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