Why Me?


When adversity hits us or someone close to us, it is human to say “Why me?”.

In 1987 when famed Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, who died recently, found out that she had multiple sclerosis she saw the illness as a calling to help raise money to fight the disease.  She raised millions through her fame and misfortune by establishing the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Diseases.

But it doesn’t take starting a fund to work through adversity.

Women with breast cancer often volunteer their services to help others affected by the disease.  I know of one woman who for years made wigs for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Disease, accidents and misfortune are not on our wish list for sure but often adopting a “can-do” attitude about fighting back not only helps the patient but those around them as well.

It gives life a more defined meaning and a healthy perspective when dealing with misfortune.

“Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet.” 
~ Michael Douglas

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Return From the Stress of Email Hell

One of the best things about constant contact with others on our mobile devices is that we can easily converse with more people and faster than ever before.

One of the worst things is that we can easily converse with more people and faster than ever before.

We seem to know what to do with spam and unwanted email.  There are programs that will shut these things down.  After all, email looks more and more like junk mail – the kind the postal service delivers.

But when it comes to work, our friends, family and new family (Facebook friends and virtual buddies), email is becoming a drain as well as a pain.

Some ideas I’ve adopted seem to help:

  1. Everyone who takes the time to write to me gets a timely response – and happily because as you’ll see prioritizing email responses allows for better, more meaningful communication.
  2. In an age of Twitter and texting, aim for short responses that are as succinct and meaningful as the best tweets.  It works for email.
  3. Manage digital communications with you in control.  That is, a phone call is a tool for talking to some people, as texting is a way to reach others.  There are many tools that add up to communication.
  4. If someone invests a lot of time to write a long email, invest a lot of time to return a meaningful (not necessarily long) response.

Life is stressful and constant contact makes us more stressful.

See these things as tools and not burdens.

You didn’t have to answer the phone 10 years ago and you don’t have to communicate with anyone that isn’t worth a thoughtful succinct response.

Email is becoming outdated because texting and Twitter are tools that many find more useful.  Whatever works, reduce social stress by taking charge of your digital life and using the tools that we all share more effectively.

“I don’t believe in email.  I’m an old-fashioned girl.  I prefer calling and hanging up” – Sarah Jessica Parker

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Rethinking Your Life

For many of us our daily routine is a stressful reminder that we often juggle responsibilities, work hard to pay the bills, deal with rising expenses and handle family and relationship problems that often sap our energy and optimism.

William James said, “The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it”.

What a great sentiment.

To be thought of for something worthwhile.

It can relate to our families, our careers, relationships and civic pursuits.  Often we’re motivated but life gets in the way.

Turn it around today.

Along with the necessities of life, make a one sentence vow that includes how you want to be thought of – what you’d like to contribute.  To not have this important sentences on your smartphone or a piece of paper is like driving without a roadmap.

One sentence.

I want to be thought of as a great friend.  Or a helper of those less fortunate.  Or a motivator.  A mother.  A dad.  A person who inspires others at work.  You get the idea.

Why live life another day without this simple roadmap to happiness and it starts with a sentence that keeps you on target even when daily living takes us places we don’t want to go.

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”  — Leonard Bernstein

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The Unknown Secret To Success

Some think it is luck.

Some say successful people have a drive that is so strong that they are willing to roll over anybody or anything to get what they want.

Sorry to disappoint, but most successful people in this world whether that is measured by money or the happiness from personal achievement know that the unspoken secret of success is exceeding expectations.

A 23-year old at their first real job can rise up fast if they exceed – not just meet – the expectations of those who hired them.

But it’s not just how much you make or what others think, it’s about personal satisfaction and accomplishment.  A person may make an average salary but have an above average life because they exceed their own expectations and that of those around them.

I know many teachers in this category.  You may be able to think of others.

And the best way to exceed expectations and become successful is to try harder.

One of my favorite chapters in my book is about The Ted Williams Principle – the baseball great who was the last person to hit for a batting average of over .400 in a single season.

His manager was ready to let him sit out the last game of the season to guarantee that he’d make the grade.  Had Williams gone hitless that day, it would have driven his batting average for the year down to under .400.

William refused to stay out of the lineup and played that day – getting additional hits to solidify his modern day record of .406.

So to exceed expectations personally and those of others, bat 1.000 trying harder.

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A Potent Stress Buster

The things that we imagine in life are often worse than what is stressing us out.

Scientists know that whatever we imagine our brains already experience as if it has happened.

Imagine you’re going to get fired and even if you don’t, the brain has already processed it as the stress of being fired.

Fear a lost relationship?

Done deal as far as the brain is concerned.

There is no arguing that there are many, many things that can reduce stress in our lives from massages to medication, but one powerful way to get stress under control is to realize that what we fear – what stresses us out – will most likely never happen (or won’t happen with the severity we fear).

But the baggage it leaves behind hurts more than what actually happens.

The researcher Amit Sood refers us to the wisdom of Mark Twain who said:  “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened”.

If you know someone who is experiencing the devastation of stress, please feel free to forward this email to them.

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