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Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe around the barge li...

Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a legend that as Cain and Abel (the sons of Adam and Eve) explored the world for the first time, they came upon a lake.

They had never seen such a large expanse of water before and hesitated before investigating closer.

Cain went first and peered into the surface of the lake.

He saw a face that scowled back at him and concluded that the lake must be a cruel, hateful place that should be avoided and not trusted.

After telling Abel what he saw, the other brother went to look for himself.

Abel saw a smiling face looking back at him and concluded that the lake must be a beautiful thing that should be warmly regarded and treated with respect.

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There is pain that comes with living your purpose.

There’s the pain of hard work and discipline.

There’s the pain of constantly honing your skills.

There’s the pain of receiving criticism from those who don’t understand.

There’s the pain of getting emotionally involved in your work only to be disappointed when things don’t go right.

There’s the pain of watching others seemingly float through life.

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In a bygone era, the persistent salesman was the one who knocked on doors all day.

Peddling vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias, he would go from house to house, getting rejected over and over again until he finally got a chance to make a sale.

And then he went on to the next street and the next.

As with many aspects of the industrial age, it was labour intensive and required sweat to be effective.  The successful salesman was often the one who rang the most bells, the one who placed his foot in the most doorways so that he could be heard.

But times have changed.

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One day, a conformist sat down with a rogue.

He asked him a series of questions.

“Why do you have to be so opinionated?”

“Why can’t you just accept that this is how we do it around here?”

“Why can’t you just play it safe like the rest of us?”

“Why can’t you just be happy with the status quo?”

“Why do you have to bend so many rules?”

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If I never needed brain surgery (and some would suggest that I do), I wouldn’t care which university the surgeon went to or what marks she got.

I would just want to know how many similar surgeries she had completed and how they went.

If I was to ever hire a builder to construct a new home for me and my family, I wouldn’t be anxious about where he had completed his apprenticeship.

I would just want to know how many homes he had previously built and if they were still standing.

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Logan (in the foreground) and Hayden riding ponies at Myuna Farm in Doveton.

Farmer Ed was sad.

His large farm was losing money and he didn’t know how to turn around his financial situation.

As he drowned his sorrows at the local pub, he told everyone within earshot about his predicament.

Another local farmer came up and recommended that he buy three horses.  He suggested that if he bought a clydesdale, a thoroughbred and a pony, he would be able to transport his produce more efficiently, he could make money at the races and offer children’s rides to make extra cash on the weekends.

Intrigued by this idea, Farmer Ed used the last of his cash reserves to buy a clydesdale, a thoroughbred and a pony.

A month went by and Farmer Ed was again seen drowning his sorrows at the local pub.

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If the title of this post is true then perhaps we need to:

Feed our positive emotions and thought processes and starve the negative ones.

Feed our minds with great books and starve ourselves of mindless drivel.

Feed staying active and starve too much slouching about.

Feed our progress towards our goals and starve the periods of wasted time.

Feed our spirituality and starve our sole reliance upon physical needs.

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If you’re going to have a fulfilling career, there will be times when you will need to invest in your future.

Work takes up such a large part of our lives that it would be a shame to look back and wish that you had done something that could have improved your career prospects and increased your opportunity to either find your dream job or advance further where you are.

You can choose to float along as you are, but I suspect that almost anyone could benefit from at least one of these options.

So here are four investments that you can make in your career that I hope are helpful.  I’ve put them in order of cost, although this doesn’t mean that they’re in order of potential benefit:

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Lately, I’ve found myself saying, “I’m tired” a lot.

On the surface, it seems like a reasonable statement to make.  After all, I have three young, energetic kids, a full-time job, a part-time business and this blog that takes up a lot of my time.

But every time I say, “I’m tired” something happens.

My shoulders slump a little bit and my energy levels seem to drop.

“I’m tired.”

All of a sudden I have an excuse not to do my best work.

“I’m tired.”

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Tim Harris – Special Olympian, restaurant owner, hugger

The London Olympics are now over and there have been many inspirational stories of athletes who have overcome odds or broken world records or achieved remarkable deeds.

But I recently came across the story of an amazing young man who has genuinely inspired me.

Tim Harris is a Special Olympian who was born with Down Syndrome.

He has competed in a wide variety of events and claims to have won more medals than Michael Phelps.

But as impressive as that may be, that’s not the most inspirational thing about Tim.

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