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A Room with a View

Two men who were both seriously ill occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. He came to know the window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young couples walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse why his deceased roommate had always described such wonderful things outside this window.

She said, “He always knew how much you enjoyed and where encouraged by the beauty outside the window.”

Take a look. What can you do – right now – to put a smile on someone’s face and make them feel a little bit more happy. Will you? Now?

Thank you. The world is now a little bit more loving 🙂

~ Author Unknown .. plus a little help from Sandy ~

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Who I am – Makes a Difference

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her high school seniors for the difference they made in her life. Then she presented each of them with a Blue Ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.”®

Afterwards, the teacher gave each of the students three more ribbons to acknowledge others, to see what impact it would have in their community. They were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom and report back to the class the following week.

One of the students honored a junior executive in a nearby company for helping him with his career planning. The student gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt just over his heart. Then the boy gave him two extra ribbons, explained their class project on acknowledgment and enlisted the executive’s help.

Later that day the junior executive went into his boss and told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him.

His surprised boss said, “Well, sure.” After placing the ribbon above his boss’ heart, he asked him to support the efforts of the class project and pass on the extra ribbon. That night the grouchy boss went home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said,

“The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me this blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says ‘Who I Am Makes a Difference’® on my jacket above my heart. Next, he gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor.”

“As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you, son. I want to honor you.”

“My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school or for your bedroom being a mess. But somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life.

“You’re a great kid and I love you!”

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He walked over to a drawer, pulled out a gun, stared at his father and, through his tears said,

“I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I don’t need to.”

When we show love and kindness to another, a wave is created the ripples through many lives.

~ The author is Helice Bridges who in 1983 founded Difference Makers International so that every child would grow up in a safe, supportive, nurturing environment in which they would know that who they are making a difference. Today the “Who I Am Makes A Difference” Blue Ribbon Programs have impacted the lives of over 26 million people throughout the world. To Order Blue Ribbons please call 800-997-8422 or go online to www.blueribbons.org ~

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Are You Serious?

When I entered the business world I had a goal. A goal to make a lot of money. I succeeded and thought I was rich. Yay. Success !!!

But then soon – all too soon – I found out there was more to the story. What Rockefeller and Kennedy knew and taught their kids is once you have it, the rest of the story is to keep it.

New Year’s Resolutions are like this. To make goals to change our lives is just the first half of the story. Antoine de Saint-Exupry stated it well: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Am I serious? I am now making my New Year’s Resolutions. One is the goal I had a long time ago when I entered the business world, to make a good amount of money. For me. For my family. For others to help build their lives. But I know it is just a wish if I don’t create a firm plan to make it happen.

A plan that is concrete. That identifies exactly what I need to do and break it down step by step. To monitor these “baby steps” a day, a week, a month at a time and make changes in my path as wisdom and patience dictates.

There is a old cliché that says this well: “Plan our work and work our plan.”

I am serious. I plan to change my life in 2018.

Are you serious? Will you make goals and put them in a drawer? Or will you keep your goals on the table? Focusing on them and making them a reality step by step.

Let’s change our lives in 2018. Do it for us. Do it for our family. Do it for others to help them build their lives !!

~ The author is C. F. Sandy Pofahl ~

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Spitzer vs. Reagan

Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York, offers such a sad illustration of the opposite of humility. As I have discussed this tragedy with friends on Wall Street and others, I hear an interesting theme repeated regularly.

Most are not troubled by his actual bad behavior but rather by the contradiction of his behavior given Spitzer’s crusading style and judgmental actions toward others. The former Governor railed against corporate evil doers and even spoke out against prostitution rings. He referred to himself as a ‘steamroller’ and threatened to take down any and all who stood in his way.

My friend and mentor, John Whitehead, experienced the wrath of Mr. Spitzer in an unpleasant exchange. Whitehead, former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs among his many accomplishments, stood alone on Wall Street for his integrity and kindness. The fact that Spitzer would attack and threaten John for urging the prosecutor to be measured and careful lest he destroy good companies and reputations, tells much about Spitzer.

As a young White House staffer during the Reagan years, I found myself one day in a smallish room off of the oval office. Present along with President Reagan were the troika, Chief of Staff James Baker, former attorney General Edwin Meese and the late Michael Deaver, head of White House Communications, and for some inexplicable reason, I was there.

What struck me most profoundly about that hour was the kindness and lack of judgment of President Reagan. Anytime one of his political enemies, such as Senator Kennedy, was mentioned in some less than flattering way, the President would strongly speak up and point out their virtues and fine traits, and in Kennedy’s case, how that remarkable family had suffered.

I counted at least four times that he acted so nobly. I wandered back to my office with the thought in my mind,

‘I want to be like that.’

The Spitzer moments offer a teachable opportunity for me. May I look within, change myself first. Our nation is a contradiction on so many levels. One that jumps out is that fact that we are the most permissive society ever, and yet we are the most judgmental.

Change must begin with me. The bar is high. Judge not, lest you be judged. A lot to think about.

Thanks, Eliot, for the reminder.

~ The author is J. Douglas Holladay who was a general partner in Park Avenue Equity Partners, LP and a Senior Fellow of the Case Foundation. Prior to Park Avenue he was a senior officer with Goldman, Sachs and Company and prior to this he held senior positions in both the State Department and the White House. ~

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“If” by Rudyard Kipling

if160In 1883 Rudyard Kipling was a Junior Editor who would with the Editor’s assent intersperse his poems in the left-over spaces of the weekly gazette. After three years he gathered his poems together and republished them with his book being an immediate success.

Then it was one book after another from 1886 until his death in 1936 with the poet’s pen being seldom idle. His books become popular because his poetry expressed the deep soul-sense of men to live up to a standard set by their forebears.

He was by far the most widely read, and the best-loved, poet writing in English at the beginning of this century; every cultured person in the English speaking world was familiar with at least some of his poems. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Below is an example of one of his classic poems. You read it in high school, but now read it carefully again:

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

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