Jul 27, 2008

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

"Almost all of us have childhood dreams; for example, being an astronaut, or making movies or video games for a living. Sadly, most people don’t achieve theirs, and I think that’s a shame. I had several specific childhood dreams, and I’ve actually achieved most of them. More importantly, I have found ways, in particular the creation (with Don Marinelli), of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center of helping many young people actually *achieve* their childhood dreams."

- Randy Pausch

With equal parts humor and heart, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that moved an overflow crowd at the university — and went on to move audiences around the globe.

Randy died July 25 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

Watch online or order a DVD

Jul 26, 2008

Inspirational Story - Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak’s first big goal wasn’t big by today’s standards. All he wanted was his own computer.

But Steve was in high school when he had that big goal, and it was the 1960’s. His dad scoffed at Steve’s goal. A computer cost as much as a downpayment on a house, Steve’s dad said. Steve was undaunted. He said, “Then I’ll live in an apartment.”

By the time he reached his 20’s, Steve still hadn’t reached his goal. By then, he was a shy young man working at Hewlett-Packard. He still didn’t have enough money for a computer.

He had the skills to build one (he was an engineer and had had an aptitude for tinkering with electronics since he was a kid). But even though he had the skills, he didn’t have the money for parts.

So Steve designed computers on paper.

Finally, though, prices came down enough so he could move his ideas from paper to reality. He built a small computer, and since he couldn’t afford a display (what we now call a monitor), he used his TV.

At the time, a computer small enough to fit on a desk was a novelty. His peers were fascinated. One of his friends, Steve Jobs, suggested they build a PC board, a device that allowed others to build their own small computer.

Steve then went to his bosses at Hewlett-Packard and suggested the company build a small computer that worked with a home TV. The company rejected the idea.

So Steve and Steve decided to go out on their own. Jobs sold a van and Steve Wozniak sold his prized calculator , and they used the few hundred dollars they raised to finance their computer company, which they called Apple Computer. Their first computer was Apple I.

With the bank account nearly dry, Steve and Steve got 30 days credits on parts and then went into overdrive. They subcontracted the basic manufacturing, but then they had to do all the quality testing, which they did in Steve Jobs’ garage.

From these meager beginnings, Apple Computer was born. In 1980, the company went public, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Steve turned his little idea into a big success. That’s being bodacious.

If you have an idea, what are you waiting for?

Jul 23, 2008

Everything Counts

Early 20th Century African-American poet Countee Cullen spent the summer of his eighth year in Baltimore, Maryland. Shortly after he arrived he noticed a little white boy staring at him. Countee smiled, but the little boy did not smile back. Instead, he stuck out his tongue and called him a hurtful, racial slur.

Cullen later wrote a poem that included his recollection of the summer when he was eight. In it, he says this:

"I saw the whole of Baltimore
from May until September.
Of everything that happened there
that's all I can remember."

The white child likely soon forgot the episode. And he probably never was aware of the pain he inflicted on the young stranger. But the truth is... everything counts. EVERYTHING. Everything we do and everything we say. Everything helps or hurts; everything adds to or takes away from someone else.

Educator and writer Leo Buscaglia put it like this: "The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no tickertape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt."

How truly amazing life can be when we know that... EVERYTHING COUNTS.

-- Steve Goodier

Dancing Around The World

14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands.
Amazing ...

Jul 20, 2008

The Way We See It

The eye doctor instructed her patient to read a chart on the wall. He looked at it and read, "A, B, F, N, L and G."

The doctor turned the light back on and wrote in her notebook.

"How'd I do, Doc?" the patient wondered.

She replied, "Let's put it this way -- they're numbers."

"But Doc," he argued, "this is the way I see it!"

Much of my happiness or unhappiness is a result of my perception. "This is the way I see it," I tell myself.

I see some problems as challenges that energize me to action and others as obstacles that stop further progress. It's just the way I see it.

And sometimes I see new situations as fun, and other times I see them as fearful.

The busyness of my life can be OK if I see it that way, or it can be a major source of stress. And an unexpected intrusion in my schedule can be an irritant or, if I see it that way, possibly the most important thing I could do that day.

Even an embarrassing mistake can be the beginning of a new learning or an occasion to berate myself. It's in the way I see it.

One of the greatest blocks to my happiness is forgetting that it is not always about what is happening to me -- it's more about the way I see it.

Like Marcel Proust said, "The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." It's in the way we see it.

-- Steve Goodier

Jul 18, 2008

Free Hugs

"Do you want a hug?" the young man asked Ginny.

He held a sign in his hand that said "Free Hugs." I looked around. There were other people with him. They held their handmade signs high. The message was the same on all of them: "Free Hugs!"

"Sure!" Ginny smiled and walked up to him. She reached up, wrapped her arms around his neck, pulled him down to her level, and hugged him with all the love she had in her heart.

"Wow!" he exclaimed. "That was the best hug I've had all day!"

"I'm a hugger," Ginny smiled at him.

He looked at me. "How about a hug?"

"You got it!" I walked into his open arms. We held briefly and parted.

A young lady walked up and hugged Ginny. She turned to me, opened her arms, and hugged me too.

Ginny and I stepped back and watched the "free huggers" work their magic with those who accepted them. They offered hugs to anyone and everyone.


Juan Mann returned to Sydney, Australia in 2004, after living in Europe for several years. He was depressed over his parent's divorce. Most of his friends had moved on. It was just him. He sat for months.

Alone and depressed, Juan decided to make a difference and reach out. He made a sign that read, "Free Hugs," and stood at the Pitt Street Mall, one of the busiest streets in the center of Sydney. He put his arms around anyone who accepted his offer.

At first, he left his wallet at home, had a friend watch over him, and expected to be ridiculed. After fifteen minutes, a woman approached him.

"My dog died today," she said. "It's also the first anniversary of my only daughter's death. I could use a hug."

Juan was quoted as saying, "That first woman, it was more than a hug. It meant something to her."

Others joined Mann. They opened their arms to others. His message spread across the city. Afraid of lawsuits, officials banned the free hug movement, but the people protested and more than 10,000 people signed a petition to allow him to continue his mission.

Shimon Moore, the lead singer of "The Sick Puppies" happened to see Juan. They hugged and became friends. Moore borrowed a video camera and filmed Juan giving hugs. When Mann's grandmother died, Moore put the video together with his band's song called, All the Same, and posted the video on YouTube with the following caption:

"Sometimes a hug is all we need. Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man whose sole purpose mission was to reach out and hug a stranger, to brighten up their lives."

The video was a hit. It spread around the world. Juan has appeared on Oprah and several other major television shows. His idea continues to gain support and grow.

After his first day on Pitt Street, Juan wondered if others were doing the same. He found Amma, The Hugging Saint of India. Jason Hunter in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jayson Littman in New York.

Jayson started his hugging campaign the same year as Juan. They both felt a need to reach out to humanity. A financial analyst in Manhattan, Jayson believed New Yorkers could use a hug. From 2004 to 2006, he spent one weekend afternoon a month holding his "Free Hugs" sign in his hands and opened his arms to anyone who needed human comfort.

Since then, Jayson's mission has been taken over by others who believe. Hugs for all!

On the last Saturday afternoon of the month, you'll find them gathered in Union Square in Lower Manhattan. They hold their signs high and offer their open arms to all who need a human touch.


The huggers worked the crowd. Most people ignored them or shook their heads to indicate they were not interested. Those who opened their arms in return, walked away with a smile on their face.

I felt a warmth, a glow, fill my heart. Ginny and I were going through rough times. Money was scarce, bill collectors called on a regular basis. We were stressed and worried, but on that afternoon, for a brief moment, it was all forgotten.

It took a simple hug to make everything better.

--Michael T. Smith

Jul 6, 2008

Awaken to A Beautiful New Day

by Ralph S. Marston, Jr.

In your life
A new day is dawning
Awaken and touch the beauty

Wherever you've come from
Whatever you've been
New possibilities beckon
Right here and now
Awaken and make them real

There was a time when you held in your heart
The most magnificent of dreams
A time when life seemed to carry
Endless promises and possibilities

Those dreams are still with you
Awaken and bring them to life

What you long for
Is longing for you
What you dream of
Is what you are meant to create

The doubts you have exist only in your mind
The anxieties that seem so burdensome are of your own making
Now is the moment to awaken,
and allow those doubts to melt away

Awaken, and dive deeply into the beauty of this moment
Allow your spirit to fully experience the richness of it all

Allow peace to fill you completely
Let it touch your deepest longings
Let it bring those longings to life
Your most treasured possibilities are real,
If you will simply let them live through you

Awaken to this moment, and life begins anew
Reach inside, and allow
your most treasured
dreams to awaken with you
Into a bright and shining new day

Remind yourself again and again
Of how beautiful life can be
Remind yourself again and again
That you can make it so

Step boldly and lovingly forward
Into this day

You've already come
So very far

You're stronger, more experienced
and more determined than ever
To fulfill those longings
That tell you who you are

Now is your moment to create real meaning
Now is your moment to awaken
And to truly and fully live