Everyone loves a smiling face, no matter how hardened they are. This I learn from observing my general contractors who always seem to be carrying a cheerful attitude into their work and environment, no matter how tough their work and financial situations are. I tried to apply the same principle in my marriage. It certainly isn’t easy, but I’m glad I try.
Once in awhile you meet someone who inspires you not because of their stellar achievement but because of how down-to-earth, sincere, humble and genuine they are. One such person is Khaled, who owns and runs a falafel shop in Belmont, California. No, not just any falafel shop - it's the best, most authentic, freshest and tastiest falafel there is.
I know the power of words. Words form our beliefs, habits and destiny. We literally shape our world with our words. So I decided to take control of my emotions by writing down my daily situation and choosing joy despite the negativity that surrounds. By writing and solidifying each day’s resolve to “steal” joy, I was changing my internal circumstances which I knew would soon spill over to my external circumstances.
Every once powerful empire face an impending eventual collapse. Consider the ancient empires of old: the Persian, Roman, Turkish, Mongol and Egyptian empires - they once rose to great power and they eventually fell to horrific economic ruins and dusted glory. As empires rise and fall according to times, so do individuals rise and fall according to seasons.
Ever noticed how a vacation leaves us refreshed and ready to tackle our jobs with new drive? A change of environment - sights, sounds, faces, encounters, experiences - they offer rejuvenation and renewed perspective. Sometimes all it takes is a quick change of environment to change your inner perspective. In my case, all it took was a pool of water.
If you’re taking a train heading south while you had intended to head north, what do you do? You’ll immediately get off the train at the next stop and board the correct train heading north. You will do whatever’s necessary to get you to your destination. Isn’t it crazy then that we know to do the right thing in the case of a train ride but we don’t apply the same principle to life in general?
A young man went to film school in college. He graduated and worked in the State Treasury in Sacramento, California for six years. One day, he discovered a shoemaking workshop, was fascinated, took the class and started making shoes on night and weekends. He lived and breathed soft leather, wool, quality rubber soles and stitching. He became a master in his craft. First he would sell a pair online. Then two. Then three. Soon the orders would back up to more than he could manage.
As long as we breathe, problems are bound to present themselves. Life isn’t a bed of roses. Life is a freeway. It’s a journey filled with fast and slow days, smooth traffic and congestion, good and bad people, ups and downs. If problems are coming our way whether we like it or not, we’ve got to change the way we perceive them rather than to throw our hands up in despair and give up.
In desiring friendship, first be a friend. In desiring a listening ear, first be a listening ear. In desiring time, first give your time. The principles of sowing and reaping is an irreversible universal law of nature and life. As surely as a farmer sows his seed in winter, he would surely reap a harvest in summer.
In the event of an emergency, pull out the life vest from under your seat and put it on yourself first before attending to a young child if you’re traveling with one. Yes, take care of yourself first, and only after you’ve done that do you care for a young child or someone else in need. Herein lies an important lesson: We got to first feed ourselves before we can feed others. We got to first prosper on the inside before we can bless someone else.