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There were once two polar bear twins who had grown old enough to leave their mother’s care.
They were sitting on separate ice floes in the middle of the ocean wondering what to do next.
The sister peered into the water and knew that she had to dive in to hunt for her lunch.
The brother sat on the ice and hoped that a nice juicy seal would jump onto his ice flow for him to eat.
The sister put her paw in the water and felt how cold it was. She knew that it wouldn’t be easy to survive.
The brother sat back watching his sister and wondered what she was doing. Surely a seal would come within reach soon.
Last week, one of Australia’s great literary geniuses, Bryce Courtenay, sadly lost his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 79.
He was a terrific writer who had 21 books published, including his final novel, “Jack of Diamonds” which was published only weeks before his death. Courtenay’s best known work was “The Power of One” and he sold 20 million books in all, a truly remarkable achievement especially when you consider that he wrote his first book at the age of 55.
I recently stumbled across a small book of inspirational and thought-provoking musings written by Courtenay in 2007 called “A Recipe for Dreaming.”
It contains these words:
Whatever you do on a daily basis, you have a choice.
You can do it in a routine manner, going through the motions and blending in with the crowd.
Or you can do it with elan.
The word elan means zeal, impetuous ardour or flair and comes from a middle French word that means “to throw a lance.”
The origin of the word gives me the mental image of a knight from the middle ages, charging on horseback towards his opponent, emblazoned with colour and livery, cheered on by swooning women, fearless, daring and smiling behind the grill of his helmet.
To those who dare:
- to follow their dreams.
- to be the dissenting voice in a room full of yes-men.
- to be truly innovative.
- to invest energy and time becoming elite at something.
- to smile in the face of difficult times.
- to be generous to those who rarely show their appreciation.
- to solve the problems that everyone else is complaining about. Read the rest of this entry »
I came across the Rifleman’s Creed the other day and was struck by its simplicity and truth.
It simply says,
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke that we make.
We know that it is the hits that count!
This is a terrific reminder that in a world that often values busyness and activity, it’s our ability to focus our efforts on a few critical actions that create outstanding results that matter.
At the time of writing this post, it is late November and the end of the year is coming quickly.
Many people that I talk to are starting to talk about their Christmas holiday plans and how they’re planning to wind down between now and the end of the year.
However, with more than a month to go, I can’t help but feel that it would be a waste of valuable time to just do the bare minimum over the next few weeks.
In fact, here are three things that you can build for yourself if you commit to finish the year strongly:
There’s an obscure species of frog from South America that is appropriately named the paradoxical frog.
The name refers to the fact that this amphibian starts life as an extremely large tadpole (up to 25cm) before reverting to a much smaller frog in adulthood.
Whilst I’m sure that such unusual behaviour serves to protect the adult frog from predators, it would seem that many people suffer from a similar affliction.
It seems to me as though many people peak early in life.
There was a time when they had influence, ideas and energy.
Things were going well and the future looked bright.
Then something happened.
Imagine three bookstores, each with identical stock and similar location.
You walk into one and despite the fact that you are the only customer in the store, the two sales assistants ignore you and choose not to acknowledge your existence.
You walk into the second store and are served with standard courtesy and efficiency.
You walk into the third store and are greeted warmly. The staff are eager to build rapport and find your reading interests. They also laugh freely as they ably assist you.
Which store is more likely to be around in a year’s time?
I’m currently reading John Ortberg’s “The Me I Want To Be”, and I highlighted this line from the book, “We do not just drift into becoming the best version of ourselves.”
You don’t drift into a great marriage.
You don’t drift to becoming a fantastic parent.
You don’t drift into that next job promotion or business opportunity.
You don’t drift into a fitter, more energetic body or a sharper mind.
You don’t drift into a closer relationship with God.
We live in a self-absorbed world.
One where we often feel as though people don’t really care about our ideas.
Where they don’t care about the issues that you’re passionate about.
Where your boss doesn’t seem to care that you deserve a promotion or more money.
And where people don’t even notice that you’re having a bad day or feel unappreciated.
Maybe they do care a little bit, but not as much as you want them to.
So, how do you change this?