Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Success is Always Best When Shared

The future is bright. Because the future is created by positive people.

Those who are negative make a lot of noise about how bad things are. Those who are positive quietly and steadily make a lot of real improvements and contributions to life.

There are always problems and there are always challenges. And there are always people willing to transform those challenges into great opportunities.

Those who have the courage, commitment and discipline to follow their own best dreams, bring the rest of the world along with them. Those who choose to do the best they can with what they have, create a better life for everyone.

For every high-profile guru of doom who wails about how hopeless and unfair life is, there are millions of others working tirelessly to make life better than ever. For every frightening crisis that is breathlessly reported, there are millions of real, meaningful success stories that don't get noticed, but that do have enormous positive influence.

Negative people obsess over the past while positive people work their way eagerly toward the future. Life gets better and better when you choose to make it so, and the future is bright indeed. - Ralph Marston

What is YOUR latest success story?

Artwork by Cindy Hesse - Many thanks.


Harmony said...

I am new to your blog and happy to have found it Chris, Molly? :-)

This post nails it. If you are expecting life to be a problem, you bet it will show you how productive your problems can be.

If on the other hand, you are expecting and in touch with the sense that all is good, and will be in the next moment, as it is in this one, you will experience the best of life.

My success stories all come from the practice of learning to stay within the moment I am in and notice only the power of that moment. The results are honestly incredible and humbling.

All those years I spent trying to be positive and make a difference...I made it much harder than it ever required.

Thank you Molly for this post, and your well done blog! I have RSSSSSSSSSS it. :-)

Molly Brogan said...

Welcome, Harmony. I hope you enjoy and look forward to hearing more from you.

Lee said...

I got into work on time this morning.

Chris said...

I didn't have a total meltdown when my car was repossessed on Saturday.

Ian said...

I'm going to be a dad.

Chris said...


Lee said...

Hey congrats to ya!

Molly Brogan said...

WOW Ian. There is one big huge success that will contain lots of little successes along the way. Prepare for take off. My boys are in their twenties now and each year has been filled with different kinds of joy and challenge. Congratulations.

Francis said...

Let me add my congratulations, Ian - Welcome to a whole new world!

Pat said...

Mazel Tov, Ian!!

Neil said...

I didn't know my lad was mine until his mother dumped him on me when he was nine. Judging from experience with my grnadson, I get heavily into the philosophy of mathematics Ian. This is the only sure way of experiencing something worse than childbirth and post- natal depression! Here's a tad for you delicatation.

If we take the claim that there is no good positive argument for platonism (that numbers are real, but abstract objects) and we combine it with Ockham's razor (i.e., the principle that tells us that if two theories account for all the same facts, then, ceteris parabis, we ought to endorse the more ontologically parsimonious of the two), then we seem to be led to the result that fictionalism is superior to platonism. I like mathemeatical fictionalism on the grounds one can go around telling everyone 2 + 2 = 4 is false and yet still resonably count one's change in the pub. It should be noted, however, that this argument is explicitly rejected by at least two of the defenders of fictionalism. Rosen (Burgess and Rosen, 1997) doubts that there is any good reason to accept Ockham's razor, and Balaguer (1998) argues that even if we accept it, there are reasons to think that it is not applicable in the present case.

Now this is just the kind of argument one needs to make over the breakfast table to stop the missus whining about being up all night with the screaming child and other wordly trivia! 'Mathemeatical' might not be a typo if said missus had access to a meat cleaver in the circumstances above, as she might not realise you were merely attempting to share her pain in the terrors of argument and conclude you were a worthless prat. Molly's argument on the happy, shiny, positive people might also not work. I'm sure my daughter must have developed her skills in the logic of mathematics whilst locked interminably in the bathroom, whilst I fed and watered the baby pondering the damage his non-environmentally friendly nappies were doing to my wallet and the burning planet.

Even I coped Ian! Good luck mate.

Pat said...

2+2=4 is false in a base 3 or 4 system, as there is no '4' to be had. The result would '11' or '10', respectively. One doesn't need to resort to Ockham or Plato, only mathematics.

Ian said...

Neil, thanks for sharing that pain. Although, believe me, that really wasn't that bad. Not compared to a kidney stone.

And that has to be the most convoluted explanation of Ockham's Razor I've ever read. Congrats! :)

Neil said...

I just thought I'd share Ian - it's part of a whacky paper for a conference in Toronto next year. I've had to submit 8,000 words and am frankly lost myself by the end of page one. Somewhere in the reading I had to put up with an explication of the efficacy of the Razor AND why it wouldn't apply in mathematical fictionalism, followed by a two page recommendation that 'fictionalism' always be written in italics. The conference is on behaviour in financial markets - quite why anyone thinks this twaddle is relevant I don't know, but it seems the title 'A Fictional Mathematical Basis For Accounting' inspired the interest. I regard it as another addition to my 'I'll do anything for free food, plane tickets, hotelling and a small fee' series.

Strangely, given its intense magnitude, none of this rot was ever in my head amidst the nappies and blended baby food. I'm chuffed to bits for the two of you mate. 'Chuffed' of course, outside the vernacular, refers to the exhausted state of frogs after copulation. And shortly, you will come to empathise with the state of such poor frogs! How women cope with what they have to go through beats me altogether - though one should note they bleed for 5 days without dying, whereas we are made to feel like we are dying over a pin prick.

Back to Molly's original post - I'm reminded of 'Appreciative Inquiry'
- long a chapter in manaing change. Critical incident analysis has been around forever of course. One has to look at disaster to avoid it in future and into the future to prevent apparently good things now causing disaster. This is one reason we don't usually sprog kids all over the place. There is a book (Whitney and co-cospirators 2002) called 'The Encyclopedia of Positive Questions'. The basic idea is to create an 'inquiry matrix' that gets to the roots of success - but essentially one can do this in the examination of failure too. There is a strong view that we have a history of mistakes, rather than success to work with. I'd say global catastrophe points to this. I would have a certain edge from what Molly suggested - all winning teams I played in were able not to preselect failure - but that didn't mean forgetting Bradford Northern were always bigger, tougher, meaner and harder than we were, or that Sunday morning would hurt like hell. We had a vice principal once who always told us to emphasise the positive - actually he used a word beginning with 'c' but I've forgotten it. He kept saying this phrase amongst crap buildings, shit
food and utterly dull academic performance. We never did get university title with buffoons like him around. I know Molly means something else, but fine words from weasels achieve nothing except keeping thr weasels in power. One can find a wider description of these issues in John Hayes' 'The Theory and Practice of Change Management' - which is still managerial. Anyone who wants the critical inside track can contact me for a few articles on management fashions and gurus. Robert Jackall's 'Moral Mazes' remains a classic in the books, or Peter Anthony's 'The Foundations of Management' (sadly out of print).

A wet nurse and a nanny would make Ian's future so much more positive! Or would it? What do YOU think! I couldn't see him as that kind of bloke if he had all the tea in China - I understand current Chinese coal stocks would ot pay a week's wages.

Molly Brogan said...

Yesterday, I helped my family to successfully place my mother in law into a nursing home for the time being. While this was the best thing to do for her health and safety, it was heartbreaking to leave her sad face as she did not want to be there. Success doesn't always feel good, does it?

Trevor said...

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Sir Winston Churchill

Michael said...

I have similar feelings about the way this crazy planet works. I moved to NJ recently and now I'm living on an Army base called Ft. Dix. Just to inform anyone who doesn't know it's a bit different then living out in the real world. Everyone here understands sacrifice and is always willing to lend a helping hand. In fact I hadn't even opened the first box to unpack before I had one neighbor bring be cookies and another invite me to have dinner. How many people can say that with in a week of living in a totally different town; let alone state; that know the names of there two closest neighbors and all of there children. I'm not saying this is a model for all people to follow, but it does make me wonder why all communities can't behave in such a manner. Why do people feel so threatened in the "real world" that they are unable to open up to one another? Today's atmosphere is full of so much greed and solitude that I think man as a whole has forgotten that just saying, " how are you today," with a smile can actually make someone else have a better day. In this world of me me me and now now now I think people have forgotten that it is someone else who is really doing the things you need to get done for you. From checking out at the grocery store to having a pizza delivered every one is intertwined in some small fashion. I think the golden rule should always apply. Now I know my short blog can't change the world but maybe it can help the way one person thinks and start a short chain. I look forward to discussing this further.

ornamentalmind said...

Michael, I have quite a few friends there in NJ and hope to return soon to visit. Some of them who have only met me 2 or 3 times invited me to stay with them while there. The feed me, gave me their bed to sleep in, drove me around etc. So, while, like you, I find a rainbow of differing views from others, even some who do not share the same area of work and possible fear of work related death can behave in a similar way. Further, the golden rule, understood as seeing 'self' within others, can be quite difficult to achieve. Once this mystical stance, one of the mirrors spoked of throughout history, is fully embodied...well, yes, life can be quite different. In fact, the truth is that "We Are One".

Neil said...

I think we'd find a very small number of people make our lives rotten - from crappy anti-social types (scrotes) to the idiot power-brokers produced by politics and wealth.

Valtermar said...

Since the issue is about positive actions and results, I thought you might enjoy, the way I have enjoyed it, reading the story below, sent to me by a friend.

If you are willing to read, you might find in it some ideas I think are worth believing about how things can be achieved and how to live with contentment with what you are able to do, one step at a time.

The Daffodil Principle (The name of the author was not disclosed to me)

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over."

I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then "I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this"

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around"

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, " Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain and its surrounding slopes.

The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow Each different colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read.

The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain."

The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop.

Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time--often just one baby-step at a time--and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world .

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays.
The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting.....
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and,
Dance like no one's watching.

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

By the way, Congratulations for the good news, Ian!

Being a parent can be one of the most gratifying experience in life. In any case, one learns a lot from this experience.

Suzy said...

My couch was stolen, I dropped my blackberry in the toilet, I have three term papers due, and there's a mouse in my apartment... Yet I remain positive and aim to fix each problem one at a time. I remember what is quoted in every AA meeting I attend (for/with my dad):

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Rex said...

Success is a choice surrounded by positive actions and positive people. I find that negative people obsess over the future and try to recruit for their self-fullfilling visions That doesn't mean we should ignore potential negative consequences; it means there are positive sides to negative consequences and there-in lies our ability to achieve. Enjoyed your writing.

Patricia said...

Success comes with Goals.

From Pema Chodrom - The Path Is the Goal
If there's any possibility for enlightment, it's right now, not at some future time. Now is the time.

Share your success in helping others reach theirs.

Trevor said...

You are out of the gaze of the attentive masses and in the sights of your own perception and that of those you love. Though your journey is intrinsically personal and alone, the pooling of energies helps. To share the intent to awaken with the ones you love bears precious gifts.

"This is going to be an arduous journey and a long journey, and you will have to pass through many deserts and many mountains and many oceans. Alone you may not be able to gather that much courage, alone you may feel hopeless. But when you see many people dancing, singing, rejoicing in their journey, great courage arises in your heart, great trust arises in yourself. You become confident that it is possible in this life to be a buddha."

Morgan said...

Isn't success relative? Murderers may feel successful when they successfully murder their victim. Is this success best when shared?

Wehireu said...

Some people don't recognize the philosophy best expounded by "A rising tide floats all boats." The world would be a better place for everyone if we addressed the issues of poverty and hopelessness. People who step out of poverty have less children which in turn uses less resources. They also take better care of the world around them. If we want a better world to live in, addressing the problems at the bottom will help everyone. Success comes when society becomes more just.

Patricia said...

Welcoming words which touch deep this evening. Thank you Trevor. Cheers~

An arduous journey these last 5 decades have been though not long, the journey moves too quickly. Being with people can free us from desperation; an open door for aspiration. Though these eyes do need to be open to join others and reach out for if allowed, the mountains and oceans can trap ones soul.

A Zen master said to a monk, "You must see the universe in your cup." The monk looked into his cup, but he didn't see the universe there, so he threw the cup away. The Zen master said, "Oh, poor cup." We think the cup is too small to hold the universe. Intellectually, we can't see how it could fit. But wherever we go, the whole universe always appears — in a cup, in a window, in a smile, in a word.
— Dainin Katagiri in You Have to Say Something

To Practice This Thought: See the whole universe in a cup or a smile.

(This practice brings us back to an earlier writing from Molly ‘Sharing a Laugh and a Smile’. Which, I enjoyed your story on the three Chinese mystics)

Molly Brogan said...

To live in the moment and be able to see the God (the universe) everywhere, especially in a smile, would certainly make for success. That even, steady, peaceful warmth of character that shines for all the world to see is, for me, the best place to be.

Thanks Patricia.

Trevor said...

The greatest obsession that humanity suffers is of 'that which should be'.
It is a kind of madness. The really healthy person has no concern with that which should be. His whole concern is the immediate, that which is. And you will be surprised: if you enter into the immediate, you will find the ultimate in it.
If you move into that which is close by, you will find all the distant stars in it.
If you move in the present moment, the whole eternity is in your hands.