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Never Give Up

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. – Harriet Beecher Stowe

There is a lot to be said for never giving up.  I like the thought that you shouldn’t give up because eventually that things will work out. Persistence and dedication are important.  If you truly want and desire something, you need to be willing to put in the work and the time and not give up.  However, sometimes there comes a time when you have to realize that what you’re shooting for may not happen.  Take for example, a relationship.  No matter how much you may love somebody, and how much you want it to work out, it just isn’t going to, and holding on will only delay the inevitable.  Say for example you’re in a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs.  No matter how much you love them, your love won’t end their addiction, only they can do that.  That is something you may have to walk away from and give up on to keep you safe.  That doesn’t mean you walk away the first time something gets difficult or the first time you fail.  Keep trying, keep working and keep hoping, but also try to keep a realistic grasp on things.  We kind of live in a disposable society, something breaks, we get a new one, something’s not working out, we move on.  We’ve almost conditioned ourselves to give up or move on.  So it’s kind of hypocritical and wishy washy, but I leave you with this.  Don’t give up and keep trying, but keep it real, too.

Don’t Phone It In

Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you do with your life, be passionate. – Jon Bon Jovi

Think back to when you were a kid, and you dreamed of being a fire fighter, or an explorer or an astronaut, and the games you played.  Remember playing astronaut, or inventor, or whatever your dreamed of becoming?  You were the best explorer ever,  or the best fire fighter.  You climbed the highest mountains, or created amazing things.  It consumed you and your thoughts.  It was the best feeling, wasn’t it?  Now flash forward to high school when you’re graduating and heading out into the world, or off to college.  You were either taking a job so that you could start making money, or you were studying and trying to figure out what you were going to do with your life.  You were probably thinking about what would make you the most money the quickest so you could buy that car, get that apartment and pay off the student loans.  Somewhere in adulting, we lost the magic, and we lost the passion.  Not all of us, but a lot of us.  I recently attended two college graduations this past spring, and while the kids were all pretty excited to be done, none of them were over the moon about what they were going to be doing.  Even those of us who are blessed and fortunate enough to be doing what they love can sometimes lose the passion.  It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day minutiae.  Do what you have to do to keep that passion alive every single day.  Because when you feel the passion, what you do with your life will make your heart sing with joy!

Be Foolish

Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great. – Cher

We spend all our lives trying to blend in, and fit in.  It’s safer that way, or so we seem to think.  Basically, we’re sheep.  We do, wear, think and say what everybody else does, wears, thinks and says.  I’m not criticizing, I do it too.  We want to be like everybody else.  I’m sure there is some sociological or anthropological rational behind it.  Here’s the thing though, we’re not all the same.  We’re all wonderful, amazing and unique individuals, and that’s something we should embrace and celebrate.  When you find your uniqueness and celebrate it, you can accomplish many amazing and wonderful things.   As I type this, I’m listening to the radio and Pink is playing.  Pink is unique, she is different and I can almost guarantee that she’ll be around for quite a while.  Back in my younger years (read the 80’s) there were a lot of really great (in my opinion) musicians, and then there were the ones who were talented but who were so busy trying to be like everybody else that they just faded off.  Look at people like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.  Both of them were talented, yes, but they were different.  God were they different.  They weren’t afraid to be different, or even be foolish. And guess what, they’re still here, they’re still performing and they’re still amazing.  I’m not saying go out and wear a cone bra, or dye your hair 17 different colors, but figure out what makes you unique and celebrate it.  Take a chance, you truly were born to stand out!

It’s all About the Now

Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. – Wayne Dwyer

I’m struggling with this quote today because I’m kind of stuck in the past.  I have a few things that I’m holding on to and just cannot seem to let go of.  The thing is, the past is over and done with.  There is no time machine and there is no going back.  That being said, letting go can be a challenge, but I know I am up to that challenge.  The only thing that is guaranteed in this life is right now.  You can plan FOR the future, but you can’t plan ON the future. So my goal for myself is to release the baggage that I’m hanging on to, and really make the most out of my now. It’s what we all should be doing!  Sorry about the brevity of the post tonight.  Sometimes it’s hard to say what you want to say without sounding preachy.  That is so not me, but I’m feeling like everything I have to say about this subject sounds that way.  It’s hard to find the balance between remembering and learning from the past,  living in the now and planning for the future.  You can’t not plan, but you can’t become so obsessed with the planning that you forget to live.  Remember that and all will be fairly well in your world.

How to Measure Success

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. – John Wooden

Success can be measured in many ways by many different people.  Most people would attribute success to amassing money and/or material goods.  Students my attribute success to making the honor roll, and some parents may measure their success by the achievements of their children.  The only problem with all of those measures, and many other is that they are external.  The true measure of success should be internal.  Have you done the best that you can?  If you can answer yes, you are successful.  When my children were in school, report card time had the potential to be a very traumatic time in our house.  Not because I gave them grief about their grades, no it was because they would tend to beat themselves up over what they considered to be poor grades.  One of my children in particular placed a huge emphasis on grades and would get very upset if the letters on the report card were not up to their standards.  Well this child hit a class that just kicked their proverbial butt.  Guess what, I saw the effort that was put in, the extra help that was asked for and the studying that was done.  This kiddo could not have put in any more effort.  Sadly the much desired A was not achieved, and my child felt like a failure….but to me, they were a success.  They were the very definition of success because they did the best they could.  That is the true measure of success, being the best that you can be.

Choose Wisely

Remember, no more effort is required in order to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty.~ Napoleon Hill

When I first read this quote, and obviously, I didn’t read it properly, I thought it said no effort is required to aim high.  So I’m telling myself what I tell all my students, “Read ALL the words.” And after I read all the words, it made a lot more sense.  And this is so true, not just when it comes to poverty, but everything in life.  I watch students here a school cut classes, and they work so hard to not get caught skipping. They search out hiding places, they walk continually to avoid teachers and administration, it’s humorous actually.  When I DON’T do the writing I planned on writing, I spend so much time justifying to myself why I didn’t write….I would have used less energy if I would have just sat down and done it.  I pretty much think that it’s like that with anything.  All things require effort, good things and bad.  You may as well expend that energy and do something good.  You all know I’m a firm believer in visualization.  I could spend my time visualizing a life of abundance and prosperity, but I usually end up spending time focusing (another word for visualizing) what is lacking in my life.  I put way too much energy into that.  I’m resolving to change that put my focus on having instead of not having.  It’s a better way to live.

Giving Up

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas A. Edison

I kind of feel like a complete and total hypocrite writing about this topic because I am a champion quitter.  If I majored in procrastination, I minored in giving up.  Knowing this about myself, I can’t, in good conscience tell people not to give up.  So instead of telling you not to give up (but you shouldn’t give up), I’m going to talk about fear.  Why fear?   Because I think that’s the biggest reason why people give up.  I think deep down people (and by people, I mean me) are afraid of success.  It’s so much safer and easier to keep the status quo (cue High School Musical song). But it’s true, sometimes, even though things are crappy, it’s better than the unknown.  The unknown may be the best thing in the world that could ever happen to you, but it’s unchartered territory, so it can be scary AF.  Case in point, me, losing weight and dating.  I have convinced myself that I am undatable because I need to lose weight.  Nobody is going to want to be with me because I am overweight.  So logically, it would stand to reason that I would make better food choices and hit the gym regularly.  And I start, I start ALL THE TIME, but then I drop off and never reach my healthy goal weight.  This is a pattern with me, so I started thinking about why, and it’s because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid that if I lose the weight, I’m still going to be unlovable, and then it’s me, and not the weight.  That’s a whole other issue though, lol.  But it’s true, fear makes me give up  I think it’s true for a lot of us.  So, yes of course, don’t give up, but more importantly, look at what is motivating you to give up.  Start there, fix that and you’ll be on your way to success.

I’ll Start Tomorrow

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

I’ll start tomorrow.  How many times have you said that phrase to yourself?  I’ll start my diet tomorrow, or I’ll go to the gym tomorrow, I’ll do such and such chore tomorrow. If you’re anything like me, you use that phrase far too often.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have a plan for tomorrow.  I’m a huge proponent of plans.  But the thing is, you can’t keep waiting until tomorrow.  You have to start now.  Get all your little ducks in a row right now, and tomorrow, you’ll be that much farther ahead of the game.  This is your life, and you are responsible for it.  Nobody else is in charge of you, but you.  Take ownership for who you are, and what you’ve done, and what you want to do, and start doing it.  Today, I had a student who was supposed to be doing some of his science work in my resource room, and he gave me that patented student response of, “Oh, I’ll start it tomorrow.”  It was such a teachable moment for me, I just pointed to the quote on the whiteboard and told him to read it to me.  He started out strong, but his voice faltered and petered out as he got closer to the end, and he just looked at me with a sheepish grin on his face.  See, this particular kiddo has struggled in school and was almost a semester behind due to his work ethic.  He has a chance to participate in a program next fall which will pretty much get him back to where he is supposed to be, credit wise, which is great.  But what he was doing was putting himself behind the eight ball once again by not just buckling down and doing what he needed to do, now.  When you don’t do what you need to do, you are doing your present self and your future self a huge disservice.  So do what you need to do and get ready to crush tomorrow!

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking. – Bernard Baruch

Today was one of those teacher days when I spend most of my time saying please let it end, only to have it end with the biggest bangiest of bangs.  I talked about the quote with all of my classes, asking them what they thought it meant.  By talking I mean I did most of the talking and they said, “oh yeah, that makes sense.”  Hence the begging for it to end.  Well last class of the day, I asked various students what they thought this quote was saying and one kid blew me away with his response.  To me, this quote was saying, that those who keep their mouths shut, and do their thing are the ones who are most successful.  Why? Because they’re listening, observing, and applying what they’ve learned and getting stuff done.  Well this one student, he looked at this quote from a completely different perspective and it blew me away.  To him he felt that this quote was wrong because the people who do the most talking, asking questions are the ones who are successful because if you don’t ask, you can’t learn.  I. Was. Blown. AWAY!   Two different perspectives, two different meanings.  Life is like that, how I see things is not they way you’re going to see things, and something that is incredibly meaningful to you could be very insignificant to me.  It’s all about perspective and how we see things.  I think that is something we all need to remember, especially when we’re disagreeing with somebody.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself. – Oprah Winfrey

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase self-fulfilling prophecy.  But in case you haven’t, it’s a prediction that either directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the terms of the prophecy itself.  They can work in two ways, and the first way is great.  You believe in a good thing so much that it happens.  However, the reverse is also true, and you can believe in a bad thing so much that it comes true.  Case in point, me and math.  I always struggled with math in school, but I convinced myself that I couldn’t do it, and guess what, I couldn’t do it.  When we think something, and we believe something and we say something, even if it’s just to ourselves, we are giving it power – a LOT of power.  Why not talk ourselves into amazing and wonderful things?  Why do we say things, like “I’m so dumb,” or “I’m so fat,” or “Nobody will ever love me?”  Why aren’t we saying “I’m smart,” “I’m beautiful,” or “I am surrounded by love?”  I mean really, if you’re going to make something a self-fulfilling prophecy, make it something good.  The thing is, you are amazing, and so am I, let’s be our own best friends instead of our own worst enemies.  Let’s build ourselves up because there isn’t anything that we can’t accomplish if we just believe it!

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