January 15th, 2012

Third Week of January-Rich v. Poor

Rich, Poor conflict strongest in 24 years (The Associated Press 1/12/12).                                                 The Associated Press article says “Americans now see more social conflict over wealth inequality… .” About three in 10 Americans polled said there are “very strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor. The share of U.S. wealth held by the top 10% of the population increased from 49% in 2005 to 56% in 2009. Id.

The United States government considers wealthy as having a household income that exceeds $250,000. Although this is a significant income, wealthy is a relative concept. The breadwinners of a family making $250,500 in an expensive area of a major city with typical family overhead most likely do not consider themselves wealthy.  But this family is wealthy compared to a family living on under $30,000 a year which is close to the official poverty level.

One should not feel guilty about making a good income;  one should not feel guilty about being fortunate; but one should remember how tough it is for those who must live on a minimum income:

-Give dignity by showing respect for others regardless of their income level.

-Give to charitable causes that help those less fortunate.

-Refrain from flaunting wealth.

-Remember it is not what is outside the person that counts it is what is inside.

-Remember we are all in this together.

    January 8th, 2012

    Second Week of January-Rise Again

    Renew your brilliance. This is the privilege of the phoenix. Ability grows old, and with it fame. The staleness of custom weakens admiration, and a mediocrity that is new often eclipses the highest excellence grown old. Try therefore to be born again in valor, in genius, in fortune, in everything. Display startling novelty-rise afresh like the sun every day. Change too the scene on which you shine, so that your loss may be felt in the old scenes of your triumph, while the novelty of your powers wins you applause in the new.

    Baltasar Gracian, The Art Of Worldly Wisdom (Seventeenth Century).

      January 1st, 2012

      First Week of January-Take Control

      As we start the year many have made a New Year resolution. Some will resolve to lose weight. Some will resolve to exercise. Some will resolve to break a bad habit.

      How about resolving to take control of your life? This means you taking the initiative to make things happen. This means acting instead of reacting.

      When taking the initiative use your intuition and common sense. If something does not feel right deal with it immediately up front instead of passively letting it unfold to your detriment.  Trust your instinct and first impression which are usually right.

      Practice taking control of the small stuff as well as the big stuff. Actively live every moment doing what you know is correct. Move methodically to your long term goals recognizing each day is a step to fulfillment. Take control and make a difference every day.

        November 27th, 2011

        Fourth Week of November-Giving

        Recently I went to a local store, the type many shoppers were at on Black Friday. On Black Friday there were news stories of shoppers fighting one another to buy things. As Christmas approaches there will continue to be lots of shoppers, and more battles over merchandise.

        When I was at the local store I noticed the Salvation Army bell ringer. There was no line for the Salvation Army money can. Only the bell ringer with rarely a person stopping to give.

        Giving is still done. Giving will always be done. The Giving Tree story teaches how unconditional  giving makes a tree feel good and fulfilled. The tree never thinks about itself. It’s first thought is about giving even when giving is at its expense.

        This season many will give nothing. Some will give a little. A few will give greatly in relation to their ability. The many will feel nothing. The some will feel some satisfaction. But the few will know their giving whether in time or money has made a difference and they will feel great.

          November 21st, 2011

          Thanksgiving and Relationships

          My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is  about family, friends and community.

          Thanksgiving is a day many Americans gather with family. Family members often travel great distances to be together on Thanksgiving.

          Often at the Thanksgiving table are close friends who are family at least for Thanksgiving day. Some people get involved preparing and serving a Thanksgiving meal for homeless people so the homeless can celebrate Thanksgiving in a warm place with quality food.

          For our forefathers Thanksgiving was a celebration of making it in the harsh environment of the New World. To survive they needed and got the help of Native Americans. The first Thanksgiving was a celebration between early Americans and Native Americans.

          On this great holiday let us give thanks for family, friends and community. Let us realize that life is about relationships. If we have close relationships with family, friends, and  community we are fortunate, and we have much to be thankful for.

            November 13th, 2011

            Third Week of November-Get Involved

            With the shocking news of the sexual abuse that occurred at Penn State University by a former Penn State University coach many are asking why the coaches, academics, and others who had knowledge of what was happening or knowledge that should have led to further inquiry did nothing.

            The Good Samaritan is a rare individual. Psychologists have studied why people choose to not get involved in helping a stranger in need. Often it is because others are also observing and the responsibility is diffused among the group. This was not the Penn State situation.

            In the Penn State situation the choice not to get involved was made because of the prestige of those involved. It was as if getting involved and bringing to the forefront the abuse would mar a great institution and program.

            Here we have a situation where the institution and program were great because they stood for excellence. Sadly not getting involved out of fear of tarnishing the institution and program has led to a situation where the institution and program are tarnished beyond those who could have intervened and dealt with the abuse.

            The vast majority of Penn State academics and students would have got involved. The vast majority of those at Penn State stand for excellence. The vast majority at Penn State University continue to stand for excellence.

              November 6th, 2011

              Second Week of November-The Seasons

              In Seattle our four seasons blur together more then distinctly define themselves. In Seattle all seasons have cloudy days. Few in summer, more in fall, a lot in winter, and less in spring.

              The older I get the less I like winter, and the more I like late spring, summer, and early fall. But I am happy we have four seasons. I like the variety. I like days where it is easy to go to work, and on weekends spend time inside.

              The seasons are like life. There are great days, OK days, and difficult days. But all days are good days. Life is what we make it. As Walter Hagen said take the time to smell the roses. As I say take the time to enjoy life even when there are no roses.

                October 30th, 2011

                First Week of November-Play the Hand You’re Dealt


                Recently I was talking to a young lawyer who has a Down’s Syndrome child. The child is a go getter and a constant joy. He told me a story of a an older lawyer he met who has a Down’s Syndrome child who is now 45 years old and working at Microsoft. The man is happy, close to his family and contributing to society. Everyday he makes someone smile. We can learn from the little boy and the 45 year old man:

                Believe in Yourself. First, believe in yourself. The little boy and the man do not doubt them self. They accept who they are and move forward to to be the best they can be.  Like the little boy and the man, rather then feel sorry for yourself, and think if only this and that would happen, accept who you are and where you are. Recognize you can contribute.

                Do the Best with What you Have. Second, use who you are and the talent you have to make a difference. Think of life as a tug of war with each member of the team tugging as hard as possible. Use your unique qualities to make life better for someone else.

                Never Quit. Third, never quit on yourself. When the going gets tough and you want to give up remember the Down Syndrome guy at Microsoft. He goes to work every day, he does the best job he can, and he never quits on himself. He only knows one way to go and that’s to enjoy every day, move forward, and make the world a better place.

                  October 23rd, 2011

                  Fourth Week of October-Dan Wheldon (Follow Your Passion)

                  On Sunday, 16 October 2011, Dan Wheldon, Husband, Father, and Indy Racer died in a multiple race car crash at the Las Vegas Indy 300 Race. Several days before his tragic death I heard an interview of Mr. Wheldon and was impressed with his dedication and enthusiasm.

                  Passion for Racing. Dan Wheldon has a passion for what he does. What he does is race cars at the highest level in the world. This means racing in close quarters with other Indy (open wheel) race cars at speeds in excess of 200 mph.

                  Essense of Racing. Race car drivers are dependent on their race team and interdependent with other drivers on the track. During a race the cars are in their ecosystem where one mistake impacts the others. This translates to the need to focus at the  highest level. Race car drivers are like roped together mountain climbers who must remain focused as a misstep can mean death.

                  Why Race. People ask why race, why climb mountains, or why engage in activity that risks your life. The answer is because the racer or mountain climber is living at the highest level when they race or climb. They cannot let their mind wander. They must live in the moment. And as they live in the moment they are living at a supreme level- a level of living we who never enter their arena will ever understand.

                  Tragedy. To me Mr. Wheldon is a tragic hero. He is true to life and realistic. He challenged adversity every time he raced. He never quit on himself.  He raced for others as well as his family. He lived at the highest level possible for a race car driver. He died following his passion.

                    October 16th, 2011

                    Third Week of October-Without Pretense

                    Pretense is defined below. The key is to live Without Pretense.

                    1. The act of pretending; a false appearance or action intended to deceive.
                    Be real not fake.
                    2. A false or studied show; an affectation: a pretense of nonchalance.
                    True feelings flowing naturally.
                    3. A professed but feigned reason or excuse; a pretext: under false pretenses.  Honesty at all times.
                    4. Something imagined or pretended.
                    Know who you are and live who you are.
                    5. Mere show without reality; outward appearance.
                    Match what’s inside with what’s outside; substance over form.
                    6. A right asserted with or without foundation; a claim.
                    Advance only meritorious claims.
                    7. The quality or state of being pretentious; ostentation.
                    The quality of being true to life-realistic.