everyday success


We Stand United

We have huge hearts.  When things go bad for other people, we care, we care deeply.  When others suffer, it’s our nature to help, to take action.  We’re a compassionate people with the willingness to stand up and be counted by helping in whatever way we can. 

When evildoers wreak horror, we stand united.  When winds destroy, waters flood and fires burn, we come together and we act.

While we stand united, the help we offer is different according to our own unique abilities.  First responders race to the scene providing aid to victims and helping to recover the salvageable.  Some first responders care for the injured, others work to recover infrastructure.  Still others work behind-the-scene whether by hugging and holding or by restoring and rebuilding.  Most recently, out of a need to be of help, people waited for hours in lines to donate blood.

In the case of mass murder, many among us courageously shield and care for their fellow beings, immediately giving of themselves to serve others.  In so doing, they foil the evil at hand.  As the victims are cared for, we then stop to look around and wonder how such an act is even possible.  Its enormity shakes us to our core; we are changed, forever changed.  As we come to know about such horrors, our humanness pulls us together. 

We are a deeply caring nation.  We stand united with victims of calamity.  We are bound by our humanity and our readiness to lend a hand, to support, to do something that can somehow make a difference.

It’s an investment of spirit.  In times of disaster, we are there for each other; we stand united.

Updated from my 2012 blog written at the time of another human calamity. 

Failures Can Lead to Wins

One of the winningest basketball players of history, Michael Jordan, said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  Jordan tirelessly practiced his sport; yes, he was talented but he always worked at his talent.

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, the record player and batteries.  The inventive Mr. Edison described his path to success as loaded with discoveries.  He said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

For Jordan it was practice.  For Edison it was a learning process.  We don’t see either as a failure; we only remember their wins because their ultimate wins were so big.  Edison also said that, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Too often, we think we should be able to get whatever it is we want to get immediately.  It’s easy to lose hope as we move along our path to whatever is in our sights, to our immediate goal.  Rather than lose hope, rather than give up, the answer is to narrow your focus and be willing to risk yet another attempt. 

Don’t let a failure foil your plan.  Allow for failure but don’t make it a habit.  Instead, ask yourself what caused the misstep; then, figure out how to improve on your next effort.  Success is often a matter of persistence and courage.


For more on how failure is often found on the path to success, read Megan McArdle’s just published The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success or Innovate Like Edison by Michael Gelb and Sarah Caldicott.


United We Stand: When Things Fall Apart, We Come Together

When there is a catastrophe . . . when the wind destroys, the waters flood, the fires burn . . . when there is a natural disaster, we come together. 

When an evildoer offends, when a transgressor’s acts devastate, we come together.

Some of us are first responders, those who aid victims or douse flames, remove debris or recover the salvageable.   First responders are on the scene immediately.

Others of us work behind-the-scene whether by hugging, holding or feeding, whether by cleaning, restoring or rebuilding.  Some send letters of love and care. 

We are forever changed yet we are united in our humanity.  We stand together. 

Some among us donate material goods or provide expertise to help the injured get back on their feet.

Still others help to underwrite the costs.  From lemonade stands to on-campus drives to individuals reaching deeply into their pockets to companies making a statement of their belief in community.  Each stands united with victims of calamity. 

It’s an investment of spirit.  Whether it’s time and talent or financial and material gifts, in the time of disaster, we are there for each other.  We stand united.

Giving a Daily Nod to the Good in Our Lives

The sunrise was amazing.  The berries at breakfast were delicious.  There was a text from my granddaughter.  I’ve already written an article.  So goes the day.  It’s starting well and for that I am grateful. 

Grateful.  Some of us are more inclined to notice the good things that happen in our lives, the things around us that are good.  Others of us are less aware, less inclined to notice the good, positive or pleasing things in their daily life.  Some, in fact, count the unpleasant things in their day.   

In the past decade, researchers have confirmed that our sense of well-being grows with our degree of gratitude.  When we are grateful, our sense of well-being is increased.  When gratefulness is not a part of our daily thought process, our overall sense of well-being will likely be lower.  

Gratitude is very simple; it’s a matter of giving a nod to the good, the positive, even the beautiful in our lives.  What we are grateful for is personal.  We can be grateful for just about anything and it’s likely the objects of our gratitude will differ greatly.  If you wonder what others are grateful for, visit Encyclopedia of Gratitude. With gratitude as its purpose, this website offers a “witty and wide-ranging compendium of things to be grateful for.”

How you tally the things for which you are grateful can be of your own design.  Many have taken up the popular gratitude journal.  Others make a mental review of their day as they prepare for their night’s rest.  For those whose sleep is not easy, count the good things instead of lambs!  Research shows that a gratitude mental review just before falling asleep improves the night’s rest. 

Whatever the method, whatever the time, daily recognition of all that is good can grow happiness and satisfaction.  Are you counting the good?