Sunday, October 25, 2015

Building Bridges to Success

Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa, Photo by Bruce G. Smith
Life throws up boundaries to success. They may appear insurmountable at first. In many cases a little help may be all you need to overcome these boundaries. Identify individuals capable of assisting you in overcoming these obstacles, and make connections with them. Networking with others in your business community helps you to build bridges to span boundaries and barriers.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Prescription for Success - Work with Passion

Palma Sola Botanical Garden, FL, Photo by Bruce G. Smith

Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.
       ~Simon Sinek

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Sea of Tranquility

Lake Superior - Bruce G. Smith 
 Whenever I need refreshing, I head for large bodies of water. Whether it is the Atlantic, The Gulf of Mexico or Lake Superior I feel refreshed sitting along the shore listening to the waves. Even better though is on the open water at night. Observing the vastness of the stars without them being obscured by city lights The absence of traffic noise is a true blessing. It is almost impossible in the world today to escape the noise of car engines and tires on asphalt. The sound of traffic reminds us of society in constant motion. Urging us to action, and making it impossible to fully relax. In the absence of traffic noise and city lights with the sound of waves in the background, one can allow the mind and body to totally relax. Relaxation allows stress to flow out of the body and out of the mind. Stress creates anger and violence. By enjoying the tranquility of the waves life can be put back into perspective, and one realizes the importance of family and friends. Calmness reigns and health improves.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tree Covered in Ferns at Hillsborough River State Park
What Lies Behind Us and
What Lies Before Us
Are Tiny Matters Compared
To What Lies Within Us
       Ralph Waldo Emerson

The surface of this tree may be covered by frilly ferns. Some may view it as disfigured, while others may see it as beautiful. But its strength comes from its inner trunk.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Prosperity and Abundance: Luke 11:9-10

Sand Dollar: Lido Key, Photo by Bruce G. Smith
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Luke11:9-10

Whenever I find a Sand Dollar on the beach, I see it as a sign of good luck. It is such a simple creature, yet it is intricately designed. I also leave it in place to remind me that items flow in and and out of my life. They are meant to be enjoyed, but not harmed or hoarded.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Norman Vincent Peale

The controversial minister Norman Vincent Peale founded the modern inspirational movement. He wrote the book, The Power of Positive Thinking, and initiated a movement across the World. He combined psychology and religion to help people overcome their fears and achieve success.

A controversial minister because some Evangelical Christians do not find his teachings Christian, but instead consider him a heretic and a cult leader. Several psychologists also have spoke out against his teachings and consider them dangerous. The Wikipedia post for Norman Vincent Peale came across as extremely biased, and the entire post was dedicated to refuting Peale’s teachings.

However more people accept and embrace his positive thinking than ridicule it. He has his detractors, but don’t let them stop you from reading his words of wisdom. In the media today and among our friends and family, negative thoughts abound. Turning these thoughts around, and having a positive outlook on life would fix a lot of the World’s perceived problems. That is not to say one should bury his head in the sand like an ostrich, and ignore real problems, but things are often not as bad as they seem.

The Power of Positive Thinking published in 1956 has sold over 5 million copies. Throughout the text Peale uses bible verses and psychology to assist readers in obtaining a positive viewpoint on life and give them strength. In doing so, he seeks to minimize a person’s fears, worries and stress so the individual can pursue positive actions and outcomes. It is difficult to find a solution when you see the problem as insurmountable.

Peale wants people to live a vigorous and vital life. He wants people to pursue their dreams energetically with hope rather than wallow in fear. Hope motivates people while fear saps a person’s strength and desire.

Norman Vincent Peale also started Guideposts magazine to help people find comfort and hope. It is still a thriving entity fully accessible on social media. It offers prayers and inspirational messages throughout the day to help with daily difficulties.

He was born May 31, 1898 so on what would have been his 117th birthday enjoy life, explore and be energized.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review of Disney's Tomorrowland: an Optimist's View of the Future

Synopsis: In Disney's Tomorrowland the world is getting ready to self destruct, and everyone is willing to let it go. Except Casey Newton, she refuses to accept its demise. She wants to fix the problem, and she drags the other characters along for the ride. Tomorrowland has time travel, dimensional travel, fight scenes, robots and androids, and a little bit of steam punk. The dimensional travel mixes Jules Verne’s space ship with Dr. Who’s phone booth.

Review: Tomorrowland communicates a positive theme. The message throughout the movie is one person can make a difference. It is a decent movie, 4 stars. The acting, story line and message are good. Although, the beginning felt too much like a pre-ride movie at Epcot. Once you get past the introduction, the movie perks up.

George Clooney plays Frank. He is the one that created the mess by making something he shouldn’t have. Frank is a bit cranky and disillusioned, and is happy living off the grid.

Britt Robertson plays the protagonist, Casey Newton. She is the optimist, and runs counter current to the rest of the characters. She believes things can change, and the world can be fixed. It is not doomed.

Raffey Cassidy plays Athena in the movie, and she does a great job. She recruits Frank and Casey for the utopian society. She reminds me a bit of Hayley Mills from the original Parent Trap.

The antagonist is David Nix, played by Hugh Laurie. He would rather not fix the world's problems. He doesn't feel that people in their current state are worth rescuing.

Brad Bird directed the movie and helped write it. He also did The Incredibles and Ratatouille. I think, his goal was to create a movie reminiscent of a 1950 children’s matinee, and he was successful. It is a good children’s science fiction matinee movie. It has some laughs, some action, and emotional pull. It is worth seeing.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Without Pain How Would We Know Joy

In Augustus Waters’ house, a drawing of an angel with the caption – without pain how would we know joy hangs over the television. August has cancer. His soon to be girlfriend Hazel Grace has cancer, and their mutual friend Isaac also has cancer. They met in a support group. They’re all teenagers. Augustus’ parents have filled the house with encouragements or inspirational memes. For those not familiar with the book, The Fault in Our Stars, read it. It is poignant, but good.

They’re teenagers trying to survive to adulthood. They have all the normal problems of teenagers plus the added bonus of cancer. John Green does a great job of portraying teenage angst combined with the reality of death.

Enough about the book, let’s look at the encouragement – without pain how could we know joy. Hazel Grace doesn’t buy into it. Her rejoinder … “the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate,” is a perfectly good response. Cancer patients definitely know pain, and finding joy under the circumstances could be difficult. However, Grace and Augustus do find moments of joy.

Besides Grace’s response, two other responses come to mind.  The first argument in favor of the saying dictates sometimes we have to leave something behind in order to find something new and wonderful. We may need to get fired from an okay job in order to move on to a better job. The old job becomes comfortable, and we don’t want to leave it to find a new job. Most people fear the unknown. They fear change. Sometimes they have to be forced to find something new, and this is painful.

In some cases it is a bad relationship that they fear leaving behind. It doesn’t matter how many times her partner cheats on the relationship or hits her.  She desires to stay in the bad circumstances rather than seek a better connection with a nicer person.

The remaining response to the encouragement is more of a philosophical argument. How can you debate whether a situation is bad or good if you have limited experiences? How can you determine joy, if you’ve never felt pain?

Everyone knows pain. Like Grace, some know pain more than others. Pain can be physical or emotional. In some cases, emotional pain can actually trigger physical pain. We get so emotionally upset that our bodies rebel against us.

But does everyone know joy? Joy means happiness, delight, pleasure and bliss. Again our emotions can generate physical feelings. During moments of happiness our body releases endorphins. They relieve stress and make us feel good. By the way chocolate also causes the body to release endorphins so maybe Grace was on to something.

Without pain how could we know joy? Is it necessary to have pain in order to understand joy? Maybe, but I really like Grace’s answer the best.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nepal Earthquake

Update 4/27/2015:

The death toll today has risen to over 3,800. Follow the link below to donate to Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation Nepal Earthquake Fund. He will match donated funds.

April 26th: Yesterday Nepal suffered a tragic earthquake. This morning the death toll has risen to over 2,000. The initial earthquake was a 7.8-magnitude quake Northwest of Kathmandu. At 7 a.m. local time today, they had an aftershock of 6.7 causing additional misery.

The initial earthquake caused death and damage in four countries – Nepal, India, China and Pakistan. It caused avalanches on Mount Everest. Seventeen people have been reported killed in the avalanches including Google engineer Dan Fredinburg.

In addition to the many killed and injured in the earthquake and aftershocks. A number of Nepal’s ancient buildings were also destroyed. The Dharahara Tower, built in the 1800s, no longer stands.

Many countries have pledged aid including United States, Norway, Pakistan, China and India. Authorities hope to have the International Airport in Kathmandu ready to receive planes today. Also the high altitude and terrain will make the rescue efforts difficult.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to the survivors.