Saturday, September 14, 2013

Connected to Purpose

You won’t get very far if you don’t know where you’re going. To have success, to have an impact, you must have a clear purpose.

You know you long to make a difference. So decide precisely what the difference will be.

Have a purpose, and make sure it is an authentic one. You absolutely will find a way to do what you truly care about doing.

Before you make the effort, make sure you know why. The more it means to you, the more effective you will be.

There is a reason why you want what you want. Discover, acknowledge and embrace that reason, that purpose.

Live this day, this month, this year, this life strongly connected to purpose. And you’ll connect yourself to all the elements of a life well lived.

— Ralph Marston

Leave No Child Inside

Richard Louv says school shouldn't be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world. When he challenges a group of real estate reps, "how are we going to build communities in the future that actually connect kids with nature?" he discovers unexpected advocates. He seeks solutions people might otherwise never have imagined. Read on to learn more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dealing With the Problems

The more you learn from your problems, the more effective you become at dealing with them. The more you learn from a problem, the less likely it is to trouble you again.

When a difficult problem comes along it can be easy to feel sorry for yourself. Yet pity, whether from yourself or others, is not what will help the situation.

What will help is a positive, informed response. What will help is effective action.

At first, go ahead and feel bad about the problem. Then make the choice to transform that intensely bad feeling into powerful positive energy.

Problems can get your attention and motivate you, so let them. Problems can teach you, so learn everything you can.

Choose to be positively motivated, to learn, and to respond with action. Be fully determined to move forward, and you will.

— Ralph Marston

The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up

Being a parent in this fast-paced world often means constantly fighting the clock to maintain control, make appointments, and complete to-do lists. What effect does this constant rushing have on our parenting and on our children? Rachel Macy Stafford was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of daughter who made her ask this difficult question and who opened her eyes to a new way of parenting. Rachel, creator of the blog "Hands Free Mama" is committed to "letting grasp what really matters." This beautiful blog post describes how her daughter taught her to stop saying "hurry up" and to live a life more centered on the things that really matter.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Into Action Now

It only takes a minute to begin making a positive difference. So get up, get going and do it.

Don’t worry about how long it will take or whether you have enough time. Go ahead, get started and you can take it from there.

Merely wishing and wondering won’t get anything done. Stop wishing and start doing.

Even the most elaborate, credible excuse has very little value. Let go of the excuses, and let yourself take real, effective action.

Feel for yourself how good it is to make a difference. Enjoy the true richness that comes from giving life and commitment to your purpose.

Stop looking for ways to put it off and start discovering how well you can get it done. This is a great time and a great place to get into action now.

— Ralph Marston

Why Giving Thanks In Hard Times Helps

"It is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We don't have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy. Feelings follow from the way we look at the world, thoughts we have about the way things are, the way things should be, and the distance between these two points. But being grateful is a choice. A prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives." When we approach all of life with a grateful mind, we'll find that our own gratitude provides the greatest light. Read more of this insightful article, on why gratitude, particularly during the hardest of times, is quite often the very thing we most need.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Habit of Achievement

Old, destructive habits can feel very comfortable, at least for the moment. Over time, however, those negative habits can waste an enormous part of your life, or worse.

The good news is that you can build positive, empowering habits that will soon feel just as comfortable and familiar as the old negative ones. It takes effort and commitment, and a little discomfort, yet it is well worth all that.

Instead of habits that waste your time and burden your life, you can choose habits that push you steadily forward. Instead of slowly creating heartache and disappointment, you can be steadfastly creating success and achievement.

Time can be your enemy or your friend, depending on what you do with each little moment. Make the choice, and put forth the effort, to make each moment count for something positive and meaningful.

Choose a habit that brings you down and replace it with one that lifts you up. Make it your goal to make achievement your default mode.

Some of the most powerful things you do are the things you do by habit. So choose to direct all that power in a positive, life-enriching direction.

— Ralph Marston

The Man in the Red Bandana: A 9/11 Hero

Welles Crowther began carrying a red bandana when he was 6 years old. It soon became his signature, and a link between father (his dad carried a blue one) and son. When Welles turned 16, he signed up as a junior firefighter at the local fire station -- Empire Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1. On September 11, 2001, Welles was working as an equities trader on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. When disaster struck, he took off his figurative equities trader "hat" and put on his fireman's hardhat. He navigated the stairs of the building 3 times to lead people down to safety before he was killed when the tower collapsed. Welles saved the lives of 12 people that day who will always remember the man in the red bandana. This moving video is a tribute to his spirit and the legacy of love and courage he left behind.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Live That Way

Be the kind of person you would truly enjoy being with. Do the kinds of things you’d love to see in others.

The way to experience good and valuable things in this world is to first cultivate those good and valuable things within yourself. What you encounter in life depends on the way you are.

Genuinely friendly and helpful people meet a lot of other friendly, helpful people. Loving, caring, creative and generous people encounter many other loving, caring, creative and generous people.

When you’re the one to start the ball rolling, you can roll it in any direction you choose. Live your highest values, consistently and without compromise, and by your very example you’ll spread those good values far and wide.

Don’t waste your time complaining about someone else’s questionable behavior. Make the choice to overwhelm that negative behavior with your own sincerely positive behavior.

How would you live if you were sure that life would follow your lead? Live that way, and you will in fact be making life that way too.

— Ralph Marston

Kindness Journey: An Interview with Geoff Nedry

"People talk about how if they win the lottery they can help so many people. You hear that all the time. But if you start actually doing small acts... it really is a great way to see the human connection and how little things really do matter -- even if it's just a compliment or a smile. It doesn't necessarily have to do with money." Geoff Nedry is a long-time kindness agent who early on found an unexpected partner in spreading smiles: His 5-year-old daughter Rachel. Read on to learn about this charming duo's powerful adventures in giving -- and the profound transformative effect it had on their family and beyond.

Monday, September 9, 2013

When Life Seems Difficult

When life seems difficult, it’s because you are comparing the way things are to how good you know they can be. That’s actually a good thing, because it connects you with your positive expectations.
Each time you encounter what feels like difficulty, remind yourself to also notice your positive expectations and possibilities. Let that feeling of difficulty lead to a feeling of empowerment.
You know, without a doubt, that things can be better. And knowing that, you are just one step away from beginning to make things better.
Yes, you could choose to become dismayed about the difficulties. Yet a much more powerful choice is to become excited about the positive possibilities.
The challenges and difficulties can give you something very valuable. They can give you specific ways to make a positive difference.
When life seems difficult, respond with gratitude and enthusiasm. Then get busy transforming those difficulties into positive, meaningful value.
— Ralph Marston

Steve McCurry: Family Matters

Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for more than 30 years, with scores of magazine and book covers, over a dozen books, and countless exhibitions around the world to his name. He brought the world the first visuals of the conflict in Afghanistan, putting a human face to the issue with the celebrated image of the Afghan Girl and many other such powerful photographs. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike -- always retaining the powerful human element in his photographs. In this collection of images, he captures the beauty of family from all stretches of the earth, reminding us of our shared global experience of our most intimate community.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to Train Your Brain to See What Others Don't

Remember the last time you had an 'aha' moment? The pleasure of a new and profound insight can leave us with that feeling of freshness and awe at witnessing something for the very first time. It is a deeply satisfying in itself and needs no external rewards. Cognitive psychologist, Gary Klein researches the science behind these epiphanies and shares his findings so that we can cultivate habits that make our mind fertile for such insights and realizations. "So do we have any control over these insights, and is there a way to train the brain to become more attuned to them? Insights may be unexpected, but we can actually teach ourselves to see connections that others may never notice," he says. This article shares five key things you should know about insight and how to invite it into your life.