Monthly Archives: January 2011

Experience Greater Meaning with the Habit of Contribution

One of our greatest gifts in life is the opportunities we’re given.

Whenever we’re at work, at school, taking time to relax, or visiting with friends, we have a challenge and an opportunity- to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

It’s part of a bigger perspective- and it’s one that I’ve often forgotten about.

With this post, I’d like to encourage you to see this bigger perspective in your daily activities.  I think it will give you discover more meaning and purpose even in your most “mundane” activities.

We can make a positive difference in our own lives- and in the lives of those around us each day.

It’s a good habit to develop.  Making a positive contribution to your own life and to the world around you will inspire and encourage you.  And ultimately, who doesn’t need extra inspiration and encouragement?

I have a few ideas about the habit of making a positive contribution in life.

Recognize Your Worth and Value First

I’ve discovered that it’s hard to make a positive contribution- if I don’t recognize my own worth and value first.

I have previously worked on volunteer projects.  One of the places I’ve volunteered at is a local homeless shelter called “The Mustard Seed”.  I got involved in helping out with serving the dinners.  I was able to interact a bit with people who came through the line for the plates of food.

It was a really good volunteer experience for me- and it was something outside of my comfort zone.  It helped me be more grateful for the things that I often take for granted- work that helps meet my needs, food, clothing, and a roof over my head- blessings and basic essentials that not everyone has in this world.

When I started out volunteering at The Mustard Seed, it was out of my comfort zone.  I didn’t feel that I had much to contribute.  It was easy for me to think “This is way too far outside my comfort zone.  I don’t have anything of value to contribute.”  When I recognized my worth and value as a person- I could see myself as making a difference.

I would then say to myself “I work well with others, and I’ve had volunteer experiences where I’ve demonstrated compassion and understanding for others.  I’ve previously made a difference, and I can do it again.”

I encourage you to discover new causes that you can get involved in.  If you start to feel intimidated, step out and do it anyway.  You’ll discover that you’re more than capable of making an outstanding contribution, if you give yourself a chance.  If it’s something you’ve never done before, you’ll be able to develop the qualities you need.

The feeling of well-being you get from moving outside your comfort zone, developing strength, and helping others in need is one that’s well worth it.

Taking Action to Make a Significant Difference in the Lives of Others

As you discover causes that are most meaningful to you, it really opens up your own world and your perspective on life.

For me, stepping out and helping at the Mustard Seed had been such a valuable experience.  In the future, I’d like to volunteer there again as time permits.  It’s been tough with my work schedule, but I’d eventually like to help out there again.

If all we do is think about what we’ll do, and never take the time to make the difference- whether it’s through our time, money, resources, skills and knowledge, all of our good intentions remain just that… good intentions.

Today I’ve reminded myself with this post- that there is a world of need out there- and you and I can make a difference- but only if we decide to get involved and take action.

Enlarging our Perspective and Purpose through Contribution

It’s easy to think of the work and the things we need to do as just that… work and the things we need to do.

For example, when was the last time you thought of your job, your career, or your business from a bigger perspective.

It’s natural to consider our work as just a paycheque- to pay the bills, rent or mortgage.

From a wider perspective, our work, hobbies, and volunteer experiences have a much wider purpose.  I’d like to give you a few ideas to encourage you as you go about your daily routine.

If you’re running a business, your work may help your clients or customers achieve their goals faster.  You’re helping them overcome their challenges, problems, and difficulties.  Ultimately, you’re a type of “catalyst” for their success in life.  Even more so, your training, assistance or support allows them to provide a superior service to their own customers.

The end purpose of this type of work and purpose brings a type of honor to our daily work and efforts.

If you’re working on a project team, you can help make a difference to the lives of others- with support and encouragement.  There may be ways that others can learn from you as they step out and develop their skills.  There are things that you can also learn from them.  Challenges in a project team may help you learn to negotiate, resolve conflict, or gain better ideas on ways to complete your project more successfully.

On the topic of contribution to the lives of others, I’d like to complete this post with a concrete and personal example.

Back in high school I had struggled in Grade 11 with our English course.  Unfortunately, I really struggled with that course, involving a lot of writing topics.  I had three English teachers that year, and one of them didn’t do much teaching.  I didn’t get much out of the course.

In Grade 12, I had one of my best teachers, Mrs. Faber.

Through her efforts and teaching style, I discovered the value of critical thinking while I write.  When I started this course, I lacked confidence in writing- and achieved a grade of only 53 percent.  We had a small class of about 20 or so.  During the semester, Mrs. Faber worked with each of us during class time.  By the time the course ended, I actually enjoyed the experience of putting my thoughts down on paper.  In the second semester, she helped me achieve a grade of 73 percent.  I learned the value of persistence and hard work.  To me, Mrs. Faber is a great example of the impact we can make in the lives of others.

I hope this post has encouraged you to discover ways you’d like to make a difference with your life, your work, and in your personal life.

The habit of contribution helps us see our work and our lives from a wider perspective.  It gives us purpose for the tasks we do on a daily basis- and for our occasional volunteer activities.

It’s a valuable habit to adopt in your life, because it helps you:

  • recognize your worth and value – as you step outside your comfort zone
  • make a significant difference to the lives of others
  • enlarge or widen your perspective & discover your greater purpose

My next post will be about developing positive health habits.  Until then, I encourage you to keep making great progress towards your goals.  Here’s a great YouTube video titled “Who I Am Makes A Difference”.  It’s an 8 minute video, which is well worth viewing.

Developing the Positive Habit of Accepting Responsibility


Accepting responsibility is not easy, but it’s crucial for peace of mind and greater success.

It isn’t something I’ve always done.

It’s a habit that I’m striving to develop to a greater degree- for all aspects of my life.

As you hopefully discover with this blog, I don’t have all the answers.  I’ve learned many things through reflection, the writings of great authors and mentors, and through the school of “hard knocks”.

Part of my purpose is to share what I’ve learned the hard way, so that you won’t have to.

It seems that as we take responsibility in life- we experience greater joy, peace of mind and success.

Taking responsibility is an essential and good habit to incorporate into our lives.

To help you make greater progress, here are a few ideas on the best areas we can develop responsibility in.


Our beliefs play a major role in life.  Sometimes we deflect our own sense of responsibility by blaming others for our difficulties or problems.

This is when you see so much drama on some of the talk shows.  Intolerance, anger, and finger pointing is the order of the day.

In reality though, blame becomes a type of mental prison, because it makes others responsible for our well-being and happiness.

In the past, I’ve given power and control over to others to determine my overall mood.

Unfortunately, we encounter people in our lives who disapprove of us, our goals, or our ideas.

To those who would demean, hinder, degrade, or discourage you, do they really have the power to influence what you will believe or “buy into”?

In reality, when we experience disapproval or rejection, why would we even believe others who are limited- those who don’t know us and don’t have our best interests at heart?

When you encounter those who tend to operate from a lower level of thinking and living, pass them by.  It’s not even worth two seconds of your time to worry about what they have to say.

I like a quote I read from Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady of the U.S, who either wrote or said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Time offers us both challenges and opportunities.  There’s a world out there filled with difficulties and problems, while we see great values and contributions others have made to our world- those who have filled it with meaning, joy, purpose, higher ideals, truth, and greater justice and equality for all.

Our beliefs in life are those things we can change- through greater awareness, practice and persistence.

For instance, important beliefs you can set for yourself are the beliefs you have about yourself and your capabilities.

We can treat ourselves with the utmost respect by:

  • recognizing our intrinsic worth and value
  • viewing ourselves as significant- that our ideas, thoughts, and purposes are worthwhile in life
  • developing our talents and skills in life

Those are just a few ideas, but I hope that you’ll adopt new beliefs for greater joy, purpose and success in your own life.


Our thoughts and our dominant thinking play a vital role in our daily moods and in the emotions we experience.

I’ve often downplayed the role our thoughts play in the quality of our lives.

Try a short experiment.  As you think of discouraging thoughts, notice how each one builds on another.  Before long, you’ve affected your emotions and overall mood.  Now try thinking of optimistic, hopeful thoughts.  Notice how you feel more energized and willing to take action.

At this point, with all the challenges I’m encountering in my own life- I’m developing a new habit of setting supportive thoughts.

Here’s what I mean by setting supportive thoughts- my thoughts are becoming a moment-by-moment decision.  Here’s a key question I’m using when negative thoughts arise:

“Will I give in to negativism by building upon thoughts of inadequacy or discouragement or thoughts of capability and courage- as I pursue my goals in life?


As you’ve seen through the previous exercise, as you’ve focused on thoughts of discouragement, you’ve experienced the same types of feelings or emotions.

There are those around us who have a negative or “sour” type of outlook on life.

I’ve been there- and can say that it’s easy to give in to the emotions of anger, fear, and doubt.

Anger is a tough emotion to experience.  There’s the adrenaline rush with the whole experience.  As we accept responsibility for our anger, and find ways to channel it constructively, we’ll create better results and find better solutions in our lives.

For instance, with this emotion of anger, are there ways that we can harness it, and channel it for good- to right wrongs, find solutions, and experience justice?

The same holds true with the emotion of fear.  If we gain a sense of responsibility for handling fear correctly, we’ll experience greater peace of mind.  If we ignore or suppress our fears in life, they arise as outward behaviors, such as prejudice, hesitation in life, and procrastination.

For example, are there ways that you can handle fear and anxiety more constructively?  For me, I try to develop greater faith and belief in my own life.  I focus on building my own courage and strength through inspiring cards and notes of encouragement and through inspiring songs. I also gain hope from meaningful things that I’ve read.

It’s our ultimate responsibility to take charge of our emotional well-being, and not to leave it up to chance or to how others treat us.

Behaviors and Actions

I’ve recognized in my own life a crucial element to success:  Taking action is my responsibility.

I thought of a valuable question I hope you can use for greater success in your own life.

When you face a goal or challenge in life- will you step out, take action and go for it?  Or will you shrink back and hesitate?

The choice is yours.  Fast forward to the future.  If you hesitate and delay your goal, you’ll experience a sense of regret and “what could have been”.

But if you stepped out and took action, you’ll experience more of the life and the greatness you would never have experienced if you stayed on the “sidelines” of life.  You will have tried, and you didn’t succumb to the temptation to quit.  You may have stumbled along the path to achieving your goals, but your life has become richer, purposeful and meaningful.  You will have gained a measure of courage, strength, and wisdom that no one can take away from you.

It all begins with the responsibility for taking action despite the odds.

My hope is that this post has encouraged you to take greater responsibility for the beliefs you adopt about yourself and your capabilities, the thoughts you focus upon, the emotions you experience, and the actions you take in life.

My next post will be about the habit of making a positive difference in life.

courage 2 Developing the Positive Habit of Accepting Responsibility

Igniting Enthusiasm with Positive Thoughts and Expectations

In my life, I’ve found it to be a challenging yet “doable” exercise to set goals and visualize success.

In my previous post, I provided a few tips and ideas on visualization.

It’s valuable to take visualization one step further though. It’s a key ingredient that I’ve missed, and it’s a good habit that I’ve neglected in the past. As a result, it’s hindered the success and progress that I could have made.

This key ingredient is to build upon: Positive Thoughts and Expectations

It’s relatively easy to take a few moments and envision success.  But what happens when natural thoughts of inadequacy, fear, discouragement, or uncertainty creep in?

It’s not a natural thing to always be “positive” and “on top of the world”.  If this is your approach moment-by-moment through life, and a natural part of your personality, I’d like to meet you.  I’d say that you’re one-of-a-kind in today’s world.

If you’re like me, you can find that thoughts and feelings of doubt arise frequently throughout the day.  There are many pressures in life, and it’s natural to focus on questions such as “how will I get through my current challenges or difficulty today?”

Building upon positive thoughts and expectations for meeting our challenges effectively is crucial in life.  Here are a few ideas:

Your thoughts determine your feelings, actions and outlook on life.

Our thought lives are like the foundation for a building.  With a good foundation (of positive thoughts and expectations), we see a resulting structure in our lives, which is visible in our feelings, our actions and our attitudes.  You can see it in people’s faces, in their behaviors and in their words and the way they speak.  Others can see these things in you and in me as well.

Consider this carefully for your success.  I know that I need to as well…

With the thoughts you allow and build upon in your life, you determine:

  • your feelings or emotions- such as doubt and despondency versus hope and optimism. If you trace it all back to a source- it begins with the thoughts you allow and focus upon.
  • your actions- whether it’s our habit to take action, or to hesitate or procrastinate in life, it all boils down to the thoughts you believe about yourself, your capabilities, along with the importance and urgency of your goals.
  • your attitudes or “outlook on life”- It all depends upon your focus.  Are you generally optimistic?  Good.  Build upon thoughts of hope for your success, and you’ll surely achieve the goals you’ve set out to accomplish.  Are you naturally pessimistic?  Recognize the fact that “lower levels of thinking”, doubt, and inadequacy will lead you to “buy in” to your own limitations, the labels others have placed on you.  I know this first-hand because I’ve lived through this struggle.

Your progress will be enhanced

Who can’t use greater progress and learning day-by-day?  None of us can.  There’s isn’t one of us who can say “I have arrived and have all the answers.”  This is part of what gives life meaning- as there are opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, development and the chance to learn and discover new possibilities for our lives.

As I wrote out my daily goals yesterday, I fell short of what I wanted to accomplish.  I can respond to my actions one of two ways.  One ways is with thoughts of despair and incapability, saying “Why don’t I measure up?”  Another way is with thoughts of my progress, saying “Look how far I’ve come.  I fell short, but I didn’t quit and directly faced some challenges I was having”.

Responding with the second choice helps me ensure day-by-day that I make further progress next time!

Your mental well-being improves

I really like another quote I read from Brian Tracy’s book called “Great Little Book on Personal Achievement”:

Think continually about what you want, not about the things you fear.

I’ve found that my mental well-being does improve as I monitor my thoughts- and as I keep them in line with my goals and the things I want in life.

The great part of life is that we can make conscious choices about the things we’ll focus on and think about.  There’s an element of choice at work in our lives, if we decide to exercise that power.

Building on positive thoughts and realistic yet hopeful expectations builds greater hope in the future – and your ongoing belief that you will be successful.

It is crucial that our mental well-being improves each day.  It’s valuable to develop a strong mindset to combat the negativity that you hear from others, the media and even in your own natural thoughts- where you may battle with thoughts that generate feelings of discouragement, uncertainty, or inadequacy.  I know from experience that I certainly have.  As my own mindset and attitudes have improved in life, the quality of my own life has improved.

The stronger “mindset” that I’m writing about- gives our lives the incredible benefits of:

  • progress
  • faith
  • hope
  • belief
  • recognizing the value and beauty of our goals

After many years of neglecting my own mental well-being, I’m becoming more careful to focus upon thoughts, emotions and actions that will lead me closer to my goals and the life I desire to have.

Your goals can be more easily achieved

As we build on positive thoughts and expectations for ourselves and our lives, our goals can be more easily achieved.

I like how Les Brown put it in his audio series called “The Courage to Live Your Dreams”.

On one of his audios, Les talks about how we often use difficulties and challenges in life as stop signs rather than as growth signs.

If you decide to quit along the path to achieving your goal, you’ll never know the triumph and exhilaration of overcoming major challenges.  We can only overcome these challenges as we develop, maintain, and build upon positive thoughts and expectations in our lives.

The most important thoughts and expectations we can nurture are those that support, motivate and encourage us to greater things in life.

I always remember that my life, my goals, and my contributions to the world are most important.  I encourage you to develop a better mindset and approach each day- as better progress, improved mental well-being, and greater success can be yours as you build on this good habit.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the positive habit of accepting responsibility.

I like this video I found on YouTube- where Brian Tracy speaks about having positive expectations.  All the best to you as you pursue your goals in life.

The Powerful Habit of Visualization in Achieving Goals


Recently, I wrote a post where I discussed a few tips for writing daily goals.

An important part of the process- which I’ve often neglected – is to visualize my successful accomplishment of these daily goals.

It almost seems like our minds can tend to operate in one of three ways:

  • we can think of the future with doubt- when we focus too much on our obstacles.  This tends to lead to a bleak, uncertain outlook on our lives.
  • our minds can remain in “neutral”-  when we think that our future (starting with our day ahead) will somehow take care of itself.  This is when we tend to place no urgency on setting or pursuing our goals in life.
  • we can envision the successful completion of our daily goals- along with the rewards we’ll experience from accomplishing them.

I’m sure there might even be more options or ways that our minds operate.  I’m open to that possibility.

Based on the above list, I believe that the third option is the best choice we can make.  Taking action on a choice of envisioning success helps us accomplish the things we desire in life.

Visualization can be a simple process and doesn’t need to take a lot of time to begin your day.  It’s becoming a really valuable exercise for me.  It takes a bit of discipline, but the rewards and the impetus to make greater progress is well worth it.

Here are three main areas I’ve begun to do a bit of visualization about- I’ve outlined them below in red lettering:

The Successful Accomplishment of Your Goals

Visualization involves creating a mental picture of success.

As I’ve begun to develop daily goals, it gives me something to strive for as I begin my day.

I encourage you to do the same.  Before I began working on this blog post and my training, I wrote out a couple of goals I want to accomplish this morning.  It’s given me new focus, direction, and purpose for my morning.

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t set an agenda for yourself, others may try to set an agenda for you.  Without some type of focus, we can easily become distracted or “scattered” in our thinking, which ultimately diminishes our effectiveness.

As you develop a couple of daily goals, you can then visualize and create a mental picture of success.

The key step is knowing what you want to accomplish.

This is a step that I would forget to take.  There were too many times where I didn’t have a set of 2 or 3 daily goals to work on, and it was so hard to get going.

I liken it to setting out on a trip to a fun destination.  When you’re starting out on a trip you’ve been looking forward to, you most likely envision arriving at your destination, visiting the places you’ve longed to see. If you’re driving, you take out your road map and you take the proper highways so that you’ll arrive at the city you intend to visit.

Your daily goals serve the same purpose.  They’re like the road signs, the highways and the exits you need to take to arrive at your final destination (your ultimate goal).

You likely envision arriving at your destination when you travel.  Why not do so with the successful accomplishments of your long-term goal- and for your daily goals?

The Rewards of Achieving Your Goals

So, at this point, you’ve developed daily goals.  As you’ve written them out, you have a new focus and something to strive towards accomplishing.

As you develop a couple of good, inspiring “reasons why” you want to accomplish your daily goals, you’ll create:

  • inspiration to make progress
  • motivation to take action
  • enthusiasm for getting started

We can all use a bit of extra inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm for our lives and our goals, wouldn’t you agree?

As you visualize your successful completion of your goal (along with the rewards you’ll experience), you’ll create more momentum and greater progress in your life.

I’ve seen a spike or increase in my own enthusiasm, momentum and progress with my own goals.  I encourage you to try this out.  It works!

Positive Qualities that I want to Develop

I really like a quote I read one time from William James, who is a prominent American psychologist.  He had an outstanding quote about the vision we have of ourselves:

There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking.

I make it a point each day to envision the type of person I am becoming (and would like to become.

Here are some ideas and examples of the type of vision you may have of yourself. For example, you may want to become more: creative, inspired, productive, motivated, loving, powerful, strong, courageous, resilient… for a few examples.  There are plenty of descriptive terms for the type of people we can aspire to become.

It’s extremely valuable to envision the type of person you want to become.  We can all adopt a vision of ourselves being more inspired, courageous and motivated in our lives, if we haven’t done so already.

The benefits are incredible for doing so- we’ll lead richer, fuller and more resilient lives, and we’ll have an amazing experience of growth and development.

I encourage you to develop a daily vision for your success.  It’s one of the good habits you can develop to achieve your goals in life.

In my next post, I’ll discuss a few tips for creating a better thought life- one filled with “positive expectations” when we encounter obstacles and challenges in our lives.

Inspirational Quote and Lamborghini The Powerful Habit of Visualization in Achieving Goals

Develop a Habit of Organization for Greater Success


Life gets very busy and hectic.  I hope that these posts on positive habits to bring you new awareness, insight, ideas and success.

More importantly, my hope is that you’ve been able to apply the tips I’ve written about.  Ideas are great, but taking action is the crucial part.

Today is another day and opportunity for great development and progress.  I’ve learned many things along the way, but I find that I always have room for improvement in my own life.

As I’ve applied the things I’ve learned, I’ve experienced greater progress, joy and meaning.

Today’s blog post is about developing an important habit for success- and it’s one that I struggle to develop.

It’s about the habit of organization.

It’s one of the good habits that is so easy to procrastinate about.  Sometimes I’ll see my notes or desk in a state of confusion and say “I’ll put that stuff in order tomorrow.” Once I’ve let it pile up, it becomes a bigger task to straighten things out.

This year, I vow to make things different.

I’d like to give you one major benefit – and a few tips that have helped me make progress in this area.  My organizational skills have improved over time, and I’m hoping to make more progress in the upcoming days and months ahead.

Freedom from Clutter

I like how defines clutter.  On their site, clutter is defined as “a confused disordered jumble of things.”

To me, that’s a really good description for a disorganized desk or work area.

As we experience this major benefit of freedom from clutter- it allows us to:

  • be more productive
  • think clearly and creatively
  • experience less stress
  • feel less distracted

It’s true that freedom from clutter allows you to be more productive.  You’re able to focus on your most important tasks without extraneous paperwork “floating around” in your immediate environment.

In addition, as you become organized, you’re able to think clearly and creatively.  When you’re at work, taking a course, or doing a project, clear thinking allows you to come up with ideas, solutions, and ultimately better results.

I’ve found that when I’m disorganized, my mind tends to get confused and scattered.  Technology was supposed to reduce paperwork, but oftentimes it doesn’t.  It’s tough to make progress when I’m surrounded by clutter.

You’ll feel less stressed when you’re more organized.

As I work on this blog and home office-based business, I find that I’m more stressed when I’m disorganized.  Whenever I began a new project, I would search for items and notes that I needed to get a good start on my task.  After a few minutes of searching, I’d end up asking myself “Why is this taking me so long to start?”  It’s because I never filed my information properly to begin with.

As I’ve become more organized, I’ve alleviated these feelings somewhat.  It’s still a battle to keep organized, but I’ve found it to be well worth it as I’ve become better organized.

As your organizational skills improve, you’ll feel less distracted.

If your daily goals or projects are organized, you’ll feel more focused.

As I allot certain amounts of time for my projects, I’m less distracted and more focused.  As I’ve reduced or eliminated clutter in my immediate surroundings, my productivity has improved.

A Calendar and Organizing System

Keeping things in good order- with an organizing system for bills, expenses, and appointments is a good habit to have.

I like to pay my bills via a monthly calendar.  I’d encourage you to do the same thing.

I’ve learned this the hard way.

You’re less likely to forget or miss a bill payment if you have your bills organized and in writing on a calendar or a daytimer.

Goal and Activity or Project Cards

3″ by 5″ index cards are especially handy for keeping myself organized.

I’ve read books from authors who suggest writing out your major goals on a goal card.  It keeps you focused on your goal.  They also recommend keeping your goals visible by keeping these cards where you’ll see them around home.

In a similar way, I use goal or activity cards for each project or service that I use with my business.  There are business activities that I need to work on and develop.

With my goal and activity cards, I outline: the name of the activity (say Blog development), the location of my resources (both on my computer and the binder I’m using), the key benefits and rewards I’ll experience by working on this activity, new skills I’d enjoy gaining, along with any login information I need to access my information.

I find these index cards to be motivating when I review them, and it’s handy to have a centralized location for my information.

Organization- a Moment-by-Moment Decision

One habit I’m getting better at is keeping organized without letting things “pile up”.

It’s one of the good habits you too can develop over the coming year- if you struggle with keeping organized.  As you work on it, little by little this new habit will become second nature to you.

Here it helps to think of how this habit affects us in the immediate moment versus the long-term consequences.

Let’s say that you have a desk at work or home office.

If you take the minute or two to organize your paperwork as you receive it, you’ll spend less time looking for it a few hours from now, or a week from today.

When you consider the time you’ve saved filing it now- versus the searching or filing session you’ll end up doing in the future, it’s well worth the minute or two to organize it now.

Today, and every day forward, I encourage you to build upon your progress in life- and to develop great personal habits.  Your life, purpose, goals and contribution to the world is well worth it.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the value of visualization and the expectation for success.

quotes success10 Develop a Habit of Organization for Greater Success