Posts Tagged ‘life lessons

01
Aug
13

The Three Decisions by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Three_Decisions1I’ve heard my father give this speech hundreds of times. In fact, it was a major section of his bestselling motivational classic, Life Is TremendousThe Three Decisions: Who are you going to live your life with, what are you going to live your life doing, and who you are going to live your life for. I know my father worked very hard and came from humble beginnings, but I always kind of assumed that he was one of the very few who just got it right the first time. After all, he married my mother at 20 years of age and they stayed married for the next 60 years. He was a world-renowned motivational speaker who had a certain charisma that was unrivaled. His faith in the almighty God after he became a Christian at 23 was as pure and radical a transformation as Paul’s on the road to Damascus.

So easy for him to make these decisions, right? Wrong! When you read The Three Decisions you will see a man who made a decision and then spent his life committing himself to it. There was nothing easy about it. Committed people only look that way to outsiders. This is such a rarity these days we just assume great fortune or that the stars were aligned when someone leads a charmed life. There are no charmed lives. There are only those who live life giving their all to what they’ve committed to with their decisions.

My father said the secret to a lifelong marriage isn’t compatibility, its commitment, and that you cannot make this decision based on how it goes, but solely on integrity; that God does not put romance in marriage, but in people, and it’s up to us to ensure it stays there. My father also said that God never made a job to make a man; He made men to make a job. And if you wanted a better job, you needed to do a better job. And when my father finally made his personal commitment to accept the Bible as absolute truth, he pursued it with all his heart. He would say, “With all my heart I’m telling you this: you ought to know what you believe and why you believe what you believe, and you ought to be willing to believe it so you can get to the heart of what believing is really all about.”

His lifelong mantra was that if what you’re going to get supersedes what you’re going to give, you’re in the wrong ballpark. In other words, if you are always on the make for a better person, job, or god based on what it’s going to do for you, you aren’t even alive. But when you are so ready to commit to one person, one passion, and one master that you’d give it all up, then you are capable of making the three most important decisions of your life and to live life tremendously and triumphantly.

13
Jun
13

Avoid the Clichés this Father’s Day

TinceDadAlthough known for being a world class comedian, my father was the consummate pragmatist. His ability to blend the bitter with the sweet echoed in many people’s hearts because that’s truly the essence of life. While some fathers raised their daughters by consistently heaping praise on them about how beautiful they were and how they could become anything they wanted, I received much more practical advice. Here’s the best of the best!

Earn Your Stripes! Dad used to tell the story about the young salesman who asked the old-timer how he had managed to be so successful. The old-timer replied “Good Judgment”. The young man then asked, “Well, how do you get good judgment?” The old-timer replied, “Experience”. The young man, eager to learn all he could, pressed on, “Well, how do you get experience?” To which the old man replied, “Poor judgment.” The road to success entails a lot of required failures. The only way to get promoted through the ranks is to do the grunt work.

Be Happy Miserable! I learned much while traveling to meetings with my LilTincefather.  There was a recurring routine we used to do while I was still little enough for him to hold me in his arms. At the end of a speech he’d call me up on stage and say, “Tracey, how are you?” And I’d say “Tremendous!” And then he’d ask, “How are things going?” And I’d say, “I hope things don’t get any better!” and he’d say “Why?” And I’d exclaim “Because I’m so tired of being happy it’s wearing me out!!!” Life’s tough; it’s tougher if you don’t have a positive attitude.

Quit Thumb-Sucking! When I would call my father lamenting about the nonsense I had to endure at my job he’d interrupt “You can either work for someone else, or you can work for yourself. As long as someone else is your boss, this will always happen.” The second thing he would say when I would angst over how hurtful the slander, the betrayal, and malice, was “Do you think that what you are going through is a fraction of the pain and suffering Christ endured?” Followed up by the ever popular, “You’re never a failure until you blame somebody else!”

It’s Not About You! Two things I heard over and over again growing up really helped me avoid showing up at my own pity party. First, my Dad used to say, “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” So how could I bellyache about a trial or tribulation that was actually the fire designed to forge me into something stronger?

So what kind of a father did you have? With the alarming rate of absentee fathers, it makes me think about all of the girls who won’t get the chance to even interact with their fathers. Whether you’re a laid-back nurturer or a “tough love” kind of dad matters not. What’s important is that you impart your wisdom and presence. Because believe me, it makes all the difference in the world.

 

30
May
12

please stop praying for me, i need all the problems i can get!

My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, liked to shock people who asked him to pray for their problems. He would bow his head with them and pray that their problems got worse! After all, why should he pray someone out of something that God put them in to break them down and ultimately make them a better person? He joked that he was the only man in America who got cards and letters from people across the country writing and saying, “Dear Mr. Jones, please quit praying for me, I’ve had all I can take!”

Many would consider me a very happy and successful person. Yet you won’t know the challenges and struggles that made me that way. You only see how I have chosen to deal with these situations. My father used to jokingly call this “happy miserable” but he was dead serious.

If challenges are opportunities, if the path to success is through failure, then why do we wallow in self pity or run away? It takes maturity and accountability. There were times when I recounted my “poor me” situations for years to anyone who would listen.  What a terrible waste of time and energy.

At least half of the failures and heartaches I went through were due to my own lack of strength, discipline, or willingness to follow my conscience. The other half were situations meant to teach me some vital lessons about life here on earth.  As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say, “Things don’t go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so that you can be all that you were intended to be.” And yes, even things that go wrong due to my own shortcomings can teach tremendous life lessons.

Embrace your problems because sometime in the future, you’re going to cross paths with someone going through the exact same thing and you just might be able to impart some compassion or insights to them. It’s not about you; it’s about using what you’ve been through to help others and to grow as an individual. No one is ever successful being a victim. But if you look at your trials as a godsend, I guarantee you sometime in the future you’ll be a positive impact to someone who desperately needs it, including yourself.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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