Web Inspirations

Web Inspirations for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

Mar 24, 2011

Building a Boat

Abraham Lincoln once said, "I will prepare, and some day my chance will come." When his chance came, he was ready.

During his seminary years, one priest-in-training owned a favorite T-shirt. Across the front was emblazoned: "Expectant Father." His chance came and he, too, was ready.

When your chance comes, will you be ready?

I know that sports stories don't speak to everyone, but if you'll indulge me, I think Wayne Gretzky has something powerful to teach us about preparation. Former ice hockey superstar Gretzky knew the value of being ready. He broke almost every record imaginable and is generally thought to be the greatest hockey player of all time.

"The Great One," as he is often called, is not particularly big - he stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds during his career. He never skated particularly fast, his shot was not high-powered and he often placed dead last on regular strength tests administered to his team. So what made him so great?

Gretzky attributes his stardom to practice and preparation. He practiced stick handling in the off-season with a tennis ball, as the ball was harder to control than a puck. In practice he innovated. He practiced bouncing the puck off the sideboards to his teammates until that technique became a regular part of his play. 

Then he worked on bouncing the puck off the net. He became so accomplished at these maneuvers that he sometimes said, "People say there's only six men on the ice, but really, if you use the angle of deflection of the board, there's seven. If you count the net, that's eight. From the opening face-off, I always figure we have 'em eight-on-six."

The Great One was so great because, when his chance came to make an impact, he was ready. And because he was ready, chances came again and again.

I've learned this: it doesn't matter what awaits me just across the sea if I haven't built a boat.

Many years ago a friend and I were talking about a speaking engagement I had accepted in Los Angeles. "I'd love to go places and speak or lead seminars," she said.

I asked her, "What would you speak about? What do you want to teach?"

"I don't know. I've always wanted to write a book and lead seminars," she said, "but I've never gotten around to it."

I've heard her speak - she has a great ability to relate to people. She has a charismatic personality. She is intelligent and articulate. I have no doubt she could excel in such a field.

We talked about her need to develop expertise in an area about which she is passionate. We talked about how she might look for opportunities to lead local seminars and teach courses. And we talked about steps she might take toward writing her book, something she had wanted to do for years.

But after a number of years, she has still done none of those things. If her chance comes, she will not be ready. And more likely, since she is not ready, her chance will probably never come.

I often hear people say, "If only I had a chance." Maybe it's a chance at a new position, a bigger challenge or to do something different. Perhaps they are waiting for a chance to prove themselves or a chance to really make a difference.

But I wonder -- if I were offered that new challenge today, would I be ready to meet it? Am I prepared to take full advantage?

It's not enough for me to dream about exotic, new places. I need to build a boat.

-- Steve Goodier

Mar 23, 2011

Project HOME

We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand

HOME official website

Mar 18, 2011

Warm Worms

You may have heard the old story about the world's most dedicated fisherman. He had out-fished his companion all morning long. They used the same live bait, the same equipment and fished together in the same mountain stream. But he had almost caught his limit of fish while his friend had yet to catch even one.

"What's your secret?" asked the friend. "I haven't even gotten a bite!"

The angler mumbled an unintelligible answer, causing his companion to ask again.

The successful fisherman emptied the contents of his mouth into a cupped hand and replied: "I said, 'You have to keep your worms warm.'"

Talk about dedication. But did you know there are at least three types of fresh water fishermen (or fisherwomen, if that fits better)?

First, there are those who fish for sport. They like to "catch and release," quickly throwing their catch back into the water. For these anglers, it's all about recreation.

Then there are those who fish because they like the taste of fish. They are selective. They only keep the fish they will someday eat.

Finally, there are those who fish because they are hungry. If they don't catch, they don't eat. It is important for this group to succeed, and they are fully dedicated to what they do.

Whether or not we fish or even eat fish, there is a lesson to be learned here. We are most likely to succeed when we approach a task fully dedicated. Especially if the task before us is difficult or there seems little likelihood of success. Whether we want to patch a relationship, build a new business, write that first novel, kick a drug habit, or go back to school, we should see how willing we are to do what it takes - even if it means keeping the worms warm.

There are two important questions I ask myself to see just how dedicated I am.

Question number one: "How much do I want this?" When some people fish, if they don't catch, they don't eat. Some things are too important for me to risk failure. So how much do I want to succeed at this relationship, this career or this dream?

The other question I ask is similar: "How hard am I willing to work?" If 'success' only comes before 'work' in the dictionary, I may have to work harder than I've ever worked before. But if I want it enough, the hard work will be worth it.

"Always bear in mind," said Abraham Lincoln, "that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." And that is where it always begins: with a whole-hearted resolution to succeed - in a task, in a calling, in a life.

How much do I want this? And, how hard am I willing to work? Start there, and great things can happen.

-- Steve Goodier

Mar 16, 2011

A Chinese Saying

一 命
二 运
三 风水
四 积德
五 读书,
六 名
七 相
八 敬神
九 交贵人
十 养生

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