Ideas and Consequences: The Power of Positive Example

A good example is far better than a good precept Dwight L. Moody

As an academician and former professor who taught at the college level for seven years, I feel that being with students again is much like coming home. There is much about the academic environment that shines as a beacon for the rest of society—not the least of which is the principle of genuine intellectual inquiry—tolerance, an openness, and indeed, an encouragement of new ideas and a wide range of perspectives.

An institution of higher learning is a marketplace of ideas, where ideas are shared, discussed, debated, sometimes debunked, but always treated with respect, never dismissed without thought or reason, and never feared. In the spirit of true academia, truth is not advanced by stereotyping, by shallow epithets, by innuendo or insinuation, or by suggesting that those with different views should not be heard. Those who labor and study in our centers of learning must be made of stronger stuff than that. If they are not, the prospects for a free, virtuous, and compassionate society as a whole are slim. We should judge ideas as we should judge the people who bring them to the marketplace—on their merits. The thing I have always found refreshing about the traditional academic environment is the premium it places on thinking. True thinkers can disagree without being disagreeable. By nature, they reject the thought police.

Graduates, you are about to step into a world you will shape for years to come. I know it’s customary, maybe even hackneyed, for commencement speakers to say at least a dozen times in their address: “You are the future.” We all know that. What I would like to prompt you to think about is, How do you want to shape that future? How do you want your influence to be expressed?

I would like each of you to close your eyes for just a few seconds and think of one or two people who have motivated you, encouraged you, spurred you on . . . . Ask yourself, was it because of what they said, or what they did?; how they talked, or how they behaved?

My guess is that for most of you what those people did and how they behaved—in other words, the example they were (or are) for you—has had the more lasting and meaningful impact. Certainly, no one is inspired in a positive way by the hypocrite or by the unprincipled. Paraphrasing Emerson, “What you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you’re saying.”

If you reflect further, I believe you will agree with me that each of us is inspired far more by the power of positive example than by command or threats. This is not to say that those who have wielded great power at the point of a gun have not had a profound impact. But doesn’t it mean so much more to us to earn the respect of others as opposed to commanding it? How much have we really won, if others pay attention not because they want to but because they have to?

I can think of so many things I wish more people would do. I wish they would value education more highly and read to their children. I wish they would show more concern for those around them in need and do something about it. I wish they would work harder at being the very best at whatever they’ve chosen as their life’s work. I wish they would take more seriously the responsibilities of being free citizens in a democratic society. I wish they would show more respect for the lives and property of others. I wish they would be better neighbors, more caring friends, more honest politicians, more responsible business associates.

I suppose we could devise all sorts of laws that would attempt to coerce more people in these directions and that would penalize them if they failed to comply. But that approach, frankly, leaves me with a feeling of hollowness. I don’t want a society in which people do the right thing just because they have to when they really don’t want to. And I believe strongly that the most effective teaching method and at the same time, sadly, the most underappreciated teaching method—is the power of a positive example. It isn’t a quick fix, it doesn’t promise instant gratification, but in the long run, it makes all the difference in the world.

Forcing a person to go to church doesn’t make him religious any more than forcing him to stand in a garage makes him a car. You don’t make a person truly loyal by forbidding disagreement. You don’t make a person charitable by robbing him at gunpoint and spending his money on good things.

The test of a true leader, it’s often been noted, is not how many people you can coerce into submission or intimidate into silence, but how far others will go to follow you because they are attracted to your mission of their own free will. The attraction is the power of your example.

The late Leonard Read, the founder of The Foundation for Economic Education, was fond of relating a story which I would like to paraphrase here and apply to myself: I’m terrible at golf, but I golf anyway. When I show up at the course, not surprisingly, no throngs appear. No one watches me to see how it’s done. But let a Palmer or a Nicklaus or a Watson or a Trevino show up, and instantly the crowds gather, seeking his tutelage. The British statesman Edmund Burke once said, “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” I especially like the way Mark Twain said it, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”

I am sure that no one here is entirely happy with the world the way it is. To some extent, all of us are would-be reformers of the world, whatever our personal philosophical inclinations may be. What we sometimes forget in our haste to reform the world is that we must first reform ourselves, one at a time and none of us has yet done all we can in that regard. We chronically underestimate how much influence for good we can be by simply being better individuals—not pontificating about doing good, but actually being good—and doing it with our own resources, not someone else’s—living it, serving as an inspiration for others. By underestimating our ability to shape the future of society by shaping ourselves first, we sometimes meddle in the lives of others while allowing our own to fall into disrepair.

In recent years, we have been treated to a great deal of public moralizing from some who have postured as our self-appointed moral authorities. But moralizing and morals are two different things and sometimes are not found in the same person. Individuals who preach about the morals of the rest of us while living their own lives to the very standards they prescribe do certainly exist, but I suspect that the greatest influence for good comes from those quiet folks who make morals, not moralizing, their vocation.

An item from a newspaper caught my eye some years ago because it made this very point. The story came from the little town of Conyers, Georgia. When school officials there discovered that one of their basketball players who had played 45 seconds in the first of the school’s five postseason games had actually been scholastically ineligible, they returned the state championship trophy the school team had won a few weeks before. If they had simply kept quiet, probably no one else ever would have known about it and the school could have retained the trophy.

The really amazing thing was that the team and the town, dejected though they were, rallied behind the school’s decision. The coach was quoted as saying, “We didn’t know he was ineligible at the time . . . but you’ve got to do what’s honest and right and what the rules say. I told my team that people forget the scores of the games; they don’t ever forget what you’re made of.”

In the minds of most, it didn’t matter that the championship title was forfeited. That coach and that team were still champions, and in more ways than one. We should ask ourselves, “Could I have mustered the courage to do the same?”

I suppose some of you might be thinking, “Okay, so he’s telling us to be good. So did Mother. What else is new?”

What I’m saying is, keep your youthful zeal for doing good and for changing the world. Some may call you idealistic, but progress is never made without ideals, and those who champion them are the examples we most admire and remember.

Resolve that you will indeed make your mark and shape society for the better, but understand that it is not enough to preach to others, no matter how good it might make you feel inside. It is not enough, indeed it’s almost always counterproductive, to try to shape the world by the use of force or political decree. You have it within your power to wield great influence. Just recognize that how great that influence will be, is in direct proportion to your ability as a shining example to attract others to your cause.

Graduates—with the degrees you’ve worked long and hard to achieve, you have a head start on success in life. Now it’s up to you to rise to the duty of becoming the very best examples you can possibly be in every aspect of all that you do.

Today’s article was written by Lawrence W. Reed. Lawrence W. Reed is president of the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. This article is an adaptation of the commencement address delivered on May 7, 1994, by Lawrence W. Reed to an audience of 6,000 at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. This article is shared from the following website: https://fee.org/articles/ideas-and-consequences-the-power-of-positive-example/

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You Can Do More Than You Think

There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do Henry Ford

“If you’re going to doubt something, doubt your own limits.” -Don Ward

There’s a Saturday Night Live sketch that features Kenan Thompson as a middle school student with a broken knee. Scarlett Johansson and his other classmates repeatedly convince him to attempt walking, quoting a teacher who frequently lectures on the power of positive thinking. Despite their promises that anything is possible, he repeatedly falls flat on his face.

I loved this sketch, not because of some schadenfreude-induced need to see children crying. I love it because it reminds me of the many times I’ve seen comments on blog posts about possibilities, where people cite things that are obviously not possible.

While we can do a lot in life, running on a leg that you just broke is not (currently) medically possible. Flapping your arms and flying like a bird is just not possible. Turning your horse into a unicorn is just not possible. And switching bodies with your best friend, though commonly seen in movies, is just not possible.

Now that we got that out of the way, we can focus on the many difficult things that are, in fact, possible, despite what people once thought.

It is possible to run a 4-minute mile. It is possible to fly a heavier-than-air plane. It is possible for a person to walk on the moon. It is possible to perform a full-face transplant. It is possible for an African American man to become the President of the United States.

People do “impossible” things every day. If we believe in ourselves and take smart risks, we can, too.

You might not be able to leave your job tomorrow, but you can discover your passion and start a business. You may not be able to win a Webby Award tomorrow, but you can create a site that makes a difference in the world. You might not be able to change that you have a physical limitation, but you can find a way to empower yourself because of it, not in spite of it.

Today if you find yourself dwelling on what’s possible, remind yourself: You can do more than you think if you’re willing to stop making excuses and start testing your limits.

Today’s article was written by Lori Deschene. Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Today’s article was shared from the following website: https://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-you-can-do-more-than-you-think/

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Stop Waiting for The Perfect Time. There isn’t One!

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”― Napoleon Hill

There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that project, to spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done every day.

Kill the excuses!

I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don’t feel motivated. I’d rather do nothing. I don’t have the money..yet!

It’s easy to come up with excuses and justify not getting started. The longer you fill your head with rationalizations and empty excuses, the less time you have to take action.

It’s easy to say, “I will start when I have more experience, money, time and resources”. By this time next year, you will have a lot more excuses. It’s a cycle. And once you get caught in the loop, it can be difficult to break free and do something meaningful you care about.

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to make a change.

Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold on to this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

It pays to be an outlier!

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.” — Malcom Gladwell

Outliers are those who seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live.

Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t. Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction outnumber those of action by nearly two to one.

Some of the most common include not being more assertive and failing to seize the moment. When people reflect later in life, it is the things they did not do that generate the greatest despair. You can seize the moment today!

Getting past the biggest hurdle!

The biggest hurdle for many of us is simply getting started. Making that important decision to take a step. You can be as big and successful as you can possibly imagine if you build that mindset you need to step outside the safe zone. You just don’t trust yourself enough yet.

You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can get past the excuses. You don’t even have to start a new project. What you need is something you can emotionally and deeply connect with.

Don’t think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are and witness the magic of creative work. If you’re thinking about it too much, chances are you’re killing it.

Get started now!

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” ― Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

No matter who you are or what you dream of becoming, remember this: No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small.

Stop questioning yourself. Stop listening to everyone else. The world is waiting for you to start something. Waiting to hear what you have to say. Waiting to use your creative product or service. Waiting to share your ideas and original work.

Remember the dream you were too scared to chase? It’s still not too late to give it a try. We tend to think that we’re not good enough and give up before we even start. The fear of taking risks never goes away but it does become familiar.

The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them. Your first ebook, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work will not be satisfying and perfect, and it’s okay.

When we express ourselves in a way that brings out the best in us, we’ve already succeeded. Step by step we improve despite the temporary failures. That’s what matters. It matters that you persist.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.
There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” —
Mark Victor Hansen

Take advantage of the enormous opportunities the information age presents. You have everything you need to go make something meaningful. Something you deeply care about. You don’t have to be right when you start. But it matters that you begin now.

There isn’t a right time for anything. There’s no such thing as perfect timing. If it feels right, just go for it today. Don’t wait until everything is just perfect or right. Get started now.

Today’s article was written by Thomas Oppong and is shared from the following website: https://medium.com/the-mission/stop-waiting-for-the-perfect-time-there-isnt-one-249e2f9e34fb

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5 Ways to Shape Your Life With Positivity

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor RooseveltThere are all kinds of theories about how to shape your life to get the most happiness, the most peace of mind, the most whatever it is you hope to achieve in your life. And then there is reality.

You get up every day and face the world – the world of traffic, the world of politics, the world of news, and the world of people you encounter socially and professionally. Your world is full of surprises, risks, brave actions and deeds – in essence, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, as you’re immediately waking up, you might think that it’s just not worth getting out of bed, or it’s too difficult to create the energy necessary to face the day with a positive spin.

The truth: it’s not that hard to cultivate positive attitude—optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm – because these three mindsets make everything in life and in business easier. Why wouldn’t you want to have an easier life?

A positive attitude can tear into you like a hurricane up when you’re down or lift you up like a rocket when you’re already “on a roll.” People ask me every day how I do so much at 73 years of age. They want to know where I get my energy. How do I do so many things in life? What drives me? Some people take offense that I have a positive nature about what I do and how I feel, so they simply walk away.

But, if you don’t want to walk away from a person who shapes his or her life with positivity, here are 5 ways how to cultivate your own positive attitude, regardless of what’s happening in the world.

1. Control your attitude.

You shape your life with the attitudes, either positive or negative. These attitudes translate into activities that reflect your positive or negative mindset.

You don’t have to get up in the morning with a negative attitude about what’s going to happen that day. You have a choice. Of course, there are challenges, struggles, and unpleasant encounters, but you can choose a positive approach to each detail of your life. By steadfastly holding on to your strong and grounded core beliefs, you can achieve what you truly desire every day. This is the way you honor your life with a profound sense of self.

2. Control what you let into your life.

Your core beliefs about who you are and how you present yourself in your personal and professional world will consistently keep away the negatives and firm up the positives. However, if you choose to let in the bad energy of arguments and other people’s anger, you will slowly sink into quicksand. Your life will be stall mode. Nothing accomplished. Nothing gained.

Today’s world is full of haters and seekers of division. Avoiding situations that cause you to feel bad about either yourself or others is crucial in maintaining the positive. Limit the bad stuff and keep your inner life in positive control.

Caution: too much exposure to news and media can result in flooding your mind with negativity. Negative exposure limits your ability to maintain a positive attitude; it actively interrupts your brain and makes you more apt to have a negative mindset. Turn off the television, radio, and monitor how much social media you take in. Read a book, ride a bike, go for a swim and decompose.

3. Create a litany of positive thoughts.

One of the most effective ways to strengthen a positive mindset is to meditate 10 minutes a day. Let all negative thoughts go by, release their hold on you, and focus more on positive mantras instead of limiting opinions.

The ability to let thoughts go by without labeling them as good or bad gives you time and space for inspiration, and even perhaps, motivation to create the most positive mindset. If you do this regularly, you’ll have consistent clarity of thought and the ability to manage your feelings when events don’t go exactly the way you’d prefer. Then everything takes on a positive spin. My yoga teacher used to say: “It’s all good.”

4. Watch your words.

Do you think you are more hard-wired to think negatively? If you do, you will certainly use more negative words on a daily basis. But turn that around and describe yourself as hard-wired to think positively. If positive is your bent, then the words that come out of your mouth aren’t just a reflection of what’s in your brain—they’re programming your brain how to think. Therefore, if you want to have a positive attitude, your vocabulary must be consistently positive.

It takes full awareness, full consciousness to process your emotions and put them into the appropriate emotional context. Most negative words relate to fear, shame, guilt and disgust and require more mental processing than does using positive words.

Try taking a mental assessment of how many negative words you use during the day and see if you can determine the ratio of negative to positive words you use. What’s interesting is that you have more negative words available to you than you have positive words. Hint: avoid the shaming, blaming, hate words. Focus on neutral words to express unpleasant situations, such as, “I’m annoyed,” and not “I’m enraged.”

5. Ignore whiners and complainers.

There is nothing worse than listening to whiners and complainers. To ward off people who have an ax to grind with the world, listen closely to how whiners and complainers couch their emotions. You can usually spot a “negativo” within the first five minutes of conversation. They spread their “poor me” life before you and tell you everything that’s wrong with their existence. And they want everyone who can hear them to be as miserable as they are in their world because they can’t bear to see somebody else happy and satisfied.

So next time someone asks you how you are or “how’s it going,” tell them that you never felt better – and mean it! That’s when you are shaping your life with the positive.

Today’s article was written by Joan Moran and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-ways-to-shape-your-life-with-positivity_us_589a5df7e4b0985224db5b85

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Creating a Life of Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit Aristotle

10 tips for creating a life and living your dream

Stop doing things just because others expect them of you.

Your heart must be in it to finish the race. When we do things just because we ‘should,’ we eventually reach a place of resentment, anger, and rebellion.

Get your priorities straight.

Spend your time, talents, and resources with the people, activities, or things that are meaningful to you. Stop wasting these on people or things that are not adding value to your life or that keep you from moving forward towards what you want to be or do.

March to the beat of your own band

The most satisfying experiences in our lives are when we are engaged physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or intellectually. Life is meant to be effortless. If you’re tugging and pulling, and everything feels like an uphill battle, then you’re doing the wrong thing.

Do what you’re good at and the money will follow.

Whether you’re a brain surgeon or a dogwalker, be the best you can be at it because you love it. Your enthusiasm and love for what you do is what will make you successful in the long run. Enthusiastic and positive people attract others to them who want that too.

Share your dream with others, but be discerning.

Realize that not everyone you share your dream with will be thrilled for you. Avoid the nay-sayers and focus on those people who can support you even if they don’t agree with you

Stop making excuses and just do it.

The reason (excuses) for why you have not taken that first step does not matter. What matters is that you take that first step NOW.

Determine what your ideal life looks like.

Most people’s initial response to this is ‘I don’t know.’ If you did know, what would your ideal life be like? Who would you want to live with, who would you like to meet, where would you like to live, what activities/shows/parties/places would you like to experience or be with?

Identify the stumbling blocks that can be turned into stepping stones.

Your past experiences and adversity can create opportunity for you. It’s all in how you look at life and how you choose to use those experiences so that you eliminate the blocks and move on in spite of them. Victory is yours!

Reduce your learning curve.

Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. Instead of reinventing the wheel, take what you can apply from the trials and challenges others have overcome then tweak the process to fit your own situation.

Align yourself with a role model/mentor. 

Having someone who’s ‘been there and done that’ is one of the best ways to get yourself on track with what you want to accomplish or be. A mentor will be supportive, offer the benefit of his/her expertise and knowledge, and will listen to you when you need the support the most. Author Unknown

The Art of Achievement

You hold in your hand the camel’s-hair brush of a painter of Life. You stand before the vast white canvas of Time.

The paints are your thoughts, emotions and acts.

You select the colors of your thoughts; drab or bright, weak or strong, good or bad.

You select the colors of your emotions; discordant or harmonious, harsh or quiet, weak or strong.

You select the colors of your acts; cold or warm, fearful or daring, small or big.

You visualize yourself as the person you want to be.

You strive to make the ideal in your mind become a reality on the canvas of Time.

Each moment of your life is a brush stroke in the painting of your growing career.

There are the bold, sweeping strokes of one increasing, dynamic purpose.

There are the lights and shadows that make your life deep and strong.

There are the little touches that add the stamp of character and worth.

The art of achievement is the art of making life – your life – a masterpiece.

The Art of Achievement was written by Wilferd A. Peterson. Materials from today’s post were shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/Art.shtml

 

 

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