The Wisdom to Maximize your Potential
Sometimes what you want, needs to come from others. You will need to be the type of person they want to give to. Financial gain is neither the main focus nor motivator for this book. However, financial gain is simply a natural result of unlocking your life and releasing your potential. What is far more important than financial gain is personal gain. When you are on your deathbed, you won’t care much about the size of your bank account, but you will care about the legacy of good times and warm memories you are leaving behind. Have you ever been to a funeral service where people talk about the dead guy’s huge house or fancy car? Of course not. All that people will remember is the type of person you were. Either you were respected or you were not. In the end, all that we have is respect. Respect for others is something that is getting harder to find in our society. People are becoming more and more self-absorbed and less caring about the needs of others.
• Have you ever pulled over to the side of the road to help someone change a flat tire?
• Have you shoveled the snow off of your neighbor’s sidewalk?
• Have you ever mowed a senior citizen’s lawn for them?
• Have you ever moved out of your bus seat, to allow an elderly person or a pregnant lady to rest?
If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these things or similar questions, you have to ask yourself why that is? It’s not because you’re a bad person, it’s because you aren’t thinking beyond your own needs.
Generosity and self-respect are linked. When one respects oneself, one is able to respect others. When you feel good about yourself and respect yourself, you will naturally have the urge to give to others. One way of gaining respect is by being generous. When you start to give your time to others, people will look at you with respect and afford you dignity. When you consistently receive respect as a result of your generosity, you can’t help but to start to feel pride in yourself. You will find that you will gain far more than you give. This is the natural cycle of things. Giving starts the receiving process. Maslow’s pyramid chart illustrates that the highest functioning human is one who has all of her personal needs already met and so is able and driven to provide for the needs of others. Do you remember the Golden Oldies Key? One of the biggest “golden oldies” is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Doesn’t this make just a little more sense now? Could it be that this old Bible saying was trying to teach this concept? It’s best if you give just for the sake of giving. However, if you need a reason, then just try to understand the universal truth: that Givers Gain (BNI Corporate Motto). There is another version of this that I prefer, known as the Platinum Rule; “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” This way you will give what they want to receive, not what you would want to receive. Givers Gain is also true with the giving of respect. If you take the time to treat even the lowliest person with dignity and respect, you will be worthy of the respect of the entire world. If you are the type of person who belittles others and picks on those weaker than you, then you have no hope of ever gaining any real respect or dignity. Here is a personal example of how Givers Gain: I’m a Canadian, so my winters involve lots of snow shoveling. The first snowfall of 2006 gave us a four-inch layer of the heavy white stuff, so out came the snow shovel for my cold-weather workout. When I was done with my walkway, I felt ambitious, so I also shoveled the walk for the neighbors on each side of me. It was no big deal; I just wanted to work up a bit of a sweat, and this was the easiest way for me to do that.
That evening, the snow started again, so I made a mental note to get up early enough that I could shovel the walk before going to work. When morning came, I looked out my window to see how much snow had fallen, and to my surprise, my walk was already shoveled! My neighbor had decided to re-pay me by clearing off my walk. This started a friendly, fun competition. We started racing outside during each snowfall to shovel the other person’s walk before they could shovel ours. The neighbor on the other side of me soon joined in the game and started shoveling not only my walk but also the walk on the other side of him as well. There was one week where I was away on business with my pregnant wife left home alone. During that week, it snowed almost every day, but my wife didn’t have to shovel even once. Without being asked, the neighbors were more than happy to cover for me while I was away. Givers Gain.
This same principle works in any situation where you have an opportunity to give a little of your time to others. When people see you making an effort to help others, your deeds do not go unnoticed. You will reap what you sow.
We judge ourselves based on our intentions; others judge us based on our actions.
Let me tell you about Bob. Bob is a fellow with great intentions and a big heart, but the rubber never seems to meet the road. What I mean is, Bob talks a good game, but he never actually gets anything done. If you need a favor, he’s never there for you. He loves having others do his work for him, but he won’t lift a finger to help others. He’ll lend you money, because it doesn’t involve effort, but he won’t show up on moving day to lift a sofa. Bob will defend his laziness by saying, “Yeah, but I have a good heart!” Well, sorry Bob, but a good heart doesn’t pay the bills, fix the car, do the dishes, or maintain a friendship. Just having good intentions isn’t enough. It is our actions, and the results that our actions produce, that define who we are. If you expect others to respect you, you must be aware that you will only receive the amount of respect you command. You can only command respect through consistent positive actions throughout your life. Likewise, you must be a big enough person to give respect to others. Small people rarely give compliments, but they are always eager to receive them.
It’s what is in your heart when you act, not your actions alone, that are the measure of your good. Do the right thing for the right reasons.
There is a lesson shared in the Bible’s New Testament that states: “The man who stands in public praising God so that others will notice will receive his rewards; however, his rewards will be no greater than that of the man who worships privately at home.” There are also several lessons that state: “You may fool others, but you can’t fool God, for He knows what is truly in your heart.”
Thoughts on Intention:
Doing the right thing to gain favor is a transparent act that fools no one. Doing the right thing out of a desire to give, teach, or help is not always an obvious act, nor is it always rewarded; it is, however, the only true way to act and to be genuine in your actions.
It is not your intentions that will result in reward, only your actions.
Everyone makes an impact
What you choose to do or not do with your life has an enormous effect on the world around you. This is relevant to understanding the power that is within us all. To help you to understand the power of your actions, here is a story that literally made me cry the first few times that I read it.
I hope that you enjoy it. More importantly, I hope that you understand its relevance to your own life.
57 CENTS … (source unknown)
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was too crowded. “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.
Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the real reason she had been turned away. He took her by the hand, took her inside, and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so happy they had found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. The parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found that seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting: “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.” For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there. A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor™ who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years, the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000—a huge sum for that time (the early 1900’s). Her unselfish love had paid an enormous dividend.
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up the Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building that houses hundreds of Sunday school children, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside it is a portrait of the kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, Acres of Diamonds.
This story is a wonderful example of the ripple effect that our actions can have. By understanding the power of your actions, you will be more likely to choose them carefully.
Go ahead. Grab a tissue and a glass of water. This story brought a tear to my eye, so I just had to find a way to include this story in this book.
“You may never know what results come from your actions;
But if you do nothing, there will be no results.”
Ask yourself this: “What type of person do I want to be?” Do you want to just improve your own life, or is it important for you to lift others as well? Once you make this decision, you will be more conscious of each decision you make. The effect or lack of effect that your actions have on others may be immeasurable.
Don’t argue: you shouldn’t have to be right
Here is one key that was hugely important for me to understand. I used to argue with anyone—about anything. I just couldn’t tolerate an opinion that differed from my own. This stemmed from a belief that, if my opinion mattered, then I would matter. For me to be right, there had to be something right about me. If I could get someone to agree with my point of view, I would feel important and influential. By convincing someone else, I felt that I was smarter than they, and it just took some arguing to prove it! Once I realized that it wasn’t about me and that my opinions were not weakened by contradictory opinions, I was then able to let go of a lot of anger. Getting angry at the opinion of others is a sure sign of insecurity. Other people’s opinions are a product of who they are, so if I can’t accept their opinions, then I can’t accept them for who they are. We all have a right to believe anything we want to believe, regardless of what we believe is right or wrong.
It is possible to respect an opinion without agreeing with it. For instance, you don’t have to agree with, or support, homosexuality to respect homosexuals. (I chose this topic as it often evokes emotion in people.) The fact that I happen to be a heterosexual isn’t affected in any way by shaking the hand of a man who is gay. His beliefs or orientation aren’t going to make me any less heterosexual just because I’m not angry with him. Of course, homosexuality is not a belief system. However, the point remains the same. Differences need to be respected. This concept is transferable to any differences, whether it is differences in beliefs, lifestyle, culture, or physical appearance. We don’t have to agree with or condone the differences in order to respect the rights of others to be different.
Opinions can be contagious, but there is no need to avoid being exposed to opinions or ideas that contradict our own. Opinions should never be considered to be a threat unless they are highly negative or filled with hate. Religious wars have been and are now being fought for the sake of being “right.” Believe in what you like and believe it as strongly as you like; just don’t battle, or go to war to protect your beliefs. It is people’s actions that create a threat—not their beliefs.
Let others believe what they wish. If you want your beliefs to be respected, you must also respect the beliefs of others, regardless of how silly or wrong you may think they are. You may go to war to protect your family, human rights, way of life, or sovereignty—but don’t go just because someone has a different belief system from yours.
If you are secure in what you believe, then there should never be cause to feel threatened by contradictory beliefs. If you believe that the entire universe was created in six days, then there is no need to attack those who believe that it took billions of years to create the heavens and earth.
The truth is independent of our beliefs.
When the scientific community (the Church) believed that the world was flat, this belief was touted as an absolute fact. Anyone who said anything different (Galileo) was jailed or put to death as a heretic. Dissent equaled treason against the Church. No matter how strongly the people believed that the world was flat, the world didn’t get any flatter. It didn’t matter how many people were punished for saying the world was round, the world still didn’t get any flatter. The truth was and is that the world was and is a sphere. The truth wasn’t affected by the so-called “facts” of the day. The truth is independent of what we believe. By understanding that we really don’t “know” much (if anything), we will then have the wisdom to take both new and old information with a grain of salt.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing that we know nothing.”
When people are confronted with an opinion that is way out of their comfort zone, they are quick to call others “crazy” for having that opinion. If an opinion is out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t matter how true it is; you will find difficulty accepting it as truth. Just because something sounds “crazy” doesn’t mean that it’s not true.
Imagine a UFO lands in your own back yard; an alien emerges from the craft, has a nice chat and cup of coffee with you, and then flies away. If it happened, it happened, and there is no amount of denial that’s going to change that. However, you will still be called a “crazy nut job” by most anyone to whom you tell the story.
You could have a home video, still photos, and even a lock of hair from the alien, and it still wouldn’t matter. A few more people might be convinced, but the majority will ignore the truth and find ways to discredit your evidence. The easiest way to trivialize and discredit a story is to label it as “crazy.”
It takes maturity and self-confidence to be open to uncomfortable possibilities. For most people, making a lot of money is a very uncomfortable possibility. The idea that you are capable of far more than you ever thought possible is a very uncomfortable possibility, but it’s true regardless of how uncomfortable you feel about it. The more open you are to the possibility that some of your beliefs might be self-limiting, the more able you will be to identify and remove those beliefs. Also, if you are able to accept the possibility that you might not be “right,” then you will have the ability to have much more respect for the uncomfortable opinions and beliefs of others. Just because something is uncomfortable to you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t correct.
The stronger you hold onto the idea that others should agree with you, the smaller your world will be.
It’s important to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To learn anything, it means that you will have to accept that there is more for you to learn. Anytime we try something new, it is going to be uncomfortable since we haven’t done it before. If you’re not able to deal with the discomfort, then you will not be able to grow. Building your muscles works the same way. If you want to build your muscles and increase your strength, then you must push yourself well past a level that is comfortable. If you don’t go beyond what is comfortable, your muscles will not grow in either size or strength.
“Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.”
Peter T. McIntyre
Ignorance/Arrogance VS. Confidence/Wisdom
This is an example of positive versus negative traits and positive versus negative results. Remember that choosing positive energy is constructive, and negative energy is destructive.
Confidence is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. At a glance, there seems to be a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but in fact they are drastically different things.
• Arrogance stems from a lack of confidence, not over-confidence.
• Arrogance manifests when a person doesn’t believe in themselves, so they run around with their nose in the air trying to convince themselves and others that they are better than those around them.
• Arrogance begs for the respect of others.
• Arrogance is blind to any truth that threatens its own beliefs.
• Arrogance needs to be validated by others.
• Arrogance needs to hear that it is right, and you are wrong.
• Confidence stems from strength, maturity, and wisdom.
• Confidence occurs when people have faith in their own abilities.
• Confidence is quiet and doesn’t have to show off to others.
• Confidence doesn’t require attention or affirmation from others.
• Confidence is wise and able to accept the truth, regardless of what the truth reveals.
• Confidence doesn’t have to be validated by others.
• Confidence doesn’t insist that it is correct and that you are not.
It is important to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance so you can identify these traits in yourself and choose to accept or adjust these traits. Also, when you are able to recognize the difference in others, you will find you have more patience for arrogance since you will realize that the arrogant person is actually crying out for help.
“Every obnoxious act is a cry for help.”
Confidence is the ability to jump into a situation with little idea of what you are doing, but having faith in yourself to figure it out.
Bravery is having no idea what you are getting into—no idea if you can make it work, but you know it has to be done. You make it your responsibility to do it. Bravery is acting in spite of your fears.
Arrogance is telling others how it should be done—taking credit for the positive, and blaming others for the negative.
We choose what we wish to be. If you wouldn’t choose to put a particular character trait in your resume or on your business card, then why would you choose to keep it in your personality?
Forgive yourself, and others
To fully release your potential, you must fully release any excess baggage that may be weighing you down.
When is the last time you screwed up badly? Did you lose sleep over it or beat yourself up about it? Did you ask yourself, “How could I be so stupid?” I can certainly think of a few times when I put my foot in my mouth by blurting out something ridiculous. I can even remember times when my screw-ups caused harm to my reputation. These things happen to all of us from time to time; none of us is perfect.
It is not a positive use of our energy to spend time worrying about the consequences of our mistakes. What is a positive use of our energy is to accept responsibility for our mistakes. If you are able to correct the wrong, then of course correct it. However, we are often not able to correct the wrong. In this case, the only thing left to do is to learn from the wrong so that it will not be repeated in the future. We can’t change the past; we can only learn and grow from the lessons that our mistakes teach us. By forgiving yourself for being an imperfect human being, you will then be able to release yourself from the baggage of regret. Regrets weigh heavily on the mind, so the more you can dump the regrets from your mind, the freer your mind will be.
Accepting responsibility for our mistakes doesn’t mean that we are deciding to punish ourselves for them; it means that we are ready to learn and grow from them.
When was the last time someone did something nasty to you? Did you lose sleep over that, too? Do you spend time wishing for either revenge or justice of some sort? What about the last time someone did something nasty to someone else that resulted in you losing sleep? Did you wallow in the question, “How could you have done such a thing?”
Why is it that we choose to punish ourselves for the negative actions of others? By spending your time and energy being angry at the person who did something wrong, you are punishing yourself by focusing on the negative energy of the misdeed. What is needed is to forgive the person for their wrongdoing. Forgiving doesn’t mean that there won’t be or shouldn’t be any consequences, it just means that you won’t be hurting yourself by hating the wrong doer.
By forgiving, you are not letting the wrongdoer off the hook; you are letting yourself off the hook.
“Bitterness is like drinking a cup of poison and expecting someone else to die.”
“Please forgive me for my trespasses, as I forgive those who trespass against me.”
The Lord’s Prayer
Skeptics shouldn’t have airtime
As we have already learned, choosing the positive is choosing to be constructive with your life, and choosing the negative is destructive to your life.
Skepticism is usually a negative use of one’s energy. Thus, it should not have too much focus placed on it. The opposite of skepticism is curiosity. When you are exposed to information that seems unlikely or uncomfortable, the immature reaction is immediate skepticism. The mature reaction is immediate curiosity. Both reactions shield you from being gullible or being suckered into believing false information. The skeptics will not have the perspective to see any truth that may be right in front of them. Their skepticism (being negative) is blinding the skeptic from any possible truth.
The curious, however, are equally open to either outcome, true or false. The curious are not concerned with how comfortable the truth is but only about what appears to be the truth of the matter.
The mainstream media sources have a habit of giving more airtime to skeptics than to curious investigative reporters. As a result, the bulk of the population is only familiar with the skeptical viewpoints, and thus any information that contradicts the skeptics is treated as silly or trivial. People have a natural tendency to avoid skepticism and criticism. Most people, therefore, will simply go along with the skeptics to avoid being ridiculed or criticized.
A major change I would like to see in society is for skeptics to be the ones who are trivialized and marginalized. It is the curious investigators who should be given the majority of airtime in the media, thus receiving the majority of the focus from the bulk of the population. By replacing the immense amount of negative energy put into skepticism with the positive energy of curiosity, there would be a powerful surge in the progress of the human race.
Imagine if our scientists were not concerned with being laughed at by their peers, but instead were empowered to ask any question about any topic they chose. Imagine what would happen if we were curious about alternative energy instead of constantly being skeptical about the viability of solar, wind, and geothermal energy. If the immature skeptics were trivialized instead of the mature curious, then there would be solar panels on the roof of every home on earth. The reduction in fossil fuel dependency would be astronomical; thus, the demand for fossil-fuel-generated electricity would be enormously reduced. The only thing stopping this from happening is the misinformation of the skeptics who are treated as experts.
In Europe, it is very common to have solar panels on homes to augment electricity; yet in North America, it is exceedingly rare. The difference is public consciousness. It’s what is believed to be normal or abnormal that has people following a trend. Few people are willing to put up with the skeptics who constantly criticize what they don’t understand, so instead they simply go with the flow and conform to what the skeptics tell them is normal and acceptable.
What a different world we would have if we didn’t just accept that the world is flat to avoid being ridiculed for our curiosity. The world stayed flat for more than 200 years after Galileo. What progress could we have made if the skeptics were treated as children, and the curious as mature adults? Our society’s values are backwards in this regard. Skepticism retards the evolution of the human race.
If this one societal change were to occur, then all who control the media and even our politicians would be completely disempowered to misdirect the truth any longer. In the media, they provide the news they think will sell. If society changed from seeking skepticism to seeking curiosity, then the media would respond to the new market demands.
By changing all journalism into investigative journalism, the world would be flipped on its head for the better. The progress of the human race would instantly be launched into a quantum leap of social evolution.
Skepticism is a highly effective tool that is used to combat the curious. The curious are often trivialized and marginalized by calling them “conspiracy theorists.” When the tobacco industry was first questioned about the health risks of their products, they quickly reacted with skeptical self-published studies. The tobacco companies ran a public misinformation campaign of skepticism that trivialized anyone who was foolish enough to even suggest that tobacco had potential health hazards.
The tobacco companies knew the power of skepticism, and they used it to their advantage for decades before they finally lost their stranglehold on the public consciousness. Even with all of the evidence, there are still people today who are swayed by the decades-old arguments, and they are skeptical of the fact that tobacco use poses health risks.
By being aware of the tactics of those who use skepticism to combat the curious, we can then free ourselves to make up our own minds about what is and what isn’t true. We fear being thought of as gullible, so we follow the popular skeptics. What an irony it is that skepticism is used to avoid being caught as gullible, yet it is curiosity that actually protects us from being gullible. We swallow a skeptic’s story far easier than a “crazy” story of curiosity.
Don’t step on FINGERS (they may be attached to a future helping hand)
Any dishonest or negative action that you take against another person will be noticed. In business, I’ve seen people who regularly bash the competition as a tactic for raising their own profiles. What these people don’t seem to understand is that being friendly to the competition will elevate you by showing that you are not afraid of your competitors. By complimenting your competition, you are actually strengthening your image, not weakening it. Transversely, of course, trying to strengthen your image by bashing others does nothing but weaken your position.
If you live with integrity, then you will never choose to step on someone else’s toes to get ahead. Living with integrity means that, given the choice, you would rather put another in front of you than to shove him out of the way so that you can be out in front. If you are worthy of advancement, the advancement will naturally occur on its own as long as you take the positive actions required to move forward. There will never be any benefit in hiding the talent of others so that yours will shine the brightest. If there is another more talented than yourself, then it would be better to lift him up in any way you can than to push his head under the water. You actions will be recognized, and your integrity will not go unnoticed. Of course, you are choosing to do the right thing because it is correct and not just for the recognition of others.
Living with integrity is doing the right thing because it’s right regardless of the results or recognition. By keeping yourself on the right track, you will keep yourself immersed in wonderful, positive energy. By choosing the wrong track, you will be dunking your head into a pool of putrid negative energy. Choosing the wrong way to go is choosing a path to certain self-assassination. You may be satisfied with the temporary results, but in the long run you will always lose.
Gratitude: the onlypath to true success
Gratitude is a key that provides a deeper and more meaningful understanding for many of the other keys. Happiness can not be attained without gratitude, and if we aren’t happy then what is the point? Without gratitude, you will always be thirsty for more and never be able to enjoy what you already have.
In some extreme situations, gratitude can seem difficult. For example, a very good friend of mine was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Instead of feeling angry about getting leukemia at the age of fifty-six, he instead decided to feel grateful for not getting leukemia at the age of thirty. If he had been diagnosed at the age of thirty, he would have been grateful that it didn’t happen when he was twenty.
My friend is grateful for the life that he has enjoyed up to this point, not woeful that his life will be cut shorter than he expected. He’s happy for what he has, not sad about what he doesn’t have.
“It’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you’ve got.”
I had open-heart surgery when I was twenty-nine years old. If you have ever had your chest cracked open, you’ll know that it’s not a lot of fun. I could have felt sorry for myself for having to deal with such a thing at such a young age. But, instead of lamenting my situation, I decided to be grateful. I had quite a lot to be grateful for:
• The fact that I survived long enough to get the surgery.
• The rare type of operation I had allowed me to not be dependant on blood thinners the rest of my life.
• The operation provided me with more energy than I was used to having.
• I was able to re-evaluate my career path. Prior to the surgery, I wanted to be a police officer. With that no longer an option, I chose a much more suitable path.
• Being a Canadian, I didn’t have to pay a dime for the surgery! They even paid for my accommodations and flight to the only hospital in the country that could handle that type of surgery.
There is always a lot to be grateful for if you have the perspective to see it. Being grateful is a very positive use of your energy, whereas feeling like a victim is a negative drain on your energy.
Do you remember the story of Fred the dream builder? It was Fred’s gratitude for what he had that allowed him to be a great man and provide a great life for his family. Fred never wished to live in a 10,000 square foot mansion, so he never felt as though he missed out on anything. Instead of being envious of others, he was grateful for what he had. The attitude of gratitude is the key to feeling good about your life and yourself.
What would you suppose that Alvin Law, a man born without arms, is grateful for? I’d say that Alvin is pretty darn grateful for the fact that he has two good legs and ten good toes! Those legs and toes have allowed him to accomplish great things, and you can bet that he takes good care of them. Any energy that Alvin could have spent feeling sorry for himself for being different would have detracted from his love of life. Alvin’s gratitude for his abilities has allowed him to enjoy and savor his life.
Let us use the ugly example of divorce to illustrate the power of gratitude. Divorce is usually a nasty and difficult process for everyone involved. Both spouses, the kids, in-laws, and even the friends of the couple can be affected by the divorce. It isn’t difficult to allow a negative time in your life such as divorce to be a significant drain on your energy and/or self esteem.
Here are some useful tools to help deal with the regret that often accompanies divorce. Try to recognize that:
1. You have done your best to be the best spouse that you could.
2. You have done your best to seek help for yourself and the marriage.
3. The longer you stay with the wrong person, the further away you will be from right person.
The next step is to find a place for gratitude. What is the upside of all this? Try to remember that the time spent with that person was not a waste of time. All of the negative experiences had something useful to teach.
1. Remember the good times and be grateful for them.
2. Be grateful that you are strong enough to end the negative relationship now and not ten years from now. What’s worse than divorce is staying in a marriage that is destroying your happiness.
3. Be grateful that you woke up this morning with the ability to breathe and face the day. As long as you are still breathing, you have the ability to change your life.
4. Be grateful if you live in a country where you are allowed to be divorced.
5. Be grateful if you are a woman who doesn’t fear death as a punishment for leaving her husband. Be courageous if otherwise.
6. If you are seventy years old, and you fear meeting another mate, be grateful that you aren’t one hundred years old and looking for another mate.
7. If you will lose all of your money in the divorce, be grateful that you know how to make more money.
“What does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Choosing an attitude of gratitude is an important tool to help you to be a champion instead of a victim. We don’t choose to be victimized, but we do choose to act like victims.
Right now, you have the opportunity to be grateful for the fact that you have just exposed yourself to a wealth of positive concepts. Be grateful that you have the ability to read, since eleven percent of born and bred North Americans cannot read or write.
Choosing to be grateful is choosing to be good to yourself. Anytime you choose gratitude over self-pity, you are choosing a positive, instead of a negative, thought stream.
Choosing to place positive energy in your life is choosing to construct your life. Choosing negative energy is choosing self-destruction.
Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area (BBBS) is a local branch and accredited member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada Federation, established in 1994 to provide the youngest members of our city with access to life changing mentorship relationships.
Children and youth may experience childhood adversity through a number of individual or compounding societal barriers, such as family violence, mental health struggles, poverty, substance abuse or identity challenges. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area caters to these young Calgarians by connecting them with volunteer mentors who can form “strong one-to-one relationships with their mentees that express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power, and expand possibilities.”
A foundational element of the organization is reflected in the creation of intentional matches, meaning mentors are not simply assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis. BBBS takes a number of variables into account when assigning a mentor to a waiting child, including shared experience, likes and dislikes, proximity, and more. Working hard to ensure compatibility prior to assigning matches is a great way to increase the likelihood of a successful, beneficial relationship between mentor and mentee.
“We really want to see these matches succeed,” says Jennifer Booth, Manager of Communications and Stakeholder Relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, “if we weren’t as intentional and selective as we are, we wouldn’t see the success in these relationships that we do.”
The minimum time commitment when signing on to be a mentor with the organization is one year. According to Booth, many of the matches that originate in the BBBS program carry on well past the one-year mark as organic, mutually beneficial relationships beyond the parameters of the organization.
In the Community Mentorship program, relationships are built through shared activities and time spent together. “Bigs” can take their “Littles” to the zoo or the park, they can do a hike together, cook or bake, shoot hoops at the court, or even just sit down together to relax and talk. Over the course of a year, the relationship develops a level of trust and confidence that the child or youth mentee can benefit from significantly
“For children who have one or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs),” says Booth, “working with a caring mentor can really enhance their social and emotional competencies.” Emotional competencies include things like social awareness, self-awareness, responsible decision-making and relationship skills. These are developmental benchmarks that may have been negatively impacted by different ACEs in the child’s life, and stand to benefit from an intentional, healthy relationship with a mentor at BBBS.
In addition to their standard community and school mentorship programs, BBBS introduced the PRISM program in 2018. Standing for Pride, Respect, Identity, Safety, Mentoring, PRISM connects mentors with young individuals from the LGBTQ2S+ community. These relationships are built on a shared understanding of the unique adversities faced by members of the same community, and strive to support young people in the celebration of their own, unique identities.
Currently, there are between 250 and 300 children and youth at Big Brother Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, who may wait up to three years for a pairing. This is a result of gaps in volunteer positions, as well as the organization’s commitment to intentional matches. “We’re really hoping to achieve a sustainable momentum,” says Booth. While the organization is always seeking an increase in mentors in general, currently, they are specifically short in numbers for male-identifying volunteers, she says.
For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area and how to apply as a volunteer, visit https://bbbscalgary.ca. To learn more about the PRISM program, visit https://bbbscalgary.ca/prism/
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
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