EVERY Small Thing Matters!

I frequently talk about the small things that transform lives. I usually do so from a positive perspective. For example, a smile or a compliment can brighten someone’s day. Let’s turn it around and see if the principle also works in a negative manner. We’ll explore it with the following questions.

  • How many times does an adult have to use profane or vulgar language before a child mimics the words?
  • How many times must a person drink and drive before they cause a fatal accident?
  • How many acts does it take to start a bad habit?
  • How much LSD is too much?
  • How long does one second feel when you’ve already held your breath for 60 seconds?
  • How many times must we neglect or offend someone before they are hurt emotionally?
  • How long will “a donut a day” be a harmless habit?
  • Can you get a $4.00 car wash if you’re one coin short?
  • From Chris DiMarco’s perspective, how important was a centimeter when Tiger Woods ball sat still on the edge of hole #16 at the 2005 Masters’ Tournament before it eventually trickled in?
  • From silver medalist Milorad Cavic’s perspective how important was 1/100 of a second when Michael Phelps won the 100 meter butterfly event in the 2008 Olympics at Beijing?
  • How important is 1/10th of a grade point in a race to be Valedictorian.
  • How important could one more SAT point be on an application to Harvard University?
  • How important is one punctuation mark?
    • I’m sorry I love you.
    • I’m sorry; I love you.

Is there an element of luck, good or bad, in the outcomes of these small matters? Perhaps sometimes, but I believe our chosen actions, at the very least, play with probability even when they don’t directly determine results. Instead of assuming we’re merely on the receiving side of luck, we should ask, “What did I do to shift the odds in my favor?  What will I do differently the next time to assure a more positive outcome?”

Zig Ziglar said, “Every choice you make has an end result.” Our beliefs, attitudes and actions are choices that influence outcomes.  He also said, “The choice to have a great attitude is something that nobody or no circumstance can take from you.” These choices, whether one-and-done or habitual, are real regardless of whether the matter at hand is small or large; positive or negative; important or irrelevant.

What choices will you make today with greater care than yesterday?  Visit www.CrossAbilities.com to see available choices waiting for you to decide.

Optimize Your Optimism

The ABC’s of Professionalism

Do you remember Winnie the Pooh’s friends Tigger and Eeyore? These characters could be used to teach a seminar on optimism and pessimism.

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

— A.A. Milne (1882-1956), “The House at Pooh Corner”, p. 11.

Tigger: Come on, Rabbit. Let’s you and me bounce.
Rabbit: Good heavens! Me bounce?
Tigger: Why, certainly! Look, you’ve got the feet for it.
Rabbit: I have?
Tigger: Sure. Come on, try it. It makes ya feel just grrreat!

— Walt Disney’s “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (animated film), 1977.

Probably the most familiar description of optimism is a comparison to its opposite using a glass that is half full of water. To the optimist it is half full – the pessimist sees it as half empty. Some hold a different understanding of these terms.

“We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic.” — Susan Jeffers

If so, how can the very same glass be unrealistic to one and realistic to another? They are both the same glass of water. The view Jeffers describes could only originate from someone with the mindset that we live in a world where outcomes are generally unfavorable.

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” — James Branch Cabell (1879-1958), The Silver Stallion, 1926

By the way, what causes pessimists to think they need to “save” the optimists?

“An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out? — Rene Descartes

An optimist, coming from a different emotional universe, has a more positive perspective. Good or bad, he makes the best of every situation and is more productive and happier because of it.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“I will say this about being an optimist– even when things don’t turn out well, you are certain they will get better.” — Frank Hughes

“All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” — Bible, Proverbs 15:15

The current downturn and volatility of the stock market along with other economic uncertainty has many people stirred up to the point of panic. Not so with one of my optimistic friends who admitted to being behind in his long-term investment goals. He correctly recognized this situation for what it is – a HUGE opportunity to catch up. Stocks-based investments are on sale at 1989 prices!

An optimist goes on an adventure, while the pessimist stays home. Maybe this is a good thing. We need people to “mind the store” while the rest of us are out living life. Great leaders are optimists. Their optimism was not the result of their climb to the top — it was the cause. They go a step further, by their inspiration.

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” — Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), speech at the Lord Mayor’s banquet, London, November 9, 1954

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” — John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life … in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.” — Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

How can someone become more optimistic? It starts with a decision. Yes, it is possible to decide today to become more optimistic. Here are five steps to get you started.

1) Take a personal inventory — Write down all of your blessings. Focus only on the positive. If you’re pessimistic, you’ve spent enough time and effort dwelling on the negative. Post your list of blessings on your bathroom mirror, by your bed and other prominent places. Add to your list regularly.

“This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” — Bible, Psalm 118:24

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” — Psalm 106:1

2) Seek God’s help daily — Develop your new positive attitude through prayer. Give thanks for each item on your list of blessings. Seek forgiveness for your mistakes. Ask God for strength, wisdom and guidance.

“He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

— Bible, Isaiah 40:29,31

3) Purge the negative thoughts — Throw away the negative stuff cluttering your mind. Write down your liabilities, barriers and excuses. Then tear them up and burn the pieces – literally! The next time you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, take a moment to remember that purging process.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” — Bible, Romans 8:31

4) Fill your mind with positive thoughts — Without the negativity there is room for positive thoughts. Make good choices for what you read, listen to, and watch on television. Put driving time to good use — turn your car into a university on wheels. Even if you can’t feel it, your mind is hungry, too. Feed it daily!

“Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author.” — Jim Rohn (1930- ), Weekly Ezine, Issue 48 – July 26, 2000

“Before you change your thinking, you have to change what goes into your mind.” — Zig Ziglar (1926- )

5) Reinforce your positive thoughts — Start using positive language. Practice it until it becomes a habit.

Friend: “How’s it going?”
You: “OK, I guess.”

This type of response is no longer acceptable. Only words like good, great, and fabulous are worthy of an optimist.

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” — Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)

Follow the program and you will enjoy the results. Here are some of the things you can expect from your new attitude:

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson (1933- )

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” — Colin Powell (1937- )

“A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” — Patricia Neal (1926- )

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” — Anonymous

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” — Susan J. Bissonette

Have a fabulous day!

God bless,

— CC

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© Copyright November 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Facing Fear

There’s something about business ventures that is both exciting and frightening. This is true for men and women alike. Imagine getting a call from a close friend. With excitement gushing from the phone he screams, “I’ve found the perfect business opportunity for us!” What your first reaction be excitement or fear? If you answered fear, this blog is for you.

Ask yourself, “What specifically am I afraid of?” You have to be honest about your fears before you can conquer them. Mentally put your initials by each fear that could keep you from going into business with your friend.

______ Fear of Rejection

______ Fear of Fear of Humiliation

______ Fear of Adrenaline

______ Fear of Change

______ Fear of Failure

______ Fear of Success

______ Fear of Hard Work

______ Fear of Not liking it

______ Fear of Losing money

______ List Other Fears _____________________________________________

Imagine the Worst

Now, close your eyes and imagine gathering all the courage you can muster and “taking the plunge” with your fears gnawing away at your determination. As you take action, imagine the worst possible scenario: sacrifice, exhaustion, insomnia, rejection, bankruptcy and humiliation. This opportunity could bring about drastic changes in your life. Did you break out into a cold sweat?

Imagine the Best

Let’s flip over to the positive side. Imagine the good things that could occur by taking action. The first is that you could conquer your fears. That alone might make action worthwhile. You could eliminate financial problems for yourself and help a lot of others along the way. You could enjoy the opportunity, make new friends, make a difference in the community and become a better, stronger person. Take several minutes to visualize these types of good outcomes that could occur from saying “yes” to the opportunity. This opportunity could bring about drastic changes in your life. It could be the best decision you ever made!

Putting Fear In Its Place

Fears are both learned and imagined. A baby does not fear falling until it experiences the negative consequences of hitting the ground. Rational fears like this help keep us safe. Somewhere along the line the imagination intervenes. The fear of falling grows into a fear of heights. Think about it. They are not the same thing.

Imagined fears deny us great opportunities. These fears are irrational because ….

  • The feared outcome happens less often than imagined;
  • The feared outcome is seldom as bad as imagined;
  • The potential positive outcomes are often much better than the imagined negative ones;
  • With courage, commitment, coaching, training, and practice fear can be defeated;
  • Enjoyment could replace fear.

The best way to overcome fear of any opportunity is to focus on the positive. Be aware of the risks for sure. But dream big and dream often about the many potential benefits. Then, share your dreams with others. As you nurture the dream, it grows and becomes more real. The fears will shrink and eventually become insignificant.

“Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right.” — Henry Ford

“My dreams are bigger than my excuses.” — Andre Maronian

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com