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Optimism in the Face of Challenges

Boldly explore new ground and establish goals that might have seemed beyond your grasp at an earlier time

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In mid-2020, President Trump promised that a COVID vaccine was on the near horizon, a contention relentlessly mocked by the mainstream press. Then President Trump, to the relief of the entire planet, delivered multiple times on his promise.

Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, nevertheless, has some significant finding.

Based on his studies, at 320,000+ different viruses currently infect mammals, and that doesn’t count other viruses that affect other vertebrate species. In all, the professor concludes that there are tens of millions of viruses in the world; a figure so large, it is unknowable.

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Starting today, and for decades thereafter, regardless of the breakthroughs in virus-related issues, other concerns will linger. Against this backdrop, optimism for oneself, for one’s family and friends, and indeed, for humanity, seems challenging.

Optimism: Now and Forever

A question for our era: In times of high uncertainty, is maintaining an optimistic outlook warranted or even possible? Yes. Research reveals that some people are apparently born optimistic; some individuals naturally exude optimism, often to the utter bewilderment of others.

Although it seems as if prevailing circumstances dictate how we will act and how we will feel, probing slightly deeper shows that that can be a false cause-effect relationship.

If you’ve passed a certain age and are thinking, “I have this big dream, but I’m too old,” take heart. If you’re in your thirties, forties, or fifties, mile-high goal achievement could still be in store for you – even if you’re past 60, 70, or 80! Why do I make such a statement?

Human longevity is increasing. Insurance actuaries indicate that you might live longer than you think you will. There’s no telling what you’re capable of two, three, or four decades hence. The legendary Grandma Moses became famous as a painter in her seventies and eighties and still was creating notable works of art past age 100.

Multiple Careers?

In Age Wave, Dr. Ken Dychtwald explains how it’s likely that you’ll have several careers within a lifetime, some totally unrelated to each other. After all, if you graduate college at age 22, you can work for 15 or 17 years in human resources or in training, not even hit your forties, work 25 years in another industry, and even receive your pension, and still work another 12 to 15 in another profession, and only be in your 70’s!

Some day soon, an octogenarian – an eighty year old – will be elected president of the United States.

As average life spans extend beyond eighty and ninety, and the health and well-being of the typical professional continues on at an advanced age, it’s not unrealistic to assume that you might achieve some spectacular goal in an arena of your life that is not even in consciousness for you at this moment.

Taking Root Long Ago

The seeds of what you might be doing twenty, thirty, and forty years from now are likely already in formation, if only at the cellular level! When I took the course Technologies for Creating, designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, I encountered one of the most powerful affirmations of my life to this point.

Imagine, Fritz encourages, that everything that you’ve ever done is preparation for what’s coming next… All the successes, all the failures, everything that went well, all the things that went up in flames, and all of your experiences are learning to be applied for the highest good for what is coming in your life.

So, in a manner of speaking, you’ve incurred no down time – no wasted jobs, wasted years, or wasted efforts. Your life has been a laboratory of sorts, helping you to prepare for some grand good the likes of which might still not be clear to you.

To Boldly Go

As the philosophers say, the pattern of the universe (or, more specifically for your purposes, the pattern of your life) is right there, visible in everything you do. You have only to recognize how to work with your strengths and limitations, aptitudes and blind spots so as to transcend yourself.

Don’t live life as if looking through a rear view mirror. Boldly go where you’ve never gone before, and eventually set and reach goals that in an earlier time might have seemed beyond your essence, yet on some level, perhaps were within you all along.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Life

What Does the Term African American Mean?

The Left vehemently champions racial division

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I’ve never understood why Black Americans for several decades running were referred to as African Americans. Even if their ancestors were from Africa, the majority of the nation’s 44 million Black Americans has never been to Africa, have no viable connection to the continent itself, and have little or no concern about it.

Please Explain it to Me

Now here’s the really confusing part. Black Canadians, to my knowledge, generally have never been called African Canadians. Black people in Mexico have not been called African Mexicans. There’s little use of this type of terminology in Europe such as African French, African Italians, African Spanish, or African Portuguese.

Why, only in America, did the description of Black Americans, namely African Americans ever take hold? Overarching names for the various races have fallen out of favor in recent years. White Americans generally are not referred to as Caucasians. Black Americans are not referred to as Negroes.

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Endless Morphs

You have to wonder how and why terminology, for various segments of our population, keeps morphing into something new. At one time white Americans referred to black people as colored people. If I were a member of the black community and was referred to by white people as a colored person, I would be upset. We all have a color!

Later, the most appropriate way to address someone of color was to say they were a person of color. However, that is also a misnomer as once again, we are all of some color.

Scientists, anthropologists, social researchers, and others have pointed out that theoretically there are no races. If you lined up every single person on Earth from the lightest skin to the darkest skin the gradation from person to person would be so slight as to be virtually undetectable.

I like the approach that actor Morgan Freeman has taken, and I wish that more people would adopt it. He has eloquently stated, on many occasions, that one way to stop being obsessed with race is to stop talking about it.

Obsessed with Race

A large faction within the U.S. – Democrats — are populated by subgroups with overlapping views: liberals, progressives, socialists, and Marxists. They want to keep race at the forefront of all public discourse. In their eyes, virtually any topic that you can address – the total eclipse in April, for example – has some underlying racial component embedded within it. Not all topics have a racial component, but that is what they propagate on a daily basis.

What’s more, people on the Left are on the ever-present lookout for anything which they regard as a transgression when others are referring to minorities. They particularly are focused on anything that a Conservative says, at any time, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago, that to the Left some way represents a slight or lack of respect for minorities, particularly Black Americans.

For these ‘race police’ it’s like a game. They are delighted when they are able to find something, anything, that they can aggrandize to the hilt, have the mainstream media pick up, and whip into a social and cultural frenzy.

This bit of historical news might be hard to recall, but four years before Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the topic of race was less contentious. A Gallup Poll revealed that 74% White Americans and 68% of Black Americans felt that race relations in the country were good. 19 years later, 43% of White people and 33% of Black people reported the same.

If we could only return to those pre-Obama days when Americans, of all types, had some common goals and shared the same types of aspirations such as succeeding in their professions, building a strong financial base for their family, and raising happy and healthy children.

Divided Forever?

Alas, with so many on the Left vehemently championing racial division it looks as if we don’t have good prospects, at least for the immediate future, to return to those hallowed, pre-Obama days. As an eternal optimist, however, I believe that one day the clamor will die down, and once again, we will simply all be Americans.

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