You Are Who Your Dog Thinks You Are

The Chair of the Mayo Clinic Mind Body Initiative, Amit Sood, has a novel way for us to look at ourselves – through our pet’s eyes.

“You are who your dog thinks you are – kind, caring, and compassionate. 

“Your pet does not care about your financial net worth, job, health, fame, etc.  All it cares about is your love and your ability to express it. The loving you is the transcendental you that no one can rob”.

What a great way to build self-esteem on how loving we are instead of our material accomplishments.

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Right Place. Wrong Time.

Jessica Ghwai, known professionally as Jennifer Redfield, was an aspiring 24-year old hockey writer who had just gotten her press credentials for the NHL Colorado Avalanche when everything went wrong.

She had escaped from a deadly shooting spree at a Toronto Mall in June grateful for her young life – certainly, enough bad luck for a lifetime.

Then on July 20th at a movie theater in Aurora, CO, Jessica Ghwai died in the arms of her boyfriend whom she convinced to see “The Dark Knight Rises”.  The Aurora gunman broke into the theater and opened fire on unsuspecting movie goers killing Ghwai, 11 others and injuring 59.

We often say, “I was in the right place at the wrong time”.

That happens in life.

Sometimes it happens more than once as in Jennifer Ghwai’s case.

I have come close to meeting my maker twice in life.  Once with a tanker truck that ran a red light in Marlton, NJ and the other with a speeding car that did the same as I was turning in its path in Scottsdale, AZ.

As the adrenalin kicked in I wondered how many other times I got the benefit of being just 30 seconds early, or not on that flight, or otherwise not in harm’s way.

We always know when we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But we don’t always know when we are in the right place at the right time.

Be grateful for that which we can’t always know and go on and live life.

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Change the Way To Face Adversity

The comedian George Carlin said, “I put a dollar in one of those change machines.  Nothing changed”.

The way we deal with adversity on a daily basis requires a long look in the mirror.

As Viktor Frankl put it: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.

Here are some things you might try.  Just one of these makes it easier to face adversity:

  1. Don’t solve problems immediately, just try to deal with them
  2. Use your God-given gifts to battle adversity every day
  3. Be grateful for that which you have

Some problems can be handled right away.

Others take longer – sometimes considerably longer.

And some can never be resolved requiring us to accept them and move on.

Line up the adversity that befalls you and deal with it sustained by the knowledge that what makes it tolerable is to focus on gratitude.

The author Melodie Beattie says:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial in acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity … it turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

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The Best Career Advice

I love this!

Katherine Whitehorn said it best – “the best careers advice to give to the young is ‘Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it’”.

That’s why I devoted a special section in my book Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages to career changing techniques that are really different and really work.

For example:  a one-sheet that you can provide an employer on an interview that will move your resume to the top of pile. 

A resume is no longer enough to remain competitive.

Providing a list of ways you can specifically help the company that you want to work for helps your potential employer connect the dots.

Some companies like Google use elaborate interviewing techniques to winnow down to the person they want to hire.

But no employer can resist an applicant who takes the time to spell out specific ways they can help that company from day one. 

If you’d like to read the chapter on Career Chaos for free – and two other preview chapters as well – click here.   It has the details on how to prepare the list and use it in an interview setting.

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The Greatest Gift To Give a Son or Daughter

When my son graduated from college, I wrote a congratulatory note inspired by the author Sidney Greenberg that said:

“It is more important to know how to make a life than a living.”

I’m sure he would have appreciated a BMW more!  Who wouldn’t?

But the greatest gift we can give to our children, to those we love or for that matter to ourselves is the reminder that making a living and making a life are not the same thing. 

We tend to connect a happy life with money, but tens of thousands of psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that money doesn’t insure happiness.

A recent Gallop study found that the average American by his or her own admission was happy if they earned around $75,000 a year.  After that, happiness did not proportionately increase with their income no matter how high it went.

Rabbi Greenberg leads us to this —  “The indispensible requirement for mastering life is mastering ourselves. We learn to live when we learn to give.”

As a Professor of Music Industry at the University of Southern California I was asked by graduating students:  “How can I be successful and make a lot of money?”

My answer.

Don’t try. 

Just work hard at being excellent doing something for which you have a great passion.

Ironically, the richest people may have money but they don’t always know how to make a life.

We can make that adjustment today.

Pursue passions not dollars.

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