Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Improving yourself

"You will find that the mere resolve not to be useless, and the honest desire to help other people, will, in the quickest and most delicate ways, improve yourself."
John Ruskin

Monday, September 17, 2012

Believing in yourself

"To be a champ, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will."
Sugar Ray Robinson

Friday, September 14, 2012

Removing doubt and fear

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."
Dale Carnegie

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Looking at what can be done

"So often we dwell on the things that seem impossible rather than on the things that are possible. So often we are depressed by what remains to be done and forget to be thankful for all that has been done."
Marian Wright Edelman

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting junk out of the way

"Deal first with whatever is causing you the greatest emotional distress. Often this will break the logjam in your work and free you up mentally to complete other tasks."
Brian Tracy

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Branding yourself

"Initially my income was low and I was unknown. As soon as I launched the Mars-Venus brand, my income sky-rocketed even though my knowledge level had not changed. Branding is everything."
Dr. John Gray
Author and Speaker

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A grateful heart

"Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart."
Zig Ziglar
Author and Speaker

Monday, September 03, 2012

Doing remarkable things

"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable."
Wendy Wasserstein
1950-2006, Playwright

When the only way is up

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How to succeed

"The only certain means of success is to render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be."
Og Mandino

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Giving love

"The most important thing in any relationship is not what you get but what you give... In any case, the giving of love is an education in itself."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Counting your blessings

"Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it."
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Monday, August 13, 2012

A secret to winning

"The difference in winning and losing is most often... not quitting."
Walt Disney

Thursday, August 09, 2012


"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all."
William Faulkner

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Don't quit so soon

"One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat."
Napoleon Hill

Monday, July 30, 2012

Putting others down

"As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might."
Marian Anderson
1902-1993, Concert and Opera Singer

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Understanding others

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."
Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Listening to your heart

"I believe there's an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts."
Sylvester Stallone

When you think something might just work ...

"Trust your hunches. They're usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level."
Dr. Joyce Brothers

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeing beauty

"Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old."
Franz Kafka

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The happiest people

"I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others."
Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Overcoming the obstacles

"Steady, patient, persevering thinking will generally surmount every obstacle in search of truth."
Nathanael Emmons

Monday, July 02, 2012

Changing the world

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have."
Margaret Mead
1901-1978, Anthropologist, Writer and Speaker

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to get stuff done

"Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you're ready or not, to put this plan into action."
Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Going after what you want

"Most people are not going after what they want. Even some of the most serious goal seekers and goal setters - they're going after what they think they can get."
Bob Proctor
Author and Speaker

Monday, June 25, 2012

Facing life head on

"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced."
James Baldwin
1924-1987, Novelist, Playwright and Poet

Thursday, June 21, 2012


"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind."
Eric Hoffer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making your life happy

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts."
Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who to get even with

"The only people you should get even with are those who have helped you."
Napoleon Hill
1883-1970, Author

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Deciding to win

"My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose - somehow we win out."
Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Mornings are a great time for getting things done. 
You’re less likely to be interrupted than you are later in the day. 

Your supply of willpower is fresh after a good night’s sleep. 

That makes it possible to turn personal priorities like exercise or strategic thinking into reality.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Believing in yourself

"You have to believe in yourself, that's the secret. Even when I was in the orphanage, when I was roaming the street trying to find enough to eat, even then I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world."
Charlie Chaplin
1889-1977, Comic Actor

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Where you are today

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."
Nido Qubein
Author and Speaker

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Planning your life

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much."
Jim Rohn
1930-2009, Author and Speaker

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

What peace is

"Peace is not something you wish for; it's something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away."

Robert Fulghum

Monday, June 04, 2012

The one trait you need for success

"If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence."
Richard DeVos
Co-founder of Amway

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting from here to there

"Decide where you are going and how you are to get there. Then make a start from where you now stand."
Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When you feel sorry for yourself

"Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have."
Dale Carnegie
1888-1955, Author and Speaker

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Action and results

"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Being and Doing

"It's really easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do is more important than what we are. Of course, it's the opposite that's true: what we are ultimately determines what we do!"
Fred Rogers
1928-2003, Creator of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What makes for success

"When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck."
Estee Lauder
1906-2004, Entrepreneur

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Doing great things

"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible."
Orison Swett Marden
1850-1924, Author

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Leaving a Legacy for the Future

Alex Jones is a radio host, writer, and researcher.  What will his legacy be for the future?  And more crucial, what will your legacy be?

Friday, May 11, 2012

3 Things Professional Women Should Stop Apologizing For

"Women need to stop apologizing for routine workplace events," Bloom shared with me in an email. "Ladies, every time the word 'sorry' is about to fly out of your mouth, think: Have I actually done something wrong? Or has this just become a verbal tic?"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Being thankful

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Why Amendment One Passed

When North Carolina’s General Assembly proposed Amendment One last fall, a group that opposed the amendment proposed a campaign called “One Million Conversations.”  They suggested that each one who opposed the amendment talk to 10 people, to have open, frank, and friendly conversations about their concerns about the proposed amendment.  And if everyone who opposed the amendment spoke to 10 people who in turn spoke to 10 people, and so on down the line, there would have been a million conversations against the amendment.  

That campaign idea was a good one.  Rather than viewing those who supported the amendment as enemies, it viewed them as friends and co-workers and relatives who could perhaps be persuaded to change their minds.  

I have no idea how many of these proposed conversations happened.  But in the wake of the amendment’s passage, it’s worth looking at some of the reasons why it passed.  Because I think that this amendment’s passage gives a lesson for the future.  There were crucial mistakes made by this amendment’s opponents.  Both of them were problematic.  Together, they were fatal.  

The first mistake was to view those who supported this amendment as bigoted, hate-filled people.  In any legislative process, those who support and oppose do so for a variety of reasons.  We are fortunate that most people in North Carolina are neither bigoted nor hate-filled.  But over and over, the amendment’s opponents made these charges.  It happened in person, in newspapers and magazines, and online.  I witnessed an exchange in a restaurant where an amendment supporter made a quiet, thoughtful case for the amendment, and an opponent proceeded to scream that the supporter was “hateful,” “evil,” and “bigoted.”  

Not surprisingly, the conversation stopped.  

In a political discussion, keeping conversations -- even among those who disagree -- friendly, civil, and pleasant is important.  And assuming that those we disagree with are well-intentioned is perhaps even more important.

Next, the religious question.  Those who put forth this amendment didn’t frame it in religious terms, and it would have been wrong if they had.  But a lot of the amendment’s supporters did.  That’s because North Carolinians  -- and Southerners, in general -- are often deeply religious.  And that religion is often something that informs day to day life.  Anyone who has lived in the South for a length of time has had the experience of being asked -- even by casual acquaintances -- about one’s religious life, church attendance, and other such matters.  

Those who made religious arguments for this amendment usually did so out of firm convictions.  The amendment’s opponents may have disagreed, but the arguments needed to be answered.  I was shocked by the mockery unleashed online, in print, and in person against those arguments.   Opponents failed to take amendment supporters’ religious views seriously.  And when the arguments weren’t taken seriously, the supporters stopped talking.  

Beware when those you disagree with stop talking.  It doesn’t mean they agree with you.  It just means they have stopped listening to what you say.  And mocking deeply-held religious beliefs (of whatever variety) guarantees that you will not be taken seriously.

Religious people in the South are often well-versed in their Bibles.  Even when they are not otherwise well-educated (although they certainly might well be) they know their Bibles.  Those who opposed the amendment often failed to respond seriously and thoughtfully to the biblical points.  Even clergy and others who should have been able to answer seemed to revert to not taking the biblical arguments seriously.  

Now that the voting is over, what can we all (those who opposed this amendment, and those who favored it) learn?  

First, takes one’s opponents seriously, and listen to them.  Assume the best about them.  If possible, get to know them.  

Second, don’t mock deeply held beliefs, religious or otherwise.  You can certainly express disagreement, but mockery and sarcasm don’t work, and will usually work against what one is trying to accomplish.  If you don’t have the ability (for whatever reason) to respond to another’s beliefs, try to find someone who can respectfully do so.  

Third, realize that although your opponents may vote as a bloc, they are not a “group.”  They are individuals who have differing life experiences, motivations, and reasons for their actions.   

What can we take away from this?  I think our biggest lesson is to remember that our opponents are not our enemies.  We as a society have lost an ability that we need to re-gain -- that of listening to and taking seriously those who disagree with us.  

Listening to someone’s arguments and considering them is not compromise.  It’s taking them as individuals seriously, and appreciating them as individuals and not casting them as faceless members of a group.  

We can learn to listen.  We can learn to understand what others are saying even when we disagree.  Our neighbors are not our enemies.  

Monday, May 07, 2012

Making your life new

"You can always become the person you would have liked to be."
Napoleon Hill

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Affordable online school: New Charter University

One of my beefs with online education is the price.  Schools that deliver learning online are not burdened with a lot of the costs associated with bricks and mortar schools,  but often charge as though they had them.  I like it that -- finally -- schools are starting to compete on price.  That's a good thing for students, families, and society in general, especially when we are dealing with an increasing problem of students graduating with huge amounts of student debt.  This is a school that has put together a plan (basically $199 a month) that allows students to finish undergraduate or masters programs for $6-7,000.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Finding a way to achieve

"Remember, the thoughts that you think and the statements you make regarding yourself determine your mental attitude. If you have a worthwhile objective, find the one reason why you can achieve it rather than hundreds of reasons why you can't."
Napoleon Hill

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Simple Tools That Make Email Suck Less

What we do have access to is a growing number of smart add-ons and plug-ins that can improve your email work flow. Here are some of the most useful.

Is breakfast the most important meal?

Attracting good stuff

"Everybody is like a magnet. You attract to yourself reflections of that which you are. If you're friendly then everybody else seems to be friendly too."
Dr. David Hawkins
Psychiatrist, Physician and Researcher

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Paleo” Nutrition Blogger Will Go to Jail if He Does Not Recant

State Threatens to Shut Down Nutrition Blogger

Nutrition board says he needs a license to advocate dietary approaches

On being thankful -- and its benefits

"Be thankful for what you have, you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never ever have enough."
Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Helen Keller sunglasses

This product sounds like something a bunch of middle school boys would have come up with, but it's not a joke: sunglasses named after Helen Keller, from our friends in China who admire her as someone who not only overcame adversity, but was a socialist as well.  Still, I'm not sure they can understand why this sounds so funny.

10 Ways To Craft Your Resume For Ultra-Short Attention Spans

Crafting your resume for 2012 and beyond.

What to do in stress

"In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive."
Lee Iacocca

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scotty McCreery: That old King James

World's best coconut cake ... maybe the world's best cake, period

So I wrote yesterday about the coconut cake my wife made for my birthday, but I was writing from what it looked like and from reading the recipe.  And after a big dinner last night (8 of us altogether!) I can speak from taste:  this is the best coconut cake I've ever eaten.  Maybe the best cake I've tasted, ever.

I don't say that easily.  Coconut has long been (from childhood) a favorite of mine, and it remains so.  This cake is moist, flavorful, and full of good coconut taste.  Not a quick cake (as I pointed out yesterday, you have to start it 48 hours ahead of time!) but a good one.  One that you make for an Occasion.  A birthday, anniversary, or just when you want to show Somebody Special that you love them.  Here's the recipe, again.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Is this the world's best coconut cake?

Well, I can't say for sure yet, because I haven't sliced it, though sore tempted.

I'm not a big cake fan.  Most cakes that you get are dry (over-relying on cake mixes will do that for you, as will trying to avoid any butter in the cake -- contrary to what people tell you, applesauce is not a good substitute for  the clean taste of butter), cloyingly sweet, or just lacking taste in general.

But I do love coconut cake.  Growing up, there was a woman at church who made an incredible coconut cake: moist, full-flavored, and redolent of coconut.

The problem?  Finding a recipe that really, REALLY replicates that full coconut taste.

A few months ago, we found this recipe in Our State magazine, a good publication devoted to things North Carolinian.  And since this cake isn't quickly put together (it requires starting 48 hours ahead of serving!) my wife saved it for my birthday.

Which is tomorrow.  So she began on Wednesday, because we're having our children and their friends for dinner tomorrow.  I'm doing pork and chicken Chinese recipes, and while cake doesn't go with Chinese, we all need an inconsistency or two.  Here's mine.  I'll report tomorrow on the outcome of the cake.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Put This Food on Your Hair for a New Level of Luster

Using coconut oil to improve your hair's health.

Looking for good

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."

Harold Kushner

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


My daughter Alex's guest post on the blog Carrots 'n Cake.

Move Over, Dick Tracy

How A $3 Million Kickstarter Project Could Save The Wristwatch (Yes, The Wristwatch)

Where do I go from here?

"Making a decision usually means taking one of two roads. One is doing the right thing. To take the other road, you have to sit back and spin a story around the decision or action you are taking. If you find yourself thinking up an elaborate justification for what you are doing, you are not doing the right thing."

Wayne Sales

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The clarity of the teachings of the Scriptures

I'm working through Schmid's Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2 pages a day. It's proving good and useful. Some thoughts from recently on perspicuity in the Scriptures, my paraphrase:

1. Salvation is taught perspicuously.

2. The remaining passages of Scripture receive light from these [that is, the salvation passages].

3. From perspicuous passages, we deduce a rule of Faith.

4. If we cannot attain clarity from all passages, we propose nothing contrary to the analogy in their [that is, the "rule of faith" passages] interpretation.

What great minds have

"Great minds have great purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them."

Washington Irving
1783-1859, Author, Biographer, and Historian

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Newest book idea

Though I've kept a stream of short posts on this blog, it hasn't been active with much in the last year or so. And that's because I've been writing (as in books) and I'm continuing to work on those, but I am trying to go back to a more regular (that is, substantive) schedule here.

I'm working today on my latest book. Tentative title: Eating with Genghis Khan: 26 Authentic Dishes So You Can Eat Like the Marauding Hordes.

In case you're wondering, this isn't a joke. Those who have known me for a while know of my long-standing interest in things Mongolian. This is not one I expect to be a best-seller, but it's fun researching Mongol recipes, and remembering eating this stuff from when I was there in 1995.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The best articles online

Recommended: this site for some of the finest article writing.

Not just new articles, but older pieces, some dating decades back.

But really fine stuff, and free.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


"Look well to this day. Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day."

Excerpt from an ancient Sanskrit poem

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Beginning with confidence

"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started."

Marcus Tullius Cicero
106 BC - 43 BC, Roman Philosopher and Statesman

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When to start doing

"When you have talked yourself into what you want, right there is the place to stop talking and begin saying it with deeds."

Napoleon Hill
1883-1970, Author

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making your life

"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."

John Homer Miller
1910-1944, Teacher

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stopping and starting

"The start is what stops most people."

Don Shula
Former NFL Coach

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to get through hard times

"A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose - a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve."

John Maxwell

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The key to success

"I realized early on that success was tied to not giving up. Most people in this business gave up and went on to other things. If you simply didn't give up, you would outlast the people who came in on the bus with you."

Harrison Ford

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making dreams come alive

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."

Jesse Owens
1913-1980, Olympic Gold Medalist

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Not fretting the small stuff

"Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest."

Beatrix Potter
1866-1943, Author and Illustrator

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Where winners live

"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future."

Denis Waitley

Monday, March 05, 2012

Making a fool out of yourself

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap."

Cynthia Heimel
Playwright, Television Writer, and Author

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Success and courage

"Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act."

Maxwell Maltz

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting what you desire

"The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat."

Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Take action!

"Life is too short to waste. Dreams are fulfilled only through action, not through endless planning to take action."

David J. Schwartz

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strength in difficulties

"I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties."

James Cash Penney
1875-1971, Founder of J.C. Penney Stores

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What love is

"Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you."

Wayne Dyer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Looking at the goal

"You've got to walk right into what you want and not look at what you don't want. Stay focused on the goal."

Calvin LeHew

Thursday, February 09, 2012

What courage does

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'"

Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Get started!

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Achieving something great

"Nothing great has ever been achieved except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances."

Bruce Barton

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Noticing people

"The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity."

Thomas J. Peters

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Telling the truth

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Choosing pain

"Each of us must experience one of two pains - the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Which pain will you choose?"

Jim Rohn

Monday, January 16, 2012

True security

"When you know that you're capable of dealing with whatever comes, you have the only security the world has to offer."

Harry Browne
Financial Advisor and Writer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to make your life better

"Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life."

Harvey Mackay

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The power of concentration

"Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets."

Nido Qubein
Author and Speaker

Monday, January 09, 2012

Seeing the future

"See things as you would have them be instead of as they are."

Robert Collier
1885-1950, Author