Archive for August, 2012

29
Aug
12

no more mr. nice guy

I recently went to a riverside baptism service held by one of the megachurches in our area. It was a gorgeous summer afternoon and I definitely felt the spirit movin’ over the water as I pulled into the parking lot. What I didn’t feel movin’ was the love. As I strolled through the crowd to find my family members, I was quite surprised by the pronounced lack of interaction from anyone to me. No one attempted to make eye contact, let alone a salutation, which I thought was very strange, especially from church folk!

I might have thought it was my imagination until I unfolded my lawn chair and asked the lady next to me if she minded that I plop down right beside her. “My goodness”, she exclaimed, “of course you can! I was beginning to think that I was invisible!!”

It was then that I realized that I was not the only one who felt this way. One by one, the newly baptized got up and shared their stories of love and acceptance. Some of the speakers were the very same people who had silently brushed past me less than an hour before. Now I’m not trying to be judgmental, but we all need to be aware of the basic rules of society. And we especially need to be aware of these rules if we claim any affiliation with Jesus.

Pay attention. Look at people who come your way. Open your mouth and smile and say words that form a greeting. Now I know this may be difficult for introverts, but I promise the more you do it the easier it becomes. Parents, teach your children how to greet other children and adults. I am amazed by how many kids say absolutely nothing when I greet them and their parents make no attempt to guide them through the process.

I learned how to meet people by watching my father. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I could NOT walk by someone and not smile and say hello. It’d be like walking past a Major General without saluting. The art of salutation is becoming lost; the most basic human interaction of giving someone a smile and looking them in the eye. This is a darn shame on many different levels.

If only people understood the transformational power of a smile. I once got selected for a key position for which I was underqualified because of my ability to enthusiastically interact with people. No matter how healthy, wealthy or wise you become, if you don’t have the skills of common courtesy, the only thing people will remember is that you’re a horse’s arse. After all, people don’t care what you know until they know you care, and the only thing they’ll ever remember about you is how you made them feel.

22
Aug
12

Certain Inalienable Rights

Our country was founded on the declaration that all men have certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I would like to amend these to include: work, personal initiative, and the pursuit of going the extra mile.

If we’re not working, we cannot experience life. Work is something we do regardless of whether or not we get paid. In fact, our most vital acts are performed free of charge: raising children, bestowing love and forgiveness, volunteerism, and charity. This is what makes the world go ‘round. Working is as necessary to the individual as breathing. When the individual stops working, he stops thinking, and then stops living. My father was born in 1927 and remembers growing up during the Great Depression. His father, like many other Americans, did not have a job, but that did not stop him from working. We are on this planet to work, to give back and share that which is within us.

Personal initiative is the truest manifestation of liberty. The greatest read on personal initiative is found in Elbert Hubbard’s Life-Changing Classic, A Message to Garcia. Those of you who have read it are nodding your heads in agreement. Those of you who haven’t can purchase it for a little over a dollar, it will take you ten minutes to read, and it’s one of the top-selling books of all time. You have the right to not ask your employer how to do everything and to display some personal initiative by figuring it out on your own. You have the right as an employer to encourage your team to read this so that they can understand the infinite power of personal initiative in determining their value and even their salary. It’s the original “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” philosophy. Don’t ask your boss how to do everything, and don’t tell your employees how to do everything. One of my favorite lines is the man who does things without having to be told draws the most wages. Amen.

The pursuit of happiness requires going the extra mile. Happiness never comes from just doing the minimum. That’s called “getting by” and someday we will all have to answer to life, explaining what we did with what we were given. The status quo has got to go! No child was ever successfully raised by parents who did only the minimum. No marriage ever thrived where two people simply coexisted. No victory was ever achieved without someone, someplace, sometime, stepping out of the mediocre masses and going the extra mile. Some people are like blisters; they show up after the work is done. And there is no joy in being remembered as the bare-minimum guy. We go the extra mile because that is where the human spirit truly excels and finds its only source of happiness.

So claim these inalienable rights for yourself and achieve your true birthright now!

10
Aug
12

I lived life and all I got was this lousy T Shirt! Or, Failure Is an Option

If no one is responsible for the consequences of their mistakes or can claim victory for their successes, what’s the point of living? We may as well be drones, our lives flown pilotless as we live off the labors of others.

We no longer have high expectations. We give medals for participation. Eighty percent of the work is still done by twenty percent of the workforce. There are industries that penalize workers who complete tasks too efficiently. More people go on disability than payroll. We are told that debt will strangle us into servitude yet students are allowed to rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars of academic debt, and our country keeps printing money it can’t afford to spend.

Whether you agree with it or not, the man who does what needs to be done without being told draws the most wages, unless he’s on the government dole where his pay is guaranteed. Now, however, we are having a national discussion about whether or not the man who draws the most wages needs to give those wages back to those who haven’t earned them.

We are failing to continuously inspire the work ethic that instills greatness in others. Initiative has become a dirty word. Life should be lived tremendously as one triumphant pageant after another, not as a spectator sport. Yet everything now being taught seems to focus on patting oneself on the back for just existing while waiting for your next check to come.

As the Good Book says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  You can’t be a leader if you don’t have vision. The very price of leadership is vision, which is simply seeing what needs to be done and doing it, without having to be told and without the expectation of reward or accolade. Just doing what needs to be done, period.

Over two hundred years ago, Alexander Fraser Tytler is said to have described the cycle of democracy which typically spanned 200 years: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again to bondage.”

So where are we? When the dependents outnumber the independents, dictatorship is not far behind.

 

02
Aug
12

This is a free country, right???

I remember back in the mid ‘90s when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy under President Clinton was unveiled. Many of my fellow soldiers thought this relaxing of standards was wrong based on the fact that homosexuality is deviant behavior. Being analytical, I told them that adultery was as well, and we knew several soldiers who were having affairs. My point was that no sin is worse than any other sin from a Biblical standpoint, not even suicide.

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” No matter how much worldly progress we make on this planet, man is wicked to the core, plain and simple. It’s called the human condition and we all suffer from it; not just certain groups or lifestyles, all of us.

You’ve got to give respect to get respect. When you come across someone who believes the Koran or the Book of Mormon and expresses their beliefs, do you vilify them? I doubt it, at least in this country. Not yet anyway.

We all enjoy freedom of choice. If God gives each of us the choice between Heaven and Hell (heck, he even allowed Adam to decide what to do with the forbidden fruit), why do we need to vilify others for their choices or their beliefs?

Hate the sin, not the sinner. As a Christian, I look to the Bible for my guidance on the definition of marriage. I also have several gay friends for whom I would do anything. Christ consorted with all kinds of sinners, even very righteous ones. That doesn’t mean he condoned their lifestyles; it means he loved them.

There are people in other countries who will kill you for your beliefs. We don’t do that in America so stop trying to condemn and verbally stone each other! The double standard is revolting. The founder of Amazon.com is pro-gay marriage, as is Ben and Jerry’s, yet there is no attempt to have them barred from various cities for not reflecting, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “the views of the city.”

Tolerance and judgment are two different things. I’m a publisher of motivational material. I don’t allow negative people to rent space in my life. Does that mean I’m judging them? No! It means I do not tolerate certain attitudes. When I worked for the government I had many different clearances. That meant I could not associate with people whose lifestyles were deemed risky. Did I judge them? No! Did I tolerate hanging out with them? No.

There is no requirement to personally tolerate every type of behavior or lifestyle. We are each free to set our own standards and, for many of us, those standards are Biblical. Our founding fathers fought and died to allow us these freedoms, and our nation exists so that each of us may live according to the dictates of our own conscience. Are you are a little out of step with society at large? March proudly anyway. You are free to do so.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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