.

A lie can be a blatant mistruth or the withholding a truth.  Some people lie just as boldly by leaving out information or a truth as one who conjures up misinformation.

As I said, lies are insidious.

There are some people where lying has become an art form.  They actually take pride in their art to manipulate and distort and then brag about their exploits.

They laugh at the gullibility of the trusting and afterward arrogantly preen their egos by reflecting on their skill to manipulate.

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The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.

- Stephen King

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But what the liar does not grasp is the fact that their mind becomes darkened by the lies they tell and they are unaware of the trap they have created for themselves.

They are consumed in a lie they do not see.  Lost in a life that has no reality.

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The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

- George Bernard Shaw

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We’ll continue digging in to the issue of truth and lies next time.

See you later.

Ciao.


11
Mar 13

You Can Do It!

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Howdy, me again.

And yes, I have one more blog entry on the topic of creativity.

I realize that a third entry on the topic of creativity is not that creative but I’ve a couple of more thoughts to throw into the mental mix.

In the last entry I talked about the amazing freedom and joy a child experiences when they create things.  I still feel joy when I create but the innocent unbridled freedom to create has been sadly dulled.

Maybe it’s not that way for you but for me reliving my childhood experience was both refreshing…  and sobering.

I saw a video one time where an educator talked about how and why children begin to loose their creative edge and energy.

The educator is Sir Ken Robinson.  Obviously he is British and has faired pretty well in the “Sir” category.

He is remarkably insightful and amazingly entertaining for an educator and a Brit.

Take a look at the TED Talk video.

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Pretty good, huh?

But having dulled creativity does not mean all is lost.  I do believe we can breathe life into dormant creativity.

It does not happen by accident.  We must be intentional and risk taking.

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Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

- Dee Hock

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As we rekindle the creative fire I believe that one experiences greater intimacy with their Creator.

Why, because we bear the marks of our Creator.

Think about it.  Humans are the only animal species that can create something out of nothing.

We can imagine, design, plan and execute.

Imagination… creating something out of nothing.

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Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

- Erich Fromm

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To be perfectly honest with you, any attempt to type any more on this topic would be trying to create something out of nothing.

I could give it a go but I don’t want to waste your time or mine.

Have a good day.

Ciao.


4
Mar 13

The Joy of Dirt

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Welcome, it’s good to have you visit.

In the last blog entry I tried to tackle the topic of creativity.  I’m obviously not an expert on the topic but, as you know, that has never stopped me before from having an opinion to share.

I mentioned that the creative genius, which we all possess, is one of the divine DNA markers of our creator.  Yep, we all bare the fingerprints of the one who created us.

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Creativity makes a leap, then looks to see where it is.

- Mason Cooley

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One of the things that stirred me about what I wrote earlier is the joy and happiness one experiences when they create something.

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Side Note: I’m not sure what it says about a person who is stirred by their own writing.

It probably says that I’m weird and I need to get some counseling.  It’s nothing a few meds can’t cure.

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But it’s true… there is amazing joy in the feeling one has after creating something or coming up with a creative solution to a problem.

I remember as a kid building a little town in the dirt for my toy cars and army men.  I would spend hours building roads, clearing a path for a river and constructing cardboard houses.

The interesting thing is that once I completed the town the playtime was relatively short.  The joy was in the creating, not the using.

I am not the only one.  I’m sure you look back on those times as a child when you experienced the joy of playing and creating… just like this person.

We had this big dirt pile in our backyard when I was a kid.  We were back there every day with our Star Wars figures. I would construct these intricate waterways with rivers, dams, and lakes… would work on it dry for hours, and then the big moment would come when I would bury the hose in the side of the pile so that the water would spurt out from the head of the river as if emanating straight from the aquifer. I was filled with satisfaction as the raging headwaters coursed down the winding path I had built.”

Do you remember the freedom you felt during those times of play and creativity?  It was the freedom to explore.

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Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty.

- Bryant H. McGill

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Growing into adulthood somehow dulls our innocent expression of creativity we experience during play.

Our creative juices tend to shift from the innocence of play to the reality of work and life.  Life stuff has a way of robbing the innocence of creativity.

It is this type of freedom we yearn for as adults.

We are made to create… to be creative.

Since I have tapped into the topic of creativity I have at least one more blog on the topic.

See you next time.


11
Feb 13

Don’t Fence Me In

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Yep… me again, and yes one more entry about South Africa (SA).

But before you grimace and start moving your cursor to the exit icon, stick with me.  I think you will find the topic quite interesting.

The pictures above are examples of the typical fence you see here in the US.

For the most part fences here serve as decorative accent and provide visible separation between property lines.  They are meant to keep little kids or pets from darting out of the yard into the streets.

Usually the fences in the US aren’t designed to keep people out.  Yes, we do have security fences around some businesses such as the one below but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

In all honesty fences like this are designed to be more of a deterrent than actual security.  A person can easily cut through the chains.  And yes, there are a few affluent areas where subdivisions use security fences and gated entry.

All of this talk about fences brings me to the second thing that screamed at me while I was in SA.

There are massive, keep you out, don’t come near, make you bleed, don’t even try, you’ll be sorry fences everywhere.  I mean everywhere.

Virtually every home, business, and church were surrounded by amazing security fences.  I am not talking about fences in just the nice part of town.  Even in the poorer areas, each little home had a fence and gate of their own designed to keep people out.

Here are a few pictures to give you a sense of the typical fence.

The only place you did not see these types of fences were in the “informal settlements” where the poorest of the poor lived.

Yes, SA has had very violent times in their history.  And yes, poverty is rampant thus making theft a major problem.  I understand all of this.

Here is the point that struck me.

I know the “Why” but I don’t know the effect on the people.

I have really wondered what the psychological affect is on the people where all they know is massive security fences designed to keep one safe by keeping people out.  You live your life behind a security wall.

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Fear is the highest fence.
- Dudley Nichols

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It is obviously fear based.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not judging them.  I would probably do the same thing if I lived there.

The point I am making is that there has to be an emotional toll living in a world behind a security wall.

What does it do to a person living with the norm of walled security?  Maybe nothing.

All I know is that when I returned home to fenceless neighborhoods and openness between houses I rejoiced in the feeling of freedom not needing to live behind a barbed wire topped wall.

The contrast between the two worlds was striking.

Like most of the entries I post, I don’t have a convenient answer to all the weird life questions I surface.

Maybe you have some insights that will shed light on the psychological or social impact of a world of barbed wire walls.

Well, enough of South Africa.  See you Thursday.

Ciao.



30
Jan 13

Back and better for it

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He’s back!  Yep, I’m back… jet lag and all.

Wow, was Kent Nerburn right.  In the last blog entry I quoted Kent from his book Letters to a Son.

I wasn’t planning to repeat his quote but it’s to apropos for the topic at hand not to.  So here it is again.

“That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder.

Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.

We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take.

But if you take them, you will never regret your choice.”

I’ve had the privilege to travel a good bit.  But for the most part my travels have been what some might say are safe travels.

What I mean is, the countries I have visited have been fairly westernized with the modern niceties that suit our American tastes.

The visits to Europe have been great and I have been stretched by the differences in culture, language and politics.  All of these visits have left their mental stretch marks but nothing to the extent that I faced last week.

I mentioned that I was going to South Africa for a church mission trip.

First of all the flight to and from Johannesburg was about sixteen hours in duration.  It made the typical seven-hour flight to Europe a leisurely Sunday drive.

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Side Note: Wow, that last statement dates me.  Sunday Drive?  I can’t imagine anyone taking a Sunday drive anymore.

Yes, to all of you too young to remember, people would actually just get in the car and drive in the country as a leisurely family activity.

And by the way, I am not nearly as old as the picture illustrates.  Well… maybe.  But I don’t feel that old.

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South Africa is a very interesting mix of cultures and wealth.  There are pockets of extremely nice areas that are jammed packed full of niceties that we pampered American relish.  But all of these pockets were surrounded by extreme poverty.

The focus of our trip was to help clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  It was a church’s version of “extreme makeover” for a school.

Soweto, if you remember your history, was the epicenter for the movement to banish Apartheid in South Africa.  Now don’t worry, this is not going to be a blog about the ills of racism and the overthrow of the white regime.  There are plenty of history books or web sites that dissect those events.

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Interesting factoids:

1.  I thought the name Soweto was derived from some sort of African word.  But in reality it is the abbreviation of Southwest Township.

2.  Soweto is the only place in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

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Over the next couple of entries I would like to share a few things that stirred my comfortable little world.

Surprisingly, it is different than what you may think.  It’s not the poverty, although it was horrid, nor was it the history of racial oppression, albeit extreme.

It has everything to do with what make people good.

See you Monday.


10
Jan 13

A walk on the wild side

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Hello again.

Some of you who read my last blog entry may be of the notion to take me up on my offer to step out of your comfortable world and go exploring with me.

There may have been something about what I said that poked a tender spot regarding the possibility that there is more to life than what you have been experiencing.

I am an average guy, with a great life, and blessed beyond measure.  Very honestly, there is nothing special about me.  My wife would say different but that’s because she loves me and can be somewhat biased in her opinion.

But this average guy has a message.  The spark of life you sense has nothing to do with Jerry Rushing.  But it has everything with you cracking the door to begin believing that what I am talking about is real and for you.

Oh my God.  I just re-read the last couple of paragraphs and I sound like motivational speaker Anthony Robbins… only without the big teeth and creepy smile.

But in reality my message to you is nothing like Anthony Robbins.  I am not talking about the power within you to make you great or you tapping into your reservoir of latent potential waiting to be released to change the world.  Nope… nothing like that.

No, I’m not selling fantasies or potential.

I’m not selling you anything.  All I am doing is inviting you to consider that God has more for you to experience and enjoy than you can ever imagine.

There is an interesting scripture in the Bible (Romans 12:2) that says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

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Side Note: Now to all my non-Christian friends don’t get all pissy on me because I used a scripture to make my point.  I am not trying to convert you (that’s not my job anyway).

So just move your curser away from the exit icon and hear me out.  Thanks.

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But whether you are a Christian or not the scripture is true.  Our mind, if not careful, will lock us into a way of thinking that keeps us quietly buried in the shallow grave of life I mentioned in the last blog.  We’re dead and don’t even know it.

Growing and experiencing life to the full is a combination of opening our thinking and stepping out and trying something new.

Some of you reading this blog never try anything new.  There is something about trying new things that breaths life into dead bones.

Once again I know there are some of you who will just roll your eyes at my words and chalk my comments up as the ramblings of a small narrow man’s attempt to be profound.

Maybe.  But what if I am right?

I want to challenge you to do two very simple things.  It is a challenge that may prove you right about me or may open your thinking to the possibility that God has an amazing adventure for you to experience.

All I ask is that you sincerely invite God to open your heart and mind to the possibility that He has something for you.  And secondly… just listen.

What do you have to lose?

Now I have to be really honest here.  I tend to be pretty rebellious.  If someone asked me to do the two simple things I’m asking you, I am very likely to blow it off just to spite the person asking.

I’m not proud of that but true none-the-less.

I hope you will give it a shot.  Just ask… and listen.

See you Monday.


3
Jan 13

Worry Freak or Worry Free?

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The beginning of a new year always feels kinda weird to me.

There is something about the finality of the numerical year that causes one to assess or rank the previous year and then forces one’s attention to the future to ponder or speculate on the next twelve months.

Let’s face it, we don’t look at March 12th the same way we view January 1st.  We don’t sit up late on the evening of the 11th and reflecting on the year past.

But the end and beginning of a numerical calendar year is different.

I do reflect on the year and tend to give it some level of ranking.  Being that I tend to be a “bullet point” kind of person I’m sure that my evaluation system is much too simplistic to most people’s liking.

My three point ranking system is – Good year, ok year, and bad year.

Then I will typically add a couple of words as descriptors.

For example, my description of 2012 was this.  Overall 2012 was a good year with a huge transition and challenges.

Yep… that’s it.  It may be much too broad and non-descript for you but it works for me.  Like everyone else I have had bad years… 2003 and 2009 were brutal.

My simple process of reflection works very well in the other direction too – looking forward to the upcoming year.

I personally try to keep my head clear of any prolonged or specific speculation about what the year may bring.  The year will be what it will be and I will deal with it as it comes tends to be my basic philosophy.

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If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.
- John A. Simone, Sr.
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But one can’t help wondering to some degree what type of year 2013 will be.

There’s enough political and social craziness to cause some people to nose dive into the pits of negativity and fear.

But I figure, why get stressed out or worry about something that hasn’t happened.

I have my fair share of concerns about things that can happen and potentially impact my life (the economy as an example) but I don’t tend to worry.

Worry is a trap that corrupts the present.

Maybe I am too simple but I figure why get myself all worked up and stressed over something that probably won’t happen.  If the negative does happen… I will get worked up then.

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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles… but most of them never happened.”

- Mark Twain

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Just because I don’t worry now doesn’t mean that I don’t have an appropriate level of concern about those things that may be looming that could impact my life.

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of economic and political craziness right now.  I will be careful about what I spend, what I save, etc. because it is both logical and responsible.

The worriers will say that they are doing the same thing, just being appropriately concerned.   Nope, not the same… concern doesn’t rob life’s joy or peace… worry does.

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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
- Corrie Ten Boom
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Worry robs your life of life.

Think about it, what an interesting phrase – life being robbed from our life.

No one on this earth knows what 2013 will bring.

2013 may give me a bitter cup to drink.  If so, I pray I drink it with grace and patience.  But I decide now not to worry.

2013 may offer me a sweet cup to enjoy.  If so, I pray I drink it with humility and gratefulness.

I approach this year with open heart and hands.

Thanks for checking in with me.  See you Monday.

Ciao.


28
Dec 12

Holiday Limbo

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Yes, I know… I am five days late with this blog.  I’m not exactly sure what happened.

The last clear thing I remember is that it was Christmas Eve and I was casually sipping on some eggnog and all of a sudden things seemed to kick into hyperspace speed.

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Nothing says holidays, like a cheese log.

- Ellen DeGeneres

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Since then it has been a cacophony of events.  All I can recall are a few memory snippets of wrapping tearing, people smiling, dogs playing, loads of cooking, everyone eating, wafts of candles burning, lots of cleaning, quick packing, snow flying and frenzied driving.  Whew!

All of a sudden it’s December 28th and somehow I ended up in Atlanta sipping on some coffee.  I finally came to my senses… well… that’s debatable according to my wife.

So here I am, caught in what I call Holiday limbo.  It’s the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day when everything seems weird.

It feels like you are between worlds and any sense of normalcy has evaporated.

It’s kinda nice and you start to feel good then all of a sudden there is a sense that I should be doing something productive.  You’re not exactly on vacation (that’s a different head-set) but you’re not in work mode either.

So typing this blog is kind of a Godsend.  It makes things feel a bit more normal even though I am not in my cozy home where I can dress as I want and behave as I wish (scratch, spit, belch, etc. at will – the guys know what I’m talking about… you know the feeling).

But regardless of the weirdness of holidays – especially the Holiday Limbo time, I wouldn’t want to change it.

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I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.

- Henny Youngman

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We need disruptions to our routine.  Seriously.

We (self included) work hard at trying to create some measure of routine and predictability in our lives.  I think this is important.

A measure of routine provides some stability and sanity to a fast paced world.

But believe it or not disruptions are important too.

If not careful routine becomes a subtle web that builds over time and if not periodically torn they will eventually choke the very life out of you.

You create a cocoon that is very comfortable and protective, but it keeps you from growing.

Discomfort forces the action and movement needed to keep from choking to death.
Now some of you are on the other end of the continuum.  You are chaos junkies.  You cringe at anything routine.

But unfortunately, whatever extreme you may be on the continuum (rigid routine or crazy chaos) you reap the consequence of your excess.

I think I’m pretty balanced.  I really like my routine but I appreciate the value of disruption.

So this year’s Holiday Limbo has definitely disrupted my routine.

Ok, my web is broken for the time being… now let’s get back to the routine that feels comfortable and work hard to maintain.

See you Monday… New Year’s Eve.

Ciao


21
Sep 12

Character or character?

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Howdy… welcome back.

I’m sure that many of you had to look twice at the title and tried to figure out what it meant.

One is a noun and the other is an adjective.  Humm… I’ll make mine the noun.

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Side Note: If any of you knew me in High School you would be shocked that I even alluded to the parts of speech.  Let’s just say that English and dissecting sentences was not my forte.

My wife is probably laughing that I even attempted to use the term noun or adjective.

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I wasn’t planning to talk about the importance of Character until I saw on YouTube a clip from the movie The Bid Kahuna.

Yeah… I know… I didn’t see it either.

But after seeing the clip I definitely want to check it out.

Take a look and we’ll talk more.

YouTube Preview Image

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I can’t think of a much better compliment than for someone to say they trust me.

As you know, trust and character are so much more than just saying things that are factual.  It’s when a person trusts who you are, not just what you say.

There is such safety and comfort knowing that you are dealing with a person of Character.

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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
- Abraham Lincoln
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This may sound odd but there is something sacred about Character.

A person of Character has a depth and a strength that need not be spoken.  It’s just there.  It is exhibited in consistent action not words.

Character is not something you are born with.

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Talent is a gift, character is a choice.

- Larry Brown (Basketball coach)

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It is a choice.  It is developed.

This topic begs questions of myself.

Who am I?  Would people say that I am a person of Character?  Can people trust who I am as a person?

Some of you reading this blog may be known for the adjective character  vs. the Character that is a noun.

But that need not be your identity.  If not careful we can lock ourselves into a lie about ourselves.

The reality is, we have all made mistakes.

There is no question that to rebuild Character takes time and consistency.

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
- Helen Keller

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As I said earlier, it takes time.  And people may not trust us for a while.  But it is important to remember; we change for us, not others.

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You can’t talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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Thanks for checking in.

Ciao… see you Monday.