With so many people in the world telling us we can't succeed, we need to hear people telling us we can. I remember my high school English teacher telling me not to apply to Cornell University because they wouldn't accept me and even if they did I wouldn't be able to do the work. (It's funny that I'm a writer now). I almost didn't apply but a few days later I saw Ivan Goldfarb, a former teacher, in the hallway and asked him about Cornell. He said, "If you get in, then you go. You can do it." His words made all the difference. I applied, was accepted and majored in Lacrosse :).
Too often we think it's our role to inject a dose of "reality" into someone's life. We think it's our job to protect people from the pain of failure and defeat. We think we must point out how bad the economy is and how horrible the job market is and how the sky is falling. We think that dreams were meant for others.
I say there are enough pessimists and "realists" in the world. The world doesn't need more negativity and impossible thinkers. The world needs more optimists, encouragers, and inspirers. The world needs more people to speak into the hearts of others and say "I believe in you." "Follow your passion and live your purpose." "If you have the desire then you also have the power to make it happen." "Keep working hard." "You're improving and getting better. Keep it up." "The economy is tough but you can still grow your business." "The job market is not great but I believe you'll find the right job for you." "We've hit a lot of obstacles but we'll get the project finished." "Even if you fail it will lead to something even better." "You're learning and growing."
When it comes to encouragement I know that everyone of us loves working for and with people who bring out the best in us. We love being around people who uplift us and make us feel great. And while we'll always remember the negative people who told us we couldn't accomplish something, we will always cherish and hold a special place in our heart for those who encouraged us.
Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. So often the difference between success and failure is belief. And so often that belief is instilled in us by someone who encouraged us. Leadership, after all, is a transfer of belief.
Today decide to be that person who instills a positive belief in someone who needs to hear your encouraging words. Uplift someone who is feeling down. Fuel your team with your positive energy. Rally others to focus on what is possible rather than what seems impossible. Share encouragement. It matters and we all need it.
As you might know, the head of a major
company survived the tragedy of “9/11” in New York because his son
Another fellow was alive because it was
his turn to bring donuts.
One woman was late because her alarm clock
didn't go off in time.
One was late because of being stuck on the
NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident.
One of them missed his bus.
One spilled food on her clothes and had to
take time to change.
One's car wouldn't start.
One went back to answer the telephone.
One had a child that dawdled and didn't
get ready as soon as he should have.
One couldn't get a taxi.
The one that struck me was the man who put
on a new pair of shoes that morning,
took the various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a
blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a
Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today.
Now when I am stuck in traffic...
miss an elevator...
turn back to answer a ringing telephone...
all the little things that annoy me...
I think to myself...
this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.
The next time your morning seems to be
the children are slow getting dressed,
you can't seem to find the car keys,
you hit every traffic light...
don't get mad or frustrated;
God is at work watching over you.
May God continue to bless you with all
those annoying little things - and may you remember and appreciate their
The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists? A student bravely replied, "Yes, he did!"
"God created everything? The professor asked.
"Yes sir", the student replied.
The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil". The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?"
"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-460 degrees F)is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat."
The student continued, "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does."
The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."
Finally the young man asked the professor, "Sir, does evil exist?"
Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.
That young man was said to be Albert Einstein in 1921
They tell the story of a mountain climber who, desperate to conquer the Aconcagua, initiated his climb after years of preparation. But he wanted the glory to himself, therefore, he went up alone. He started climbing and it was becoming later, and later. He did not prepare for camping, but decided to keep on going.
Soon it got dark. Night fell with heaviness at a very high altitude. Visibility was zero. Everything was black. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by clouds.
As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell. Falling rapidly he could only see blotches of darkness that passed. He felt a terrible sensation of being sucked in by gravity. He kept falling... and in those anguishing moments good and bad memories passed through his mind. He thought certainly he would die.
But then he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Yes! Like any good mountain climber he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist. In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air he had no other choice but to shout: "HELP ME GOD. HELP ME!"
All of a sudden he heard a deep voice from heaven... "What do you want me to do?"
"Do you REALLY think that I can save you?"
"OF COURSE, MY GOD."
"Then cut the rope that is holding you up."
There was another moment of silence and stillness. The man just held tighter to the rope. The rescue team says that the next day they found a frozen mountain climber hanging strongly to a rope... TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND.
How about you? How trusting are you in that rope? Why don't you let it go? I tell you, God has great and marvelous things planned for you.
In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for the source that had drawn him here.
It began with the fond recollection of the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently opened the long buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories. Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the past was more alive in his heart than his present aloneness.
Setting aside one of the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white head.
Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.
Entry after entry stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of those days were far different from his own. But how different?
Reminded that he had kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted stairway that led to the den.
Opening a glass cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal. Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name Jimmy had been nearly scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters, as though he could restore what had been worn away with time and use.
As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words: Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy. Didn't catch a thing.
With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read: Went fishing with my Dad. Best day of my life.
There was a professor of philosophy there who was a deeply committed atheist. His primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had argued in class at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!"
In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who believes in God is a fool. If God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking. Such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do " it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years, they had been too afraid to stand up.
Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He was a Christian, and had heard the stories about his professor. He was required to take the class for his major, and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing they said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.
Finally, the day came. The professor said, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!"
He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.
The young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God's love for them and of His power through Jesus.
Maybe God wanted us to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.
Maybe when the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.
Maybe the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.
Maybe it is true that we don't know what we have got until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.
Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but if it does not, be content it grew in yours.
It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.
There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.
Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.
Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.
Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you are the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
A young man was telling a story in a book about how for months he prayed to God asking for a bicycle and a desk. Discouraged and in tears one night, this kid sought his God to question Him "Why are you forgetting me? I've been praying ever so diligently" God responded; "You've asked for nothing, I have no idea what bicycle you want, there are thousands of varieties...and you desk? How big? What color? Do you want a chair too?"
The boy stirred up his faith and his Design Cap and captured his dream bike and desk on paper. He wanted an American bike (was from Asia) and a desk made of Philippine mahogany. After some time in thought, he went back to sleep.
The best part of the story was a few months later he had the exact bike he wanted and the desk he longed for.
What do you want? Looking for a spouse? Have you clearly written down exactly what your ideal spouse looks like, sounds like, does for a living, their body type, race, occupation?
How about your dream business or clientele? I know for me, when I am designing my life - I don't ask for just "more customers" What kind of customers do you want? I want those that are absolutely in love with my product. That refer me their colleagues. Ones that will reorder religiously.
Once things are clearly defined and you realize that as much as you are worth every bit to receive this (oh, and that's so important) now you have to set your sights on accepting it into your life.
There is nothing that will stomp on a dream or a vision or a plan than lack of faith and crossed arms. Open wide.
There is a common phrase we hear so often "Ask and you shall receive," but they sometimes leave out the next portion "Seek and you shall find."
The next step is to seek the information. Seek the prospects (business or romantic LOL!). To seek is to act. To act is to win.
The amazing story of Charles Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker, is a wonderful illustration of what true faith is.
Blondin's greatest fame came on September 14, 1860, when he became the first person to cross a tightrope stretched 11,000 feet (over a quarter of a mile) across the mighty Niagara Falls. People from both Canada and America came from miles away to see this great feat.
He walked across, 160 feet above the falls, several times... each time with a different daring feat - once in a sack, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, and blindfolded. One time he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope!
A large crowd gathered and the buzz of excitement ran along both sides of the river bank. The crowd “Oohed and Aahed!” as Blondin carefully walked across - one dangerous step after another - pushing a wheelbarrow holding a sack of potatoes.
Then a one point, he asked for the participation of a volunteer. Upon reaching the other side, the crowd's applause was louder than the roar of the falls!
Blondin suddenly stopped and addressed his audience: "Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?"
The crowd enthusiastically yelled, "Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!"
"Okay," said Blondin, "Who wants to get into the wheelbarrow."
As far as the Blondin story goes, no one did at the time!
This unique story illustrates a real life picture of what faith actually is. The crowd watched these daring feats. They said they believed. But... their actions proved they truly did not believe.
Similarly, it is one thing for us to say we believe in God. However, it's true faith when we believe God and put our faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.