There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
What will they say at your memorial? What would you want them to say?
THAT will be your legacy and it will be too late to start working on your life of significance at your memorial. You can begin TODAY to work toward a “Business and life legacy” and really make a positive difference!
How do you leave a legacy of positive business leadership? Who doesn’t want to leave a positive legacy? Leadership and legacy means being PROACTIVE…Take the lead and be the instigator!
Think about your personal leadership… See life as a chance to identify your purpose, position, passion, and posture and then
I worked for Ron Pileggi for 20 years at the local Tri City Weekly and he exemplified a business leader who left an awesome business and life legacy. Ron always made life about RELATIONSHIPS. He modeled how to really care about and serve others with his staff, customers, community and in his industry.
Staff- Ron modeled “servant-leadership” in that he really helped his staff wherever possible. He showed a boss who was involved on a personal level and really loved his staff by showing it in his actions.
Customers—Ron went the extra mile to really serve and meet needs of his customers. He even would give it away if it meant helping a fellow businessperson get back on their marketing feet.
Community-Ron was an example of a guy trying to make a positive difference in our community. Whether it was serving in Rotary, helping various non-profits, or just showing up at events, Ron was present and a servant of all.
Industry—As an industry pioneer and leader, Ron shared expertise in the Free Paper Industry of America freely. Not only was his publication multiple award winning over years, he gladly shared his trade success secrets with fellow entrepreneurs.
Ron left an amazing legacy across the board—Staff, Customers, Community and Industry. He intentionally modeled ‘servant-leadership” in the roles he served.
Here are 5 Easy “Knows” to a Great Life and Business Legacy:
1. Know Legacy–Understand and Know what a Legacy is–Begin to study what a legacy is and how we are all leaving behind something” in our lives we will be remembered for. Study the lives of those who you know have made a positive difference in their world.
2. Know Thyself–Begin to look at your life and what you are leaving behind and what you are now known for. What is it that people remember about you and your life? Be honest! Ask safe people who will give it to you straight and without apology. It is about what others know about you vs. how you perceive yourself. You may be really surprised …
3. Know Thy Legacy–Pick and focus on one aspect of your life that yields positive results and influences others in a significant way–Find your message, media, and platform and go to work leaving behind something meaningful to others. Live your life of significance with intention.
4. Know Thy Audience–Who listens when you talk? Who picks up when you “throw down”? Who are your peeps and those who love you? These are the ones ripe for receiving your legacy message.
5. Know Thy Media–Begin to find and understand your most comfortable platform and medium for delivering your legacy message. This can be written, spoken, crafted, or lived out loud in some way. Most folks begin with some writing or speaking—the written and spoken word has tons of possibility when leaving your life of significance. Blogging, public speaking, or writing your book all have potential for great legacy tools. All legacy begins with being a good communicator—be one!
It is time for us to get busy and become more intentional about leaving behind a life of business legacy and living with and on purpose. Each of us has a limited number of days on Earth (Grandpa Tom says, “No one gets out of here alive!”) and we need to be purposeful in how we live. Know legacy, yourself, your own legacy, your platform and your audience and you will begin to make a positive difference and leave an awesome legacy!
Life and business will have more meaning and so will you! Start living your legacy today—we’ll be glad you did.
REGRETS OF THE DYING
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
10 Tips For Quality Family Life
Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children are getting less personal love and attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than did parents a generation ago. To help families stay connected, below is a list of helpful family time tips. Keep in mind, quantity and quality time is important when choosing activities. So build memories around exciting events by keeping your family time creative and enjoyable. Print out the following tips as daily reminders.
1. Eat together & listen to each other. Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this setting is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together allows the opportunity to talk about each other’s lives. This is a time for parents to listen, as well as to give advice and encouragement. Attentive listening conveys a message that a person is really interested in another. It also imparts a sense of worth and helps develop trust. Therefore, listening is a critical link in successful parenting.
2. Read often. It’s important for parents to read to their children. The latest research indicates that reading to your children cultivates an interest for knowledge and stimulates language development. It also increases their attention spans and helps them become more curious. Look for books that your child would enjoy reading. After reading, ask questions about the content.
3. Do chores together. Part of what goes on in the home is the development of teamwork. Functional family life depends on the contribution of everyone. Assigning chores is the most productive way of teaching responsibility and accountability to your children. Doing chores with your child will help foster good communication skills.
4. Help with schoolwork. A great way to spend quality time with children and light a fire of learning is to help children with their schoolwork. A parent’s eagerness to help will cause a child to become more interested in school thus improving his or her grades. Regular trips to the library for school projects are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to spend time with children. Helping should begin with an understanding that children are responsible for homework. Parents are there to help their child get organized and to encourage them when they get stuck.
5. Start a hobby or project. Choose a fun activity that your child is interested in. Activities like cooking, crafts, fishing, or biking will make great hobbies that can open the door to exciting family time. Once a child learns a new recipe or is able to cast a lure accurately, let him or her take the lead with your supervision.
6. Play games. New technology has made video games more prevalent. As a result, many children are spending long hours in front of the TV playing computer programs. Parents should find creative ways to spark an interest in family-oriented contests such as board games or card games. This will give parents additional time to talk and nurture their relationship.
7. Plan a family outing. Sometimes getting out of the house is important. Hop in the family car and go for a drive. Prepare a picnic lunch and visit a local park. Take time to play catch or ride a bike. A stroll in the woods will help parents interact with their children. Also, a visit to the zoo or museum will spark a child’s enthusiasm and lead to lengthy discussions.
8. Encourage athletic activities. It is vital for children to exercise. Sports not only strengthen the body, but also build character and determination. Whether it’s a father pitching a baseball to a son or a mother and daughter nature walking, finding time for athletic events is important for a child’s emotional and physical development. This is a great opportunity for a family to interact.
9. Create a Family Time calendar. Since many parents have hectic schedules, time with children often becomes a low priority, whether intended or not. Post a calendar on the refrigerator and have parents and children pencil in special events. Knowing when you’re going to meet may also help you think of creative activities. Commit to keeping this schedule free from interruptions.
10. Pray together & attend a house of worship. Nothing is more special than taking a few minutes each day to pray with a child before bedtime. By explaining the purpose behind prayer, children will learn the importance of faith as the foundation for the family. Also, when parents go to religious services, they instill in their children a reverence for God. Churches can also offer invaluable support to families.
Your Strengths, Your Passions, & Your Money Making Opportunities
Where these three areas overlap is where you’ll find your best success opportunities. Envision these three areas as concentric circles overlapping. You will find it is the overlap area that has compelling possibility. You can leverage this discovery to create optimal motivation, success, and possibility…
Some people struggle with right position related to what they desire to accomplish from a personal point of view. Sometimes, people are still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up… therefore, you might consider developing a personal vision statement in narrative form describing the issues that are a high priority in your life.
Developing a personal vision statement is a great way to begin clarifying what is important to you. When you know about what is important to you it’s easier to prioritize daily activities.
Everyone’s personal vision statement should be unique. This is not an exact science. Develop a draft statement quickly. Then read a statement and see if it sounds good to you. If it does, consider it a good first draft. Keep improving your vision statement, over time. Approach this task as if you’re making soup. Have fun and enjoy the benefits of a clear life vision.
Be a Leader/ “Legacy Leaver”
Leadership means many things to many people. I think it means being proactive, being the first, and:
- Taking the initiative
- Setting the standard
- Managing effectively
- Planning often and well
- Resourcing whenever possible
- Identifying the vision, goals, and priorities
- Setting the example, always
A good leader takes responsibility and says; “The buck stops here!” when something is not right.
Leaders show the way and model through active example what they’re trying to express and accomplish.
They press on and press in, and they run counter to the culture of convenience and quick fixes. They refuse to get sidetracked by the “bright and shiny objects”, the diversions, and side-eddies of our culture.
They strain and strive with intentionality and energy to build relationships and create a legacy, a heritage, and a family. They do much of this by simply taking the initiative, being intentional, and by writing and accomplishing compelling goals that are relationship-based.
Parents, you are the key; you are the leader. You must be intimately in touch with your mission, goals, and objectives as a parent. This requires discipline, selflessness, living your priorities, and time management. You must leverage the hours of your day and be intentional in everything you do. Time is the only resource you’re guaranteed to have.
The key here is to write down what you want… dream it, plan it, and do it.
The questions are…
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
- Why are you here?
- What is not working, that you would like to see work?
- What is happening now, that should vanish?
The answer to these questions will determine your “brand” as a parent and as a leader. What “brand” are you now? What “brand” do you want to be?
Here are some thoughts on leaving a legacy and heritage:
What will they say when you’re gone?
A good parent transfers the following attributes and character qualities to her/his children…
- Love for God (as you understand Him)
- Love for people
- Ethics/ knowledge
- Wisdom and understanding
- Love and compassion and kindness
- Positive attitude and motivation
Great parenting requires us as parents to raise children in the way they would be best served.
They are individuals, not part of a cookie-cutter machine. Therefore, we need to work with our kids on their level, meeting their needs, resourcing, respecting, and fostering the individuality of each child. We must study to know them and then resource their gifts, attributes, and skills. No two children are alike. This all requires patience on our part to work on their level, one or two things at a time. Slowly, with a patient parents heart.
Who is leading your family?
- What will your best friends say at your funeral?
- What is a life well lived?
- What is greatness? Family Legacy?
Walk Your Talk with Your Kids—Living with Spiritual Authenticity
Train a child in the way they should go….“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”– Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon of Israel.
This is a great concept, promise, principle, and protocol for fathers. “Training up” has the idea of a parent graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, nurturing, and discipline is needed for him to become fully committed to God. It presupposes parental emotional and spiritual maturity.
“In the way that he should go” is to do the training according to the unique personality, gifts, and aspirations of the child. The idea here is to, equip, resource, and be a catalyst for your child’s gifts, skills, and natural abilities. We must study our kids and know just what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The converse is to help the child avoid whatever natural tendencies she might have that would prevent total commitment to God. For example: a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression, etc… Knowing where our kids are prone to weakness will help us to help them avoid the pitfalls of poor decision-making, lack of character, immaturity and more. This is as important as knowing their strengths and gifts and facilitating those.
The promise is that proper development with great parenting ensures the child will stay committed to God and love people… the two basics of the 10 Commandments. May we stay focused, diligent and intentional in this key role!
Tools of Effective Legacy: Grace. How Do We Use Our Authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize His kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others.
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes, so why are we as fathers so quick to apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids? It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger? Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to re-learn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to re-learn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives. So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law? Which have you been given more of?
Grace versus law- means that we translate His heart to those around us in how we use our words, authority and actions. How can we successfully use godly authority in a way that shows His heart and love and kindness?
How do you personally dole out correction and discipline? Do the following mark your approach?
• Cussing and swearing
• Yelling and raising your voice
• Withholding your favor in some way
• Silent treatment
• Launching out in anger
• Physical violence
• Verbal violence
How do these mirror the Father Heart of God (see Appendix B.), and how he’s treated you? Does God do any of the above as He has occasion to correct and admonish you? In your walk with God, has He ever treated you with anything but kindness, love in the heart of a father? The answer is God corrects and chastens us in great love and patience and kindness. His encouraging and teaching Spirit reminds me that the kindness of God leads me to repentance… every time.
We get caught up in stress and with our authority; we often default to become the great disciplinarians. We get hard, mean, and even cruel—often with those we love the most.
This is wrong, and an incorrect application of authority. We do need to have courageous conversations, and even dole out consequences as needed, but if our default is dictatorial we’ve missed the mark in the Jesus example.
The authority that Jesus wielded can be learned, applied and given freely, but we need to be intentional…. How will you discipline, correct, and encourage someone who is under your authority the next time? Will you default to a baser form of handling authority, or will you be intentional and model the kindness and encouragement of Jesus Christ? Next time, what will be different?
Simple Man, original artist is Lynrd Skynrd. Written by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Gary Rossington.
Seemed like a Great Song for a Fathering Web Site……..
Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.
Take your time… dont live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and youll find love,
And dont forget son,
There is someone up above.
And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Wont you do this for me son,
If you can?
Forget your lust for the rich mans gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.
Boy, dont you worry… you’ll find yourself.
Follow you heart and nothing else.
And you can do this if you try.
All I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.
10 Ideas for Leaving an Eternal Legacyby Mary May Larmoyeux
Arlene Kirk’s voice hesitated and tears welled up in her eyes as she showed me her family quilt. Pointing to the middle of it, she read about her parents: “Cecil (1908-1997) and Mildred (1908-1991) Rawlings; June 23, 1925.” They were married for 65 years.
After Cecil and Mildred’s deaths, Arlene and her four brothers and two sisters wanted to do something to honor their legacy. So they decided to make a family quilt to display at family reunions. A 10-inch quilting block was given to each of the Rawlings’ children and grandchildren—to decorate with their personal memories.
“If we were going to hold onto all that Mother and Daddy built, we had to pass it on … or we would have lost it,” Arlene says. “We would have lost our family history… of morals and belief in God.”
A small, gold cross is pinned to one of the quilt blocks. “Faith was important to them,” Arlene says.
Today, Cecil and Mildred Rawlings’ legacy lives on. As I looked at the quilt honoring them, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What legacy will my husband, Jim, and I leave? If our children and grandchildren decide to represent our lives with a patchwork of memories someday, which ones will they choose? How will we be remembered?”
Here are 10 ideas to help us consider our legacies:
1. Remember that you were created for a purpose.
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing
–1 Peter 3:8-9
2. Absorb the fact that time is short. You are just passing through this world.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away
3. At the beginning of each week, write down one or two things that matter to not only you, but also to God. Examples: Spending time with God, having a strong marriage, understanding each of your children.
Then, jot down one or two ways you can show these things truly matter to you. Example: Get up 30 minutes earlier each day to read the Bible; have a date night; plan how you will have individual time with each child this week and then implement your plan.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves
4. Decide whom you will serve—God or man. Sit down with your spouse (if you are married) and discuss what is seen, heard, and done in your house. Does it really please the Lord?
” … Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
5. Cultivate a legacy of gratitude. You may want to have a blank journal and ask family members to write one or more blessings in it every day.
” … keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving”
6. Encourage your children to pray along with you when making tough decisions, interceding for others, or asking for material provisions. As they see God answer prayers, they will learn to look to Him when they are in need.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you”
7. Take time to write or record (audiotape or videotape) your spiritual journey—your childhood memories about faith, your salvation experience, what lessons God has taught you, etc.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you”
8. Allow your children to sacrifice for a greater need. Perhaps eat meatless meals once a week and give the money to a local food pantry.
And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma
9. Look for everyday teaching opportunities. For example, if the cashier gives you too much money back after a transaction, return it and explain why to your child: “God says not to take what’s not your own.”
“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up”
10. Create an atmosphere of understanding. Welcome your children’s questions about faith and family.
That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself
As we’re about to feast this week of Thanksgiving, let me make a radical suggestion. Go on a complaining fast. Don’t utter a single negative comment for an entire week. It may be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it will also be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.
Of course, you may be wondering HOW you can stop the complaining habit, or you may be wondering what you can do INSTEAD of complaining. Try these five techniques.
1. Practice an attitude of gratitude.
You’ve probably heard the old song that says, “Count your blessings, one by one.” Turns out that advice was not only theologically correct but scientifically correct as well. Research shows that when you count three blessings a day, you get a measurable boost in your energy, your spirit, and your overall happiness. It’s physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time.
So if you’re practicing an attitude of gratitude, you can’t be negative. You will also energize and engage your coworkers by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.
2. Appreciate yourself.
Instead of being your own worst enemy, try being your own best friend. Instead of putting yourself down for all your shortcomings and mistakes, pump yourself up for the good that lies within you.
This may not be easy. After all, as a child, you were probably cautioned about “tooting your own horn” or being conceited. Again, not bad advice, but taken to the extreme, you fail to give yourself credit when credit is due or beat yourself up for the smallest of mistakes. And that shuts down your heart, contracts your energy, decreases your happiness, and feeds your complaining habit.
One way to start appreciating yourself is to stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself at least once a day every day. Tell yourself, “You’re kind … You’re patient … You’re compassionate … You’re a hard worker” or whatever you appreciate about yourself.
You may feel uncomfortable, silly, and stupid. In fact, the more uncomfortable you feel, the more you need to work on appreciating yourself. But over a period of time, it will become easier to list reasons for liking and loving yourself.
And it’s a mighty healthy thing to do. Even the Bible taught 2000 years ago that “You should love your neighbor as YOURSELF.”
More recently, the psychiatrist Dr. Nathaniel Branden re-affirmed that teaching when he asked, “How do we keep our inner fire alive? It takes an ability to appreciate the positives in our life … Every day, it’s important to ask and answer this question: ‘What’s good in my life?’”
Branden is right. But he also alluded to the next thing you’ve got to do to break the complaining habit. You’ve got to…
3. Be action oriented.
The happiest, most successful, most esteemed, and most respected people are action oriented. They simply don’t waste their time complaining. Instead of wasting one precious moment complaining about what is not working, these people invest their time learning and doing … and then learning and doing some more. They get in the habit of getting good ideas and acting on those ideas.
Somehow or other, non-complaining people have learned what President Franklin Roosevelt learned. As he said, “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”
When I quoted Dr. Branden above, I only gave you half his quote. His entire quote went like this: “How do we keep our inner fire alive? Two things, at minimum, are needed: an ability to appreciate the positives in our life … and a commitment to action. Every day, it’s important to ask and answer these questions: ‘What’s good in my life?’ and ‘What needs to be done?’”
So ask yourself what needs to be done and do it. Develop a sense of urgency. After all, time is one of the most valuable commodities you’ll ever have, and when you get right down to it, every business seminar has something to do with using your time more effectively and more efficiently. The better you use your time, the more action oriented you are, the less complaining you will do.
And that will never be more true than those times you…
4. Serve others.
Bill Lee is one of my role models when it comes to this point. Bill says, “Based on my experience … the best and least expensive cure for depression is to be proactive about doing something for someone who is worse off than you are.” And Bill knows what he’s talking about.
But let me tell who Bill Lee is. He’s one of eight members of an elite group known as “Master Speakers International,” eight professional speakers who are tops in their field and a household name to millions. I’ve had the privilege of being one of those eight members for the last twelve years, and those seven other people have blessed my life and my career in ways I never could have imagined.
Bill taught me that one of the best ways to stop complaining is to start serving others. Eleven years ago, Bill was introduced to mission work at an orphanage in Mexico. Since then, in addition to his full-time speaking and consulting business, Bill has made 50 trips to Mexico to work with the orphaned and abandoned children of Casa Hogar La Familia … all at his own expense.
As Bill puts it, “I can’t possibly say enough about the personal benefits of giving service to others. I have learned so much about happiness from a group of 30 children who have no material things whatsoever.” No toys. No electronics. No brand-name clothing. In fact, each child has a cubby hole in their dorm room that is 15 inches wide and 36 inches high that contains 100% of everything they own.
“And I tell you this,” Bill continues, “these same children are enormously happy. They almost never fight … cry … or complain. I never return from a mission trip that I am not amazed … compared to other nations in the world … how rich we are in this country … and how much time we spend complaining that we don’t have even MORE.”
Because most of these children have been abandoned by their parents … virtually all of them have good reasons to be bitter and selfish. Yet they’re not. They are amazingly generous in their service to others.
Take Arturo, for example. Bill has seen him grow from age 5 to his present age of 16. Arturo is the second oldest of four children … all of whom have lived at La Familia virtually all of their lives. And like the other children, Arturo has no personal possessions.
During one of the mission trips Bill led to La Familia, one of his team mates gave Arturo a straw hat he had purchased to wear while in Mexico. On the last day of our mission trip, they bought a large cake and had a big birthday party for all of the children who were celebrating birthdays during that particular month. One of the birthday boys was named Cesar.
During the celebration, Arturo came running over to the man who had given him the hat and was rattling off a mile a minute in Spanish. The man didn’t speak any Spanish, so he asked Bill what Arturo was saying. Bill told him that Arturo wanted permission to give his hat to Cesar as a birthday present.
You have to understand … Arturo loved that hat. He wore it every minute of the day. He even slept in the hat. After all, that straw hat represented 100% of everything Arturo owned in this world, yet he wanted to give it to Cesar as a gift.
As Bill finished his commentary, he said, “Living a life that includes being of service to others … is always more beneficial to the giver … than it is to the recipient.” You learn to practice an attitude of gratitude when you’re serving others and you just naturally stop the complaining habit.
5. Change things for the better.
As writer Maya Angelou advises, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” She couldn’t be more right.
Jill Blashack Strahan, the President of Tastefully Simple, and Kay Watson, one of her consultants, call it “Divine Discontent.” Effective, productive, successful people focus on “kaizen” or continuous improvement instead of complaining.
As Jill says, “Divine Discontent. What an absolutely awesome phrase. I love being with people who have Divine Discontent, people who are always looking for ways to improve and are never quite satisfied because they know they can always be better.”
Of course, some people might say, “Whew! That sounds like too much work … always trying to improve things. Why can’t you just accept the fact that life can be a real bummer? And what’s so wrong with blowing off a little steam once in a while and do some griping when griping is justified?”
Well, Jill knows there are some tough things in life that can’t be changed. She says, “Accepting the things we can’t change is the key to peace and contentment. Sometimes we have to be willing to lie down in the water and let the current take us where it flows.”
HOWEVER, “When we look for ways to make things better, it’s like pushing against something to build a muscle. That creates positive results. Divine Discontent is knowing that there are so many things you can change … for the better.” And doing them. Then, Jill concludes, “Life becomes one big candy store!”
This may be Thanksgiving week with an official “Thanksgiving” day. That’s nice. But what really counts is making your life a “Thanksgiving” life that is free of complaints. And you can start by implementing these 5 strategies today.
Find someone to serve this week that is worse off than you are!