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Park Benches

Park Benches (Photo credit: Chris_J)

A man was walking through his neighbourhood when he heard the voice of God clearly say, “Sit and pray.”

He looked around, spied a park bench and sat down to pray.

As he prayed, he saw a man struggling with a heavy burden and again heard the voice of God say, “Help that man.”

He got up, went to the man and assisted him in carrying his load for a couple of blocks until he again heard the voice of God say, “Sit and pray.”

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Madison, Hayden and Logan all ready for action!

There were once two children who attended a large karate dojo.

They were both keen to improve their martial arts skills and impress their sensei.

Every time their sensei barked an instruction something interesting would happen.

The first child would immediately respond with what he thought was the right thing to do.  He would jump into a position and act according to his understanding of the instruction.

The second child would hesitate and watch everyone else to see what the right thing to do was.  He waited until they were all in position and then copy them.

As a result of their default responses something happened that defined how competent they got at karate and more importantly how they responded to life.

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Tree chewed through by beavers along the Tuala...

Tree chewed through by beavers in Oregon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beavers truly are extraordinary creatures.

With their razor sharp teeth, they have the ability to eat their way through a tree trunk in less than an hour.

Then, one tree at a time, they start to build their dam.

A tree is taken down and carefully placed into position.  But one tree doesn’t make much of a difference.

So another tree is lopped and moved, all to little avail.

It may take hundreds of trees to complete their structures, but this doesn’t stop them from working diligently until eventually their construction is completed.

Then something remarkable happens.

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~ Robbie Coltrane ~ Horned Owl from the Owl Fe...

Image via Wikipedia

According to tradition, owls are considered to be the wisest of all birds.

Their large eyes give the impression of intelligence, so they are often depicted in stories as wise and knowledgeable.

Personally, I think that they are magnificent animals and there are few more impressive sights than an owl in its natural habitat.

But are they really wise?

I’m not sure if they are from an IQ perspective, but I think that there are a few principles of wisdom that we can learn from owls.

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I was writing a resume for a client last week and one of the past roles he had was as a dispatch officer.  Or is that a despatch officer?

I wasn’t 100% sure, so I did what most people do these days when they don’t know the answer to something.

I googled it.

It turns out that both are acceptable, with dispatch preferred by most.

To dispatch (or despatch) literally means to send off a message, to execute a prompt business transaction or to effect the speedy delivery of goods.

As I considered which one to use, it occurred to me that the spelling of the word didn’t matter, but the meaning did.  Or more accurately, acting on the meaning.

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Castle Neuschwanstein at Schwangau, Bavaria, G...

Image via Wikipedia

Henry David Thoreau once said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

The “castles in the air” are your dreams, your aspirations, your goals.

They should be bold, grand and perhaps a little bit outrageous.

They should be something worth striving for, something that gets your heart racing.

They should truly be castles, not shacks or cottages.

But of course, bold dreams aren’t enough without action.

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New Melbourne Football Club coach, Mark Neeld, had to deal with a discipline issue early in his tenure.

One of his star players, Colin Sylvia, was cut from the Australian team for drinking before a training camp, giving Neeld an early challenge to respond to.

He sat down with Sylvia and appropriately sanctioned the player, but what I really liked was Neeld’s statement to the media:

Everyone’s really well-versed in nodding and saying the right thing.  My concerns are his actions over pre-season and when the season starts.  That’s what I’ll be watching.

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christmas tree

Image by milele via Flickr

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Christmas Day is looming fast and will be here before we know it.

My wife and I have started our Christmas shopping and always aim to get it done before the start of December each year.  It’s always a nice feeling to have the presents wrapped and stored away until the big day.

However, I’m conscious that many people scramble around at the last minute, fighting for parking spots and desperately deciding what to buy for their friends and family without a list, a budget or anything distantly resembling a plan.

For people in this situation, Christmas goes from being a great celebration to becoming an additional, unnecessary stress.  They dread the whole experience, it sits over their head like a black cloud in the few weeks preceding the big day and then they’re relieved when it’s over.

It doesn’t have to be like that and I don’t think that it should be like that.  With some careful planning and early action, Christmas Day can become the day of joy, celebration, reflection and quality family time that it has been designed for.

As I considered this recently, it struck me that the principles of planning and action is appropriate for virtually any deadline that we are involved with.

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In his song “Next Year,” jazz musician Jamie Cullum lists a bunch of resolutions that he’s made.

Among other things, he’s gonna drink less beer, get up at a decent hour, read more books, keep up with the news, learn how to cook, pay his bills on time, only drink the finest wine and call his Gran every Sunday.

He then asks himself if he’ll keep these resolutions and acknowledges that the answer’s probably “no.”

You probably have a list of things that you’re putting off until next year.

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I’m a big fan of comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his legendary show Seinfeld is still my all-time favourite television series.

My favourite episodes include the Pony Remark, the Puffy Shirt, the Serenity Now and of course the iconic Soup Nazi, but to me even the worst of Seinfeld beats the best of almost any other show on TV today.

His unique ability to find humour by simply observing everyday life has turned him into a great communicator who can relate to most people.

A few years ago he was asked to give the commencement speech at a New York school, so he sat down with a pen and paper and wrote down his three rules of life.

It’s a great list that gives some terrific insights as to how he’s become such a great success story.

Here are Jerry Seinfeld’s three rules of life:

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