August 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 31, 2016

Each morning, an unkempt newspaper boy ended his daily route at the local diner.  He always ordered a cup of coffee and a donut.  He ate his meal in silence, and the man at the diner always charged him fifteen cents….no tip.  This bothered me.  Boys were not supposed to drink coffee, and I knew a cup of coffee and a donut were at least a quarter.  So why did the newspaper boy get a discount over the rest of us?  It wasn’t fair!  One day, after the boy left, I asked what was going on.  The man at the diner explained that the boy gets up and puts in several hours before he goes to school.  He has to work.  So most of what he makes delivering papers goes for groceries.  I would gladly give him his coffee and donut for nothing, but the boy is not looking for a handout.  It would make him feel less than a regular customer.  So he pays what he can afford.  In truth, his meal costs him far more than it does others.

I recently read this story and was reminded that there might be more than one way to look at some things….that there might be more to life than meets the eye.  In truth, there is almost always more to one’s story than you currently know.  Most of us struggle with this concept.  We want life to meet OUR standard of fairness.  The fact is, however, that life is not always fair, but it is good; whether you are the one who gets a discount or the one who doesn’t need a discount.  That is a hard lesson for each of us to learn.  It takes a careful eye to discern the difference.  Perhaps George Sweeting said it best when he wrote, “When we come to the end of life, the question will be, ‘How much have you given?’ not ‘How much have you gotten?’”  What a wonderfully insightful thought.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the lesson of the diner and the newspaper boy.  I wonder where his actions led him later in life?  Did he mature into a man who was able to balance his need for independence with the knowledge that we all need some help along the way?  And what of the unseen lesson taught by the diner owner?  Will he discover that his reward in life will far exceed the extra dime he daily slipped into the register after the boy left?   Perhaps the greatest lessons in life are the most difficult ones to see!  How well are you looking?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 30, 2016

A favorite to win it all, he failed on the second obstacle of stage one of the American Ninja Warrior Finals.  In the subsequent interview he was asked how he expected to bounce back and he responded, “Well, I am disappointed for sure.  We take a lot of risks and every year, unless you reach the top of the mountain, we fall somewhere.  When you do, you get back up and you work hard to get back here the next year.  It is what we do!”

What a wonderful lesson from which we all might learn.  Too often in life we are unwilling to even take the risks and in effect, we relegate ourselves to being losers.  The contestants on this popular show spend many hours preparing for the challenges they will confront.  While their intention is to “make it to the top,” they know upfront the challenge will be great….perhaps not even possible….yet they train nonetheless.  Many of the top contestants have tried for several years, only to fall short of the ultimate goal.  Perhaps the true joy of the entire event is in the journey and not the destination.  Maybe this is not just a game, but a metaphor for life.  Each day we are confronted with obstacles to our life’s goals.  Have we worked hard enough to overcome the challenges?  When we fall short of our goals….and we will at some point….will we be able to get back up and get back in the game?  Or will you simply walk away?

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the attitude of the American Ninja Warrior contestant.  Having dedicated many hours to preparation in their attempt to reach the top of the mountain, they must face numerous challenges and take great risks.  Literally thousands have tried and to date, only one has accomplished the feat, yet each year they return; more prepared, more focused, more dedicated to get to the top.  How about you, are you willing to risk it all to get to the top of your mountain?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 29, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 29, 2016

A man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs was hard of hearing, so he had no radio.  He had trouble with his eyes, so he read no newspapers.  But he sold good hot dogs.  He put up signs on the highway advertising them.  He stood on the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog, mister?”  And people bought his hot dogs.  He increased his meat and bun orders.  He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.  He finally got his son to come home from college to help him out.  But then something happened.  “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio?” his son said.  “Haven’t you been reading the newspaper?  There is a recession on.  The European situation is terrible.  The domestic situation is worse.”  So the father cut down his meat and bun orders, took down his signs, and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.  His sales fell overnight.  “You are right son,” the father said to the boy.  “We certainly are in the middle of a big recession.”

I recently read this story and was reminded of how often we allow the negative attitude of others to change our actions.  In the story above, the father perceived his son to be more knowledgeable because he attended college, leading him to a perceived truth instead of the positive possibilities.  He began to see what he expected to see, not what he could see.  He heard what he expected to hear, not what he could hear.  And he began to think what he expected to think, instead of what he could think.  When he had no knowledge of the recession, he lived as if there was none….and he was successful.  It is the old story of science telling us that bumblebees cannot fly; their body is too heavy and their wings too small.  The bumblebee, however, didn’t read the research and so they flew.  How often do we limit our achievement because of perceived truths?  How often do we perceive that because something is true for others, it must be true for us?

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider how often you fall victim to the negative attitudes of others.  History is full of stories of experts who said positively that things could not be done….only to be proven wrong by someone who ignored the research!  Thomas Edison is on record as having said that talking pictures would never catch on.  “Nobody,” he said, “would pay to listen to sounds coming from a screen.”  Benjamin Franklin was told by experts to stop all that foolish experimenting with lightning.  It was a waste of time, they said.  So….are you listening to the nay-sayers?  Are you limiting your life because of perceived truths or are you chasing your dreams of what can be?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 26, 2016

The terms of my contract were really pretty simple; come to work every day and do your job.  When I began teaching, a good beginning salary was in the 25 to 30-thousand-dollar range, but that was only in the really affluent districts.  I was proud when I was hired.  I went to work each day determined to do my job to the best of my ability.  I believe I was a good teacher, yet I was never given a bonus for doing quality work.  In fact, I was more likely to find myself defending something I did, as opposed to having “management” reward me for my efforts.  When I retired from teaching after 38 years of service I was still only making between 80 to 90-thousand-dollars a year; and I was doing one of the most important jobs in society….shaping the minds of young people.

You can imagine, then, how I must feel about a football player who rejects a contract offer on the grounds that of his 17 million dollar signing bonus, he would only receive 15 million dollars up front.  He was also concerned about language in the contract which addressed how the contract would be carried out in the event he was cut from the team.  ARE YOU SERIOUS!  There is so many things wrong with this situation.  First, why would we pay someone, who to this point has done nothing, anything at all?  Let alone 15 million dollars.  And if he believes he is so great that he is worthy of such a bonus, why does he need a clause addressing the possibility of being cut from the team?  Not to mention, why would we pay someone enough money to feed a small country just to sign his name on a contract?  It is football people!  A game!  And while I love to watch it, no one….I repeat, no one….is worth 17 million dollars to sign up to play it.  How many people could we feed and clothe with that kind of money?  What is wrong with our priorities?

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider that somehow we must reorganize our priorities.  We complain about the state of education in our country yet we are unwilling to adequately fund school systems.  The cost of obtaining a college education is astronomical while teacher’s salaries fall woefully short of being equal to the demands of their jobs.  Currently we are suffering from a shortage of teachers in our country.  I bet that if you offered teachers a 17 million dollar signing bonus with only 15 million dollars being paid up front, they would not be holding out.  They would be in their classrooms, hard at work.  What am I saying….they are already there and they won’t make 17 million dollars in their lifetime.  Something is clearly wrong with our logic!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 25, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 25, 2016

Believe it or not, there is not an enormous difference between highly successful people and those who are not so successful.  Most people are within 10 percent of the same IQ.  Most people work about the same number of hours, the same number of days per week.  So what’s the difference?  Successful people make choices others don’t like to make….and by doing things differently, they make choices that improve their success.  Regardless of how you personally define it, success is ultimately realized by people who make more good choices and recover quickly from their bad choices.  Our personal and professional success depends on repeating good choices, day in and day out, avoiding repetition of bad choices.

Personal choices mold our character and include accepting responsibility, commitment, values, and integrity.  There are action choices which help us move beyond talking the talk and toward getting things done.  These include sticking to the objective long enough to win, being enthusiastic about work and life, and attacking and conquering difficult issues.  Finally, there are investment choices.  Oh, I am not referring to financial investments.  The important investment choices are about investing in people who will make your life better.  You cannot be successful in the long term without investing in relationships, accepting constructive criticism, seeking the truth, and giving back to others.  Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.  In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the choices you make in your own life.  In every situation, there are always alternatives.  You must choose to see them.  The challenge is taking off the blinders of victimization and searching for the alternatives to help you reach your potential and achieve the success you desire.  By choosing to become the victim, you are giving ownership of your life to someone or something else.  Instead, spend your energy searching for solutions, not excuses.  No matter what happens, keep moving forward.  The choice is yours!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 24, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 24, 2016

What are the closed doors in your life?  Many times, they stand as a limitation you have created in your mind.  Your very limitations are segues to your dreams.  If you will confront those limitations and deal with them rather than fear or avoid them, you will transcend them to experience unlimited possibilities for your life.  All men are driven by faith or fear….one or the other….for both are the same.  Faith or fear is the expectation of an event that has not come to pass or the belief in something that cannot be seen or touched.  A man of fear lives always on the edge of insanity.  A man of faith lives in perpetual reward.

I recently read the above in Andy Andrews book, The Seven Decisions.  He goes on to tell the story of a remarkable young man named Erik Weihenmayer.  Erik was born with a rare genetic disease, and by age thirteen, he was blind.  At first he was aggravated, scared, and bitter.  He could have decided the world was a terrible place to live and given up.  He could have believed that God dealt him a horrible hand.  Instead, Erik took his handicap and did what many said was impossible….he turned his blindness into a powerful tool that would allow him to live the life of his dreams.  He loved sports.  But what sport can a blind guy play?  He began with wrestling and became one of the high school team’s star wrestlers.  At sixteen, he discovered his passion for climbing.  He was an active skier.  He became a marathon runner, a skydiver, and a scuba diver.  He loved adventure and chose to do the things that pushed him beyond what anybody else thought a blind man could do.  Erik has climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents.  He explains that “A summit isn’t a place on a mountain.  A summit is a symbol to remind us that, with the power of our minds, our bodies, and our souls, and with the power of these two small hands, we can transform our lives into something miraculous.  When we join our hands with those around us, we can do more than transform our own lives.  We can transform the very face of the earth.”

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the fears that keep you from achieving what you want, from participating in your passion.  Living in fear is to believe in the dark potential of what one has not seen, and the only reward for fear….is more fear.  While fear can be life draining, the emotional energy of faith is uplifting.  Erik had faith that while he could not see the next hold he was reaching for on the mountain, it was there.  He acknowledged that sometimes he had to push through his fears, but he recognized that rock climbing helped him to understand that a lot of life is just reaching out into the darkness; and having the faith that what you are reaching for will be there!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized

August 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – August 23, 2016

A man was enjoying an afternoon in a small fishing boat on a peaceful lake.  He fished as he munched on a chocolate bar.  The weather was perfect, his cell phone was turned off, and all he could think about was how happy he was.  Just then he spotted a snake in the water with a frog in its mouth.  He felt sorry for the frog, so he scooped up the snake with his landing net, took the frog out of its mouth, and tossed it to safety.  Then he felt sorry for the snake.  He broke off a piece of his chocolate bar, gave it to the snake, and place it back in the water, where it swam away.  There, he thought.  The frog is happy, the snake is happy, and now I am happy again.  This is great.  He cast his line back into the water and then settled back again.  A few minutes later, he heard a bump on the side of the boat.  He looked over the side, and there was the snake again.  This time it had two frogs in his mouth!  The moral of the story is this: Be careful what you reward, because whatever gets rewarded gets done.

I suspect this is not a surprise to any leader.  Whatever actions leaders reward will be repeated, and it doesn’t matter if the thing that gets rewarded is positive or negative.  That is why it is very important to reward results….and in the right wayI hate to admit that at tonight’s practice I reinforced the very behavior that I did not want to see.  It is so easy to do that because it only requires complaining about something.  In fairness, I suppose, it is difficult to praise something you don’t see, but I guess that is the challenge.  If I don’t see the behavior I want, I need to create opportunities for it occur and THAT, is way more difficult than simply complaining.  So tonight I fed the snake, and if it shows up again tomorrow, I need to take the frog out of its mouth and create an opportunity for the snake to act in the way I would like!

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider how you reward others in your life.  Leadership is like a set of scales.  The rewards you give are counterbalanced by the response of your people.  As a leader, you have a choice.  You can try to push your people to give more, hoping to swing the balance in your favor.  Or you can load up the rewards side….which is the only side you really have significant influence over….and wait for the balance to swing back to level as your people respond by producing more.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

www.todaystask.wordpress.com or on Facebook @ Today, No Every Day

Categories: Uncategorized
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