Overcoming our fears. Becoming humble and meek isn’t being weak doormats.

Becoming humble and meek isn't being weak doormats. Overcoming our fears.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis

Last night Toastmasters was a treat. All the speakers but one backed out and he said he had little time to prepare but gave a good speech anyway. Instead of speakers, we did two extra rounds of table topics.

Many of us love and hate table topics. This is an impromptu speech for 1 – 2 minutes on a topic with no time to prepare and not a topic of our choosing. Sometimes the topics are easy and we can relate to them, some fit if we have specific knowledge or interests. Some leave us dumbfounded and rendered speechless.

We have a new member who bravely accepted the challenge and three guests who also did. Once we have that deer in the headlights feeling a few times we get used to it, sometimes something smart and thoughtful comes out, sometimes not. What we do is face our fear and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is preparation for life. We need to speak up in our lives, jobs, social and political situations.

When we face our fears in any situation it can change the way we face fears in other situations. For many of us, we have paid the price of fear. It is not cheap when we are afraid to take the chances and opportunities that life presents. It is only by facing our fears that we can embrace our life. We can choose freedom or we can choose to be constrained by fear.

It may take everything we have in us to face our fears, but if we do, we can change our life by taking the next step. The opposite of fearful and small isn’t becoming a tyrant who pushes their weight around.

Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. Thomas Merton

Perhaps dealing with our fear and becoming people who can deal with what life offers and choosing that which is good for us, and saying no to that which is bad for us, is becoming meek. The biblical understanding of meek is “power under control.” Isn’t that what we want? When we can harness our power and use it, direct it, focus it, control it, we become powerful people. Wild unharnessed power is dangerous, uncontrolled, and devastating.

Harnessed power is in engines, power tools, and great leaders. Jesus described himself as meek and lowly. Is true power refusal to inflate our own self-estimation, and reticence to assert ourselves for ourselves? Should our goal be to become humble “self-effacing,” and meek “power under control?”

Why are humble and meek made to seem like doormats and weak in our society? Many of us think arrogant, self-aggrandizing, and living a life for personal gain should be the goal. Maybe that is why people who attempt to live a life of hedonism feel empty.

Is facing our fears and living a life of passion and purpose what we should aim for in life? Where are we on the road to being meek and humble “self-effacing and with our power under control?”

Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers. Swami Sivananda

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Paperback – Apr 7 2015

by Malcolm Gladwell (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 113 ratings


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Getting comfortable in our own skin. Does it matter if we are extroverts or introverts, shy or gregarious? Don’t we just need to learn to accept ourselves?

Does it matter if we are extroverts or introverts, shy or gregarious? Don't we just need to learn to accept ourselves? Getting comfortable in our own skin.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One thing you can do better than anyone else is, be yourself. Unknown

This morning I rolled over after turning off my alarm. I’ve missed my time for writing in my journal and reading. It’s raining so my dog Lulu didn’t get a walk. My hour was given up because I didn’t jump out of bed like I’m supposed to. Just five minutes became sixty.

Last night my daughter and I spent a fun evening with a Mary Kay consultant. I’ve known the Mary Kay consultant for years as the daughter of my Mother-In-Laws friends. She was encouraged to become a Mary Kay consultant by a friend who knew she was shy and it would help her deal with her shyness so she could go after the opportunities in life to use her talents. Mary Kay’s philosophy is to prioritize our lives with faith, family, and career in that order.

Back in the early 60’s when Mary Kay started the company she was hoping to give women opportunities to develop a business they could work at their own pace. She didn’t know the empire she started would grow to what it has. She started, she persevered and her company has outlived her.

Our consultant is a gifted singer. She auditioned for a spot in a prestigious choir and was accepted. Would she have done that without the confidence she’s gotten from Mary Kay? Who knows? Living a big life is taking chances, stepping out of comfort zones, using our talents and gifts.

The thing is we never know where getting out of our comfort zone will lead. We just have to do things, take the chance, risk failure and be uncomfortable until we become comfortable. We may only become comfortable being uncomfortable, but that is a big step.

Beauty is not flawless; it shines even through your flaws. Unknown

Introverts gain energy by spending time alone.

Extroverts gain energy by being around other people.

I’ve always thought of introverts as shy, but it seems we can be shy introverts or shy extroverts. There are also gregarious extroverts and gregarious introverts.

So introversion isn’t the same as shyness. We can’t change whether we are introverted or extroverted but we can work on shyness, getting comfortable speaking or performing publicly.

Introverts thrive in small groups.

Introverts like deep conversations. Introverts may be awkward at small talk but come alive when substantive topics come up.

Introverts need to have peace and quiet in their lives to set goals, recharge, process their thoughts, and tune into their feelings.

Introverts value their personal space.

Introverts like to talk about what they like to talk about. They are good listeners but it doesn’t mean they never want to get a chance to talk.

Introversion isn’t a mental health problem.

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, shy or gregarious we need to learn to accept ourselves and get out of our comfort zone enough to risk failure to risk success.

We can’t be different than who we are. Can we be the best we can be? Do we need to develop ourselves and use our gifts and talents? It may not be important whether we know we are an introvert or extrovert. We may find as we try to pigeon hole ourselves we don’t fit neatly into categories. We are individuals; we have quirks, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, gifts, and talents. If we can live our life with gratitude according to our values, priorities, and find passion and purpose isn’t that what’s important?

When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’re beautiful. Confidence is the best makeup you could ever wear. Unknown

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Paperback – Jan 29 2013

by Susan Cain (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews


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Luck, preparation, and opportunity. Will we be prepared when opportunity knocks?

Will we be prepared when opportunity knocks? Luck, preparation, and opportunity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca

Last night I had a dream that Oprah and I were at the same social event. The event was moving to another venue and somehow I missed a cue that she wanted to give me a ride to the new location.

One of her executives at Harpo said he would read my novel over the summer if I could get a copy to him. I had a copy with me on the trip, and I was thinking I would go get it and pass it on to him. I did not get his email, phone number or address to get in touch with him to forward my novel. As if he would still be sitting where I left him after I took taxis and got the copy I’d brought.

The dream is telling me I am not prepared for the opportunities that may present themselves. The work is mostly done, what is holding me back from doing the last editing? I have a copy to send to a cousin I’ve been waffling on. Why? What if she doesn’t like it, what if…

There comes a point when we have to release our creativity to the world. At a Writers Group, the head of an Arts Council asked me what my novel was about. I stammered and stuttered and came up with something. He told me I have to develop an “elevator pitch” that encapsulates the story.

I still haven’t developed an elevator pitch. What am I waiting for? All I need to do is put together a one-minute speech that says…

Once upon a time (introduce character and context)

Every day, (establish the way things were)

One day (introduce problem/inciting incident)

Because of that (challenge)

Because of that (search for solution)

Until finally (finds solution)

Now (establish the way things are better now)

There is more going on than meets the eye. There are other things that take priority over my novel. One of those things is this blog. I’ve been neglecting my husband I tell myself, so we go for a coffee instead of sitting down and finalizing my editing. It will cost too much to pay a professional editor so I work on doing more editing myself.  There is always an excuse if we want an excuse. I’m afraid to put my work out because…

I saw a book called You’re Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget. Note he didn’t say poor. Broke is when we spend more than we earn, but if we spent it differently we wouldn’t be broke. That is so much different from being poor when we don’t actually have enough to buy the essentials.

Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortunes expensive smile is earned. Emily Dickenson

What if I am doing the same thing in different areas of my life? What if I am the one holding me back? What am I afraid of? What is the payoff? What am I afraid of losing? What am I afraid of gaining?

We will all make mistakes. We will not be prepared for every opportunity. I found these 20 ways to be prepared for opportunity from The Simply Luxurious Life blog.

1. Mind your money manners, but know when to take risks. When you have control of your finances, you can take risks knowing that you have the savings or income to weather the storm should your risk fail.

2. For your health’s sake, eat well. An added benefit is that you’ll look great too. Who knows when the opportunities will be ready for you to find them. It could be when you’re twenty or it could be when you’re nearing middle age and beyond. Remain healthy so that no matter when it arrives, you can enjoy it to the fullest.

3. Make the right type of mistakes – made while being courageous and ambitious, rather than defensive, lazy or ignorant. Mistakes will happen to us all, but make them while striving forward toward something new or challenging, rather than sitting around doing nothing afraid of everything.

4. Look for opportunities, seek them out. Open your eyes. Say yes. Do something new. Ask why. Never stop learning.

5. Be kind and helpful. Helping others out when you can simply because you can and not to gain anything in return creates an environment of support and positive rapport. By creating an environment that is welcoming and uplifting, more of that energy is created. Pay forward what you wish to see more of, even if you don’t see a lot of it at the present moment.

6. Strengthen your self-discipline muscle. Stop spending frivolously. Put down that second helping. Stop engaging with people who are not good for you or your self-esteem.

7. Pay yourself first.  Start saving for retirement and a rainy day today. Create a monthly EFT and forget about it.

8. Wake up early. Don’t waste a minute. The early bird really does get the worm.

9. Continually strive for excellence, not perfection. Never stop learning about the world you live in. Continually try to better understand yourself, your emotions, your job, your passions, your strengths, etc. The answers will come if you keep searching.

10. Simplify and focus. You can’t do everything, but what you choose to focus on can be done well if you let go of those things that aren’t at the top of your priority list.

11. Keep a clean home. Limit your stress, free your mind, create room for opportunities to be found.

12. Master your mind. Freedom lies in choosing your thoughts and not being a slave to anything that crosses your mind’s path.

13. Meditate.  A simple practice that builds mind control, lowers stress and builds appreciation.

14. Create specific goals. If you don’t know where you’re going or what you want, your life will never change and you’ll never know what to look for regarding opportunities.

15. Be authentic. Do not apologize for being yourself. Ignore the laughter, walk away and walk toward those and a world that is appreciative of the gifts you have to offer.

16. Be productive, create something of value. No matter what you choose to do with your day, so long as it is in alignment with your goals, being productive will inch you one step closer to the opportunities you seek.

17. Stop blaming or complaining.  Energy and time and most importantly the ability to see the opportunity is tossed aside immediately when we blame others or complain about something we don’t like or understand.

18. Stop being a follower. There’s already enough sheep in this world. Become conscious of which direction you are going and why. What type of life are you trying to lead? Are your actions and decisions today in line with the life you just described?

19. Choose to initiate rather than react. By choosing to initiate, you are taking the reins and directing life. You may not know how today’s particular scene will play out, but at least you are choosing to lead rather than to follow or be a spectator.

20. Make your own rules. If the rules aren’t working for you and the opportunities are not revealing themselves, do something different. And keep your eyes open.

“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.” –Hugh Allen

We need to give up thinking we are too old, uneducated, poor, broke, and unlucky or whatever we tell ourselves that keep us from going after what we want in life. Maybe we have to ask ourselves some questions about what we really want. Most of all we have to be brave enough to risk failure to risk success.

When opportunity knocks, will we be prepared?

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. Arthur Ashe

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, opportunity, and love.

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The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness Hardcover – Jan 1 2019

by Ichiro Kishimi (Author), Fumitake Koga (Author) 3.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews


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We are all on the journey of life. What we choose to do on our journey is our choice. Are we happy with our choices? Are there changes we can and should make?

What we choose to do on our journey is our choice. Are we happy with our choices? Are there changes we can and should make? We are all on the journey of life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential. Joseph Campbell

Last night I was the Chair at our Toastmasters meeting after taking a month off. It is hard to believe how rusty one becomes so quickly. Names that should have been on the tip of my tongue eluded me. Thoughts seemed harder to put together as I stood at the podium.

We rest on our laurels at our peril. We think it won’t matter if we take time off, but we get out of practice easily and quickly. When I don’t go to the gym for a while it is harder to do exercises that I found easy. I haven’t taken a yoga class in a few years; it would probably be brutal getting into some of those poses.

The Table Topics Master asked thought-provoking questions. What is the one thing we would change in our life if we could? What product would we develop with our name on it? What superpower would we choose?

The speakers were thought-provoking talking about the emotional leader, shrugging off our problems and using them as stepping stones to our goals, staying motivated, and time management is life management.  It is for ideas like these I love Toastmasters. We never know who will inspire us, touch us, and make us think something, or look at things differently.

We are such a varied group in life experience, everyone’s stories are different. I was listening to the radio the other day and the radio personality was saying all of our photos can be categorized into twenty categories. We’ve all taken these twenty categories of pictures with different people in them. We went through the same experiences and milestones. When we bring people together everyone has a different story, their lives unfolded and they learned lessons along the way. Their hero’s journey had different obstacles, the story took place or started somewhere we aren’t familiar with, and we are intrigued.

Everyone has a story and at Toastmasters we get bits and pieces of someone’s story over time. We may feel if we miss one of their speeches we missed a chapter. Rejoining Toastmasters after a thirty-year hiatus was one of the best things I’ve done. It’s true we can’t go back, but we can rejoin groups, or rekindle interests we had in earlier times, and we may even enjoy them more the second time around.

A ship in a harbor is safe but that’s not what ships are built for. Unknown

My art is like that, I dabbled as a kid, and I dabble as an adult. It feeds my soul. It is about expressing what is inside of us. Sometimes words cannot express what is inside us. As they say a picture’s worth a thousand words.

I was reading something on closure and one of the author’s clients was having trouble dealing with the after-effects of her husband’s affair even though it was long over and they were in a good place in their marriage. After discussing a way to find closure she said she could paint. She painted a picture in rough loud strokes of intensity and passion, then she shot holes in the canvas with not one gun but two, and slashed the canvas with a knife. She brought her painting to her therapist and it hangs in his office. After emptying all her emotional energy regarding the affair on the canvas, she had closure.

The question I want to ask is what did her husband think when she got out the guns? Sometimes if we don’t want to put things into words a picture tells the story. I was listening to someone on YouTube who said his young daughter drew pictures of him with short arms when she was sad. When everything was good she drew her father with long arms because those long arms were the hugging arms. Makes you want to go back and look at your children’s artwork.

As we continue on our hero’s journey the dragons we slay are our own fears, insecurities, outgrown beliefs, behavior patterns, and life situations. Most of us have never thought we were attractive enough, smart enough, good enough, or whatever inadequacy we feel enough. We are who we are, we need to embrace ourselves and our journey, and we need to risk failure to risk success. If we don’t accept the challenge to change, grow, develop, and take risks who will do it for us?

What do we teach our children when we claim authorship of our story? Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now Paperback – Oct 1 1994

by Maya Angelou (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 ratings


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Keep our good habits. When things go wrong, and they will, don’t blame someone’s intentions.

When things go wrong, and they will don't blame someone's intentions.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are. Unknown

Don’t give up your good habits is one of the things I’ve always told my kids. If we keep our good habits and change our not so good habits and develop some new good habits along the way we build a great life.

Yet, I know this is easier said than done. When we don’t sleep well it is easy to turn off the alarm and roll over like I did this morning. We also have to not be so rigid in our lives that we have no room for real life.

Sometimes we sit down in a chair with our gym clothes on and we have a conversation that is more important than getting to the gym. We all know if we want to connect with people we need to do it when they are willing to connect. Conversations don’t often go well when the first words are, “We need to talk.” I hear these are words people most hate to hear.

One of the biggest problems we have, when we are trying to communicate is having people hear and understand what we think we said. Too often what we said, what was heard, and what was meant, is not the same thing. Processing language takes a degree of thought. We use our working memory to hold each word and its meaning in our mind long enough to combine it with other words to make our sentences. If the meaning of any of the words we use are unclear, understanding what we’ve said becomes harder.

We often don’t express ourselves as clearly as we think we do. We sometimes forget to include important background or context, and this can dramatically shape the meaning of what is being said, and what is being heard. We sometimes mumble words or choose a wrong word, or appear to make some words more important. Often the speaker needs more information from us than we are giving them to understand the message we are trying to deliver.

We used to play a game called telephone which illustrated this. Something would be whispered from one person to the next, and often the last person didn’t get at all what the first person said. Who in the chain didn’t hear what was said? It might have been the first person.

We should be more understanding when people don’t hear what we think we said. We can have people repeat what they think we said to make sure they understood. We can repeat what they said to us so they know we understood. We may need to repeat ourselves, and it is best to do this without getting annoyed. Can we be clear and concise? We need to seek to understand as well as be understood. Things don’t mean the same things to different people. There is a reason we have, “He said, she said,” as a relationship problem.

Stop judging others change yourself. Ujjwal Choudhary

Yesterday I was listening to some men talk about women in not flattering terms. One of the men was explaining that when women hear negative things said about women we internalize it to mean it is a negative comment about us. This might not just be a female trait but I’ll accept I do that. If you don’t mean all women then don’t say “Women do ….” Say, “Some women do…” and I won’t take offense.

The men were talking about women’s outrageous standards for finding a husband. They were saying men can have standards too. Don’t men have standards about who they date? Don’t they do the asking for a date usually, and no one tells them who they must ask out on a date. If I were to speak to mothers and fathers of marriage-age women I wonder if they would say they think their daughter’s standards are too high.

Women can get picky about height, which is a problem, men who aren’t tall have. Women can get picky about a man’s lack of ambition, one they should be picky about in my opinion. I’ve heard about women who wouldn’t go out with someone because of the kind of shoes he had on, I think there was likely another reason they didn’t want to mention.

If there is one area that men and women can be as discriminating as they like it is about whom they will spend their life with. Of course, if they are too discriminating no one they like may like them back and they end up alone by their own choice. If our standards are so picky that the only person who would meet those criteria is unlikely to be in our circle, we have the right to stay single. So I need to understand how is it that men can say “We have a right to expect a certain standard from women.”

What I think they mean is they think they should be able to find a woman they like the look of and have her be the woman they want in all other ways. Good luck with that. None of us get that. They want the kind of character that comes with women they aren’t attracted to or would be the kind of women that would not look at them because they aren’t what she wants. They want build-a-women, a little from this one, a little from that one, a tweak here a tweak there, and she should have no standards or expectations about them.

Do they want control in a way no one gets? If we want the best in our mate, we need to bring that out. We can force people to do a lot of things. We cannot force them to like us, love us, or respect us. Women have over time submitted to their husbands, because of duty, circumstances, the lesser of two evils, or whatever the reason was they made that choice.

It seems to me some of the men so bitter on the internet about women have chosen their partners for the wrong reasons, had expectations that could not be met, or were not the kind of husband that would lead to a long and happy union.

If we don’t have the life we want, the relationships we want, the health we want, the physical fitness, or the communication we want, we need to take a good look at our part in all of it. If there are any changes that can be made they need to be made by us. Pointing our finger at someone else and waiting for them to change will not give us what we want.

As Wayne Dyer says, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

Unmet expectations are one of the biggest problems in relationships. Where did these expectations come from? One of the things I heard Tony Robbins and his wife saying last night is to never look at your partner as having bad intentions. They make mistakes, they hurt us, they usually didn’t mean it, and when we start to attribute blame to someone’s intentions is when we have a bigger problem.

When we blame someone’s intentions we create a no-win situation. How can anyone prove what their intentions were?

A diamond with a flaw is better than a common stone that is perfect. Chinese proverb

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life. Hal Elrod

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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The Power of Intention Paperback – Dec 15 2005

by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews


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Social skills, do we compare ourselves to others and come up lacking?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I consider social skills a bit like learning a language. I’ve been practicing it for so long over so many years I’ve almost lost my accent. Daniel Tammet

Yesterday was the perfect day for a birthday barbeque for my mother-in-law. It’s sometimes hard to keep in touch with extended family so celebrating birthdays is a good way to do it.

Everyone pitches in and it turns out to be a great afternoon and evening of fun and frivolity. My mother-in-law has always wanted to introduce my daughter to one of her friend’s granddaughters but because the granddaughter lives in Texas it has never happened. By serendipity and chance, the daughter and her mother are visiting from San Antonio, Texas and had a free afternoon to come by.  I think my mother-in-law is right her friend’s granddaughter fits right in.

We don’t click with everyone. Some people are more social and flit from one person to the next person. My husband says I take set on people. I find one person I’m comfortable with and talk and laugh the evening away. Flitting from group to group especially groups I haven’t met puts me out of my comfort zone.

I watched a friend do it at a birthday party we attended last year. She went to every table and introduced herself and made conversation, then onto the next table. Everywhere she goes everyone knows who she is.

She’s an only child. Her social skills are amazing. At social functions, we can feel like we are on the outside looking in. We click with certain people, it is easier to talk and laugh with them than to work a little harder to make conversation with those we don’t know yet.

I take the easy way out and talk with who is by themselves and I mostly leave the groups alone. It’s easy to see the people who are not part of a group and talk to them.

If there’s one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. Dale Carnegie

Being a social butterfly is flitting around every circle and finding commonalities with everyone. If we don’t flit from group to group we aren’t social butterflies we are social caterpillars.

Caterpillars turn into butterflies. Getting out of our comfort zone is part of growth. Are we social butterflies, or social caterpillars?

There are pros and cons to being a social butterfly.

Social butterflies are not afraid to go out of their way to approach new people.

They have the capability of starting and keeping a conversation going.

They don’t enjoy a lot of solitude.

Friends may feel they aren’t valued because we are so busy being social and trying to make other friends.

Can we be comfortable and accepting of ourselves? If we try to make other people feel comfortable and included, initiate conversation, offer to help out and be a good sport to make parties, barbeques, and karaoke evenings a success can we appreciate ourselves and our contribution to the event? Maybe we need to develop our innate social skills and appreciate other people’s social skills without thinking we have to be like them. If we can be the best we can be, extending ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone can we quit berating ourselves because we don’t act like someone else?

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and come up lacking. Don’t we need to accept ourselves warts and all, make small steps toward areas we want to improve and not judge ourselves too harshly?

There are more social skills required to talk one-on-one than to an audience. You don’t have to be socially fluid to talk to two thousand people. Jerry Seinfeld

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People Paperback – Oct 1 1998

by Dale Carnegie (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 942 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #10 this week


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Habits and attitudes shape our lives. Isn’t it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes?

Isn't it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes? Habits and attitudes shape our lives.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility? Thomas Sowell

Having a year of blogging behind me means I can look at a year ago and see what I was writing about. Last year I was writing about mother love is the greatest love of all. I don’t mean mother’s love their children more than father’s do, but in the wild no one says don’t get between a father and his cub.

Today I am reading that the facts don’t really matter if we repeat them often enough, we believe them. There is a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth.

“Repetition makes things seem more plausible,” says Lynn Hasher, a psychologist at the University of Toronto whose research team recognized this effect in the 1970s. Is this where the idea of affirmations came from? Telling ourselves, we are beautiful, powerful, successful, over and over again hoping one day to believe we are who we want to be. Or the reverse, telling ourselves, and being told by others we will never get a break, never be successful, no matter how hard we try, so maybe it’s better not to try at all?

We have to be careful about what we listen to, swallow, and believe. We have to be careful what we tell ourselves, and what we tell our children. My son was telling me last night about Thomas Sowell an American black economist who served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He said Thomas Sowell was speaking somewhere and young black men came up to him saying they would love to be pilots but they wouldn’t be accepted if they tried to join the air force. He was dumbfounded by the ideas these young men had been brainwashed with, that they shouldn’t even try, shouldn’t even apply.

It seems hard to believe it is true people think they shouldn’t even try.  What happened to, “It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all?”

Is it more important than ever to try to ferret out the truth of all the propaganda, misinformation, and fake news we hear? What are the questions we should be asking? What is fairness? What is equality? What is justice? What does equal opportunity look like?

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. Thomas Sowell

Do we want the truth, or do we want someone to tell us things we know can’t possibly be true?  If we don’t accept and embrace the truth then we will be fed lies, because lies are what we want to hear, and the person with the best lies is who we vote for.

Are we at a place in history where we need to look at things as they really are? Not how we wish they could be. If it is true that differences in habits and attitudes are the differences that result in the differences in economic outcomes, don’t we need to recognize this, and not pretend it isn’t true? If it is true, then everyone can change their habits and attitudes. Isn’t that good news?

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy. Thomas Sowell

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, truth, and love.

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Discrimination and Disparities Hardcover – Mar 20 2018

by Thomas Sowell (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Distribution & Warehouse Management


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Self-care, how can we take care of anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves?

How can we take care of anyone if we don't take care of ourselves?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Treat yourself as someone you are responsible for helping.” Jordan Peterson

I haven’t seen a glorious sunrise since Monday. Not seeing one every day makes me more appreciative when I see one that takes my breath away.

Last night was another great night at Toastmasters. We had nine guests and that they came out on a beautiful summer’s eve says something. We had three speakers of which I was one. There is so much to learn from listening and watching others speak. We are all individuals with our own style, our own strengths, weaknesses, personality, and presentation styles.

How do we become effortlessly witty, sarcastic, funny and comfortable in front of the group? Some of us are entertaining, informative, and funny. Speaking in public is a skill that as we develop we create our own style. In the beginning, we may emulate someone but as we continue on our journey our style becomes our own.

I’ve said it before that developing as a public speaker does more for us than we can imagine. As one of our members said in her thought for the day, it is a form of self-care. We are doing something for ourselves that improves our lives, our communication, and when we improve our communication we can improve our relationships.

Often we don’t say everything we had prepared in our speech. Sometimes they flow better than what we practiced, sometimes they don’t. Usually, even though we may be aware of the mistakes we made, or thoughts we left out, our audience is not. Every speech is a chance to stretch ourselves. We stretch ourselves by finding a topic, we stretch ourselves by accepting the challenge, and we stretch ourselves by not feeling totally prepared but giving our speech anyway.

Sometimes we’ll find that feeling underprepared gives us a little edge, we are in the danger zone and that is where magic can happen. We don’t know our material so well that it is memorized, but we know it well enough to take it where it wants to go. There is something that happens when we are giving a speech that we can never prepare for. This is audience interaction. We can say something that resonates with the audience that encourages us to expand upon that thought, and at that moment our speech can transcend what it was when we wrote it.

Jordan Peterson questions for a good life:

What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly?

What should I be doing when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body?

What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful, so that I should shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences?

Some people are comfortable never knowing exactly what they will say. The more comfortable we get with the idea that if we know our material and general organization we will know what to say next. We will interact with the audience, they will interact with us. This is what can get us hooked on public speaking.

For whatever reason, I get emotional when I give my speeches. Even when I think I’ve got this, I often find emotion creeping into my speech. I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast on Youtube with Jordan Peterson. A seasoned speaker like Jordan Peterson was overcome with emotion as he talked about how we should try and be the strongest person at our father’s funeral. If it happens and we continue with our speech, it is what it is.

One of the things we should be okay with is giving a bad speech. The win is getting up and giving the speech at all. We learn more by taking the risk and giving a bad not quite prepared speech than if we wait for the perfect time to prepare. Boldness is rewarded; if we are willing to be a fool in public we can accomplish great things. Do it badly, but do it.

As we give speeches we have to look deep within ourselves to find things to say. We may face some of our shortcomings, fears, challenges, and unrealized dreams. C.S. Lewis says, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end, if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin and in the end, despair.

I’m sure there are some negative stories people have about Toastmasters. That is probably mostly about personalities and conflict within groups of people, not the growth that is required to be an active Toastmaster. We grow by getting out of our comfort zone, again, and again.

It isn’t how fast we progress, but that we progress that counts. We are all on a journey, if we work to make progress we will enjoy it more, and make more of a difference in our own and other’s lives.

Live properly as an individual. Because you’re more powerful than you think. Jordan Peterson

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, self-care, and love.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Hardcover – Jan 23 2018

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author, Contributor) 4.7 out of 5 stars 1,157 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #2 this week


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Leaders and followers. Can leaders only lead when followers agree to follow? Is the actual power with the followers?

Leaders and Followers. Is the actual power with the followers? Can leaders only lead when followers agree to follow?

Comparison is the thief of joy. Theordore Roosevelt

Everyone has a story. Yesterday my daughter and her husband got home from a friend’s destination wedding. They are full of stories comparing the Dominican Republic wedding to their Jamaican wedding.

It is hard not to compare things, vacations, cars, homes, friends, bosses, jobs, children, lives, accomplishments, and ourselves.

We hear comparisons are odious, and I believe they are, but we do it or at least I do all the time. I compare my lovely Lulu who barks too much who is a submissive dog, to my late dominant dog. Having a dominant and a submissive dog puts a whole new spin on dominance and submission. They both want their own way, they just go about it differently. One way isn’t necessarily more effective than the other.

It reminds me of the joke in My Big Fat Greek Wedding the mother of the bride says “the husband is the head of the home, and the wife is the neck, and the neck can make the head do anything it wants.” She was submission in action.

My husband tells me women are not straight forward. I watch my Lulu basically give a bow by stretching out in front of you paws out, belly on the ground looking up. “I want what you want”, she seems to say. As she proceeds to do exactly what she wants. She is harder to train than our dominant dog was. This could also be because we took him and ourselves to puppy school, and we had the hubris to think we could train her without puppy school.

I’ve been reading about submission and marriage. I’m beginning to believe it isn’t what I thought. Good leaders lead because followers agree to their leadership.

I was listening to John Cleese yesterday on W5 and he was saying Democracy is overtaken by Dictators because Dictators in the short run get things done.

I was listening to some speeches on authoritarian leadership styles and the speakers seemed surprised that they came up as authoritarian. They were both very funny guys, with seemingly easy personalities, who in their own words have been put in challenging positions where they got things done. They bring energy; they motivate, inspire, and turn things around.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams

The problem with authoritarian leadership over time is that it can seem the leader is no longer part of the team. The other members of the team or family may begin to fear the leader. A benevolent autocratic leader manages the needs of the team so it is better for all. This type of leadership allows information to go both up and down the chain of command.

Autocratic leaders are who we look to in a disaster, they take charge, they get things done, and they get us through the challenges.

I am reading a blog: Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck after Another. He says there is a common way marriages work: In marriage, the husband and wife both have a say in family decisions but the one with the veto power is the husband.

He says marriage should not be a lopsided democracy. It should actually be “the two became one.” We shouldn’t be a leader and a follower. We should be a unit that works together and discusses, endlessly even, to arrive at a decision. When we talk and talk, and talk, and still cannot agree, maybe the decision isn’t ready to be made yet.

It’s easier to give one person veto power. Is it better?

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. John Maxwell

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Leading With Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, And Inspire Action On Your Most Important Work Hardcover – Jul 11 2018

by Peter Bregman (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews


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Keeping all our balls in the air. Some balls are rubber and some are glass. Finding balance. Knowing the important from the urgent.

Finding balance. Knowing the important from the urgent. Keeping all our balls in the air. Some are rubber and some are glass.

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Dolly Parton

Yesterday my computer hadn’t finished updating. When it did, it wouldn’t restart. My husband worked his magic and got it going. The night before at Toastmasters the topics were bucket lists, the dream of owning a home and the pursuit of happiness.

What is on my bucket list? Seeing Europe is on my list. One person said she’d like to see the seven wonders of the world.

The 7 natural wonders of the world.

The Grand Canyon (North America)

The Great Barrier Reef (Off the coast of Queensland in Northeast Australia)

Harbor of Rio de Janeiro (South America)

Mount Everest

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Paricutin Volcano (Mexico)

Victoria Falls (Africa) roughly three times the height of Niagara Falls

Seven wonders of the ancient world

The great pyramid of Giza

Hanging gardens of Babylon

Colossus of Rhodes

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Temple of Artemis

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The seven wonders of the world

The great wall of China

Petra – Jordan

Christ the Redeemer statue – Brazil

Machu Picchu – Peru

Chicken Itza – Mexico

Colosseum – Italy

Taj Mahal – India

The seven wonders of the medieval world

Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

Hagia Sophia – Turkey

Porcelain Tower of Nanjing – China

The Great Wall of China

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa – Egypt

Colosseum

Stonehenge – England

How do we get everything done, see the wonders of the world, work, raise our families, exercise, and read for fun and personal growth? Some people seem to be better at juggling all of their activities than others.

The limit jugglers can juggle seems to be 14 balls. For the rest of us who are juggling life and not balls, how many can we keep in the air?

We are being asked to juggle more, and we are also trying to juggle more on our own accord as we want to fit everything in, and live life to the max. We don’t just want to be fit enough, we want six pack abs. We don’t just want a job, we need to be rising in the organization. Even our children are over scheduled with activities as we shuttle them from martial arts, dance, piano, hockey, soccer, and many also have a tutor.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside. Unknown

An executive coach Scott Eblin tells us we need to recognize what kind of balls we are juggling? Are they rubber, or glass? Some balls will bounce, and some will shatter. We need to know the difference so we can handle them accordingly.

What’s the long-term impact of this ball? Author Suzy Welch tells us to look at things like this – will this matter a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, ten years from now? We aren’t just looking at career balls but all our balls, including family, and our other interests.

Who else cares about this ball? It might not be a ball of particular interest to us, but it’s really important to someone else? Our decisions should not be solely driven by other people, but we should consider them.

What’s the upside of this ball?

If we dropped this ball, could we recover? Some setbacks in life are minor and we can bounce back, others are more significant. Most of our balls are rubber, and if this is a rubber ball, it can bounce. If it is a glass ball it will shatter. Marriages are glass balls. Health is a glass ball. Family is a glass ball and friends are a glass ball. Some of these glass balls we can put down and pick up. Some like marriage and health we need to keep in the air at all times. Children take a lot of time until they don’t. Friends are balls we can put down and pick up.

Should we even be juggling this ball? Maybe someone else should be juggling this ball, or no one needs to juggle it, maybe it shouldn’t be part of the mix at all, or maybe it is a ball we can pick up at a less busy time in our lives.

Are we battling between our “must do’s” and “should do’s”? Do we know the difference between important and urgent? Many things that take up our time seem important because they are urgent, but if we ignore them they didn’t impact our lives in any way.  Many urgent things won’t matter even in a week, let alone ten years.

Some of the important things don’t seem urgent. It doesn’t seem urgent to spend time with family. If we don’t spend enough time with family it can be hard to get back into what should be easy, fun, spontaneous. We could talk about anything, but if we don’t talk that ease goes away, and it can be hard to get back.

Work is a ball that masquerades as crystal when really it is the rubber ball we need to keep from taking over our lives and making the important things feel unimportant to us.

Volunteer activities are another ball that can take over our lives. Often everything seems urgent, can we just take on one more thing? We need to be careful our spouse and children don’t get sidelined by these rubber balls that seem to grow, morph, and take over our lives.

I’m in this situation now with Toastmasters. It is taking up another Saturday in the summer. Summer Saturdays are precious, and this is the third one. I enjoy it, but I have a husband who isn’t enjoying it nearly as much.

Marriage is the fragile, precious ball we need to put first. This is the ball that is fragile, and the ball upon which the rest of our life is based. If we can keep this ball healthy, we will have a good foundation for everything else. If we have a strong marriage we actually have four hands to help with our juggling instead of two.

It is easy to think we’ve been married for so many years; surely it isn’t so fragile anymore. This is probably a mistake. Taking our spouse for granted while we pursue other things may make our spouse feel they no longer are first in our lives. What if they pursue something and we are no longer first in their life? Where will this leave us?

We should each pursue things in our lives, while we are also making sure to keep our spouse our first priority. We need to take a good look at the balls we are juggling and figure out what is important, and not just urgent. We can juggle what is important and concentrate on the glass balls and let the rubber one bounce if they need to.

Is the biggest mistake we make confusing the rubber balls with the glass ones?

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Peter F. Drucker