You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2013.

It’s tempting sometimes to look at envy upon those who are living the life that we dream of and think that this isn’t possible for us.

We assume that others are luckier or made a certain way.

Perhaps we believe that we are somehow incapable or less deserving of success.

But let me ask you…

If others can have a fulfilling career, why not you?

If others can learn new skills, why not you?

If others can have meaningful relationships, why not you?

If others can set bold, audacious goals that are as scary as hell, why not you?

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As a father of three young children, I’ve seen more than my fair share of finger paintings over the past few years.

Each of my kids is extremely proud of their artistic achievements and they are eager to show off their work.

Their little faces beam and their heads are held high as they describe the monster, castle, dinosaur or family portrait that is contained within their painting.

I hope that they never grow out of the feeling of pride that they get when they have the opportunity to display their unique skills.

I hope that they never stop aspiring to use their creativity to bring colour to the world.

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Do you lose your temper quickly?

Do you catch yourself singing or whistling happy tunes spontaneously?

Do you complain often that life has been unfair?

Do you encourage the efforts of others with enthusiasm and generosity?

Whatever’s inside you will eventually spill over.

You can’t get way from it and you can’t avoid it.

You can try to ignore it, but it will find a way to escape and be revealed to the world whether you like it or not.

So let me ask you, what are you filling yourself up with?

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How to turn around a very bad day

Our car on the tow truck

Last weekend, Karen and I did something that we don’t do often.

It was a nice, sunny day, a rarity for Melbourne in Winter, so we spontaneously planned to take the kids to the Royal Botanic Gardens in the city.

We live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, so it’s a one hour drive into the city.  This makes such trips rare for us, especially with three young kids in the back seat.

So, we shared our plans with the kids, got them all excited, and we piled into the car for our little adventure.

As we drove in, Karen, who was driving, noticed that the car didn’t seem quite right.

Then, as we were driving along the freeway, it became obvious to everyone in the car (even the kids) that something was very wrong.

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Messiah Stradivarius at the Ashmolean Museum

Messiah Stradivarius at the Ashmolean Museum (Photo credit: dumbledad)

The Stradivari family is famous for the extraordinary quality of the string instruments (especially violins) that they manufactured in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Antonio Stradivari was the greatest in this family of talented luthiers (stringed instrument-makers).

A Stradivarius violin is renowned for the beautiful tone that it produces and they are extremely valuable, with only about 650 remaining today.  A violin that was made in 1721, recently sold for $15.8 million an extraordinary sum for a musical instrument.

There is great mystery about the wood and techniques used in a Stradivarius and many have tried to replicate them without success.

All that we know is that they were made by an expert, they are unique, remarkable and centuries later are still a prized possession.

I’m sure that Antonio Stradivari didn’t anticipate that his work would be in such demand generations later.

All he did was hone his craft, experiment with new ideas to create the perfect tone and make the best instruments that he could.

And now every violin is measured against a Stradivarius.

What about your field?

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There’s an old saying that, “you can’t be too careful.”

But I’m not entirely sure that this is always true.

You can be too careful.

You can try to hold on to what you feel comfortable with and resist change.

You can live a life that avoids taking the risks and making the mistakes that are required to learn, grow and maximise your potential.

You can hide in the background, not exposing your amazing talents or innovative ideas to scrutiny.

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English: A large pot hole on Second Avenue in ...

A pot hole in New York (wikipedia)

American singer and actress, Portia Nelson (1920 – 2001), wrote this wonderful short poem in the 1970’s titled, “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.”

It goes like this:

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

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Tyrannosaurus rex, Palais de la Découverte, Paris

My two boys, Hayden and Logan, love dinosaurs.

From the terrifying T-Rex, to the massive Brontosaurus, they love reading and learning more about them.

They are fascinated by all sorts of dinosaurs, make up stories about them and often ask questions about them, expecting that their wise old dad will have the answers.

Of course, the most popular question is, “Why did dinosaurs become extinct?”

My response generally is something along the lines of, “Because they couldn’t adapt and were unable to cope with changing conditions as effectively as other species.”

Sound familiar?

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Photo by Doug88888 via Flickr

Drip, drip, drip.

That’s the sound that water makes as it drops onto the rock below.

Drip, drip, drip.

At first it just seems to bounce off the hard surface, but it continues to fall.

Drip, drip, drip.

For days, weeks, months, years, decades and longer.

Drip, drip, drip.

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Dear Problems,

You’ve tried to stop me, but all that you’ve done is build my resolve.

You’ve tried your best to weaken me, but all that you’ve done is give me strength.

You’ve tried to distract me from my goals, but you’ve made me more focused than ever.

You’ve tried to diminish my self-esteem, but every time I overcome you, my confidence builds.

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