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Thursday, December 15, 2005



Go placidly,

Amid the noise and haste

And remember what peace there maybe in silence

As far as possible with out surrender, be on good terms with all persons

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others

Even the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations of the spirit

If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter

For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself

Enjoy your achievements, as well as your plans

Keep interested in your own career, however humble

It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time

Exercise cautions in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for

And everywhere life is full of heroism

Be yourself

Especially do not feign affection

Neither be cynical about love

For in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

It is perennial as the grass

Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune

But do not distress yourself with imaginings

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself

You are a child of the universe

No less than the trees and the stars

You have a right to be here

And whether or not it is clear to you

No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should

Therefore, be at peace with God

Whatever you conceive Him to be

And whatever your labors and aspirations

In the noisy confusion of life

Keep peace with your soul

With all its shame, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world

Be careful

Strive to be happy

-found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore dated 1601 -

CREEDENDA - from "The Gift of Acabar"

Turn away from the crowd and its fruitless pursuit of fame and gold
Never look back as you close your door to the sorry tumult of greed and ambition
Wipe away your tears of failure and misfortune
Lay aside your heavy load and rest until your heart is still
Be at peace
Already it is later than you think, for your earthly life at best
Is only a blink of an eye between two eternities
Be unafraid
NOTHING here can harm you except yourself
Do that which you dread and cherish those victories with pride
Concentrate your energy
To be everywhere is to be nowhere
Be jealous with your time – it is your greatest treasure
Reconsider your goals
Before you set your heart too much on anything,
Examine how happy they are who already possess them what you desire
Love your family and count your blessings
Reflect on how eagerly they would be sought if you did not have them
Put aside your impossible dreams and complete your task at hand
No matter how distasteful (they are)
All great achievements come from working and waiting
God’s delays and never God’s denials
Hold on. Hold fast
Know that your paymaster is always near
What you sow, good or evil is that you will reap
Never blame your condition on others
You are what you are through your own choice alone
Learn to live with honest poverty, if you must
And turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave
Never trouble halfway, anxiety is the rust of life
When you add to tomorrow’s burden, their weight becomes unbearable
Avoid the mourner’s bench and give thanks instead, for your defeats
You would not receive them if you did not need them
Always learn from others
He who teaches himself is a fool for a master
Be careful. Do not overload your conscience
Conduct your life as if it was spent in an arena filled with tattlers
Avoid boasting, if you see anything in you that puffs you with pride
Look closer, you will find more than enough to make you humble
Be wise.
Realize that all men are not created equal
For there is no equality in nature
Work everyday as if it were your first
Yet tenderly treat the lives you touch as if it will end at midnight
Love everyone, even those who deny you, for hate is a luxury you cannot afford
Yet no man was ever born whose work was not born with him
Seek out those in need.
Learn that he who delivers with one hand will always gather with two.
Be of good cheer
Above all, remember that very little is needed to make a happy life
Look up. Cling simply to God and journey quietly on your pathway
To forever with charity and smile
When you depart it will be said by all
That your legacy was a better world than the one that you found.

By: Og Mandino & Buddy Kaye-From ‘ The Gift of Acabar’



Never be idle
Make few promises
Always speak the truth
Live within your income
Never speak evil of anyone
Keep good company or none
Live up to your engagements
Never play game of chance
Drink no intoxicating drinks
Good character is always above anything else
Keep your own secrets if you have any
Never borrow if you can possibly help it
Do not marry until you are able to support a wife
When you speak to a person look into his eyes
Save when you are young to spend when you are old
Good company and good conversations are the sinews of virtue
Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts
If anybody speaks evil of you - let your life be good so that no one believes him
When you retire at night, think over what you have done during the day
If your hands cannot be employed usefully, attend to the culture of your mind
Write your ideas, a mind with out a pen is only a wish
If you can't speak anything that will build a person, say NOTHING
NOTHING is so dark that HE cannot give light and hope to your circumstances
Whatever you do in life, just always do what is best
Sometimes the most important thing that you can share is yourself
Love is not something that you say, it is something that you do
God gave man two ears and a mouth so he can listen twice as much as he speak
Reaching out is risking, if you are willing to risk you can build a relationship
If one door will be close, some windows may still be open
Heart can sometimes understand better than the mind



I asked God for strength that I might achieve

I was made weak

That I might light humbly to obey

I asked God for health that I might do greater things

I was given infirmity

That I might do better things

I asked God for riches that I might be happy

I was given poverty

That I might be humble and wiser

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life

I was given life

That I might enjoy all things

I asked God for wisdom that I might know

I was given trials and challenges

That I might comprehend

I asked God for love that I might share my testimony to others

I was given a valiant testimony

That I may learn to love others

I got NOTHING that I asked for

But everything I had hoped for;

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered

I am among all men, most richly blessed.


The WINNER is always part of the ANSWER

The LOSER always a part of the PROBLEM

The WINNER always has a PROGRAMME

The Loser always has an EXCUSE


The Loser says "THAT'S NOT MY JOB"

The WINNER sees an answer for every problem

The Loser sees a problem in every answer

The WINNER sees a green near every sandtrap

The Loser sees two or three sandtraps near every green


The Loser says "It maybe possible but it's difficult".



Take time to think
It is the source of power
Take time to read
It is the foundation of wisdom
Take time to play
It is the secret of staying young
Take time to be quiet
It is the moment to seek God
Take time to be aware
It is the opportunity to help others
Take time to love and be loved
It is God's greatest gift
Take time to laugh
It is the music of the soul
Take time to be friendly
It is the road to happiness
Take time to dream
It is what the future is made of
Take time to pray
It is the greatest power here on earth
Take time to work
It is by working that we live….

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


The Quest for Excellence
By President Gordon B. Hinckley
I first read the following words 67 years ago in a college English class: “What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!” (Hamlet, act 2, scene 2, lines 303–7).

I recognize that these words of Hamlet were spoken in irony. And yet there is so much of truth in them. They describe the great potential excellence of men and women. If Shakespeare had written nothing else, I think he would have been remembered for these few words of soliloquy. They go hand in hand with these words of David:

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Ps. 8:3–5).

They also go with the words of the Lord to Job when He spoke out of the whirlwind:

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. …

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7).

These magnificent words declare the wonder of man. And when I speak of man, I of course speak also of woman. We are all children of God, and there is something of His divinity within each of us. We are more than a son or daughter of Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So who reside in such-and-such a place. We are of the family of God, with such a tremendous potential for excellence. The distance between mediocrity and excellence can be ever so small. As we shall see again when the Winter Olympics come to Salt Lake City in 2002, that difference will be measured in tenths of seconds. The little extra effort we make becomes such a tremendous difference.

I heard one of my brethren tell of a recent visit he made to a prison. There he noticed a young man, handsome in appearance and intelligent in his ways.

My brother said to the prison official, “What is that young man doing in here?”

The reply was that one evening he had taken his mother’s car, had obtained some beer and drunk it, and then, out of control of himself, he drove the car down the sidewalk and killed two girls.

I do not know how long he will be in prison, but I do know that he will never entirely get over his feelings concerning the act that put him there. On such small hinges turn the gates of our lives. Little mistakes, which seem so unimportant in their beginnings, determine the eternal courses we follow.

I want to invite us all to walk a higher road of excellence. Recently I picked up an old book and read Lytton Strachey’s Life of Florence Nightingale. I think books of that kind are not read very much these days. I had read it once before, long ago. But my rereading brought a new sense of admiration and respect for this great young woman of England who made a tremendous difference in her time.

She was born to the upper class, to party and to dance, to go to the races and look pretty in society. But she would have none of it. Even her parents could not understand her. Her great overwhelming desire was to alleviate pain and suffering, to hasten healing, to make less dreadful the hospitals of the day. She never married. She devoted herself to nursing and became expert according to the training then available.

Britain became embroiled in the Crimean War. She had friends at the head of the government and relentlessly pursued and persuaded them until she was appointed head of the hospital in Scutari, where thousands of the victims of the war were brought.

The picture that greeted her here was one of absolute despair. An old warehouse served as a hospital. The sanitary conditions were terrible. The cooking facilities were terrible. Wounded men were crowded in great rooms that reeked of foul odors and were filled with the cries of the suffering.

This frail young woman, with those she had recruited to go with her, set to work. They beat down the walls of bureaucracy. They beat on the heads of the bureaucrats. I quote from Mr. Strachey: “For those who watched her at work among the sick, moving day and night from bed to bed, with that unflinching courage, with the indefatigable vigilance, it seems as if the concentrated force of an undivided and unparalleled devotion could hardly suffice for that first portion of her task alone. Wherever, in those vast wards suffering was at its worst and the need for help was greatest, there, as if by magic, was Miss Nightingale.”

The beds that held the suffering men stretched over six kilometers, with barely space between each bed to walk. But somehow, within a period of six months, “the confusion and the pressure in the wards had come to an end; order reigned in them, and cleanliness; the supplies were bountiful and prompt; important sanitary works had been carried out. One simple comparison of figures was enough to reveal the extraordinary change: the rate of mortality among the cases treated had fallen from 42 percent to 22 per thousand” (Life of Florence Nightingale [1934], 1186).

She had brought to pass an absolute miracle. Lives by the thousands were saved. Suffering was mitigated. Cheer and warmth and light came into the lives of men who otherwise would have died in that dark and dreadful place.

The war ended. She might have gone back to London a heroine. The public press had sung her praise. Her name was familiar to everyone. But she returned incognito to escape the adulation she might have received.

She continued her work for another 50 years, changing the hospitals both military and civilian. She died at an advanced age, bedridden for a good while, but still improving the circumstances of those who suffer.

Perhaps no other woman in the history of the world has done so much to reduce human misery as this lady with the lamp, who walked through the vast wards of Scutari in the middle of the 19th century, spreading cheer and comfort, faith and hope to those who writhed in pain. Her life was a life of excellence.

My wife likes to tell the story of a friend of hers who, when she was a little girl, was left an orphan. She scarcely knew her mother. As she grew, she wondered about her mother: what kind of a girl, what kind of a woman was she?

One day she came across her mother’s old report card. The teacher had noted on that card, “This student is excellent in every way.”

When she read that, her entire life changed. She recognized that her mother was a woman of excellence. Her whole attitude changed. She took on the aura of excellence herself and became a remarkable woman in her own right. She married a man who is recognized in many communities, and their children have distinguished themselves for their excellence.

I speak of the need for a little more effort, a little more self-discipline, a little more consecrated effort in the direction of excellence in our lives.

This is the great day of decision for each of us. For many it is the time of beginning something that will go on for as long as you live. I plead with you: don’t be a scrub! Rise to the high ground of spiritual, mental, and physical excellence. You can do it. You may not be a genius. You may be lacking in some skills. But so many of us can do better than we are now doing. We are members of this great Church whose influence is now felt over the world. We are people with a present and with a future. Don’t muff your opportunities. Be excellent.

Those of you who are not married are hoping to find a companion, among other things. I could wish for you nothing better than a good marriage, a happy marriage, a marriage fruitful in the sweet and satisfying things of life. Your marriage will not be excellent if it is marred with argument, if it is filled with disrespect one for another, if there is any lack of loyalty or devotion to one another. Cherish your spouse as the greatest possession of your life and treat him or her accordingly. Make it your constant goal to add to the happiness and comfort for your companion. Never permit yourself to let down in your affection, or your respect, or your faith in one another. Be excellent in every way.

You will find your greatest example in the Son of God. I hope that each of you will make Him your friend. I hope you will strive to walk in His paths, extending mercy, blessing those who struggle, living with less selfishness, reaching out to others.

He is the greatest example of excellence in all the world. He condescended to come to earth under the most humble of circumstances. He grew up as the son of Joseph the carpenter. He struggled with the adversary on the Mount of Temptation. He came forth resplendent and beautiful and magnificent to teach the world. During His brief ministry, He brought more of truth, more of hope, more of mercy, more of love than anyone else who has walked the earth. He died on Calvary’s cross for each of us. He arose the third day, “the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20), bringing the promise of resurrection to all mankind and the hope of exaltation to all who would walk in obedience to His teachings. He was the great paragon of righteousness, the only perfect man ever to walk the earth. His was the wondrous example toward whom each of us might point our lives in our eternal quest for excellence.

The prophet Moroni declared, “In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way” (Ether 12:11). You have the witness of that faith. You have the testimony of that faith. You have the example of that faith. Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier. You will know a new satisfaction, a new gladness in your heart.

Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). That is the great crowning example of excellence. May each of us have a rich and wonderful life moving in that direction. We will not become perfect in a day or a month or a year. We will not accomplish it in a lifetime, but we can keep trying, starting with our more obvious weaknesses and gradually converting them to strengths as we go forward with our lives.

“Look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). Kneel before Him in supplication. He will help you. He will bless you. He will comfort and sustain you. There will be progress. There will be growth. There will be improvement. And there will be much of added happiness.

If there has been failure in the past, if there has been sin, if there has been indolence, they may all be overcome.

Tremendous is your opportunity to reach beyond the hoped-for goal of wealth and worldly success, though that may have some modest importance, to build and strengthen others, to relieve suffering, to aid in making the world a better place, to pick up and carry the lantern of Florence Nightingale in walking through the pain-ridden wards of the world.

It was said of the Master that He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). In that process He became the epitome of perfection.

May the Lord bless each of us as we walk the path to perfection that the Lord has asked us to walk—with hope, with faith, and with that charity which “is the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47).

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People®
Dr. Stephen Covey's inspirational book –

Dr Stephen Covey is a hugely influential management guru, whose book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, became a blueprint for personal development when it was published in 1990. The Seven Habits are said by some to be easy to understand but not as easy to apply. Don't let the challenge daunt you: The 'Seven Habits' are a remarkable set of inspirational and aspirational standards for anyone who seeks to live a full, purposeful and good life, and are applicable today more than ever, as the business world becomes more attuned to humanist concepts. Covey's values are full of integrity and humanity, and contrast strongly with the process-based ideologies that characterized management thinking in earlier times.
Stephen Covey, as well as being a renowned writer, speaker, academic and humanist, has also built a huge training and consultancy products and services business - Franklin Covey which has a global reach, and has at one time or another consulted with and provided training services to most of the world's leading corporations.
The 7 Habits has sold 15 million copies and continues to sell 50,000 to 100,000 a month.
A survey by Chief Executive magazine chose 7 Habits as the most influential book of the 20th century. Time magazine in 1996 named Covey one of the 25 most influential Americans.

Covey doesn't like to be recognized and uses extreme down-dressing and a cap over his shaved head to travel incognito. But he's constantly on his cell phone to family and says his voice gives him away because, at 1.5 million copies, 7 Habits is the best-selling non-fiction audio book in history

Fast on the first Sunday of every month. That's what the Covey family does. Savings on the grocery bill are given to the poor. The family also fasts when anyone in the family is seriously ill or otherwise in need of their prayers. The Coveys are Mormons. The library is packed with books on religion

Covey has made a fortune on books and speaking engagements since he turned 50, but the evidence is difficult to find. He owns a vacation cabin in Montana, and his home is the most elevated overlooking Provo on the bench of the Wasatch mountain range, the venue of the 2002 Winter Olympics. But his property and his remaining 1.1 million FranklinCovey shares are in a charitable trust he controls, and he says it's all been donated largely to the Mormon Church and church-affiliated Brigham Young University.

This is the ability to control one's environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. Self determination, choice, and the power to decide response to stimulus, conditions and circumstances
Covey calls this the habit of personal leadership - leading oneself that is, towards what you consider your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities you will build a platform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.
Covey calls this the habit of personal management. This is about organising and implementing activities in line with the aims established in habit 2. Covey says that habit 2 is the first, or mental creation; habit 3 is the second, or physical creation. (See the section on time management.)
Habit 4 - THINK WIN-WIN®
Covey calls this the habit of interpersonal leadership, necessary because achievements are largely dependent on co-operative efforts with others. He says that win-win is based on the assumption that there is plenty for everyone, and that success follows a co-operative approach more naturally than the confrontation of win-or-lose.
One of the great maxims of the modern age. This is Covey's habit of communication, and it's extremely powerful. Covey helps to explain this in his simple analogy 'diagnose before you prescribe'. Simple and effective, and essential for developing and maintaining positive relationships in all aspects of life. (See the associated sections on Empathy, Transactional Analysis, and the Johari Window.)
Habit 6 - SYNERGIZE®
Covey says this is the habit of creative co-operation - the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which implicitly lays down the challenge to see the good and potential in the other person's contribution.
This is the habit of self renewal, says Covey, and it necessarily surrounds all the other habits, enabling and encouraging them to happen and grow. Covey interprets the self into four parts: the spiritual, mental, physical and the social/emotional, which all need feeding and developing.
Stephen Covey's Seven Habits are a simple set of rules for life - inter-related and synergistic, and yet each one powerful and worthy of adopting and following in its own right. For many people, reading Covey's work, or listening to him speak, literally changes their lives. This is powerful stuff indeed and highly recommended.
This 7 Habits summary is just a brief overview - the full work is fascinating, comprehensive, and thoroughly uplifting. Read the book, or listen to the full tape series if you can get hold of it.
In his more recent book 'The 8th Habit', Stephen Covey introduced (logically) an the eighth habit, which deals with personal fulfilment and helping others to achieve fulfilment too. The book also focuses on leadership.



By Og Mandino

Take counsel. I hear your cry. It passes through the darkness, filters through the clouds, mingles with starlight, and finds its way to my heart on the path of a sunbeam. I have anguished over the cry of a hare choked in the noose of a snare, a sparrow tumbled from the nest of its mother, a child thrashing helplessly in a pond, and a son shredding his blood on a cross. Know that I hear you, also. Be at peace. Be calm . I bring thee relief for your sorrow for I know its cause ... and its cure. You weep for all your childhood dreams that have vanished with the years. You weep for all your self-esteem that has been corrupted by failure. You weep for all your potential that has been bartered for security. You weep for all your talent that has been wasted through misuse. You look upon yourself with disgrace and you turn in terror from the image you see in the pool. Who is this mockery of humanity staring back at you with bloodless eyes of shame? Where is the grace of your manner, the beauty of your figure, the quickness of your movement, the clarity of your mind, the brilliance of your tongue? Who stole your goods? Is the thief's identity known to you, as it is to me? Once you placed your head in a pillow of grass in your father's field, looked up at a cathedral of clouds, and knew that all the gold of Babylon would be yours in time. Once you read from many books and wrote on many tablets, convinced beyond any doubt that all the wisdom of Solomon would be equaled and surpassed by you. And the seasons would flow into years until lo, you would reign supreme in your own garden of Eden. Dost thou remember who implanted those plans and dreams and seeds of hope within you? You cannot. You have no memory of that moment when first you emerged from your mother's womb and I placed my hand on your soft brow. And the secret I whispered in your small ear when I bestowed my blessings upon you? Remember our secret? You cannot. The passing years have destroyed your recollection, for they have filled your mind with fear and doubt and anxiety and remorse and hate and there is no room for joyful memories where these beasts habitate. Weep no more. I am with you ... and this moment is the dividing line of your life. All that has gone before is like unto no more than that time you slept within your mother's womb. What is past is dead. Let the dead bury the dead. This day you return from the living dead. This day, like unto Elijah with the widow's son, I stretch myself upon thee three times and you live again. This day, like unto Elisha with the Shunammite's son, I put my mouth upon your mouth and my eyes upon your eyes and my hands upon your hands and your flesh is warm again. This day, like unto Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, I command you to come forth and you will walk from your cave of doom to begin a new life. This is your birthday. This is your new date of birth. Your first life, like unto a play of the theatre, was only a rehearsal. This time the curtain is up. This time the world watches and waits to applaud. This time you will not fail. Light your candles. Share your cake. Pour the wine. You have been reborn. Like a butterfly from its chrysalis you will fly ... fly as high as you wish, and neither the wasps nor dragonflies nor mantids of mankind shall obstruct your mission or your search for the true riches of life. Feel my hand upon thy head. Attend to my wisdom. Let me share with you, again, the secret you heard at your birth and forgot. You are my greatest miracle. You are the greatest miracle in the world. Those were the first words you ever heard. Then you cried. They all cry ... You did not believe me then ... and nothing has happened in the intervening years to correct your disbelief. For how could you be a miracle when you consider yourself a failure at the most menial of tasks? How can you be a miracle when you have little confidence in dealing with the most trivial of responsibilities? How can you be a miracle when you are shackled by debt and lie awake in torment over whence will come tomorrow's bread? Enough. The milk that is spilled is sour. Yet, how many prophets, how many wise men, how many poets, how many artists, how many composers, how many scientists, how many philosophers and messengers have I sent with word of your divinity, your potential for godliness, and the secrets of achievement? How did you treat them?

Still I love you and I am with you now, through these words, to fulfill the prophet who announced that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to recover the remnant of his people. I have set my hand again. This is the second time. You are my remnant. It is of no avail to ask, haven't you known, haven't you heard, hasn't it been told to you from the beginning; haven't you understood from the foundations of the earth? You have not known; you have not heard; you have not understood. You have been told that you are a divinity in disguise, a god playing a fool. You have been told that you a special piece of work, noble in reason, infinite in faculties, express and admirable in form and moving, like an angel in action, like a god in apprehension. You have been told that you are the salt of the earth. You were given the secret even of moving mountains, of performing the impossible. You believed no one. You burned your map to happiness, you abandoned your claim to peace of mind, you snuffed out the candles that had been placed along your destined path of glory, and then you stumbled, lost and frightened, in the darkness of futility and self-pity, until you fell into a hell of your own creation. Then you cried and beat your breast and cursed the luck that had befallen you. You refused to accept the consequences of your own petty thoughts and lazy deeds and you searched for a scapegoat on which to blame your failure. How quickly you found one. You blamed me! You cried that your handicaps, your mediocrity, your lack of opportunity, your failures ... were the will of God! You were wrong! Let us take inventory. Let us, first, call a roll of your handicaps. For how can I ask you to build a new life lest you have the tools? Are you blind? Does the sun rise and fall without your witness?
No. You can see ... and the hundred million receptors I have placed in your eyes enable you to enjoy the magic of a leaf, a snowflake, a pond, an eagle, a child, a cloud, a star, a rose, a rainbow ... and the look of love. Count one blessing. Are you deaf? Can a baby laugh or cry without your attention? No. You can hear ... and the twenty-four thousand fibers I have built in each of your ears vibrate to the wind in the trees, the tides on the rocks, the majesty of an opera, a robin's plea, children at play ... and the words I love you. Count another blessing. Are you mute? Do your lips move and bring forth only spittle? No. You can speak ... as can no other of my creatures, and your words can calm the angry, uplift the despondent, goad the quitter, cheer the unhappy, warm the lonely, praise the worthy, encourage the defeated, teach the ignorant ... and say I love you. Count another blessing. Are you paralyzed? Does your helpless form despoil the land? No. You can move. You are not a tree condemned to a small plot while the wind and world abuses you. You can stretch and run and dance and work, for within you I have designed five hundred muscles, two hundred bones, and seven miles of nerve fiber all synchronized by me to do your bidding. Count another blessing.

Are you unloved and unloving? Does loneliness engulf you, night and day? No. No more. For now you know love's secret, that to receive love it must be given with no thought of its return. To love for fulfillment, satisfaction, or pride is no love. Love is a gift on which no return is demanded. Now you know that to love unselfishly is its own reward. And even should love not be returned it is not lost, for love not reciprocated will flow back to you and soften and purify your heart. Count another blessing. Count twice. Is your heart stricken? Does it leak and strain to maintain your life? No. Your heart is strong. Touch your chest and feel its rhythm, pulsating, hour after hour, day and night, thirty-six million beats each year, year after year, asleep or awake, pumping your blood through more than sixty thousand miles of veins, arteries, and tubing ... pumping more than six hundred thousand gallons each year. Man has never created such a machine. Count another blessing. Are you diseased of skin? Do people turn in horror when you approach? No. Your skin is clear and a marvel of creation, needing only that you tend it with soap and oil and brush and care. In time all steels will tarnish and rust, but not your skin. Eventually the strongest of metals will wear, with use, but not that layer that I have constructed around you. Constantly it renews itself, old cells replaced by new, just as the old you is now replaced by the new. Count another blessing. Are your lungs befouled? Does your breath of life struggle to enter your body? No. Your portholes to life support you even in the vilest of environments of your own making, and they labor always to filter life-giving oxygen through six hundred million pockets of folded flesh while they rid your body of gaseous wastes. Count another blessing. Is your blood poisoned? Is it diluted with water and pus? No. Within your five quarts of blood are twenty-two trillion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule is an atom oscillating at more than ten million times each second. Each second, two million of your blood cells die to be replaced by two million more in a resurrection that has continued since your first birth. As it has always been inside, so now it is on your outside. Count another blessing. Are you feeble of mind? Can you no longer think for yourself? No. Your brain is the most complex structure in the universe. I know. Within its three pounds are thirteen billion nerve cells, more than three times as many cells as there are people on your earth. To help you file away every perception, every sound, every taste, every smell, every action you have experienced since the day of your birth, I have implanted, within your cells, more than one thousand billion billion protein molecules. Every incident in your life is there waiting only your recall. And, to assist your brain in the control of your body I have dispersed, throughout your form, four million pain-sensitive structures, five hundred thousand touch detectors, and more than two hundred thousand temperature detectors. No nation's gold is better protected than you. None of your ancient wonders are greater than you.

You are my finest creation. Within you is enough atomic energy to destroy any of the world's great cities ... and rebuild it. Are you poor? Is there no gold or silver in your purse? No. You are rich! Together we have just counted your wealth. Study the list. Count them again. Tally your assets! Why have you betrayed yourself? Why have you cried that all the blessings of humanity were removed from you? Why did you deceive yourself that you were powerless to change your life? Are you without talent, senses, abilities, pleasures, instincts, sensations, and pride? Are you without hope? Why do you cringe in the shadows, a giant defeated, awaiting only sympathetic transport into the welcome void and dampness of hell? You have so much. Your blessings overflow your cup ... and you have been unmindful of them, like a child spoiled in luxury, since I have bestowed them upon you with generosity and regularity. Answer me. Answer yourself. What rich man, old and sick, feeble and helpless, would not exchange all the gold in his vault for the blessings you have treated so lightly. Know then the first secret to happiness and success - that you possess, even now, every blessing necessary to achieve great glory. They are your treasure, your tools with which to build, starting today, the foundation for a new and better life. Therefore, I say unto you, count your blessings and know that you already are my greatest creation. This is the first law you must obey in order to perform the greatest miracle in the world, the return of your humanity from living death.

And be grateful for your lessons learned in poverty. For he is not poor who has little; only he that desires much ... and true security lies not in the things one has but in the things one can do without. Where are the handicaps that produced your failure? They existed only in your mind. Count your blessings. And the second law is like unto the first. Proclaim your rarity.
You had condemned yourself to a potter's field, and there you lay, unable to forgive your own failure, destroying yourself with self-hate, self-incrimination, and revulsion at your crimes against yourself and others. Are you not perplexed? Do you not wonder why I am able to forgive your failures, your transgressions, your pitiful demeanor ... when you cannot forgive yourself?

I address you now, for three reasons. You need me. You are not one of a herd heading for destruction in a gray mass of mediocrity. And ... you are a great rarity. Consider a painting by Rembrandt or a bronze by Degas or a violin by Stradivarius or a play by Shakespeare. They have great value for two reasons: their creators were masters and they are few in number. Yet there are more than one of each of these. On that reasoning you are the most valuable treasure on the face of the earth, for you know who created you and there is only one of you. Never, in all the seventy billion humans who have walked this planet since the beginning of time has there been anyone exactly like you. Never, until the end of time, will there be another such as you. You have shown no knowledge or appreciation of your uniqueness. Yet, you are the rarest thing in the world From your father, in his moment of supreme love, flowed countless seeds of love, more than four hundred million in number. All of them, as they swam within your mother, gave up the ghost and died. All except one! You. You alone persevered within the loving warmth of your mother's body, searching for your other half, a single cell from your mother so small that more than two million would be necessary to fill an acorn shell. Yet, despite impossible odds, in that vast ocean of darkness and disaster, you persevered, found that infinitesimal cell, joined with it, and began a new life. Your life. You arrived, bringing with you, as does every child, the message that I was not yet discouraged of man. Two cells now united in a miracle. Two cells, each containing twenty-three chromosomes and within each chromosome hundreds of genes, which would govern every characteristic about you, from the color of your eyes to the charm of your manner, to the size of your brain. With all the combinations at my command, beginning with that single sperm from your father's four hundred million, through the hundreds of genes in each of the chromosomes from your mother and father, I could have created three hundred thousand billion humans, each different from the other.

But who did I bring forth? You! One of a kind. Rarest of the rare. A priceless treasure, possessed of qualities in mind and speech and movement and appearance and actions as no other who has ever lived, lives, or shall live. Why have you valued yourself in pennies when you are worth a king's ransom? Why did you listen to those who demeaned you ... and far worse, why did you believe them? Take counsel. No longer hide your rarity in the dark. Bring it forth. Show the world. Strive not to walk as your brother walks, nor talk as your leader talks, nor labor as do the mediocre. Never do as another. Never imitate. For how do you know that you may not imitate evil; and he who imitates evil always goes beyond the example set, while he who imitates what is good always falls short. Imitate no one. Be yourself. Show your rarity to the world and they will shower you with gold. This then is the second law. Proclaim your rarity.
And now you have received two laws.
Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity!

You have no handicaps. You are not mediocre. You nod. You force a smile. You admit your self-deception. What of your next complaint? Opportunity never seeks thee? Take counsel and it shall come to pass, for now I give you the law of success in every venture. Many centuries ago this law was given to your forefathers from a mountain top. Some heeded the law and lo, their life was filled with the fruit of happiness, accomplishment, gold, and peace of mind. Most listened not, for they sought magic means, devious routes, or waited for the devil called luck to deliver to them the riches of life. They waited in vain ... just as you waited, and then they wept, blaming their lack of fortune. The law is simple. Young or old, pauper or king, white or black, male or female ... all can use the secret to their advantage; for all the rules and speeches and scriptures of success and how to attain it, only one method has never failed ... whomsoever shall compel ye to go with him one mile ... go with him two.

This then is the third law ... the secret that will produce riches and acclaim beyond your dreams. Go another mile! The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be. This is a habit followed by all successful people since the beginning of time. Therefore I saith the surest way to doom yourself to mediocrity is to perform only the work for which you are paid. Think not ye are being cheated if you deliver more than the silver you receive. For there is a pendulum to all life and the sweat you deliver, if not rewarded today, will swing back tomorrow, tenfold. The mediocre never goes another mile, for why should he cheat himself, he thinks. But you are not mediocre. To go another mile is a privilege you must appropriate by your own initiative. You cannot, you must not avoid it. Neglect it, do only as little as the others, and the responsibility for your failure is yours alone. You can no more render service without receiving just compensation than you can withhold the rendering of it without suffering the loss of reward. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, these cannot be separated. The effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, and the fruit is always in the seed.
Go another mile.
Concern yourself not, should you serve an ungrateful master. Serve him more. And instead of him, let it be me who is in your debt, for then you will know that every minute, every stroke of extra service will be repaid. And worry not, should your reward not come soon. For the longer payment is withheld, the better for you ... and compound interest on compound interest is this law's greatest benefit. You cannot command success, you can only deserve it ... and now you know the great secret necessary in order to merit its rare reward. Go another mile! Where is this field whence you cried there was no opportunity? Look! Look around thee. See, where only yesterday you wallowed on the refuse of self-pity, you now walk tall on a carpet of gold. Nothing has changed ... except you, but you are everything You are my greatest miracle. You are the greatest miracle in the world And now the laws of happiness and success are three. Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity! Go another mile!
Be patient with your progress. To count your blessings with gratitude, to proclaim your rarity with pride, to go an extra mile and then another, these acts are not accomplished in the blinking of an eye. Yet, that which you acquire with most difficulty you retain the longest; as those who have earned a fortune are more careful of it than those by whom it was inherited.
And fear not as you enter your new life. Every noble acquisition is attended with its risks. He who fears to encounter the one must not expect to obtain the other. Now you know you are a miracle. And there is no fear in a miracle. Be proud. You are not the momentary whim of a careless creator experimenting in the laboratory of life. You are not a slave of forces that you cannot comprehend. You are a free manifestation of no force but mine, of no love but mine. You were made with a purpose. Feel my hand. Hear my words. You need me ... and I need you. We have a world to rebuild ... and if it requireth a miracle what is that to us? We are both miracles and now we have each other. Never have I lost faith in you since that day when I first spun you from a giant wave and tossed you helplessly on the sands. As you measure time that was more than five hundred million years ago. There were many models, many shapes, many sizes, before I reached perfection in you more than thirty thousand years ago. I have made no further effort to improve on you in all these years. For how could one improve on a miracle? You were a marvel to behold and I was pleased. I gave you this world and dominion over it. Then, to enable you to reach your full potential I placed my hand upon you, once more, and endowed you with powers unknown to any other creature in the universe, even unto this day.

I gave you the power to think.
I gave you the power to love.
I gave you the power to will.
I gave you the power to laugh.
I gave you the power to imagine.
I gave you the power to create.
I gave you the power to plan.
I gave you the power to speak.
I gave you the power to pray.
I gave you the power to heal.

My pride in you knew no bounds. You were my ultimate creation, my greatest miracle. A complete living being. One who can adjust to any climate, any hardship, any challenge. One who can manage his own destiny without any interference from me. One who can translate a sensation or perception, not by instinct, but by thought and deliberation into whatever action is best for himself and all humanity. Thus we come to the fourth law of success and happiness ... for I gave you one more power, a power so great that not even my angels possess it. I gave you ... the power to choose.
With this gift I placed you even above my angels ... for angels are not free to choose sin. I gave you complete control over your destiny. I told you to determine, for yourself, your own nature in accordance with your own free will. Neither heavenly nor earthly in nature, you were free to fashion yourself in whatever form you preferred. You had the power to choose to degenerate into the lowest forms of life, but you also had the power, out of your soul's judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, which are divine I have never withdrawn your great power, the power to choose. What have you done with this tremendous force? Look at yourself. Think of the choices you have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter moments when you would fall to your knees if only you had the opportunity to choose again.
What is past is past ... and now you know the fourth great law of happiness and success ... Use wisely, your power of choice.

Choose to love ... rather than hate.
Choose to laugh ... rather than cry.
Choose to create ... rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere ... rather than quit.
Choose to praise ... rather than gossip.
Choose to heal ... rather than wound.
Choose to give ... rather than steal.
Choose to act ... rather than procrastinate.
Choose to grow ... rather than rot.
Choose to pray ... rather than curse.
Choose to live ... rather than die.

Now you know that your misfortunes were not my will, for all power was vested in you, and the accumulation of deeds and thoughts which placed you on the refuse of humanity were your doing, not mine. My gifts of power were too large for your small nature. Now you have grown tall and wise and the fruits of the land will be yours You are more than a human being, you are a human becoming.

You are capable of great wonders. Your potential is unlimited. Who else, among my creatures, has mastered fire? Who else, among my creatures, has conquered gravity, has pierced the heavens, has conquered disease and pestilence and drought? Never demean yourself again! Never settle for the crumbs of life! Never hide your talents, from this day hence! Remember the child who says, "when I am big boy." But what is that? For the big boy says. "when I grow up." And then the grown up, he says, "when I am wed." But to be wed, what is that, after all? The thought then changes to "when I retire." And then, retirement comes, and he looks back over it and somehow he has missed it all and it is gone. Enjoy this day, today ... and tomorrow, tomorrow. You have performed the greatest miracle in the world. You have returned from a living death. You will feel self-pity no more and each new day will be a challenge and a joy. You have been born again ... but just as before, you can choose failure and despair or success and happiness. The choice is yours. The choice is exclusively yours. I can only watch, as before ... in pride ... or sorrow. Remember, then, the four laws of happiness and success.

Count your blessings.
Proclaim your rarity.
Go another mile.
Use wisely your power of choice.
And one more, to fulfill the other four. Do all things with love ... love for yourself, love for all others, and love for me. Wipe away your tears. Reach out, grasp my hand, and stand straight. Let me cut the grave cloths that have bound you.

This day you have been notified.



Life’s Obligations

By President Gordon B. Hinckley

Recently I addressed a group of college-age young people about some of the obligations of life with which they are faced, now and in the future. What was discussed with them has its own application for each of us.

The four obligations I have in mind are:

1. To one’s vocation.

2. To one’s family.

3. To the Church.

4. To one’s self.

One: choose a vocation where you will be happy. You will spend eight and more hours a day at it through all the foreseeable future. Choose something that you enjoy doing. Income is important, but you do not need to be a multimillionaire to be happy. In fact, you are more likely to be unhappy if wealth becomes your only objective. You will become a slave to it. It will color all your decisions. You need enough to get along on. You need enough to provide well for your family. It will be better if the husband becomes the provider and the wife does not work when children come. That situation may be necessary in some cases, but if you choose wisely now, it is not likely to become a requirement.

Choose a field in which you can grow. You need the stimulation of new effort and new ambitions, of new discoveries and new challenges.

Get all the schooling you can to qualify yourselves in your chosen vocations. In this world, competition is terrible. It eats up people. It destroys many. But it must be faced; it is something with which we have to deal.

Choose something that will be stimulating and thought-provoking and that will carry with it the day-to-day opportunity to do something to improve the society of which you will become a part.

These are the great days of your preparation for your future work. Do not waste them. Take advantage of them. Cram your heads full of knowledge. Assimilate it. Think about it. Let it become a part of you.

But with all of this, in choosing a vocation you should bear in mind that there are other things in life that are of tremendous importance also. The greatest task of all, the greatest challenge, and the greatest satisfaction lie in the rearing of a good family. There must also be time for service in the Church. Otherwise these very important dimensions of your life will be relegated to a back burner.

Life has a way of moving us in our vocational work from one thing to another. This likely will happen more in the future. The education you receive can become a solid foundation on which to build a career that may cover many fields of endeavor.

Two: family. Every normal young man desires a wife. Every normal young woman desires a husband. Be worthy of the mate you choose. Respect him or her. Give encouragement to him or her. Love your companion with all your heart.

This will be the most important decision of your life, choosing the individual whom you marry.

There is no substitute for marrying in the temple. It is the only place under the heavens where marriage can be solemnized for eternity. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat your companion. Don’t shortchange your lives. Marry the right person in the right place at the right time.

Choose a companion of your own faith. You are much more likely to be happy. Choose a companion you can always honor, you can always respect, one who will complement you in your own life, one to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty. Determine that there will never be anything that will come between you, that will disrupt your marriage. Make it work. Resolve to make it work. There is far too much of divorce wherein hearts are broken and sometimes lives are destroyed. Be fiercely loyal one to another.

You will not always be young and handsome or young and beautiful. There will come a time in life when instead of growing taller you will begin to shrink. I recall recently sitting down at the dinner table with my wife. I looked across the table at her hands, once so beautiful, now gnarled and wrinkled. I found myself with tears in my eyes. Pictures of the days of her young womanhood flooded my memory. I saw her when the children were small and she was young and strong, taking them everywhere and looking after their every need. She cooked and sewed, she washed and kept house, she went to their performances, she read books and attended concerts, she served in the Church in a variety of positions, and she was so very bright and beautiful and happy.

We have now been married for more than 62 years. That is a long time. We have grown old and wrinkled. But our love and respect and loyalty one for another have remained undimmed. Our children have grown. We have grandchildren who are grown, and we have great-grandchildren who are well on their way. I could not wish for any of you more than I have had in my companionship with my beautiful wife.

A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another. Most of you will marry and have children. They will become the source of your greatest pride and happiness. I hope so. Rear them in love. You don’t have to kick them around. You don’t have to get angry with them. You just have to love them. If they make mistakes, forgive them and help them to avoid a repetition. But let them see in you their truest and best friend, their constant support.

All of this can come to pass if you make this most important decision, one guided by prayer as well as instinct, of choosing a dear companion who will be yours through thick and thin forever, throughout all eternity.

Three: service in the Church. Let the Church be your dear friend. Let it be your great companion. Serve wherever you are called to serve. Do what you are asked to do. Every position you hold will add to your capacity. I have served in many responsibilities in this great organization. Every service brought its own reward.

This, too, will require your unselfish devotion, your unyielding loyalty and faith. You will serve in many capacities before your lives are complete. Some of them may seem small, but there is no small or unimportant calling in this Church. Every calling is important. Every calling is necessary to the advancement of the work. Never demean a responsibility in the Church.

I listened recently to a speaker in our ward sacrament meeting. For many years he had served as a bishop and in many other capacities. But he spoke of a wonderful assignment that he and his wife recently had to nurture a new convert who had come into the Church, a young mother with three children. They taught her regularly, once a week. They built her testimony. They taught her the gospel in all its various aspects. They encouraged her with the assignments she had in the ward. They were always there to answer her questions, to enlighten her, to bring understanding of some doctrine that was unclear. They had done this until she and her children had strength to move with security on their own. The young mother and her children have now moved to another area. But this woman, who became the beneficiary of their interest, continues to write to them with expressions of love and appreciation.

Make room for the Church in your life. Let your knowledge of its doctrine grow. Let your understanding of its organization increase. Let your love for its eternal truths become ever and ever stronger.

The Church may call upon you to make sacrifice. It may call upon you to give of the very best that you have to offer. There will be no cost in this, because you will discover that it will become an investment that will pay you dividends for as long as you live. The Church is the great reservoir of eternal truth. Embrace it and hold fast to it.

Four: there is yet another interest that you must look after as you look forward in your lives. You need time to meditate and ponder, to think, to wonder at the great plan of happiness that the Lord has outlined for His children. You need to read the scriptures. You need to read good literature. You need to partake of the great culture which is available to all of us.

I heard President David O. McKay say to the members of the Twelve on one occasion, “Brethren, we do not spend enough time meditating.”

I believe that with all my heart. Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are highly ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development. I remember my dear father when he was about the age that I am now. He lived in a home where there was a rock wall on the grounds. It was a low wall, and when the weather was warm, he would go and sit on his wall. It seemed to me he sat there for hours, thinking, meditating, pondering things that he would say and write, for he was a very gifted speaker and writer. He read much, even into his very old age. He never ceased growing. Life was for him a great adventure in thinking.

Your needs and your tastes along these lines will vary with your age. But all of us need some of it. I decry the great waste of time that people put into watching inane television. I am not antisports. I enjoy watching a good football game or a good basketball game. But I see so many men who become absolutely obsessed with sports. I believe their lives would be enriched if, instead of sitting on the sofa and watching a game that will be forgotten tomorrow, they would read and think and ponder.

They would be blessed if they were to go out into the dark of the night, look at the stars, and ponder their place in the eternal plan of the Almighty. I think David must have been by himself under the starry heavens when he declared:

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Ps. 8:3–5).

Well, my dear brothers and sisters throughout the Church, resolve to keep balance in your lives, to work at a good vocation that you can greatly enjoy, to rear an honorable family who will walk in righteousness and with faith, to serve the Church in a wonderful and unselfish manner and grow tremendously while so doing, and to ponder the things of life as occasionally you sit by yourself and simply think and offer a word of prayer to the God who is the giver of all these wonderful things.

God bless each of us in our lives. May we live close to the Lord and walk in faith with Him, and may we bear witness and testimony of His goodness to each of us.

TODAY I BEGIN A NEW LIFE - Scrolls Excerpts

Today I Begin A New Life
By Og Mandino

Today I begin a new life…Failure will no longer be my payment for struggle. I will form good habits and become their slave…As the words of the ten scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before. My vigor will increase, my enthusiasm will rise, my desire to meet the world will overcome every fear I once knew at sunrise, and I will be happier than I ever believed it possible to be in this world of strife and sorrow…for today I am a new person, with a new life. –
- Excerpt Scroll I

Who has not cried out when confronted with danger, death, or mystery beyond his normal experience or comprehension? From where has this deep instinct come, which escapes from the mouth of all living creatures in moments of peril? …All creatures that walk the earth, including man, possess the instinct to cry for help.
– Excerpt, Scroll X

I will persist until I succeed. I will try, and try, and try again. Each obstacle I will consider as a mere detour to my goal and a challenge to my profession. I will persist and develop my skills as the mariner develops his, by learning to ride out the wrath of each storm.
– Excerpt, Scroll III

I will paint this day with laughter; I will frame this night in song. Never will I labor to be happy; rather will I remain too busy to be sad. I will enjoy today's happiness today. It is not grain to be stored in a box. It is not wine to be saved in a jar. It cannot be saved for the morrow. It must be sown and reaped on the same day and this I will do, henceforth.
– Excerpt, Scroll VII

Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.
– Excerpt, Scroll II

I am nature’s greatest miracle. Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth. None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me. Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make. Instead will I place my uniqueness on display in the market place. I will proclaim it, yea, I will sell it. I will begin now to accent my differences; hide my similarities…different from all others, and proud of the difference.
– Excerpt, Scroll III
Today I will be master of my emotions. And how will I master my emotions so that every day is a happy day, and a productive one? Each day, when I awake, I will follow this plan of battle before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity and failure – If I feel depressed, I will sing. If I feel sad, I will laugh. If I feel Ill, I will double my labor. If I feel fear, I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior, I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain, I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty, I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent, I will remember past success. If I fee insignificant, I will remember my goals.
– Excerpt, Scroll VI
In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which preceedeth all others is – I will form good habits and become their slaves. As a child I was a slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my future. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed. I will form good habits and become their slave. – Excerpt, Scroll I

Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold. I am liken to a grain of wheat which faces one of three futures. The wheat can be placed in a sack and dumped in a stall until it is fed to swine. Or it can be ground to flour and made into bread. Or it can be placed in the earth and allowed to grow until its golden head divides and produces a thousand grains from the one. I am liken to a grain of wheat with one difference. The wheat cannot choose whether it be fed to swine, ground for bread, or planted to multiply. I have a choice and I will not let my life be fed to swine nor will I let it be ground under the rocks of failure and despair to be broken open and devoured by the will of others…I will commit not the terrible crime of aiming too low. I will do the work that a failure will not do. I will always let my reach exceed my grasp. I will always raise my goals as soon as they are attained. I will always strive to make the next hour better than this one. And when it is done I will do it again, and again.– Excerpt, Scroll VIII

Today I begin a new life. Today I shed my old skin, which hath, too long, suffered the bruises of failure and wounds of mediocrity. As a child I was a slave to my impulses; now I am a slave to my habits, as are all grown men. In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed. I will form good habits and become their slave. Today my old skin has become as dust. I will walk tall among men and they will know me not, for today I am a new man, with a new life. – Excerpt, Scroll I

I will live this day as if it is my last. And what shall I do with this last precious day which remains in my keeping? I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw the good after the bad? Can sand flow upward in the hourglass? Will the sun rise where it sets and set where it rises? Can I relive the errors of yesterday and right them? Can I call back yesterday’s wounds and make them whole? Can I become younger than yesterday? Can I take back the evil that was spoken, the blows that were struck, the pain that was caused? No. Yesterday is buried forever and I will think of it no more. –Excerpt, Scroll V

I am nature’s greatest miracle. Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth. None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me. All men are my brothers yet I am different from each. …Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make. …I will begin now to accent my differences; hide my similarities. [I am] different from all others and proud of the difference. – Excerpt, Scroll IV

Og Mandino
My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible.
All are of no value unless they are followed by action.
I will act now.
Never has there been a map, however carefully executed to detail and scale, which carried its owner over even one inch of ground. Never has there been a parchment of law, however fair, which prevented one crime. Never has there been a scroll, even such as the one I hold, which earned so much as a penny or produced a single word of acclamation. Action, alone, is the tinder which ignites the map, the parchment, the scroll, my dreams, my plans, my goals, into living force. Action is the food and drink which will nourish my success.
I will act now.
My procrastination which has held me back was born of fear and now I recognize the secret mind from the depths of all courageous hearts. Now I know that to conquer fear I must always act without hesitation and the flutters in my heart will vanish. Now I know that action reduces the lion of terror to an ant of equanimity.
I will act now.
Henceforth, I will remember the lesson of the firefly who gives off its light only when it is on the wing, only when it is in action. I will become a firefly and even in the day my glow will be seen in spite of the sun. Let others be as butterflies who preen their wings yet depend on the charity of a flower for life. I will be as a firefly and my light will brighten the world.
I will act now.
I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow for I know that tomorrow never comes. Let me act now even though my actions may not bring happiness or success for it is better to act and fail than not to act and flounder. Happiness, in truth, may not be the fruit plucked by my action yet without action all fruit will die on the vine.
I will act now.
I will act now.
I will act now.
I will act now.
Henceforth, I will repeat these words again and again, each hour, each day, every day, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing and the actions which follow become as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every act necessary for my success. With these words I can condition my mind to meet every challenge which the failure avoids.
I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again.
When I awake I will say them and leap from my cot while the failure sleeps yet another hour.
I will act now.
When I enter the market place I will say them and immediately confront my first prospect while the failure ponders yet his possibility of rebuff.
I will act now.
When I face a closed door I will say them and knock while the failure waits outside with fear and trepidation.
I will act now.
When I face the temptation I will say them and immediately act to remove myself from evil.
I will act now.
When I am tempted to quit and begin again tomorrow I will say them and immediately act to consummate another sale.
I will act now.
Only action determines my value in the market place and to multiply my value I will multiply my actions. I will walk where the failure fears to walk. I will work when the failure seeks rest. I will talk when the failure remains silent. I will call on ten who can buy my goods while the failure makes grand plans to call on me. I will say it is done before the failure says it is too late.
I will act now.
For now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the evil become good. I am not evil. Tomorrow is the day when the weak become strong. I am not weak. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure.
I will act now.
When the lion is hungry he eats. When the eagle has thirst he drinks. Lest they act, both will perish.
I hunger for success. I thirst for happiness and peace of mind. Lest I act I will perish in a life of failure, misery, and sleepless nights. I will command, and I will obey my own command.
I will act now.
Success will not wait. If I delay she will become betrothed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the man.
I will act now.

50 Natural Highs

50 Natural Highs

Think about them one at a time BEFORE going on to the next one...
IT DOES MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD, especially the thought at the end.

Falling in love.
Laughing so hard your face hurts or your eyes got wet
A hot shower in winter or cold shower in summer.
No long lines at the supermarket
A special glance from you or to you from a wholesome stranger.
Getting mail, email, or text message from a special or long lost friend
Taking a drive on a pretty road.
Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
Hot towels fresh out of the dryer or spinner.
Finding the sweater you want is on sale for half price.
Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla!) (or strawberry)
A long distance phone call.
A bubble bath.
A good conversation.
The beach
Finding a 20$ note in your coat from last winter.
Laughing at your very self.
Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
Running through sprinklers.
Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
Having someone tell you that you're beautiful or handsome.
Laughing at an inside joke.
Memories of elementary or high school friends.
Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner)
Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
Playing with a new puppy.
Having someone play with your hair.
Sweet dreams.
Hot chocolate.
Road trips with friends.
Swinging on swings.
Wrapping presents under the Christmas tree while eating cookies and drinking your favorite drink.
Song lyrics printed inside your new CD so you can sing along without feeling stupid.
Going to a really good concert.
Making eye contact with a cute stranger
Winning a really competitive game.
Making chocolate chip cookies.
Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
Spending time with close friends.
Seeing smiles and hearing laughter from your friends.
Holding hands with someone, you really care about.
Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change
Riding the best roller coasters over and over.
Watching the expression on someone's face as he/she open a much-desired present from you.
Watching the sunrise.
Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.

Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Monday, December 12, 2005



Image by Greg Olsen "Lost and Found"

Original Entry:

I dreamed I had an interview with God.
“So you would like to interview me?” God asked
“If you have the time” I said. God smiled. “My time is eternity”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?...”
God answered...

“That they get bored with childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future.”

“That they live as if they will never die, and die as if they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while
And then I asked...
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”
God replied with a smile

“To learn they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others.”

“To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and it takes many years to heal them.”

“To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that there are persons who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”

“To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others. But that they must forgive themselves.”

“And to learn that I am here always.”