Archive for February, 2012

21
Feb
12

long live the king cake!!!

The tremendous King Cake! (dog not included)

Okay, so as a born and bred Pennsylvanian, the product of an established Lancaster family, I should be writing about Fastnacht doughnuts. But hey, I can get doughnuts anytime!! They make them at the farmer’s market for crying out loud.

Today, on Fat Tuesday, I need to share something with you that I hope you include in your annual Mardi Gras tradition. It’s called a King Cake and is as sacred to me as pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.

The King Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th century where a special cake honoring the three kings was created. “King Cake Season” starts on January 6th, twelve days after Christmas. This day is also called Epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King’s Day and represents the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts to the Christmas Child. The season ends on Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras day, the day before Lent begins.

In early days, a bean, pea, or coin was hidden inside the cake. Today a plastic baby is used and the person who gets the baby is declared king or queen for a day or is said to have good luck in the coming year and is responsible for throwing the next Mardi Gras celebration. They say that during the Depression, children caught heck for getting the hidden gift because their families could not afford to host next year’s party.

The Cake is decorated with the three colors of carnival: Green which represents faith, Purple which represents justice, and Gold which represents power. They are more like a stuffed strudel than a cake with layers of solid sugar icing and colorful sprinkles. If you order one online from http://buylouisiana.com/, it will come with a Mardi Gras cup, coins, sparkling beads, and of course, a little baby.

So add this to your traditions and on this Fat Tuesday I wish you all a season of Faith, Justice, and Power. Long live the King Cake!!

13
Feb
12

I will always love you. It’s me I hate.

This past weekend singer, actress, producer, and model Whitney Houston died at the young age of 48. Her career was defined by her beautiful persona and angelic voice as well as her drug use and erratic behavior. Once again we are faced with the confusion of how someone with so much going for them could leave us before their time. It’s hard for us to put conflicting parts of people together into one package but if we take a look in the mirror, we know it’s a part of the human condition for all of us.

The Cognitive Dissonance Theory was developed by Leon Festinger in 1957. As individuals we seek consistency among our cognitions (i.e., beliefs, opinions, actions). When there is an inconsistency between beliefs and behaviors (dissonance), it creates anxiety and something must change to eliminate the dissonance. In other words, something has to give. To alleviate the stress of living a double life, we can focus on the positive of the more important belief, reduce its importance, or change the conflicting belief so it is consistent with our other beliefs or behaviors.

I heard it explained in terms of pleasure or pain. Something gives you so much pleasure or causes you so much pain that you will eliminate the dissonance in order to preserve the pleasure or eliminate the pain. For example, a marriage may experience troubled times, but the recognition of the good it brings causes the couple to reconcile and mend the relationship. Or in the case of pain, a person is arrested and spends time incarcerated. Because of the pain induced they are “scared straight” and go on to live a life in compliance with society’s laws.

Sometimes, though, we don’t hit the high or low and our lives play out in a state of compromise and subtle self-loathing. Take for example a smoker who knows that the habit is detrimental to their health but continues by rationalizing that it keeps their weight in check. In this unfortunate case, the belief has changed to accommodate the unhealthy behavior, sometimes until it claims their life.

We all experience cognitive dissonance in our lives. In some cases, it’s a minor vice and in others its life threatening. In either case, the only thing that is capable of reconciling the discord is the individual themselves. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to enable the discord by altering what’s at the core of our identity. But when we do that, we kill a little bit of ourselves.

They say that the greatest battle is waged within the self. Don’t seek to change the behaviors of the world. Supporters of our vices, addictions and self pity are far and wide and always ready to oblige our demise. Seek to change yourself because there’s only one of you and the world needs to experience all of you it can!

 

09
Feb
12

are you adding value or feeding your ego?

In today’s world of “overnight” successes, it’s easy to search for a short cut to notoriety. The beauty of finding our passion in life is that we’re dialed into giving back that which is best suited to us. But when we continually turn the focus from giving to getting or even trading, we stray from our life’s course.

If you’ve truly got a burning message that needs to be conveyed, you’ll stop at nothing to get it out there. You’ll use every arrow in your quiver to shoot your message worldwide and you’ll stop at nothing. Love for what your message can do for others must be what drives you. If we are not diligent in working to spread our gospel, we can get discouraged or complacent.

In the publishing world, most authors and publishing houses are driven by the number of titles they sell. But what if I publish a book that only sells a handful of copies but impacts a life that changes the course of history? Is it a waste of money? And in the realm of speakers, trainers, and consultants, we often attach a monetary value to our ego in order to make a living. But what if I give a free speech to just five people that inspires one of them to new heights? Is it waste of my time?

We go through experiences in life not for ourselves, but to share. It’s not about us. It’s about adding value to the lives of others no matter what we get in return. Walt Disney said, “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland with the idea of making money.” As a business owner, I’m sensitive to the bottom line but life is so much more than that. When you keep your eye focused on the mission and your heart focused on service, the rate of return is exponential because your ego can’t get in the way.

It’s tough to keep our egos in check and we have to spend a great deal of time examining our true motives for our actions.  The greats in history are great because have given their all in pursuit of sharing their message. Will you?

01
Feb
12

more human than human

I’ve gone through some tough times in my life, every single stressor imaginable: death, divorce, war, moving; I’ve been served, sued, betrayed, dumped, and even falsely accused. Because of where I’ve been professionally and personally, I have a pretty big world view. I can laugh at what life throws my way because I actually know from experience, and not theory, that that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And stronger is the only way to go through life.

As a freshman, or Doolie, in the Air Force Academy we would have Saturday Morning Inspections. Our beds had to be tight enough to flip a quarter on with crisp, clean folded corners. We’d stretch the woolen blankets under the old coil spring mattress support with all our might. Many of us received a cut from tugging in the tight space and even now seeing it on my wrist brings back a fantastic sense of camaraderie.  When I was serving on various active duty deployments we’d get a campaign ribbon for each particular conflict in which we served. Others who wore the same ribbon were united with you in serving in the same location or conditions, against a common enemy, for a singular good.  

The more I experienced the more I was able to identify with other people and situations. Communication is about camaraderie. If I identify with you the odds we will be able to communicate are exponentially greater.  Charlie “Tremendous” Jones spoke a great deal about communication issues in his speech The Key to Excellence. “I’ve been learning over the years if I can identify with you we can say a great deal without saying very much. If I don’t, we can live in the same house and die strangers.”

People who identify with one another begin to think together rather than listen to and argue with one another. This is the highest form of communication and the only one capable of changing the hearts and minds of mankind. It’s also the only force able to produce change in the world. Words spoken from a heart that’s lived out the pain, the anguish, and the jubilation of life are the ones that make us more human than human.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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