Wednesday, June 26, 2013



Sometimes we must pause, retracting the claws we use to climb towards success, embracing the moment without design or distress. Otherwise we will continue to be anxious and thankless, annoyed daily and hard unnecessarily on ourselves. Unfortunately, however, most of us confuse pausing with passivity.

So we work without rest thinking that doing so will help us to accomplish our goals faster. Yet this logic is toxic, personally, emotionally and relationally, leaving our spouses to wonder and our children to watch as we work ourselves out of meaningful relationships with them because of an undisciplined desire to provide for them.

Moreover, in refusing to pause we forfeit the power of renewal, which would help us achieve our goals by giving us greater clarity and more energy for our tasks. Yet we choose to labor beleaguered by fatigue because of some misguided notion of self-determination. It’s okay to be determined, driven, even, but neither annuls the need to be renewed, to pause and reflect rather than to push and act indefinitely (often detrimentally).

In this regard, pausing isn’t passivity, complacency or indifference. It simply means that we recognize the need to suspend our efforts without accusing ourselves of abandoning them. Besides, we won’t arrive any faster than we do no matter how we construe our efforts. So, relax, reflect and let time do what only it can. Your loved ones will be glad you did!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Though most of us won’t admit it, we are secretly inhibited (and anxious) about our end, desiring to know when it will end. Maybe that’s why we lose ourselves setting goals and courting greatness. Beyond the natural need to nurture our time and talents, we also do so to help maintain our balance, which is more elusive than we admit.

Even so, we are deeply concerned about our end; not, however, simply about the outcome of our efforts but more so about what happens when life has left us. This concern inspired existentialism, fatalism and every other historical ism. It also inspired the wisdom of the sages as revealed through the ages. A sense of mortality instinctively produces such when we allow it to touch us in ways we routinely deny and ignore.

Then we ask ourselves, “What am I doing this for?” Though rhetorical, this question is also rewarding because it forces us to fix our gaze beyond the ways we devise to achieve our goals and the privileges we hope to gain when we succeed. Thus, some people pursue religion for answers; others pursue pleasure instead, seeking to silence the interrogations that inspired Kierkegaard’s dread.

Even so, we want to know about our end, when it will end. Some of us may even want to know how and where it will end. To deny this inquiry as natural is to make detachment inevitable. How can we rightly relate to others when we are indifferent to ourselves about what matters most? In fact the quality of our lives is determined by the degree to which we have embraced our mortality.

Unfortunately, some people become ruthless and aimless in response. Others become ambitious and obsessed. Yet no goal or gain can censor mortality whether or not we respond. The time will come when we will be disarmed and must answer or perhaps ask, as did the Psalmist, “O’ Lord, help me to understand my mortality and the brevity of my live! Let me realize how quickly it will end.” (39:4)

Unlike many of us, William Shakespeare refused to ignore or deny the sovereignty of mortality. In fact he confessed, perhaps as an antidote, “I have immortal longings in me.” Maybe Shakespeare’s willingness to confront his mortality immortalized his writings. Maybe that’s why he was able to embed creatively what he couldn’t embody existentially. Maybe our work would be more enduring if we weren’t in denial about our mortality. Maybe we could increase our force if it were rightly faced.

Aptly embraced, legacies and legends result, depending upon our influence. But even if we never achieve this status, our lives will be more authentic because we confronted our mortality. Maybe facing it would make us more cheerful and charitable also. If we understood just how quickly our lives do end, no matter how long we live, maybe we would be the difference that makes the difference in the lives of others before nature pulls the covers.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Things get easier as we keep aiming towards our goals. It may not seem like it because we aren't always as clear as we imagine on what these are. We generally have more ideas than we do exacts. Ideas get us started but exacts keep us going (and committed). They also enable us to accelerate our pace, and to recognize our place when we reach it.

Consider, for example, driving to a destination, maybe even somewhere you've been before but you aren't exactly sure of where it is. You have a general idea instead, enough to convince you to get in your car and drive. After a while you find yourself in the vicinity but not at your destiny (destination).

Thus, you may feel anxious or excited or even annoyed because you know you are close. You even have a strong idea of where you are but you aren’t where you want to be. Hence the importance of clarity, whether in driving cars or pursuing goals. Here we see clearly the difference between exacts and ideas. Our success is routinely determined by our degree of clarity regarding our goals and dreams. Without clarity we occupy the vicinity but don't reach the destiny we desire.

Today, so many people are vexed by vagueness and victims of the indefinite. They lack the ability to say clearly what they want. Of course this doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed because they can. In fact, sometimes in being too precise we miss opportunities when they emerge because we lack the urge to pursue them, especially if they contradict our conceptions.

Generally, however, clarity is a prerequisite for success. We must be able to express clearly what we desire deeply. In this regard, failure to achieve is often a failure of clarity. Clarity is the ability to express clearly our goals without being clouded or constrained by contingencies. If we can’t express this to ourselves, we will have trouble expressing it to others also, which will hinder their ability to help us.

That’s why it’s important to take time to ask ourselves, “What am I really after; what are my true goals.” Answering this anchors us in our pursuits. It also increases our confidence and changes how others experience us. Clarity enables us to be decisive and assertive rather than tentative and timid. Consider again how we drive when we aren’t sure of where we are or where we are going. In these instances, having an idea isn’t the same as having an exact, practically or emotionally.

Clarity, however, isn’t something we get once and for all. On the contrary, it accrues over time as we take time to assess where we are and what we want. Otherwise we will get in the vicinity without reaching our destiny as we desire.




Thursday, June 13, 2013


A book entitled, Getting to Yes, appeared several years ago. It focused on the art and science of negotiation, and how to make beneficial compromises as we each pursue our peculiar aims. As used in this article, however, getting to yes implies mastering the steps needed to experience the greatness deeded in your soul. Once you do this, you experience the bliss of an unmuffled yes! As simple as it sounds, to get to yes you must first say YES to yourself and your dreams.

So many people are wedged between no and maybe instead. They lack the certainty that characterizes destiny. Destiny is the belief that your yes is your right to succeed and not just a wish to do so. If, however, you haven’t said yes to yourself and your dreams, uncertainty will stifle and you will stumble in getting started and in staying committed till the end. The way you get to yes is to not second-guess yourself or your right to success. This is much different from second-guessing your methods, your means and your maneuvers.
Unless you are omniscient you must change these routinely, sometimes remarkably, for various reasons. Second-guessing as it relates to tactics and strategy are part of the anatomy of greatness. It becomes detrimental, however, when you second-guess yourself. Hence the need to examine your assessments and assumptions, making sure you get to yes and stay there as it relates to your belief in your right to success and greatness. The key is in being decisive and convinced without bowing to contingents.
Things will happen, plans will fail and people will change their minds about you. You, however, shouldn’t change your mind about yourself. Once you get to yes by agreeing with yourself, stay there! Whenever you find yourself feeling anxious and uncertain, don’t let these feelings push you into no and maybe regarding your dreams. Second-guess your tactics and strategy when necessary but not your right to and belief in your ability to achieve your dreams. In doing so, you make better and more beneficial compromises with other and yourself.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


    What are you committed to? When all is said and assessed, what desire has possessed you so that you are willing to go to the end to realize it? Do you have such a passion? Do you dream such  dreams? If not, why not? What would you do if you truly believed in you the way you say? Would you be living the same life as you are today? If so, that’s okay. Still, it’s good for us to ask ourselves, what are we committed to. In doing so, we maintain our priorities rather than adopting those imposed from the outside. More importantly, we renew our strength and resolve to invent ways to achieve our goals, whether personal or professional. So, as you go about your day today, take time to ask yourself, “What am I committed to.” In answering this you take risks consistent with your aspirations, which is the prerequisite for living a life of greatness! Enjoy:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


     All of us are fascinated by greatness whatever its form, sports, entertainment and even gardening! We love to see people doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. We feel likewise when seeing extraordinary things being done in extraordinary ways. Something about the sight stirs our senses and provokes remembrances of when we entertained visions of our own greatness.  The good news is that you still have time to design a life of greatness if you are willing. You might not be able to achieve that NBA dream but you can do something that will pique your passion so that you can stop rehashing what might have been.

     The first step to living a life of greatness is to simply DECIDE that this is what you are going to do. Simple as it sounds, many people haven’t decided to live a life of greatness. They talk about it and are enamored by it but they never decide to commit to its pursuit. Characteristically, they are great fans but poorly focused when it comes to their dreams. The problem, however, isn’t a lack of focus but rather indecision. Once you decide, focus comes; plans form and magic follows provided you stay committed. Do it now and you will see how things change.

     The second step to living a life of greatness is DESIGN. You have to design what greatness looks like for you, not what someone else designs for you. Design is the art of greatness which, by the way, is just as important as the science. The great thing about design is that it’s so liberating. In fact design allows you to reflect (and promote) your quirks and your competencies –your unique lifestyle-- which becomes a life-statement of who you are. So, it’s okay to collect ideas, just as you would when furnishing a house or accessorizing your home.  But ultimately you must decide what your design will include, no matter how eccentric. Ignore naysayers because everything is impossible until it's done!

The final step to living a life of greatness is to DARE. You must dare to believe that your dreams of greatness are not only possible but that you are responsible for their fulfillment. This doesn’t mean that you have to stress but you should strive daily for success. Daring, moreover, shouldn’t be draining but charming instead because you never know what will happen as you go forward. That’s what makes life exciting! That’s what makes greatness fascinating. That’s why each of us pauses whenever greatness appears from some unlikely place. These achievers, DECIDED, DESIGNED and DARED to live a life of greatness. You can too; decide today to commit your way to living a life of greatness.