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What’s your reason for getting up in the morning?

As the old proverb says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”People who live a life of purpose wake up each morning eager to face the new day. They pursue their dreams with fervor, put their heart into everything they do, and feel that they’re personally making a difference. As James Dean, the actor, once said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
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What’s your reason for getting up in the morning?

In Japan, millions of people have ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy)— a reason to jump out of bed each morning. The Japanese island of Okinawa, where ikigai has its origins, is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world.It roughly means the “thing that you live for” or “the reason for which you get up in the morning.” In a nutshell, it encompasses the idea that happiness in life is about more than money or a fancy job title.These days, my reason for getting out of bed is to work on projects that re-imagine society and education. For someone who spent decades struggling to find a reason to get out of bed, it is now a refreshing change to have this deep sense of purpose. My health and well-being have radically improved during recent years, too. The primary reason for this has not been the healthy choices I have made or the diets I have followed, but because I now live with a sense of purpose – and that is the platform for all the other decisions I make.

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You must be the change you want to see

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” In other words, although life changes are inevitable, we can also initiate personal change so we can rise to the challenge and become a bigger and better person as a result.

How do we do this? We believe the best ways are to recognize that change is inevitable, that there is always the potential for positive change in every moment and to stay grounded and in touch with our peace.Yes, we can lead the way, and others will follow. We are the ones we have been waiting for! In this moments you’ll discover importance of paying attention to where you’re placing your attention and investing your energy.

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You will discover how to feed and nurture the vision within… finding power in your pain and allowing it to lead you to your greater purpose We are the ones we have been waiting for, because we live in an age in which we are able to see and understand our own predicament.  With so much greater awareness than our ancestors – and with with such capacity for insight, knowledge, and empathy –we are uniquely prepared to create positive change within ourselves and our world. We always have the opportunity to transform fear into courage, selfishness into kindness and loss into fresh beginnings, just as palm trees transform muddy rainwater into sweet coconut milk.

Spring of hope and enthusiasm is here, with new life bursting forth, and in the same way we too are capable of creating a new life for ourselves in each and every moment. For surely, life is about not having answers and taking chances, all without knowing what is going to happen next. Sitting quietly, breathing deeply and joyfully, silently repeat: I open my mind and heart to new possibilities.

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The courageous speak up when no one else will

Courage emerges in the moment, without time for thought. Our heart opens and we immediately move into action. Someone jumps into an icy lake to save a child, or speaks up at a meeting, or puts them self in danger to help another human being. These sudden actions, even if they put us at risk, arise from clear, spontaneous love.Human history is filled with stories of countless people who have been fearless. If we look at our own families, perhaps going back several generations, we’ll find among our own ancestors those who also have been fearless.In my own experience, I think there’s an important difference between courage and fearlessness.

Wu Feng was a Manchurian diplomat in the 1700s who was posted with an aboriginal tribe in the outskirts of Taiwan. He befriended the aboriginal chief, whose tribe beheaded one of its members every year as a form of sacrifice. Each year Wu Feng pleaded, with all his compassion and reverence for life, for the chief to put to an end to this custom. The chief would listen respectfully, then summon the chosen tribe member and without hesitation behead him.

Finally, after living with the tribe for 25 years, Wu Feng once more pleaded with the chief to stop the killing. But this time, when the tribe member was called forth, Wu Feng took his place and said, “If you will kill this time, it will be me.” The chief stared long into his old friend’s eyes. He could not kill him. And from that day, the practice of beheading stopped.

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There are many kinds of leaders and all kinds of leadership, but the leaders we remember the most—the ones who remain unforgettable—are those who lead with courage. The courageous speak up when no one else will. The courageous step up and out when no one cares. The courageous risk when no one else dares.There is a stubbornness found in courageous leaders. They are not easily frightened and they allow their courage to rise, especially when they feel intimidated. Courage emerges in the moment, without time for thought. Our heart opens and we immediately move into action. Someone jumps into an icy lake to save a child, or speaks up at a meeting, or puts them self in danger to help another human being. These sudden actions, even if they put us at risk, arise from clear, spontaneous love.

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People will only remember you for the person you’ve been

The most precious commodities on this planet are our health, love, and happiness. Regardless of what we accomplish and accumulate in life, we are unable to take it with us.

In the fast paced, consumer driven, social media shared world that we live in today, success and happiness are often defined by the status of what we achieve, and the value of the things that we own.

Everywhere we look, we are inundated with the same message: the measure of our self-worth is directly equal to the measure of our material wealth.

Whether it’s the status car, the trendiest clothes, the luxury home or the CEO title that comes with the envied corner office with a view, these and the many other status symbols of wealth and success seem to forever define our values.

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The amount of money you made, the jobs you’ve held, your performance at those jobs, the number of friends you have on facebook, followers on twitters, won’t be on my and your tombstone. People will tend to remember you for the person you’ve been not what you’ve done.It’s not our significant successes or accomplishments that linger long in hearts and minds, but rather our kindness and caring that people will remember. That’s what really matters.

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Keep your eye on the ball

Whatever it is that you hope to accomplish, commit to it by keeping your eye on the ball. If the way things have been done are no longer working, dare to things a bit differently; even if it means going against status quo.u’ve got what it takes to succeed.

If you start looking at hurdles that come up as problems, you can put yourself in a negative mindset that will prevent you from finding success. If you instead start looking at these obstacles as opportunities, you can start finding more success. Take the challenge of approaching every problem and instantly calling it an opportunity. It can be hard to find opportunities in some problems, but if you look hard enough, there are positives even in the most overwhelming of issues.Look at the word “opportunity” and focus on the end of the word, the final five letters of “opportunity” spell unity.

My experience has taught me to believe in and look for the unity between problems and opportunities. For example the inventor of 3M’s Post-It Notes used problems and opportunities thinking. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver set out to create a super glue to improve the adhesive used on 3M tape products. Instead, he ran into the problem of developing an adhesive that worked on paper only until someone pulled on the paper. The problem of an adhesive that didn’t quite work evolved into the opportunity to create a product that has filled office cubicles ever since

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God’s ultimate providential care

Faith was foundational to Churchill internal fortitude when all external signs pointed to disaster. Churchill referred often to Providence, as he did in a February 1941 broadcast appeal to the United States: “Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and your blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”

Churchill firmly believed that he would fulfill the destiny he had foreseen in 1891 at the age of 16 and that Providence would protect and preserve him for his life’s mission. Churchill did not regard Providence as an impersonal force; he saw it as the guiding hand of God.

In his very first speech as prime minister, Churchill said that the policy of his new government would be to wage war against Hitler “with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us.”  Speaking on Trinity Sunday 1940 about the eventual outcome of the war, Churchill quoted from the Bible and concluded, “As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.”

What we see here is a leader who trusted that God will show up in every situation no matter what. You could be going through a difficult situation and you probably feel lost or confused. You too can trust that God is going to come to your situation. If you are lost in the woods, faith is your imminent rescue. Faith is a decision made without basis. Faith contrasts one man from another because it forgoes other possibilities.

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Am I growing in my listening skills?

Whenever we are involved in a conversation, we know we should make an effort to listen intently to what the other person is saying. This seems like common sense but it is surprising how many of us don’t do this on a regular basis. How often does your spouse or a close friend say, “Did you hear what I just said? You aren’t paying attention to me.”

Stingy listening is our default mode, especially when emotions are charged.  This happens when we are looking for agreement or with intent “to win.”  The drift is about who’s right.

Generous listening looks for possibilities with a curiosity that leads to discovery.  Generous listening is empathetic listening.  It listens for the contribution of others and is willing to be influenced.  Setting preconceived assumptions and emotional filters aside increases the ability to listen.

On teams and in families this builds trust.Be intentional about practicing these skills in your conversations everyday – at work, at home, with your family and friends.  Do it on the phone and online.  You will discover that hearing transforms into listening.  In doing so you are becoming a great receiver and a Most Valued Player.

Here are the questions I ask myself.  Am I growing in my listening skills? Am I asking more questions than making comments?  Am I showing I care about the answers

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We carry with us sacred stories

You never know someone until you walk in their skin, and relive their memories and experiences that shape them. Who are you to say that the girl dressed skimpily is a prostitute? Or perhaps they are just broken souls trying to find love. We are all broken somewhat and fumbling our way in the dark for love and comfort. Some of us find it in sex, some in food, some in friends and others in fitness. But who are we to determine which is the right way for others?

Life shapes people and their perspectives, and you might think that what they are doing is wrong. However, it does not necessarily mean that your perspective is right.I think the world would be a better place to live in if we could remove our prejudices and values, and try to view things from other’s perspectives. It is alright to tell them what you think, but it is not okay to impose your viewpoint on them. You cannot insist that what they are doing is wrong when you have not walked in their shoes.

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As we walk in this world we carry with us sacred stories. We are all our stories; stories that can be both prison and the crowbar to break open the door of that prison. We make stories to save ourselves or to trap ourselves or others – stories that lift us up or smash us against the stone wall of our own limits and fears. A valued person lives in a society in which her story has a place.Listen to others for reasons beyond the pleasure or the selfish gain of it; do it because everyone in this world has a story to tell, an infinite combination of a finite amount of words that somehow will never be told in the same order by anyone else. Listen to the beauty of people’s lives: the way their eyes gleam when they tell you the happiest moment of their lives, the way the tears fall when they do the saddest.Allow yourself to let your walls down as others do to you and grasp every detail that embodies every second of that person’s life. Let it consume you, lose yourself in their stories like you do with your favorite movies. You may not be able to change the way their life went, but the fact that you were interested enough to be part of their story makes a world to them.

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Nothing in this world is impossible

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.

Nothing in this world is impossible! Nelson Mandela’s own story reminds us of that. From lawyer to political activist, from prisoner to the president of a nation and global iconic leader, Mandela had to endure far more than many of us can even imagine. Right now, you might now know exactly what you want to do or whether it is the right step. You might even doubt if you have enough talent to pull it off or question if you’re good enough.

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Just start.You might surprise yourself.You are a work in progress and making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the process. It’s impossible to live without failing from time to time. Remember it doesn’t matter how many times you stumble or fall, as long as you keep going moving forwards. As Mandela has shown, overcoming obstacles is the only way to reach your dreams.

When all you feel is gloom

The act of putting one foot in front of another literally propels us forward. Into the future is sometimes very hard.If you’re depressed because of what you are going through, it can be dangerous to evaluate anything in your life. Don’t scrutinize your circumstances or friendships or prospects for marriage. I can assure you that you will misinterpret reality.

When all you feel is gloom, it becomes very hard to have hope, no matter what you read in Scripture. As someone who labored under some depression and anxiety during high school years, I know that it usually doesn’t help a depressed person to say, “Just believe God’s word more!”Every battle. Every hard place. Every dark time. Every painful storm. All of this bring us deep into the pain we feel. Sometime with no paths to return back.

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I’ve found that one of the most effective methods for increasing my hope begins with my spirit and my body. When I exercise or go for a walk or sit in the sunshine, my body and spirit feel better. Blood and oxygen pump through my body, refreshing and nurturing it. When I feel better, I think more clearly and see things more accurately.When I think more clearly, I can more easily process and embrace God’s promises.When I embrace God’s promises, my faith and hope surge.

In those moments, God allows to walk through deep struggle without allowing it to bring greater hope and purpose. Every mark of darkness is redeemed when we’re in Christ. Every crushing trial will be pushed back so we can live free. It’s what He does best. He brings beauty and strength, hope and goodness from every difficult journey and broken day.

If you are currently feeling gloom and darkness I want you to know that God will bring a wind of hope and faith in your life, and again you will feel surge to continue living.The world will turn for you again, and when it does, it will take you anywhere you want.

Be strong of good courage

The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality. ~ John F. Kennedy

The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality. ~ John F. Kennedy

It requires greater courage to preserve inner freedom, to move on in one’s inward journey into new realms, than to stand defiantly for outer freedom. It is often easier to play the martyr, as it is to be rash in battle. Strange as it sounds, steady, patient growth in freedom is probably the most difficult task of all, requiring the greatest courage. Thus if the term “hero” is used in this discussion at all, it must refer not to the special acts of outstanding persons, but to the heroic element potentially in every man.
Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself (1953), p. 174.

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Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

True courage is quiet and kind and often invisible… for those who cannot take flight themselves are so often the ones who give wings to others.

Seize the moment

Carpe Diem. These words stand in my kitchen wall. Everyday I look at them. Yes, Seize the Day. Every day brings it’s own experiences.. some I am so thankful for and others I wish I didn’t have to experience, yet still in their own way a benefit I ought to be thankful for, yet in my human weakness, I struggle to accept.
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Today, I’m Seizing the Moment I have. A friend on FB posted a poster that said “if you take a breath then it means you are a live for a reason.” Life is given to us as a gift. God well marked the path to having life in abundance all of our days and, then, receiving the gift of uninterrupted bliss for all eternity with Him! The only condition for these gifts is that we must be lovingly obedient to God’s Ten Commandments and always love Him above all things and our neighbor as ourselves.

My friend, your life on earth is a precious time. Do not ignore its value; do not squander it in trivial pursuits; do not let it slip away and leave you unprepared. This very day you may wish to contemplate the question: What is your life, do you seize the moment you have in your hands?