You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

Before you do something worthwhile, there’s a moment.

In the moment before you go to the gym, you feel a sense of dread and try to come up with an excuse not to go.

In the moment before you try to help someone, you wonder if they will appreciate your efforts.

In the moment before you enrol in a course, you try to think of a reason not to do it.

In the moment before you order a salad, you inspect the menu to see if there’s something that looks more appetising.

In the moment before you pray, you think of all the other things that you need to do.

In the moment before you post a blog or share your opinion with the world, you wonder if anyone will disagree with you or even care.

And in that moment you have a critical choice.

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Michelangelo once entered the studio of his contemporary Raphael.

He looked at Raphael’s work, picked up a piece of chalk and wrote the word “Amplius” across one of the drawings.

Amplius means greater or larger and is the source of the English word ample.

Michelangelo was imploring Raphael to be more ambitious with his work, to think bigger, to be more audacious.

What if the word amplius was written across your life?

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Do you want to come first, or are you content not to come last?

Do you want to make something magnificent, or are you content not to do something stupid?

Do you want to be great, or are you content not to be average?

Do you want to inspire others to greatness, or are you content to hide from view?

Do you want to become a genuine expert in your field, or are you content to be protected from criticism?

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Occasionally, young speakers ask me for advice on public speaking.

I love it when they do, not because I’m flattered to be asked (although perhaps I am), but because the art of public speaking is a noble one and if I can contribute positively to anyone who has the courage to stand in front of a group of people, then I’m happy to help.

The following is a random list of suggestions that I’ve given over the years.  I hope that they’re helpful and relevant for people of all ages: Read the rest of this entry »

My kids love all things digital.

They love computer games, watching DVD’s and playing on their Nintendo DS’s and Wii system.

The twins got their own CD players for their birthdays and it’s not unusual to hear Coldplay’s “Paradise” blaring from Logan’s bedroom.  He sings along and knows every word.

Such gadgets keep them occupied, keep them entertained and keep them quiet (most of the time), and for that we are occasionally grateful.

However, for all of the technology that our kids are immersed in, they still love board games.

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There are always mountains in the distance,

Even if I’ve just climbed one.

There are always mountains in the distance,

Chanting what’s still to be done.

There are always mountains in the distance,

They beckon, they taunt, they call.

There are always mountains in the distance,

On them I’ll stumble and fall.

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No matter how much you want to, you can’t force everything.

You can’t force people to agree with you.

You can’t force someone to see things from your perspective.

You can’t force people to share your values.

You can’t force your boss to give you a promotion.

You can’t force someone to believe in God.

So what do you do?

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A couple of weeks ago, Karen and I took the kids to a local park that has a pond.

We took some bread and fed the various ducks, coots and a solitary pelican.  I wasn’t aware that pelicans are partial to bread, but that’s beside the point.

As we fed them, I noticed something interesting.

There was a large bunch of about 30 ducks that had gathered together a few metres away from the water’s edge in deeper water.  They scrapped and fought for the few pieces of bread that were thrown into their midst.

There was also a solitary duck that had the courage to swim away from the flock and come closer to shore.

It realised that my five-year-old daughter, Madison, didn’t have such a strong arm and so there was a lot of bread on offer.

That duck ate well.

People aren’t that different.

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Over the last couple of years, we’ve lost some great leaders and thinkers.

Inspirational and influential people such as Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Bryce Courtenay, Stephen Covey, Jim Stynes and John Wooden have all passed away recently.

In addition, people like Nelson Mandela and Billy Graham are well into their 90’s and may be leaving us soon.

As we mourn the loss of such great people, I can’t help but think that we need reinforcements.

We need others to stand up and take their place.

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Two tadpoles, Ted and Todd, hatched from the same batch of eggs.

They swam around excitedly, wiggling their little tails with great enthusiasm.

They swam up to their mum and exclaimed, “Look what we can do, look why we can do.”

The mother frog looked at the two tadpoles with great pride and called them closer. She then explained the process of metamorphosis and how they will eventually lose their tail and grow legs.

This news impacted the tadpoles differently.

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