Thursday, May 20, 2010

Say Thanks Before It's Just a Memory

by Harvey Mackay, best selling business author

Some time ago, the owner of a small but profitable business wrote columnist Ann Landers about his practice of giving annual bonuses to his employees. The amounts were based on time served and salary levels.

He had been doing it for 16 years, and in all that time, only two employees had ever said thank you. Neither was still with the company. One passed away, and the other took early retirement.

The owner vowed that he wasn’t going to give any more bonuses, and if anyone complained, the response would be: “There will be no bonuses this year because not one of our current employees has taken the time and trouble to say thank you.”

In her answer, Ann Landers segued from that letter to the tons of letters she receives from others, parents and grandparents in particular, who wanted to know what to do about gifts that are not acknowledged. What happened? Did the poor thing lose the power of speech or the use of their writing hand? Did they fall off the ends of the earth? Was the gift lost in the mail?

How many times have we sent a birthday check and not heard a word back, the only evidence that the gift was received found among the pile of canceled checks returned from the bank?

How many times have you given a larger than normal tip without any recognition? Waiters and waitresses should realize a larger tip is a signal that a customer enjoyed the experience and wants to return, particularly if their generosity is acknowledged. Diners even have been known to ask for a favorite waitperson’s station.

If you’re a salesperson or own a company and have recently received a larger-than-expected order from a customer, what have you done to make that customer know how you feel about it? It’s great to take your spouse out to dinner to celebrate your great sales ability, but what about the guy or gal who gave you the order?

A thank-you is just good manners. A prompt thank-you is easy to say—a lot easier to say than “Gee, I forgot to tell you how much I appreciated your order” or “How’ve you been after all this time?”

When Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City, the police enforced quality-of-life laws, and Giuliani even called for New York City’s cabdrivers and waiters to improve their manners, pointing out that rudeness is not a great civic selling point. It seemed to work. Crime went down. Tourism went up. New York City was on a roll.

Many companies wait until the holidays to say thank you. There’s nothing the matter with that, but why wait? It’s a lot more personal and responsive to seize the day and say the magic words the moment it’s appropriate. And forget the stuff with your corporate logo on it as a thank-you. It’s fine as advertising. For yourself. But it isn’t a gift.

The best gifts I have ever received have no monetary value, but what I call memento value. They are the letters I receive from people who have used tips or advice I’ve given in speeches, columns or books to get jobs, bonuses or unexpected orders. When a 72-year-old woman wrote to thank me for helping her make a dynamic splash in her chosen field, I was on cloud nine for days. And what an upper it was to hear from a man in prison that he’d begun to turn his life around, thanks to the inspiration he’d received from one of my books.

One area of thank you territory that many of us neglect is our formative years. They don’t call them “formative” for nothing. Have you ever said thanks to the teachers and coaches who lifted you up, dusted you off and set you straight when you were trying to figure out what growing up was all about? Though it may have been decades, you would be surprised how many of them remember us and remain our cheerleaders throughout our life. Believe me, a note or even a phone call from you would be well-received.

Reproduced with permission from the Ron White Newsletter. To subscribe to Ron White's Newsletter, go to http://www.MemoryInAMonth.com Copyright 2009 All rights reserved worldwide.

Protecting Our Children from Predators: Admitting the Problem

By: Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

Jessica Lunsford…Caylee Anthony…Haleigh Cummings…Jessica Vargas…Trenton Duckett…and the list goes on. These are just a few of the names of children who have been killed or are missing here in the state of Florida, many of them in the Central Florida area. In the shadow of Disney World there are predators who would seduce and harm our children in ways we cannot imagine. As a test, I went to the sex offender and predator database for Florida and typed in the addresses of my home and of my work. Immediately hundreds of registered sex offenders popped onto the screen. It was startling and terrifying all at the same time. The Department of Justice estimates that, on average, there is one child molester per square mile in the United States. They also estimate that the average child molester victimizes between 50-150 children before he is arrested. Anna Salter, in her book “Predators”, cites research that says 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have sexual contact with an adult. She also notes that 3 years old is the most common age that sexual abuse occurs.
As a therapist, these figures startle and intrigue me; the fact that there are so many predators out there…mostly men, who are so emotionally deranged or wounded themselves that they are willing to commit unspeakable acts on young children. As a counselor, this is almost overwhelming to me in its magnitude.
As a parent……a father….a daddy………..it angers and disgusts me to my very core. As my awareness rises in this arena my protective instincts hit overdrive. As I see case after case on the news of missing children and children who have been victimized in some way and of the children that didn’t make it, whose remains have been discovered somewhere, carelessly discarded by someone who only viewed them as an object of that person’s warped and self-centered idea of pleasure, I am outraged and irate. I truly wish that I could assist the police on every one of these cases. I think of what Jessica Lunsford endured and mourn over what never should have happened to her. I reflect on Caylee Anthony and pray that there is justice for that little girl. The case concerning Haleigh Cummings haunts me every time I hear anything mentioned about it. Why can’t they find her??? And then I think of my little boy and my precious little girl and I wish I could keep them with me every minute of every day so they are protected and will never have to worry that they could part of this list.
And so, because I am limited in how I can offer assistance to the community in fighting this horrible epidemic….because I am not in a position to strap on a gun and hunt down the predators who stalk and pursue our children…I write.
This will begin a series of articles on how we, as parents, can better-protect our children from predators. I will be sharing research I have found in my training as a sex offender treatment specialist and other research that is out there from various authors and many others who have gone further than I in the fight to save our children. My prayer is that the articles I write will be a resource for parents that will give them greater courage and knowledge to protect their kids. The police cannot do it alone. After viewing the database, I know that there are too many predators out there for the limited number of law enforcement officers, try as they might. We, as the community, as parents, must join the fight. We must not sit back and just hope that our children will not be one of those chosen as targets. We must become informed about the nature of predators and learn as many safeguards as possible that will make our children a more difficult target than most predators want to focus on. We cannot be with our children 24-7, as much as we wish we could. However, we can gather the tools we need to become “parent warriors” who are alert, informed, and who arm their children with the emotional and safety-oriented weapons they will need as they venture into a world that is not as safe as we want it to be.
So fellow parents, though I write with the knowledge I have gathered as a therapist, the heart of these articles will be from my role as a daddy, one that is very protective of his babies, would fight to the death for all of them, and who wants to help you to fight for your own family. Together, we can make a difference.

Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org

American Idolaters: Aren’t We All?

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

I know, I know…..my title might be a little offensive. After all, the word “idolater” doesn’t illicit reactions of joy or glee in most, especially those of us who understand how much God HATES idolatry. Yet, as I examine my own life and look at the lives of countless others, I have to stick to my guns. At some point in time, aren’t we all idolaters?
Before you answer I should probably tell you that I believe idolatry to be when we put anything ahead of the Lord in our lives as far as priority. I know that’s a tough definition but the Word clearly teaches that our God is a jealous God and he expects to be #1, numero uno, absolutely FIRST priority in our lives. With that being said, almost anything can become an idol to us. It could be our spouse, our children, our career, money, popularity, our best friend, sleep, exercise, drugs, alcohol, sex, even ministry as a vocation. The frightening truth is that ANYTHING in this world can become an idol to us, something that forces God to move into second place…or third…..or fourth……or……well, you get the picture.
The biggest part of this issue is the hatred God feels towards idolatry. I’ve been reading through the Bible lately and as I peruse the book of Kings or Chronicles or Isaiah or Jeremiah, in fact almost all the Old Testament, it becomes very clear that idolatry is one of God’s “buttons.” Israel committed many sins and He often showed great compassion and forgiveness. But His pet peeve was how quickly the people of Israel turned to other gods (no gods at all) for comfort and security instead of turning to Him. This steamed God to no end. After all He had so obviously done for His people; saving them from Egyptian slavery, feeding them in the wilderness, leading them by His clear presence, clearing out the Promised Land so they didn’t have to worry about it, destroying their enemies time and time again, and so on. After all that and more, they continued to turn their eyes away from Him and onto Baal or Asheroth or Dagon….onto sexual immorality or the pursuit of power and wealth, of ANYTHING except Him.
The message to us is clear: God wants, no demands, to be our number one priority or He is not happy. Ouch. I said…..OUCH! This really hits home for me and is truly a scary reality.
That means that every time I have failed to complete a fast because I just had to have a certain food, in that one moment, I have placed food ahead of my hunger for God. That means when I care more about the happiness of my wife or the comfort of my children than I do the desires of God’s heart, I’m putting Him in 2nd or 3rd place. It means that whenever I pursue career success more than I pursue my walk with the Lord that my career has become my idol. You can insert anything into this paradigm. Whether we’re talking about good and honorable pursuits like family time healthy living or, on the flip side, sinful pleasures like gossip or pornography the truth remains the same: if these things come before God in our heart of hearts, they have become a form of idolatry. Larry Crabb in his book, “The Pressure’s Off” talks a lot about how we often pursue God’s blessings more than God himself. If this is true, doesn’t it mean that the pursuit of God’s blessings, IF IT IS #1 TO US, is a form of idolatry?
People, God desires for us to desire Him. He expects to be #1 in our goals, our priorities, our decisions, and in our hearts. Whether that means blessing or suffering doesn’t matter. God expects us to put Him first, no matter the outcome. When we don’t, are we any better than our Israelite examples?
So, how do we do this? Practically speaking it is very difficult to keep God #1 in our lives. I know that. Shoot, I LIVE that. But my desire is that this would change. My goal is that I can turn this trend around in my heart and life. My quest is to walk so closely with God that His wants are my wants, His goals are my goals. So how do we turn this around in our lives?

• Focus on knowing Him; not knowing ABOUT Him: Too often we rely on “head” knowledge in regards to the Lord yet our sins and idolatry and fleshly pursuits normally come from our hearts. We must strive to draw near in relationship to God, allowing His Word to penetrate more than our brains. We must read every scripture with an eye on what the Lord wants to speak into our wounded, sinful hearts. This means we must become better listeners to God by seeking Him in silence and solitude. The more we learn to know Him and allow Him to lead us on a personal level, the less we will drift towards other things in priority.

• Realize that none of these other pursuits can satisfy: Everyone, all these other things that provide us temporary happiness or comfort are no more satisfying, in the long run, than the wooden idols were in scripture. A happy family always hits hardship. Money can come and go overnight. Your spouse may be pleased with you one minute and irate at you the next. A piping hot pizza may make you feel better in the moment but give you a stomach ache thirty minutes later. Sex may be awesome for about sixty seconds of climax but it can never fill the void in your heart. Some of the things we turn to are okay and healthy. No problem. It’s great to spend time with family or to minister to people or to “bring home the bacon.” The problem comes when we put those things ahead of God in our lives. Then they simply become “broken cisterns” that can never hold water or bring us real contentment. The reason we have to keep going back and back to all of these things is because they can never fully satisfy for long. Only God can, which is why He deserves to be #1. If you will just take a long look at these other pursuits and realize they never fully deliver, then you’re on the road to understanding how they must come behind the Lord in our lives and hearts.

• Have realistic expectations of your walk with Christ: I’ve talked to so many people who get disillusioned with the Lord when they face hardship or things don’t go their way even though they believe they are living right and making good, godly decisions. Let’s face what that attitude really is: a manipulative view of our Father in Heaven. A friend of mine said it so well: “For every Solomon in scripture, who acquired great fame and wealth, there is a John the Baptist, who died alone in a prison cell.” I love that because it means that living for the Lord does not necessarily mean we will experience an easy or affluent life here on earth. John the Baptist served God as diligently as Solomon, some would say MORE so. Yet, his life was one of living in the wilderness and a beheading by a jealous queen. We must put God first, whether He blesses our lives in earthly ways or not. Even if our children turn away from Him after we spent years training them up as Christians, God must still be first. Even if we follow the Lord into ministry only to be spat upon or beaten down emotionally from our congregation, God must remain primary to us. If we somehow inherited 100 million dollars and our every earthly need was taken care of, God must still reign! So, be realistic. If you think being a Christian means only a life of blessing and prosperity, think again. It might mean that but, then again, it might not. Only God can choose what our lives look like here on earth. He might bless us materially or we may never know where our next meal will come from. Either way, God desires first place.

• Look to God instead of self-medicating: When things get hard, don’t reach for a glass of wine for comfort. Don’t think that being super-dad or super-mom will make it all better. Chocolate will not fill your heart up. Pornography only adds to our shame instead of healing our pain. People, listen up. When life gets hard take all of that to the Lord. Your anger, sadness, disappointment, joy, unforgiveness….all of it. All the ways we choose to try to feel better are barely even temporary in their comforts. Only God is the living water and only He can satisfy our souls and mend our wounded hearts.


• Keep your eyes on Him: That’s the key. Staying focused on the Lord. Not running ahead. Not demanding a certain lifestyle. Not worrying about your future. Keeping your eyes on God, knowing that He has a plan for you. Comfortable? Maybe not……..but one that is good.
So, right now my readers. Evaluate your lives. Make a list of what is most important to you. Is God first? If not, where is He in the list? How can you change that? Do you even want to?
American Idolaters? I confess…..I am one. But I’m striving to move God up that list so that He is consistently #1. It’s the only way to true peace and happiness. It’s the only way to truly walk with Him.


Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org

Dying for Connection

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

You know, I’ve never been one of those people who reacted very much to safety tips. I realize that is not a flattering realization about me but it’s been pretty constant throughout my life. It could be a backlash from the fact that my mother was constantly reading and would often warn me about the potential dangers of so many common things. Seriously, my mom often sounded like the voice-over on those pharmaceutical commercials. You know the overly pleasant voice that calmly describes the potential side effects of taking ANYTHING. Seriously, the actors are playing happily together, holding hands, tossing a football while the soothing voice is telling you that this same drug may cause seizures, paralysis, sexual dysfunction, hives, a constriction of the throat, chronic diarrhea, leprosy, and the equivalent of a lobotomy……okay, so maybe I’m carried away here but not by much. Anyway, my mother would often sound like that to me.
“Aaron, don’t crack your knuckles or they will be huge by the time you’re 25.”
“Aaron, don’t watch TV with the lights out or you’ll essentially go blind.”
“Aaron, I read that most of the things you’re doing can probably cause something really bad to happen.”

She meant well. I know she did. And, truly, many of the things she read may actually be true. It’s just that I didn’t want to hear it. So, I’ve probably undercompensated on some of the safety issues brought to my attention in life. However, there are some statistics that really caught my attention and scared me:

• Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.
• 34% of 16 and 17 year-olds confess that they text while driving.
• Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teens between the ages of 16-19 were the result of cell phone usage. That number is expected to grow at a rate of 4% per year.
• Almost 50% of all drivers between the ages of 18-24 are texting while driving.
• One-fifth of experienced adult drivers send text messages while driving.
• Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while INTOXTICATED.
• Drivers talking on cell phones are 18% slower to react to brake lights.
• Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with EYES OFF THE ROAD.
• When you text and drive, it takes your eyes off the road an average of 5 seconds at a time. One writer said that this is like driving 55mph, BLIND, the length of a football field. It’s like driving after having 4 beers, easily putting one over the legal limit.
Okay, these stats scare me. I admit it. I guess it’s because I have texted while driving and have noticed that, at times, I have reacted to the car in front of me more slowly than normal. It scares me because, just the other day, I saw a guy on his cell phone talking, and it took him 5 times (no lie) to back into an empty parking space. Often, I’m at a red light and have to wait 5-7 seconds for the car in front of me to go after it turns green. Sure enough, I see them talking on their cell phone.
People, I’m becoming a believer. This is serious! It’s not just about teenagers. Sure, they may do it more than adults but part of that is because they KNOW HOW to do it more than many of us. It’s an issue that is becoming universal.
And I believe it is a reflection of a much bigger problem in our society: DISCONNECTION.
There is a phrase in Psychology called “The Paradox of Progress” that basically states that the more advanced we become as a society the more difficult society becomes, and the LESS CONNECTED. It is a real problem that I find terribly disturbing. Most of us, nowadays, don’t really know our neighbors, our co-workers, and have very few in our circle of close friends. Connection, I mean REAL connection, is becoming more and more endangered in our society. Yes, we know people. Yes, we might speak to people. But many of us are getting less and less connected to people, and this is dangerous to our emotional and spiritual health.
The results of this disconnection are many:
• America is becoming more and more lonely
• Anxiety disorders are on the rise, as is depression
• Social networks are exploding as people grasp for any kind of connectedness….like starving people at a buffet.
• Kids are becoming addicted to online gaming as a way to connect in some way to others.
• A rise in “shootings” and other violence as people become less connected to potential victims.
• An increase in internet affairs as disconnected spouses find emotional, and then sexual, connection with other disconnected people online.
• A dramatic increase in text-messaging, even while driving.
What can I say? I’m sure, if I thought about it, I could list more and more results of the disconnection of America. It is a troubling truth that we find ourselves up against. The worst part of it all is the pressure we feel to keep going down this road and at this pace. To slow down and get connected feels like a waste of our time, like we aren’t being productive enough. So, most of us get caught up in this cycle of disconnected busyness and don’t know how to get off the train.
Let me say this, there is no easy way off this ride. This trend did not happen overnight and it is the reality we face in American society right now, a society I might add that seems to be going in a very negative direction. Again, there is no easy fix but let me suggest some ways to combat this paradox we face:
• Be intentional about building strong family relationships: It has to start somewhere and the home is the best place. If you are too busy achieving or keeping up with household tasks instead of building strong connection within your home, you need to re-evaluate that. This goes for teens as well as adults. Start building stronger relationships to your spouses, your siblings, your parents, your children, etc. This takes a determination to slow down long enough to do it. It means putting down the laundry sometimes. It means leaving the Xbox for an hour or two. It means coming home from work early when you’re able. It means eating together instead of in front of the TV. It means we must MAKE the time for each other.
• Look for connecting points based on common interests: If you are someone that hates books then I wouldn’t join a reading club. If you hate animals then don’t buy a dog and start visiting the local dog park. The key to connecting is going where you can find like-minded individuals. I am thankful that I have begun to find some community by being involved in my local Little League baseball program. I am a tee ball coach and an umpire and I’ve begun to meet people that I really like, and who like the same things as I do: baseball and family. Seriously, I enjoy the fact that our Saturdays are now filled with being at the baseball fields. Our whole family joins in. My stepson, Eddie, is one of my assistant coaches (and does a great job with the kids), my son Joshua plays, and my wife dresses herself and my little girl up in “Reds” attire so they can cheer us on. It’s awesome! And we’re not the only ones. The fields are packed with local families watching and cheering on their children as baseball is played. It started as just a way to provide baseball for local kids but it has evolved into a connecting point for local families, enough that we now have an adult men’s softball league and are starting a co-ed league as well. Just a few weeks ago, another tee ball dad joined me in going to the movies. It was great! But what I love is that the activity goes beyond the sport. It has the feel of a community coming together. Wow, is that refreshing! That’s my advice to you, find a CONNECTING POINT. It may feel awkward and sluggish at first but give it a chance and you may see it grow into relationships.
• Talk to people when you’re in public: I know this sounds crazy in our day and age and I’m not suggesting you come across like some sort of strange maniac while accosting total strangers for no reason. What I’m saying is, instead of being in a constant state of hurry, be ready to speak if the opportunity presents itself. Open the door for someone and say hello. Smile when you make eye contact with another. Speak to someone if there is an open door. I know this may be uncomfortable at first but we must reverse the trend to isolate from everyone. My wife used to kid me because, when we would go yard-saling (my wife’s favorite pastime), I would often start a conversation with the people at the homes. She used to lecture me on how proper yard sale etiquette is to get “in and out” so you can go to the next sale. But I can’t help it….I want to connect. Don’t you?
• Slow yourself down: There is no easy way to do this but we have to start being better-balanced in our lives. Ambition and busyness can only take us so far. Eventually, we need people. We need friendships. Men need a “band of brothers” and women need a “circle of girlfriends.” This can never happen if we are constantly feeling the pull of the “urgent.” We really need to re-evaluate the pace we lead and ask ourselves if it allows us the time to connect with people.
My friend, our culture is headed down a road of loneliness and isolation. In general, people are caring less and less about those around them. We are becoming more and more self-centered and withdrawn. Our relationships are becoming increasingly cyber-oriented and not real. It’s no wonder suicides and divorce rates are up. It’s no wonder that people are texting more while they’re driving in spite of the apparent dangers of such an act. It’s no wonder because…we’re dying for connection.
Let’s change that.


Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit www.lifeworksgroup.org or www.legacycounselingservices.org

Thursday, May 06, 2010

School Anxiety: Don’t Let Pressure Squeeze You Out

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

Anxiety comes in many forms…especially in the school system. It lurks around as social phobias, it is ready to pounce in the form of test anxiety, it ambushes us in our fear that we won’t perform like we should. In this day and age, anxiety has become a harbinger of negativity to our kids, from the beginning days of elementary school all the way up to high school and beyond. Students who are charming, intelligent, funny, and totally competent somehow believe that they are ugly, boring, stupid, and incapable. Why? Why would a student who obviously has the ability to do well NOT do well? We can eliminate intellectual ability with most of the students I work with. I find that the students who struggle most with anxiety are kids whose IQ’s are above-average and even up to genius level. If it’s not intellectual functioning, what is it? More often than not, anxiety turns out to be a combination of the inability to identify and express accurate emotions combined with feeling the lifelong pressure to “live up to one’s potential”. Of course, there is also a genetic tie to a predisposition towards anxiety as well. However, the following are some common external factors I see as I treat students with anxiety of many kinds:

1. Unrealistic Parental Expectations: Now….parents BELIEVE their expectations are appropriate. They know how smart their child is and expect them to use that intelligence to the utmost. However, what many parents don’t take into account is that living up to expectations also has to do with emotional maturity. Just because your child is very smart, doesn’t automatically mean it will be easy for them to be disciplined, organized, and motivated to excel. Without these other factors, intelligent kids just become frustrated and begin to panic in any situation where they know they must perform or be verbally scourged for not performing. Many of us as parents push our kids way harder than we should. Kids mature and develop at different rates. Pushing them too hard, too fast, is counterproductive to them actually reaching their potential.

2. A Tendency to Compare Themselves to Those Around Them: These comparisons might be academically, socially, or in any other ways. Kids compare the way they dress, how funny they are, how athletic they are and how well they do in grades. Healthy competition is one thing but this trait can go way overboard and become an obsession and obsessions lead to anxiety.

3. Thinking Too Much About Things One Cannot Control: Kids worry so much about the future or about what might be on the FCAT or what might happen if they don’t do well on the FCAT . Their minds begin to race about all the “what if’s” of life and THIS is a huge factor in anxiety. Again, parents often fuel this by their own worries about the future of their children. Yes….it is good to have goals and pursue them but the idea that life revolves around these things can only lead to anxiety, frustration and anger.

4. A Build-up of Emotional Pressure: So many kids fail to develop their awareness of internal emotions, especially vulnerable emotions like fear, sadness, disappointment, etc. These kids tend to bury or suppress these emotions and the result is a volcanic-like gradual rise in pressure. These buried emotions/feelings often manifest themselves as anxiety, depression and anger.

These are a few of the causes I have seen in anxiety. The list is not exhaustive by any means but it’s a start. Let me also offer a list of suggestions as to how parents can help their children cope with and overcome anxiety:

A. LAY OFF! Okay, that was a bit harsh. But, truly, parents….more and more…..parents have pushed their children to excel and “perform” at younger ages than ever before. It’s sad when I have 1st and 2nd graders with high levels of anxiety. The trend to start pushing our children academically even at the ages of 3-4 years just astounds me. Of course, I am all for parents who work with their children at young ages to learn and grow. But that’s different than “pushing” them harder and harder and shaming them if they don’t reach those standards. Parents, let’s all strive to be not only age-appropriate in our expectations but also take into account the maturity levels and emotional development of our kids. There are early and late bloomers, and that’s okay.

B. Teach them to Relax: Again, we live in a society that encourages “busyness”. It’s great to be productive but we must learn to relax again….let our bodies recharge so we can actually be more productive in the long-term. This trend translates to our children as well. We must teach our kids to be quiet and still without filling that time with video games or work or “productivity”. It’s okay to just sit still or read a book or be quiet and watch the sunset. In fact, teaching kids certain relaxation and breathing techniques can go far in helping them to deal with test anxiety or even in sports performance anxiety.

C. Be Quick to Encourage: Try to catch your kids when they do well…at ANYTHING. Whether it be a good grade, a chore they completed well, or just a good attitude, try to lift them up so they realize you are noticing these things as well.

D. Increase Self-Awareness: Remember those buried emotions I mentioned earlier? We must free our kids to discuss negative emotions that may be eating at them from a very early age. Teach them how to identify and express them in healthy ways (talking, writing, art, etc). If kids can “get it out” then there is less pressure that builds and, consequently, less anxiety.

E. Encourage Positive Self-Talk: If you or your kids beat yourselves up often about failures or mistakes, stop it! J We talk to ourselves all the time, whether it is verbal or in our own mind. Learn to encourage yourself as much or more than you get onto your own case. I’m not advocating touchy-feely moments when you look in the mirror and say, “people LIKE me” as the "Saturday Night Live" skit used to mock. However, I am saying that most people beat themselves up far more than they encourage themselves and this can only lead to frustration, depression, and anxiety.

We all face pressure in life. Seriously….there is pressure to perform in school, at work, in relationships, and beyond. Life exerts enough pressure on us. Let’s try to stop adding even more pressure to our kids and to ourselves. Set high standards for your kids but also encourage them at high levels. Be patient with their development and be realistic about how hard you should push. There are too many ultra-talented kids who are letting pressure squeeze them out of the good things of life.

About the Author:
Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people to grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together. For more information, please visit Aaron at www.legacycounselingservices.org or www.Lifeworksgroup.org.

Strong Kid Strategy- How powerful after-school activities build young leaders

By: C. Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

There is a lot of talk these days about cutting back on budgets and eliminating afterschool activities for kids. Cutting out sports, music, drama and journalism to send students home early, often to an empty house, is a bad plan for countless reasons. Greater temptations, peer pressure, gangs and just an overall sense of disconnection and loneliness for these latch key kids. Yet the greatest risk of eliminating afterschool programs is the tremendous loss of character and leadership development from being part of a team or sharing in activities that stretch their thinking and creativity.

If you don’t think afterschool activities are a big deal, then let me challenge your thinking about the future. Picture it this way. Have you ever had a little experience that impacted you in a big way? Like the little things that build up and create immediate frustration, and maybe even ruin an otherwise good day. Traffic, your cell phone drops reception in the middle of an important call, the cleaners don’t get your power suit cleaned in time for a key meeting or you race to get the phone and discover it’s a computer trying to sell you something. Little pressures can build up and become major problems faster than you realize.

Kids grow up fast
Little kids grow up faster than we realize too. If we can help them find their creative ‘fit’ they will grow strong and avoid a lot of the temptations that come from feeling bored. It’s easy to take for granted that kids will grow up automatically well balanced, mature and be ready to lead when someone older is ready to retire. That is just not so. Nothing about parenting is easy, and families have more pressure than ever... and so do their kids. Since much of what we will live out in life we learned during our early childhood experiences it’s essential to make those as positive as possible. Childhood activities will shape a majority of our core values, so it’s essential to build these experiences into the lives of our kids or grandkids. Child psychologist James C. Dobson says it this way. “Values are not taught to children, they are caught by children.” Kids are continually learning by watching the adults around them.

Think about it- somewhere in a world of toy cars, video games and American Girl dolls is a future president, pastor, doctor, banker, teacher, sheriff or dentist. Before you get too scared about the future of these kids during this era of cutting out afterschool programs, I want to share some good news. I saw it in my home town of Orlando on a series of billboards that show the childhood photos of famous people who were positively influenced by the afterschool activities of the Boy’s & Girls Club

Touring afterschool options
I had a chance to tour several of these clubs with the director of our regional Boys & Girls Clubs. I learned these clubs aren’t just about positive afterschool activities, they are about ‘farming.’ Yes, I said farming. Because these dedicated programs plant good ideas into children, to build stronger character and ultimately a stronger community. I even had the chance to walk through the actual Boys Club I was a member of in Orlando almost 35 years ago, (when I was a member back then it was “no girls allowed.”) It was encouraging to see so many positive programs. A computer lab, competition swimming pool, craft rooms, after-school academic programs, and on and on. I was impressed. I saw programs that offered hope and a strong belief system. Instead of ignoring the needs of families under pressure, the Boys & Girls Clubs provides a well-structured place to grow into a balanced person and future leader.

From the President to superstar athletes, the Boy’s & Girls Club helps prepare thousands of young people for a better future every year. The important issues of youth development are laid out in a step-by-step way to help children across the bridge of life into adulthood. Their mission is to: “Help all youth, with special concern for those from disadvantaged circumstances, to develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and leaders”. The clubs are a “The positive place for kids.” I heard it put a bit more directly once from a local pastor years ago who said, “You need to reach into your community and help kids every time you have a chance now, or not get upset in a few years when they come to steal your car.”

Maybe your family is already a member of the local YMCA, www.centralfloridaymca.org/ or perhaps your kids go to an afterschool church character training program, or maybe they are plugged into a home school with access to incredible hands-on learning experiences. If your son or daughter is already involved in great afterschool sports or activities- wonderful! They are on track. However, if you know of a tired single mom who needs some support, why not tell her about the Boys & Girls Club or even better why not map out a year’s worth of personal development for a child you know? Providing a scholarship for a child at one of their 32 central Florida locations is better than buying one more super-charged monster video game. Besides, who wants another child growing up into a monster without values, (our world has enough of those already).

Key strategy to find a great resource for you kids
Here are some details about the Boys & Girls Club or you can visit http://www.bgccf.org/ to check out their programs for kids. If you are picking out an afterschool program other than the Boys & Girls Club, then consider using their great outline of 5 key areas to select a well-rounded way to build strength into your kids. Their Five Core Program Areas are:

1) Character & Leadership Development - Empower youth to become more global citizens who support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character and respect their own and others’ cultural identities.

2) Education & Career Development - Enable youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, set goals, explore careers, prepare for employment and embrace technology to achieve success in a career.

3) Health & Life Skills - Develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.
4) The Arts - Encourage youth to develop their creativity and culture awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing.

5) Sports, Fitness & Recreation - Programs develop fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills.

Remember, pay attention to small details today because they become big things later. And it’s more true in childhood development than in anything else. Little things done well in parenting today always leads a child into a better future, which is like giving yourself a gift for a more secure tomorrow.

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If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.
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About the author-
Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture.

4 key factors to guide unmotivated students toward academic success

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Have you ever wondered why so many students get close to the ‘finish line’ of a semester or even graduation and then fail to finish? Parents, teachers, guidance counselors and tutors can be cheering for a student to push forward to finish strong and sometimes they just sit down and give up. You’ve probably seen it. A bright young person starts out with promise and potential and then halfway through a semester they literally run out of gas and ‘check out’ as it’s called because they completely lose the motivation to finish school.

Academic Atomic Bombs
When a student ‘checks out’ it isn’t because they don’t know what to do. You can tell them continually that they should be doing their homework, turning in class work, completing reports and playing by the rules to get good grades and move forward with their academic career. Yet they won’t do it. You can beg, you can plead, but basically they stop doing the right thing to oftentimes doing nothing. Since schools reward behavior that is measurable, it’s like creating an academic atomic bomb that literally ‘blows up’ their grades which can wreck a future transcript.

You may be thinking that this is an overreaction, yet many colleges and even prep schools look first at the transcript before they look at the person. If you have ignored, neglected or abused your grades it will hurt your academic future. Yes, I know, schools and universities should look at the person, they should look at character traits or consider someone who is nice or likable, but the fact of the matter is they look at academic performance by looking at grades. If someone ‘checks out’ and gives up on trying to finish strong it will cost them, and if you are the parent or guardian paying for their future education, it will cost you too.

Fear of Success
Failure to Finish isn’t limited to students in school. It can show up in many different areas of life. People who know they should send a thank you note for a kindness given and then procrastinate forever and never get around to it. Creative types with a good idea they believe would help others and maybe make a lot of money, but they just can’t quite get the paperwork filled out to file a patent; then next thing you know they see their idea on an aisle at Wal-Mart and kick themselves for not following up.

I wrote about this huge gap in people knowing what to do, but then never doing it in my book, ‘Destination Success’. Giving up before a big finish is actually driven by the fear of success because it’s not about getting the right information, the right facts, the necessary details. Nope, usually it’s more about the motivation to do what you know you should do. The fact that students fail to finish is in some ways representative of the adult world. Many people don’t do what they know they should do, and sadly many people suffer the consequences of missing out on a lot of joy in life because of it.

Missing the Marathon
If you have ever participated in a marathon you know what I’m talking about. I saw it during a Disney event my little sister Trish talked me into running. We prepared for months and she coached every step of the way on how to finish strong, yet only a few miles into the race there were literally thousands of people in front of us walking. Yes, I said walking! They missed the concept of 26.2, or at least my understanding of what the Greeks had in mind when they created a distance run that only counted if you finished! They missed the marathon concept, just like students miss the very basic idea that no matter how much fun, or misery they may experience in school- it only counts if you finish the race!

So why do so many give up within weeks of the ‘finish line’ at the end of a semester? Here are four main reasons.

1) Fearful
They are afraid about the future, about what life in the ‘adult world’ will be like or afraid to grow up in general. It’s normal to feel afraid, yet someone who is overwhelmed with fears can often become indecisive and ‘zone out.’ Since running away from reality feels easier than facing it for some people they completely deny what’s happening to their grades and future. Some do this in a passive way and just slowly sink, while others try to avoid reality by using substances or media to escape. Yet there is no avoiding the end of a semester, and the end of academic dreams if you let fear overtake your future success.

2) Friends
It’s true. Birds of a feather do flock together, and students who are unmotivated about finishing can find each other across a crowded room. Highly disciplined and super motivated students hang out together to challenge each other toward greater success, and the opposite is true about the undisciplined. Your son or daughter may begin to hang out with the wrong crowd to hide from facing their academic future. Sometimes it’s to irritate their parents, but more often than not it’s because they don’t fit in with the winners at the front of the race, so they just sit down and hang out with those who appear to not care about the educational race they are in… but if you look closely you will see the insecurity and doubt in their eyes.

3) Frustrated
This group could include parents and teachers, but I’m mostly thinking about students who are trying, but it’s just not coming together for them. They want to finish strong, but lack the horsepower to really pull out in front of the crowd. These students are at great risk, because they will face a choice. Finish with mediocre results and try again next semester, or just check out to avoid feeling the pain of not performing to their potential. I’ve especially seen this with highly creative or bright students who partied or procrastinated until the last minute and then couldn’t pull out their grades. Their frustration often comes out as anger directed toward the closest person to them, usually a mom. It’s not fair, but it happens because they let the frustration take over, which blocks their ability to finish strong.

4) Failing
Sadly this group is the easiest to spot because they checked out a long time ago. When a student has reached this level they are so unmotivated that they give up on even trying at the most basic of tasks so their grades become a ‘free fall’ down to zero. To totally and completely fail crushes confidence and for many the desire to try again; which leads many students to give up on school completely and just drop out.


Not finishing education makes sense to them at the time, but it costs serious dollars and cents over the course of a lifetime. Consider these numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau to see how expensive it is to give up on education.


Average Annual Salary
Masters degree $74,602 (or $2,984,080 over a lifetime of work)
Bachelors degree $51,206 (or $2,048240 over a lifetime of work)
High School degree $27,915 (or $1,116,600 over a lifetime of work)


Finding the energy to Finish

So how do you motivate an unmotivated student? Well you start by dealing with your own frustration so you can think clearly about a strategic plan to guide your son or daughter toward the better life that education can bring. Here’s the key areas I use to find a way to inspire a young person to get back in the race and find the energy to finish strong.

1) Insight
This often begins with the parent closest to the student because they already know so much about their personality, their character and their drives. The Bible has a verse that I pray every day, “If any many lacks wisdom let him ask God and it will be given to him.” (James 1 ). Insight is to ask God to reveal the special gifts and abilities that your student has, and no matter how far behind they may be they have some talents. It takes insight to see it and then it takes courage to stick with it to light the fire of desire in the heart of one who may have given up.

2) Interests
One you know which gifts, talents, abilities or skills that you are looking for in a student, the next part is to help them see how those unique gifts could be transferred into something so interesting that they really want to show up and learn more. There is an old saying that the curious are never bored, which is true. When a student is inspired about pursuing something interesting to them they can lose all track of time because they are fascinated with the topic they are studying.

3) Important
Once a student gets inspired to pursue the subjects that are interesting to them, the next element to add to stir up motivation is to discover what is important to them. What is valuable? What activities do they believe in? Everyone believes in something yet often haven’t taken time to explore to discover what causes or activities they are motivated to join.

Here’s a comprehensive list to use to help your student find what is interesting or important to them. Review the categories with your son or daughter to find a logical place to begin getting motivated again.

What is Interesting or Important to Motivate your Student?

ACADEMICS
Academic Achievement Award, Accelerated Reader, Essay Award, French Honor Society, Geography Bee, Girl Scouts Bronze Award, Honor Roll, Junior National Society, National Jr. Honor Society, Perfect Attendance, Poetry, Reading, Reading Olympiads, Reflections, Writing Essay, Science Olympiads, Spanish National Honor Society, Spelling Bees

ACHIEVEMENTS
F.C.C.L.A, Future Educators of America, Future Farmers of America, Future Problem Solvers, Geography Club, German Club, Girls Athletic Association, Girl Scouts, G.R.E.A.T. Program, History Club, International Club, Journalism Club, Junior Achievement, Junior Beta Club, Junio, Classical League, Key Club, L.O.G.O.S. Youth Program, Latin Club, Letterman Club, Math Club, Math Team, M.E.S.A., Mountain Biking Club, Model UN, Multi-Cultural Club, National Junior Beta Club, National FAA Organization, National Forensic League, Newspaper Club, Odyssey of the Mind, Outdoors Club, People to People Student Ambassador Program, Pep Club, Photography Club, P.R.I.D.E. Program, Quill & Scroll Society, Quiz Bowl, Robotics Club, Running Club, S.A.D.D., S.A.V.E., Science Club, Scrabble Club, Service Club, Sign Language Club, Ski Club, Spanish Club, Speech Team, Sports Club, Stars Club, Stock Market Club, Student Advisory Committee, Student Council Member, Student Government Assoc., Technology Club, Temple Youth Group, Varsity Club, Vocational Industrial Club, Winter guard, Yearbook Staff, Y-Club (YMCA), U.S. Achievement Academy, Youth Leadership Program

ACTIVITIES
4-H Club, Academic Team, Acteens, Awana, Assisteens, Beta Club, Bible Club, Builders Club, Book Club, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, C.A.R.E. Program, Chess Club, Church Youth Group, Civil Air Patrol, Computer Club, Dance Club, Drama Club, Debate Team, D.E.C.A., English Club, Environmental Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Foreign Language Club, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Class Officer, Class Representative, Community Volunteer, Hospital Aid, Library Aide, Editor, Photographer, Reporter Office Aide, Peer Mediator, Peer Tutor, Red Cross Aide/Volunteer, Junior Engineering Technical Society, Safety Patrol, Special Olympics Volunteer, Student Ambassador, Teacher’s Aide, Yearbook Editor, Yearbook Photographer, Yearbook Reporter, Astronomy, Babysitting, Computers, Cooking, Making Models, Modeling, Pageantry, Painting, Photography, Playing Guitar, Playing Piano, Playing Violin, Playing Drums, Scrap booking, Sewing, Mystery Shopper, Singing, Traveling, Spending Time w/ Family & Friends, Video Games, Writing Stories, Writing, Poetry

ARTS
Acting, Art, Arts & Crafts, Dancing, Drawing, Acapella Choir, Acrobatics, Art Club, Band, Chorus, Orchestra, Ballet, Baton Twirling, Band, Chamber Orchestra, Choir, Chorus, Church Choir, Church Dance Team, Church Drama Team, Church Musicals, Church Plays, Drum Major, Drum Majorette, Clogging, Color Guard, Community Theater, Dance Team, Drama, Drill Team, Flag Corps, Handbell Choir, Hip Hop Dance, Irish Step Dance, Jazz, Jazz Band, Jazz Dance, Marching Band, Modern Dance, Music, Orchestra, Praise Dance, Pep Band, School Choir, School Musicals, School Plays, Show Choir, Stage Crew, Step Team, Swing Chorus, Symphonic Band, Talent Shows, Tap Dance, Variety Shows,

ATHLETICS
Archery, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Biking, Billiards, Boating, Bowling, Boxing, Camping, Canoeing, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Dirt Biking, Diving, Field Hockey, Fishing, Flag Football, Floor Hockey, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Pop Warner Score Keeper, Sports Reporter, Sports Manager, Presidential Physical Fitness Award, Gymnastics, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Hunting, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Karate, Kayaking, Lacrosse, Motocross, Paintball, Pom Pom Squad, Powder-Puff Football, Racquetball, Rock Climbing, Rollerblading, Roller Hockey, Roller Skating, Rugby, Running, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Skateboarding, Skating, Skeet Shooting, Snow Skiing, Skimboarding, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Soccer, Softball, Surfing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Black Belt/Tae Kwon Do, Tennis, Track, Track & Field, Tumbling, Volleyball, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Water Polo, Weightlifting, Woodworking, Wrestling, Yoga

Now that you have generated the insight to map out the key areas that motivate your student you are ready for the final stage.

4) Identity
When a student has figured out who they are, and what they enjoy doing, they are actually living out their purpose and having fun doing it! Perhaps the huge success of the Disney television movies, “High School Musical” is because it shows what most students would like their school experience to be. At this level a young person is totally excited about going to school because when they know why they are going it’s not hard to stay in the race. In fact, it makes it easy to move from a failure to finish to moving forward with a new dedication to finish strong!

Bonus Scholarship Strategies
When a student gets motivated to be their best, you can log on to any of the following websites to begin the search for the extra educational income for them to move forward to a new level of academic success.

"I Don't Want to Pay for College" www.cappex.com/scholarships
College Board www.collegeboard.com
College Net www.collegenet.com
FAFSA (Financial Aid) www.fafsa.ed.gov
Fast Aid www.fastaid.com
Fast Web www.fastweb.com
Financial Aid www.financialaid.com
FL Funding Publications www.floridafunding.com
Free Scholarship Search www.freschinfo.com/search-main.com
Go College www.gocollege.com
Petersons Educational Portal www.petersons.com
Scholarship www.scholarships.com
Valencia Foundation www.valencia.org
Wired Scholar www.wiredscholar.com/scholarships
FinAid www.finaid.org
NARFE-FEEA www.narfe.org
Holocaust Remembrance www.holocaust.hklaw.com
College Prowler www.collegeprowler.com/scholarship
Maryknoll Essay www.societymaryknoll.org
Ranger Battalions Ass. of WWII www.rangers-army.org
Flipnot Innovations www.flipnot.com
Brianstorm USA www.brainstormusa.com
CosmoGirl! www.cosmogirl.com/borntolead
Brickfish Scholarship www.brickfish.com
Navy League Foundation www.navyleague.org/scholarships
Horatio Alger Scholarship www.horatioalger.com
The Anne Ford Scholarship www.LD.org
Ronald McDonald House www.rmhc.org
Cappex Hardship Scholarship www.cappex.com/scholarships
American Fire Sprinkler www.afsascholarship.org
Into the Best, Inc/Free Will www.intothebest.com
Women Marine Association/ www.womenmarines.com


Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article.

Please include the following paragraph in your reprint."Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2010), To subscribe to this valuable weekly resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

The Formula for Failure and Success

by Master Coach Jim Rohn

Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.

Now why would someone make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day? The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters.

On their own, our daily acts do not seem that important. A minor oversight, a poor decision, or a wasted hour generally doesn't result in an instant and measurable impact. More often than not, we escape from any immediate consequences of our deeds.

If we have not bothered to read a single book in the past ninety days, this lack of discipline does not seem to have any immediate impact on our lives. And since nothing drastic happened to us after the first ninety days, we repeat this error in judgment for another ninety days, and on and on it goes. Why? Because it doesn't seem to matter. And herein lies the great danger. Far worse than not reading the books is not even realizing that it matters!

Those who eat too many of the wrong foods are contributing to a future health problem, but the joy of the moment overshadows the consequence of the future. It does not seem to matter. Those who smoke too much or drink too much go on making these poor choices year after year after year... because it doesn't seem to matter. But the pain and regret of these errors in judgment have only been delayed for a future time. Consequences are seldom instant; instead, they accumulate until the inevitable day of reckoning finally arrives and the price must be paid for our poor choices - choices that didn't seem to matter.

Failure's most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term those little errors don't seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, since there are no instant consequences to capture our attention, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices and making the wrong choices. The sky did not fall in on us yesterday; therefore the act was probably harmless. Since it seemed to have no measurable consequence, it is probably safe to repeat.

But we must become better educated than that!
If at the end of the day when we made our first error in judgment the sky had fallen in on us, we undoubtedly would have taken immediate steps to ensure that the act would never be repeated again. Like the child who places his hand on a hot burner despite his parents' warnings, we would have had an instantaneous experience accompanying our error in judgment.

Unfortunately, failure does not shout out its warnings as our parents once did. This is why it is imperative to refine our philosophy in order to be able to make better choices. With a powerful, personal philosophy guiding our every step, we become more aware of our errors in judgment and more aware that each error really does matter.

Now here is the great news. Just like the formula for failure, the formula for success is easy to follow: It's a few simple disciplines practiced every day.

Now here is an interesting question worth pondering: How can we change the errors in the formula for failure into the disciplines required in the formula for success? The answer is by making the future an important part of our current philosophy.

Both success and failure involve future consequences, namely the inevitable rewards or unavoidable regrets resulting from past activities. If this is true, why don't more people take time to ponder the future? The answer is simple: They are so caught up in the current moment that it doesn't seem to matter. The problems and the rewards of today are so absorbing to some human beings that they never pause long enough to think about tomorrow.

But what if we did develop a new discipline to take just a few minutes every day to look a little further down the road? We would then be able to foresee the impending consequences of our current conduct. Armed with that valuable information, we would be able to take the necessary action to change our errors into new success-oriented disciplines. In other words, by disciplining ourselves to see the future in advance, we would be able to change our thinking, amend our errors and develop new habits to replace the old.


One of the exciting things about the formula for success - a few simple disciplines practiced every day - is that the results are almost immediate. As we voluntarily change daily errors into daily disciplines, we experience positive results in a very short period of time. When we change our diet, our health improves noticeably in just a few weeks. When we start exercising, we feel a new vitality almost immediately. When we begin reading, we experience a growing awareness and a new level of self-confidence. Whatever new discipline we begin to practice daily will produce exciting results that will drive us to become even better at developing new disciplines.

The real magic of new disciplines is that they will cause us to amend our thinking. If we were to start today to read the books, keep a journal, attend the classes, listen more and observe more, then today would be the first day of a new life leading to a better future. If we were to start today to try harder, and in every way make a conscious and consistent effort to change subtle and deadly errors into constructive and rewarding disciplines, we would never again settle for a life of existence – not once we have tasted the fruits of a life of substance!

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.