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Study of a three-quarter size cello. Français ...

Legendary cellist Jacqueline Du Pre was six years old when she had her first competition.

She was seen running down one of the corridors, holding her cello above her head excitedly with a huge grin on her face.

An adult walking past saw her expression and interpreted it as relief.

“I can see that you’ve had your chance to play.”

Jacqueline answered enthusiastically, “No, no.  I’m about to!”

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It’s a common question that’s used to measure whether or not someone is truly passionate about their job, “Would you do it for free?”

It sounds like a reasonable question, except that most people remember that they have a mortgage, bills and other expenses so there’s invariably a part of them that responds, “No.”

Does this mean that you’re not passionate about your role?

Not necessarily.  If you want to know if your heart is in what you do, perhaps you should ask yourself these questions instead: Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a street sweeper somewhere who loves what he does for a living.

There’s a taxi driver somewhere who takes great pride in his cab and delights in delivering passengers to their destinations.

There’s a call centre worker somewhere who speaks with such joy that it brings a smile to even the most cantankerous of customers.

There’s a garbage man somewhere who skips to his truck every morning, looking forward to another great shift.

There’s a factory worker somewhere who always aims to do her best, operating with efficiency and lifting the moods of those around her.

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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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We’ve seen it happen over and over again.

A new, exciting artist releases their debut album.  They top the charts and win the acclaim of industry experts and peers.

Then, after much anticipation, they release their second album.

And it’s just not the same.

Why is it so difficult to replicate the success of the first effort?

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

The weather is starting to get cold as we move towards Winter here in Melbourne, so to combat the chill in the air, I’ve started using our wood heater much earlier in the year than usual.

As I watched the flames a few nights ago with the kids, I was reminded that fire is often used to illustrate passion.

If someone is described as fiery, hot-headed or as having fire in their belly, we know that they are passionate and energetic.

As I get the fire burning and turn up the heat at home, I’ve realised that perhaps it’s time to turn up the level of passion in other aspects of life as well.

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In Melbourne today, we celebrated Labour Day by taking the day off and lounging around the house.

Today is the day that we remember the legacy of those who worked hard to create working conditions that are more balanced and sensible, the principle being that everyone should work eight hours a day, sleep for eight hours and have eight hours of recreation.

It originated in a time when most men worked hard with their hands and their toil created value to the society that they lived in.

I would like to propose an extension to this day.  I call it Emotional Labour Day.

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Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all.”

It’s a sad, perhaps cynical comment, but it’s also truer than we would like.

I’m not sure that I’m wise enough to be able to completely define the difference between living and existing, but let’s try:

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A friend of mine was recently talked into going to her first fitness bootcamp.

Being a lady in her 50’s it was a daunting concept and the drills were a significant physical challenge.  They included carrying tyres above her head and then dragging them behind her while running, not my idea of fun.

Despite her struggles, at the end of the drills, the fitness instructor gave her an award for being the best participant.

She wondered why, but to others it was obvious.

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Gary Neville playing for Manchester United F.C.

Image via Wikipedia

Manchester United right-back Gary Neville announced his retirement from first team football today.

He was one of those players fans loved to hate.  He was much-loved at Old Trafford for his passion for the club and was despised by opposition supporters (especially Liverpool ones) for his combative style and outspoken nature.

Gary retires after 602 games for his club and another 85 for his country with an incredible eight Premiership medallions (no-one from any other club has more than three), a European Champions League and three FA Cup Medals amongst other awards.

Upon the announcement of his retirement, Manchester United Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson described him as “the best English right-back of his generation.”  High praise indeed!

So what makes Gary Neville inspirational?

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