November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 21, 2017

When I first moved into the area, I went to the local marching band festival to watch all the local bands.  As I was new to the area, no one knew me or that I was a band director.  I was fascinated by the numerous metrics people in the audience used in measuring the success of each of the programs.  Some people saw their band as the best because, well, because they were their band.  Others were measured by their current position in the competitive circuit.  Some people liked the bands with the cool props, while others really liked the bands that could play really loud.  Two of my favorite metrics were “they play music that I know” and they are the largest band out there.  Interestingly, none of these metrics  really spoke to the quality of their performance or the educational value in what they were doing.

As an educator, I was always frustrated by this phenomenon.  A little band could give an incredible performance, but if the metric people are using is based on the size of the program, their performance is overlooked.  Newsflash people; bigger only means bigger….it does not necessarily mean better.  And playing music you like doesn’t necessarily mean better; perhaps more enjoyable, but not better.  I get the rush one feels when they hear the powerful sound of a shout chorus, but I also feel a similar rush when a band can play with a wonderfully controlled pianissimo.  As an educator, I valued growth….others valued good grades; I valued commitment….others valued the freedom to come and go as they pleased; I valued the team approach….others valued personal entitlement.  Metrics are a valuable tool in measuring success and achievement, but only if we can agree on the metrics being used.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to consider the metrics you use when measuring different things in your life.  The color and style of the uniform speaks to one’s appearance, not the quality of performance.  Being larger doesn’t make a group better nor does being a small make a group worse.  Playing music you know and like doesn’t ensure that it is a good performance.  Oh, and by the way, getting good grades doesn’t actually mean you are learning anything….it only means you figured out how to get good grades.

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 21, 2017

Do something that sucks every day!  The words hung in my ears like that annoying feeling you get just before your ears pop from the change in pressure.  Why would I want to do something that sucks?  In fact, most people do everything they can to avoid doing things that suck.  We set our alarms to get up to run and then hit the snooze button.  We put off working on our term paper until the weekend before it is due.  We find a lot of busy work to occupy our time and then use that as an excuse for not working on the project we don’t want to do.  So why do we avoid these things?  Because they suck!  That’s why!  We have convinced ourselves that by avoiding these things we are somehow better off; that life is more enjoyable.

The truth is, by avoiding things that challenge us or make us uncomfortable….the things that suck if you will….we are holding ourselves back.  If you set your alarm to get up and run, then get up and run.  Instead of waiting until the last minute to do your term paper and doing half the job you could, get on it right away so that you can do adequate research and have the time to do your best writing.  Instead of filling your day with easy, less important tasks, prioritize your day so that the project you need to do gets the time and attention it deserves.  Quite often, the things we least want to do are the very things we need to do to keep our lives moving in a positive direction.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to do something that sucks every day.  We think that by avoiding these things our day will somehow be easier and more enjoyable, but I am not sure that is true.  Personal experience has taught me that I actually feel more pressure by avoiding them, than I do by facing them and getting them done.  Interestingly, it comes down to our old friend “choice.”  So, will you choose to set the snooze button or get up?  Will you put your term paper off until the last minute or start right away?  Will you fill your day with meaningless stuff, just to avoid doing something you don’t want to do?  The choice is yours, and I encourage you to make the right choice….the one that sucks!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 20, 2017

Everyone, at one time or another, has felt like a complete failure.  Many have allowed the fear of failure to destroy them.  Actually, fear is far more destructive than failure and in any area of life fear of failure can defeat you before you get started.  What makes us so afraid of failure?  Is it worry about what people think?  We assume that because we have made one or several mistakes, we are failures and therefore forever disgraced.  What a ridiculous assumption!  How many people do you know who are completely successful in every part of life?  Not one.  The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.  Every significant invention, business enterprise, and accomplishment has resulted from a series of failures.  No one succeeds without them.

I would like to think that I had a successful teaching career, but I guess you would have to ask my students for confirmation.  I would like to tell you that my success was a result of a good education, great mentoring, or that I was simply that good, but only one of these had a significant impact on my success; I had a couple of great mentors.  The truth is, I became successful because I made numerous mistakes….and more importantly, I learned from those mistakes.  I understood that failure gave me an opportunity to learn a better way to do it.  I saw failure as a temporary inconvenience, a stepping-stone to where I was ultimately heading.  I understood that in reality, it only truly became a failure if I chose it to be one.  If I responded appropriately, it simply became a means to the end.

Today, no every day, I encourage you realize that failure can, and should be, a positive motivator.  Failure means you put forth some effort.  That’s good!  Failure gives you an opportunity to learn a better way to do it.  That’s good!  A failure teaches you something and adds to your experience.  That’s good!  Failure is an event, never a person; an attitude, not an outcome; a temporary inconvenience; a stepping-stone.  Failure is a fact of life.  It is our response to it that determines whether that failure will destroy us, or propel us to greater success.  Let’s see?  Failure or success!  You choose!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 17, 2017

The word that could determine your success in life has only three letters: it is can.  The word can is one of the most powerful words in the English language.  Ironically, the addition of the letter “t” to the word can means the difference between success and failure.  Historians say that significant achievements in America were made in spite of the word can’t.  For example, these statements were taken directly from newspapers:

Anyone traveling at the speed of thirty miles per hour will definitely suffocate (1840).

No possible combination can be united into a practical machine by which men shall fly (1901).

The foolish idea of shooting at the moon is basically impossible (1926).

Words, like glasses, obscure everything which they do not make clear.  I am glad men like Edison and the Wright Brothers didn’t accept the word can’t.  During my many years as an educator, I would not allow my students to use that word.  Often, the only limits that we have are the ones we place upon ourselves.  Once we clearly understand that the “barriers” (the I can’ts) are mental limitations and not physical impossibilities, our chance of overcoming them are dramatically improved.  It is only the difference of a letter, but it can change your performance for life.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to eliminate the word can’t from your vocabulary.  I am reminded of these powerful words spoken by master motivator Zig Ziglar who said, “I believe man was designed for accomplishments, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.”  That includes you.  You are a valuable person, capable of great things.  And it starts with removing a single letter; turning can’t in to can!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 16, 2017

One of the most important things we can do is pass along to the next generation what we have learned.  I love the books of Dr. Seuss.  He was very clever in placing intentional messages of significance within his books, and those seeds have been planted in millions of children at an early age.  His writing has been taught in classrooms for years because of the simple, yet poignant, nature of his messages.  If we shared Dr. Seuss’s message with every child, it would have the power to impact and change the world.  Here are just a few of such messages:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

I like these messages a great deal because each one reminds me of two important things; they each require some type of action steps and I am the one who must take the steps.  Too often, we go through life complaining about the way things are, yet we remain unwilling to take the steps required to change them.  Instead of living our life with purpose and intention, we allow ourselves to become victims of the choices and actions of others.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to learn the important lessons so beautifully expressed through the writings of Dr. Seuss.  Here are a few more lessons I recently found from the list of a young girl:

Attitude is a choice.

Maturity is seeing things from another person’s point of view and being flexible.

Always plan ahead.  You are either prepared or repaired.

You are what you do every day.

Failure is inevitable, but learning is optional.

So as Dr. Seuss reminds us, “You’re off to great places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting!  So get on your way!”

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 15, 2017

We must all care about something, in order to value something.  And to value something, we must reject what is not that something.  To value X, we must reject non-X.  Rejection is an inherent and necessary part of maintaining our values, and therefore our identity.  We are defined by what we choose to reject.  And if we reject nothing, perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves, we essentially have no identity at all.   We need to reject something, otherwise we stand for nothing.  If nothing is better or more desirable than anything else, then we are empty and our life is meaningless.  We are without values and therefore live our life without purpose.

The act of choosing a value, any value, requires rejecting alternative values.  If you choose to live a healthy, active lifestyle, then you must reject eating poorly and being sedentary.  If you value trust and honesty, you must reject cheating on your taxes and being untruthful to others.  If you value seeing your son’s ballgame or your daughter’s dance recital, you must reject the corner office, the six-figure income, and the company car.  To truly appreciate something, you must confine yourself to it.  There is a certain level of joy and meaning that you reach in life when you have spent decades investing in a single relationship, a single craft, or a single career.  And you cannot achieve those decades of investment without rejecting the alternative.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to recognize that rejection is an important and crucial life skill.  I encourage you to consider the things you value, and the things you must reject in order to attain and hold onto those values.  In today’s society, we have been indoctrinated with the belief that we should try to be as accepting and affirmative as possible.  Political correctness has become a driving force.  But when you stand for everything….you stand for nothing at all.  In truth, you must be willing to reject all that does not meet your value system.  If not, who are you?  What is your identity?  What is your life’s purpose?

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Today’s Task – November 14, 2017

Small towns begin with a sign.  The words are as simple as the title to a story….Welcome to Haberville or Now Entering Clawson….but once you cross, you are inside that story, and all that you do will be part of its tale.  In a similar way, when you cross the threshold into a room, you are now inside that story, and all that you do will be a part of its tale.  Let’s take this one step further.  When you interact with another individual, you have now stepped into their story….and they have stepped into yours….and you will, now and forever, be a part of each other’s tale.

Recently, they began to tear down the high school I attended and as a result, numerous people, each of whom were a part of the school’s story, began to post their memories online.  Even though I have not lived in that community in over forty-five years, I found memories of my own story flooding back into my consciousness.  Interestingly, my story included tales of the community, sports teams on which I played, and of course, the band, but my greatest memories were of the people.  As I was reminded of the people and the impact they had on my story, I began to wonder if, and how, I impacted theirs’.  I then made the leap to thinking about my life as an educator and coach, and the literally thousands of students who walked through my band room and onto my teams.  I was struck by the awesome responsibility I had when I walked into the story of their lives.  Just like they have become a part of the story of my life, I am now a part of the story of theirs.  I hope when they look back on their story, I will have played a positive role in who they have become.

Today, no every day, I encourage you to recognize that you are part of the story of everyone with whom you interact.  During the time you are a part of their story, you will have numerous opportunities to help them grow, developing an even richer and more meaningful story.  Recognize that your life is a collection of the stories of others and how those stories have intersected with your own.  I know that the story of my life is based on my upbringing in that small community, the years I spent in that school, the friends I made growing up, the experiences of my college years, and the incredible young people I had the honor of teaching and coaching.  Perhaps it is not my life at all….perhaps it is our life!

Make Today a Magnificent Day!

Mr R

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

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