Feb. 15, 2019



"You've failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn't you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. Don't worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try."
~ Full-page ad published in the Wall Street Journal by United Technologies


There's a wonderful story 📕 in "Chicken Soup For The Soul" about a 4th grade teacher and a funeral. The teacher had her students fill a sheet of notebook paper with all the things they couldn't do. They wrote furiously for quite a while filling their paper with "I can't do ten push-ups," or "I can't kick the soccer ball ⚽ past second base," or "I can't get Debbie to like me 😞."
The students were then instructed to fold their papers 📄 and place them into a shoe box 📦 at the front of the room. The teacher then tucked the box under her arm, and invited the students to follow her out into the playground. There, they each took a turn at the shovel and dug a hole four feet deep. The box was placed in the hole and quickly covered with dirt.
The students then held hands 🤝 while the instructor delivered a eulogy in memory of "I can't." In it, she noted that "I can't" was survived by his brothers and sister, "I can," "I will," and "I'm going to right away." 😮😃
"I can't" is a close relative to most of us, yet maybe with a little extra effort we can finally let him go 👋. It won't be easy since he's been such a close relation, yet maybe by dwelling on his brothers and sister and their importance to us - we can! 👍
Remember the unforgettable line from 🚂 "The Little Engine That Could"? "I think I can - I THINK I can! I THINK I CAN!" Don't forget the last line of our quote for the day. "Worry about the chances you'll miss when you don't even try!" 


Feb. 8, 2019



"In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace - and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."
~ From the movie "The Third Man" (1949)
This passage makes you ponder 🤔 where our inspiration and our motivation come from. How many great movements came out of times of peace? Not to knock happiness, but complacency tends to breed laziness, unless we keep ourselves aware of the issues that might truly affect us.
We're all familiar with the concept of the "starving artist" - rationalized for ages now by saying one must suffer for one's art. Of course, this isn't necessarily true. Plenty of beautiful art and literature has been produced by "happy" 😁 people. But isn't it interesting that the most controversial, thought-provoking, and powerful works do in fact come out of suffering 😔 and a desire to educate others about suffering, cruelty, and wrong-doing? 
It seems that people really get motivated by what angers 😡 them - when we're happy and complacent, we tend not to get involved in troubling issues. Apathy often arises when we feel that we simply have no say in the result, when we feel disempowered or our vote 🙋‍♀ doesn't really count. But very often our apathy is the result of the fact that overall, we feel pretty good about our situation and feel that we don't necessarily need to get involved - we're happy with the way things are, so let them be and let other people worry about the issues that affect them.
It's our problems - and how we handle them - that help us to grow as individuals. Those challenges in our lives force us to find solutions, solutions that sometimes mean changing ourselves in some way, or changing how we interact with others. Too much "smooth sailing" 🚢 can leave you asleep at the rudder! Try to see your problems and challenges as opportunities to produce something great or effect a change for the better.
If you're fortunate enough to say, "I am truly happy 😁 with all things as they are in my life," then don't become complacent. Find yourself a cause that you believe in and become involved in its promotion. Your life and the lives of those around you will become better for it! ❤

Jan. 31, 2019



"Your imagination is the preview to life's coming attractions."
~ Albert Einstein
Do you believe Orville & Wilbur were first to fly ✈ because they had a hammer, nails and a free weekend? Think the television 📺 was created by accident? Did Bill Gates just stumble upon the software code that has changed the world 🌎? Not a chance!
The Wright brothers created the previews of their first flight ✈ in the theatre of their minds. Naturally, there were no limitations to their imaginings as they dreamed of flying. Who knows how the dream of television became reality . . . how it was transformed from a mere visualization into vacuum tubes, knobs, and channels?
What went through Bill Gates' mind prior to his early experiments? Surely his first visions were not of a colorful package entitled "Windows 2000." Nevertheless, his vivid imagination took us all from the concept of "1's" and "0's" to today's monumentally complex world of computer software and internet browsers.
What about you 🤔? What goes on in your mind's eye while no one is looking? What do you see yourself doing in one, three, or five years? Do you hear 👂 a special future beckoning you to create an action thriller from the previews running through your imagination? Is there a stirring inside you that begs to be brought to fruition?
Why not grab some popcorn 🍿, a soft drink 🥤, and settle quietly into your favorite chair to enjoy the previews of your own imagination? Then, with a clear picture fresh in your mind, create the main attraction - your life! 🤩 

Jan. 25, 2019

Stuck In Port?

"To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor."
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Imagine the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 going unanswered . . . Many of our ships found at anchor ⚓ by attacking planes went down, never to leave the harbor again. Imagine the economy floundering with interest rates at 12%, and learning that the head of "the fed" has taken a six-month, non-working vacation to Tahiti. Imagine how you would have felt on September 12, 2001 if our president had appeared on TV to tell us how sorry he was about the attacks without announcing action to protect us in the future.
We expect our nation's leaders to act in times of crisis, don't we? But - what do we expect of ourselves when a family crisis arises, our sales flounder, or we notice the numbers on our scale beginning to creep upward to uncomfortable levels? Do we set sail, or lie at anchor hoping "someone" will do "something?"
Babe Ruth ⚾ sailed against the wind more often than with it. He is remembered for his home runs - 714 of them - yet he struck out 1,330 times in his career. Best of all, he set sail and got out of the harbor (took his bat to the plate) 8,399 times. Had he stayed safely in the dugout, he could have avoided all those strikeouts.
So - what about you? Having difficulty setting sail lately? Perhaps it's time to give your engine a little maintenance, or take out a needle and thread to repair torn sails. You may also want to pull out your map 🌎 to redefine the direction you'll be taking in coming months.
If you've been spending too much time at the "Captain's Table" and not enough time on the bridge with the wheel in your hand, perhaps some planning now will send you full speed ahead out of the harbor 🚢 and with some exotic port of call in sight.

👋 Bon Voyage!

Jan. 22, 2019

Ask Jay Patel



Q Dear Jay, My husband and I live in an apartment in a development known for its walkability and neighborly residents. Living here has been a joy, and it was terrific when we were in our 20s, but as we approach our mid-30s with two children added to our household, we must admit that the community is unlikely to evolve with our needs. We think it may be time to buy a house, preferably in the same general area and close to our jobs. Some of our friends bring up the Fed and rate hikes and high mortgages. What does that all mean? Is this a good time for us to buy a house or not? Should we go ahead and move, rent a house and wait to see what happens with the market? 


Dear Janet, First, it’s helpful to remember that the Federal Reserve raises the rates at which banks lend to each other, not to consumers. Mortgage rates are indeed rising, but no more than anyone should expect after years of historic lows. In 2015, when mortgage interests were at 4 percent, industry professionals erroneously predicted they would reach 5.5 percent in 2016. It wasn’t until 2018 that the rates touched the 5-percent mark for the first time in 11 years. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, while 77 percent of homeowners were ready to sell, only 55 percent of millennials felt ready to buy. Besides, sharp increases in home prices seem to have spurred the rental market. The NAR’s survey of aspiring home buyers showed non-owners often are content in their rentals because, at the moment, they accommodate their need for flexibility. Some stay put because they can’t afford to buy a house or just don’t want the responsibility of owning one. If push comes to shove, they’ll rent a cheaper place, get a roommate or move in with a family member. Some apartment dwellers would stay in place for 10 years or more, barring a significant life change – such as having kids. But then, many put off purchasing a house because child care eats a sizable chunk of their budget. Those who do decide to buy are likely to compromise on size, style and price, even accept a longer commute to work. What they won’t bend on is the quality of the neighborhood and schools, as well as their proximity to friends and family. Circumstances seem to give sellers the upper hand, but just as home buyers may need to rethink their expectations, so should the sellers who hope to capitalize on rising home prices. Those increases are slowing down, and more than half of all properties sold in U.S. metropolitan areas in 2018 fetched their original list prices; some economists suspect that even fewer will sell at list during the first quarter of 2019. Ultimately, you should base your choice on what is realistic and practical; don’t let your ego steer you toward the fanciful. Determine what you can live without and what you won’t sacrifice. If your children are not quite school age, then you have time to rent a modest house until you find a home that meets (or exceeds) your expectations.


Jan. 18, 2019

Stand Up and Be Counted!


"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
 ~ Dante
Think there's any "moral crisis" 😕 going on in our country right now? What about in our city? Our schools? Our neighborhood 🏡? Where did it come from, and why are we facing these challenges?
We are a country - city - neighborhood - blessed with peace ☮ and prosperity. Our daily choices range from which SUV we will drive, to where we will dine next, to how we will redecorate our home 🏡 this year. Our concerns include our child's upcoming soccer ⚽ match, whether or not to refinance the house, making "Salesperson of the Year," and taking more time for golf ⛳ or tennis 🏸.
With all the choices complemented by our affluence, we have also become compliant, accepting, and politically correct. We strive to please everyone, avoid "rocking the boat," and prefer the status quo. It's so much easier that way, isn't it?
In doing so, however, we may also abdicate responsibility for teaching our children the value of principle-centered living. What principles should we be teaching - and practicing? Why not adopt and teach the value of courage ❤, diligence, faithfulness, generosity, cleanliness, honesty, encouragement, frugality, humility, industry, justice, moderation, order, resolution, silence, honesty, sincerity, temperance, and tranquility?
Imagine how the world 🌎 around us would change if we taught and participated in more of these time-honored values. Remember that our country IS our cities, our neighborhoods, and our homes 🏡. What begins at the grass roots level - literally in our own backyards - can be spread throughout the world. Abandon neutrality and you can change the world! ❤❤


Jan. 11, 2019


"A man's reputation is the opinion people have of him; his character is what he really is."
~ Jack Miner, conservationist (1865-1944)

Ever hear someone say, "I have good credit"? They are probably referring to their credit "rating" - a score bestowed upon them by creditors, banks or rating agencies. Simply stating, "I have good credit" changes nothing, nor does the statement merit the attention 👀 of creditors. Credit can only be given by others for service to them, i.e. paying them on time. ⏰👍
So, credit is the result of serving others - in many ways. You cannot claim education, victory, experience, success, reputation, or a suave demeanor. Each of these is a gift 🎁 from others, as a result of your service to them. Friends recognize your courage as a result of your being cool 😎 under pressure. Your success is recognized by others only once you have served them well. Knowledge of your career field is recognized by others only after it's been applied to situations in the form of more service.
In the accounting 💵 world of income and expense, a debit is something paid out 👉, while a credit is something received 👈. Thus all credits are received from others - not by our own making. The debits - what we pay out - are our efforts, persistence, and service. How they are rated is not under our control, but is determined by those served.
Without service, there are few rewards 🏆. Yet, you've seen those who insist on getting more attention 👀 than they deserve. They feel they're being short-changed, that they are not appreciated, that they are always the victim. If you look more closely at their contributions, you are also likely to see the dearth of service they are offering.
With service, credit follows. It may be subtle or quite visible - but it always follows. Concentrate on what you have to offer and forget the rewards. Those who are served will pick up the tab! 


Nov. 26, 2018

Take 5


"Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity."
~ from the Tao Te Ching by Lao-

TAKE 5! 🖐🏼

Today we’re pressured to do more, want more, get more. But really, it all leads to having less time 🕗, less energy, and less money. Putting more into work leaves less for private pursuits. Acquiring more valued possessions creates more debt and yet more work. 
“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.” You don’t have to have it all and have it right now. Allow some room for development; give yourself space to grow. Don’t assume you’re accomplished because your bowl is already full. 
“Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.” Don’t overwork yourself. Focusing too hard and too long on any one thing dulls your senses and wears you out. If you’re at the top of your game, why would you need to do better? 
“Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.” Anyone obsessed with wealth probably doesn’t offer compassion or service to others. Those who always seek safety always fear risk. Do what you love, accept risks, and the rest will follow. 
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” Do you work to satisfy yourself or others? 🤔 Can you ever find happiness if your only concern is pleasing everyone else? Take pride in a job well done, then let it go. Your enthusiasm about your work will show, and anyone who doesn’t like it isn’t worth worrying about. 
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” It’s easier to see where you’ve been than where you’re going. The journey to happiness begins by stepping back and releasing your endeavors. Let them go and free your mind for other pursuits. Good or bad, put it all behind you and look forward. 
Shun the fear of not having enough and not doing enough.
Concentrate on one of these lines each day this week, and then have a fantastic week! 👍

Oct. 22, 2018

What is a thought?

Everyone says it differently, but the message is the same. Here are three oft-quoted thoughts on "thinking":
"You are what you think about all day long."
"Your life is what your thoughts make of it."
"As you think, so shall you be."


What is a thought? Scientifically speaking, it is nothing more than a random electrical impulse in the brain. If you are relaxing, not focusing on any particular thoughts, your brain continues to fire off those random impulses which, in turn, are triggering random, unfocused thoughts - like the itch on your arm, how hummingbirds fly, or your Aunt Ellen's new car.
What's interesting is that everything in sight of you right now is the result of someone's focused thoughts. The computer screen, the window nearby, and the chair in which you are sitting came into existence as the result of a single focused thought. Henry Ford thought about a V-8 engine for his cars, and then insisted that his engineers create it. Jonas Sauk thought about eliminating polio - and did.
Whether you choose to focus your thoughts or not, your day will be filled with them. They just don't stop. But wait - there's an "Aha!" or a "Voila!" in here for you. Just think of the possibilities when you realize the power of thought - and put it to work for you. The amazing thing about thoughts is that you have complete control over them. You either put these electrical impulses to work for you through focused attention - or they happen anyway, but in a random, impotent manner akin to a static electrical discharge.
Everything tangible in our world today was created by an action, preceded by someone's thought - from a straight pin to a Pentium processor, from a blight-free American chestnut tree to your garage-door opener. So - what thoughts will you be having today?
They don't have to be life-changing or global in scope to make your personal world better. They need only be focused. Just remember, you control your thoughts - and their possibilities are endless.


March 12, 2018

Ever Thought About This?

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."


~ Henry Ford ~




Ever felt overwhelmed by the details? Like there are just too many little things to be done on the way to something big? If you haven't tried one recently, think back to the last time you tackled a 1000- or 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle.


Pursuing your goals is like opening up that box and dumping out all the pieces. You concentrate on that picture of the completed puzzle on the front of the box. You start sorting out the pieces according to what part of the puzzle they'll complete. You spend endless hours diligently working, but you know you'll never finish it unless you are enjoying the process of piecing it all together.


Small successes inspire you to continue. Maybe you have a "team" of others who help you put it together, or maybe you enjoy working alone. If you have a lot of responsibility at work, and are expected to run the show and perform without constant supervision, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But remember as you work that you carefully place one piece at a time, and you know that you are in charge and that you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.


Taking care of the little things can be extremely satisfying, especially when you know that's what it takes to keep the operation going and progressing toward your goals. A study published in Human Kinetics (Orlick, 1998) actually showed that "life satisfaction" is 22 percent more likely for those with a steady stream of minor achievements than those who express interest only in major accomplishments!


So keep at it - one piece at a time - with an eye toward the big picture. Enjoy the pleasure from all of your accomplishments, remembering the unattributed phrase, "True worth is doing each day some little good, not dreaming of great things to do by and by."