Sunday, May 2, 2010

QUOTE: When inspiration lights your vision and courage precedes relentless, unmitigated and continuing action; when you embody this and present this day in and day out, the sheer force of it can eventually change the world. -- EH

Here's a short and inspiring clip on leadership that I think you'll like.

QUOTE: Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant, there is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks. -- Johann Gottfried Von Herder

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Power of the Mind

If you can unravel this, who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to unscramble a few other of life's mysteries.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be
in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed
it wouthit a porbelm Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey
lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
QUOTE: At my age I do what Mark Twain did. I get my daily paper, look at the obituaries page and if I'm not there I carry on as usual. -- Partick Moore

Inspire Resolve

Goethe said, "He who has a firm will molds the world to himself."

I have seen again and again that the one who stands firm most often accomplishes the task they set out to achieve. One of the reasons I enjoy watching The Dog Whisperer, with Ceasar Millan, is that Ceasar never backs down. Even these big dogs with brains a quarter the size of ours figure out rather quickly that Ceasar will stand firm until he trains these dogs to do what he sets out to do.

I have seen vicious German Sheppard’s back themselves into a corner with nothing but a firm, assertive stance by Ceasar that the dogs recognized quickly as strength. Out of control Bull Mastiff’s usually in attack mode learn fast that they better not mess with Ceasar. He doesn’t use brute force either. Sometimes he will grab a dog and press it down to the ground, but this is the exception, not the rule. Ceasar embodies resolve.

Probably the best example of resolve for me occurred when I was ten or eleven years old and had gotten myself into some trouble at an amusement park. I had ignored a sign that said “DO NOT TOUCH THE GRASS” on a really slow and boring ride that glided past big bears and little raccoons playing banjo’s and singing really awful songs. When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I reached out to touch the grass. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, the grass was fake, which I at the time thought was as lame as the ride.

Well, when the ride was supposed to come to a stop in front of the gate, the ride carrying me and my friend’s father, who weighed over 350 pounds, just kept on going. It eventually stopped about 50 yards away and the attendant unhooking the bar across other’s laps, ignored us. Eventually we managed to wiggle out of the ride and escape over the fence and back to my friend and his mother.

On our way to the next ride, though, we realized that we were being tracked down by two huge guys from security along with a manager and his assistant who soon found my friend’s parents sitting on a park bench. The manager began harassing my friend’s parents, saying that I had vandalized their ride. He told them to get out of the park.

Fortunately for me, Mr. and Mrs. Foort would have nothing of it. In fact, I will never forget the firm resolve Mrs. Foort showed that day when she, a 300 pound women, linked her arm around her husband’s and, with their 650 plus combined pounds set deeply in the bench, she locked her eyes on the manager's and said in a calm, firm and unforgettable tone of total resolve, “And who, prey tell, is going to move us?”

No one did and we remained at the park the rest of the day.

So next time you find something important that you must accomplish, be calm, be assertive and be firm in your words and action. Remember the Foorts. Don’t back down. Stand strong and see what happens. Circumstances you thought were hopeless might prove manageable. Remember, strong-willed people change the world.

10 Great Things to Inspire You

Have you realized yet that there are at least ten great things waiting out there today for you to discover and appreciate? In fact, if you just reflected on it for a moment, you could probably come up with ten right now.

For example, as I write this, it is 72 degrees with a warm breeze blowing, plenty of sunshine and the smell of freshly cut grass wafting though my backyard. I am off today with the cool, tapping sound of the keyboard making music as I write. My dogs are serenely sleeping on their pillows and my day is unencumbered with “have to’s.” I can work on my blog! I can go on a bike ride. I can call a friend. In other words, life is good. There is plenty to be grateful for and as the day goes on, I will be sure and count at least ten great things about being alive and living my life today. Can you?

If you’re having a bit of trouble coming up with ten great things and you need a bit of inspiration, then you may want to visit Neil Pasrichs’s site 1000 Awesome Things. Neil writes with a lift to his prose and he writes about things that will lift your spirit. What are some of his ideas? How about when a baby falls asleep on you, or dancing when you're home alone, or laughing so hard you start crying. If you like those, he's got 997 more.

So when you feel a little down, think of things that lift your spirit, that inspire you to enjoy life more, that help you realize how lucky you are to be alive. I bet you're feeling better already.
(Photo from

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eliminating Poverty

One day when Muhammad Yunas visited Jobra, a small India village, he watched Sufia Begum, a 21-year-old villager craft a beautiful bamboo stool. She was poor, uneducated and had calloused fingers. He could not have guessed that seeing her would set in motion a cascade of events that would eventually change his life and the life of literally millions of people like Sufia who were entrenched in poverty.

Yunas asked Begum how much she earned. She told him that she borrowed 9 cents from the middle man and that after he collected his profit, she earned 2 cents a stool.

“My God,” Yunas thought, “for 9 cents she has become a slave.” Despite the beauty of her work, the fine craftsmanship, and the time she put into it, she had nothing to show for her work but calloused fingers and low esteem.

The next day Yunas and his students surveyed 43 villagers and discovered that they owed a grand sum of $27. Yunas said he could not take it anymore. He lifted the money before the villagers and told them they could liberate themselves. They could buy their own materials, cut out the middle man and pay him back whenever they could afford to. They all did and that moment launched a business concept that would lead Yunas, years later, to a Nobel prize.

Yunas founded the Grameen Bank and has since lent nearly $6 billion to 6 million Bangladeshis. Known as microcredit financing, small investors worldwide lend small sums of money to help a poor villager buy a goat whose milk they can sell to help sustain themselves and their families or to purchase a flock of hens whose eggs bring in money.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate poverty.

The Nobel Prize Committee said, "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. " Microcredit helps.

This is how it works. The bank gives out small loans averaging around $200. Recipients are grouped together with four others and first two loans are handed out. Once a loan is repaid another in the group receives their loan. This encourages responsibility and 99% of the loans are repaid. This concept has spread and spurned development well beyond Bangladesh. In fact, the results have been staggering.

One man made the decisive difference when, in a moment of compassion, he shared his meager resources and helped changed the life course not only of himself, but also a group of struggling strangers. I wonder what moment of compassion lies ahead for us and whether we will have the wherewithal to follow through. I'm glad Muhammad Yunas did and so are millions of others whose lives and dignity have been restored through his efforts.