Posts Tagged ‘wisdom

19
Jun
14

Carpe Dogum

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Mr. Blue gives his last speech June 12, 2014.

Last week was a week filled with unbelievable highs and lows. I had three very important speeches. One was just me, one with our Chief Excitement Officer (CEO) Ruby Red, and one with our Chief Motivational Hound, Mr. Blue. In the middle of the week Mr. Blue had an oncology appointment to get another chemo treatment. Unfortunately the doctor determined that his blood count was too low and postponed the treatment to the following Monday. Mr. Blue never made it to that appointment.

Determined to fill his prior speaking engagement, Mr. Blue mustered up the strength the very next day to go and share with a group of tremendous seniors at the Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries’ Cumberland Crossings Senior Living Community, sharing pawsome hound wisdom such as Stop Playing Dead and Old Dogs Must Learn New Tricks.

As the senior citizen in the group, in his 90s by human years, Mr. Blue was received with great respect and warmth by this group of seasoned humans. They understood exactly where he was coming from. They were excited about continuing to hear, learn, and think new things, just like Mr. Blue! They spent time petting and talking with my soul dog despite the fact that he was not feeling his best and couldn’t dispense his world-famous kisses.

Growing up, my father, the late, great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, told me upon crossing each milestone birthday that the current decade was far better than the previous one. And he didn’t just say it, he lived it. This is one of the main reasons that I embrace growing bolder, not older, and wiser with each passing day. After all, the more seasoning you have, the more you can flavor the earth.

Whenever someone would tell my father they had retired he would tell them “Don’t talk so stupid!” His reasoning was that if we are still on this earth, there’s a purpose we are meant to fulfill that goes way above and beyond a life lived solely for leisure.  I watched him on his hospice death bed, so frail from the ravages of cancer, yet scribbling notes for me to send to people and calling for friends to come and read to him. You see, we are all terminal, and if that doesn’t amp up your urgency to live life to the fullest, your spirit is already dead. We ought to go to our graves like prunes: spent, wrinkled, and shriveled.

So as I came down from the high of three amazing speeches, I ended the week with Mr. Blue taking a very pronounced and rapid turn for the worse. Friday night his legs gave out and by Saturday morning his breathing was labored and his awareness gone. And just like my father had done over five years ago, Mr. Blue finished the race strong, right up to the last minute. I held him in my arms for one last kiss, and he dispensed four of his powerful licks as if to say, “Thank you for finishing this with me!” before slipping away.

My father always told me he wanted to pass to Heaven while he was on the stage speaking. While the setting was different—a hospice bed and a cancer-ravaged shell of a body instead of a stage with a physical presence larger than life—what he was doing was not. He shared and enriched the lives of others right up to his last breath. And I am humbled and thankful, and not in the least bit surprised, that his granddog would triumphantly bound onto the other side just as victorious!

Carpe Diem; Carpe Dogum. Drink deeply from the water bowl of life right up until your last pant!

23
Jul
13

how’s your love life?

she-loved-life-I know, you must read on because you are not sure if I am really going to blog about my love life, but I gotta tell you, it’s amazing. In fact, I have never had a more energized, actualized, romanticized, conceptualized love affair with my life than at this very moment.

I hit a milestone this past week and I am so darn excited I could leap out of my skin….and I was already pretty loose in it already! I hit the half-century mark! And the reason I am so happy is that I now finally feel ready to conduct my next 50 year journey around the solar system knowing exactly how I want it done!

I am well aware of the many horrible mistakes I made, the pain I caused, and the idiotic things I did in my first 50 years. I am no longer interested in looking back at them. I have worked under the disapproval of various bosses who didn’t value me for the first 50 years. I am no longer constrained by what someone thinks of my skill set. I know what I offer; I won’t tolerate not being fully utilized and I won’t compromise my principles.

I am single; have been for a long time. There were many times during my first 50 years when I had someone in my life but never felt more alone or hurt. When I page through family albums, looking back over the past decades, very few, if any, of the people in the pictures are still in my life, yet I feel happier and more love in my heart today than at any other time.

Lastly, but most importantly, I am at peace with my priorities and finally have the confidence to enforce any and all boundaries that were so sorely missing during my first 50 years. The older I get the less I care what people think about me, hence the more I enjoy life! I can finally tell it like it is, in love, and never have a second thought about it! And isn’t that what we longed for during our younger, more insecure years?

So how’s your love life? Is it exhilarating?? Mind numbing??  Full of living out your most ardent passions? If not, it sure can be.  I am a liver and a lover of life! I finally cleaned out all of the toxins in my world and am free to move about the universe.  Each and every one of us can do this. It’s not up to any person or job to come and fill some self-imposed void. It’s completely up to you!

 

21
May
13

exposure to experience

ImageA bird left the safety of its home to fly and perch on the branch of a different tree. It doesn’t fear leaving the old and taking up residence in the new because it doesn’t put its faith in the strength of the branch upon which it roosts. If the branch should break, the strength of its own wings will keep it aloft.

I’ve had some major limbs break out from under me, both personally and professionally. In each case I had left the old to live in the new with great optimism and hope. Sometimes I felt the branch beginning to give way soon after I arrived. Other times I had no idea I was truly out on a limb until the bottom fell out. In either case, I not only survived but flew off to the next branch as a result of the wings of my experiences.

One of leadership’s most powerful laws is Exposure to Experience: the more356 you know, the more you grow. The more you go down, the more you grow up. The more beaten down you are, the stronger you become. My father, the late, great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, wrote about this in his motivational classic, Life Is Tremendous. He used to tell me when I was younger that I need to “earn my stripes” and that good judgment came from experience which was the direct result of poor judgment.

He also said that we are all born with an empty psychological key ring attached to our side and every experience, good, bad, or indifferent, gave us another key with which to unlock the doors of life’s journey. The more keys the better. So believe in yourself enough to truly know that any experience in which you give your all will enable you to reach heights you never thought you could.

21
Sep
12

it takes a good fall to know where you stand

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant

It’s the first day of fall, my absolute favorite season. Some lament the passing of summer with the inevitable onset of winter when things die and lay dormant until the rebirth of spring. But I think fall teaches us about how we reveal our own brilliant colors.

The gorgeous fall foliage is actually a result of the trees stopping production of chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green color. As the days turn shorter, the warmth of the sun wanes, the waters from the heavens become scarcer, and the trees stop making food and start living off of their stores. But it’s exactly this drawing back that reveals their true colors and it’s what makes this season singularly spectacular.

It’s easy to be vibrant and flourishing when the sun is shining and the waters of abundance are plentiful. But life guarantees that there will be times of scarcity. And that’s where we can truly shine. When our health or finances are on the wane, we must dig within our stores to keep ourselves alive.

I love fall because it symbolizes a time when life is giving out more than it is taking in. It’s a reflection of the months of warmth and plenty and growth in a kaleidoscope of gratitude.  It’s a swan song that always reminds me that the best is yet to come and the older we get, the more wisdom and beauty we can display.

So enjoy the times of drawing down in your life, whether it’s in physical years left to live, or in the loss of a friend or a loved one. It’s your time to display your brilliance and show others what’s truly running through your veins.

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.

18
Apr
12

mind the gap

“Mind the gap” is a warning to train passengers of the London Underground to take caution while crossing the gap between the station platform and the train door. But no matter what side of the Atlantic we find ourselves on, the real gaps we have to be wary of are the ones located within ourselves. The gap between knowing the right thing and doing the right thing; between knowing how to do something and knowing why you do it; the skill to do a good job and the will to do a good job; between wishing for something and actually doing something to achieve it.

Thankfully there are many tremendous things that can aid us in taking the leap across the chasm that lies within all of us to become the best version of ourselves. Mentors, teachers, coaches, parents, role models, books, music, and even animals can all have a positive impact in helping us not only mind but bridge the gap. But we alone are the only ones who can forge the great divide so that we, of our own volition, may stand on the other side. Galileo Galilei said it best: “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.”

There’s a Japanese proverb that says, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and I’ve had quite a few myself. At least Mr. Dumpty had a traumatic event where he lost it all. As Norman Vincent Peale said, “any action is better than no action at all.” Many people sit at the edge of the abyss wondering what’s on the other side without ever putting one toe into the deep. But even all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. The only person or thing that can piece together the fragile bits of our innermost being is us.

Sometimes we ignore the gaps in ourselves so successfully that we never even think about them. Our lives are what they are and there is nothing we are going to do about it. Other times we are clawing to the sides of the gaps fighting for our lives, determined to succeed and hoist ourselves to the other side no matter the cost. Whatever the case, we all face the same gaps in our lives. It is an integral part of the human condition. And the sooner we mind them, the more habitually driven we can be in navigating them as many times in life as we need or desire.

23
May
11

just plane wisdom

On a recent fight, I had the pleasure of being upgraded to first class and sitting next to an entrepreneur, who was a voracious reader and leadership junkie. He had been a lawyer, a restaurateur, and was now a consultant.  He told me to look around the first-class cabin and take note of how many of the passengers were reading books. Of the 11 out of 12 seats occupied, 10 were reading business or leadership books.

He said he had noticed this phenomenon on many flights. After all, who sits in first class? Business leaders whose oversight and expertise are in demand across the globe; hence the frequent-flyer miles and upgrades to first class. He said that he doesn’t see such a high proportion of readers when he flies coach. Folks tend to listen to tunes, nap, browse the SkyMall catalogue, or do the crossword puzzle in the airline magazine. I made a conscious decision to pay attention during my two coach-class return legs and noticed the same thing. There were readers in coach but, proportionately, the percentage was much lower than my first-class sample.

He was on to something so simple, yet so brilliant! Even a one-hour flight is a chance for a much needed break in the daily communication barrage inundating us every waking moment. It’s a respite from the noise and a chance to turn it all off, per FAA regulations of course! So why not take this great opportunity to concentrate on something as simple as reading transformational material?

So what are you waiting for? On your next flight take the chance to get some tremendous reading material in hand and permanently upgrade your status to first class!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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