geography / travel, USA, South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, building of monument, built by John Gutzon de la Mothe

Do you know who had a lot of faith in his abilities and set great goals? Gutzon Borglum.
He is the sculptor who gave us Mt. Rushmore.
Borglum knew he could turn a cliff-side into a work of art so he packed up his tools and a few helpers and carved the faces of some of America’s best leaders into the mountain.

At any time he could have sheared off a nose or made a chin into a cave but he knew what he could do and so he did it.

When we believe we can accomplish something, we look for ways to do it. When we don’t, we ignore opportunities and allow ourselves to fail or we just quit.

Have faith in yourself and don’t give up. If a guy named Gutzon can turn a hill into an American icon, you can get your “guts on” and turn your life into whatever you want.


fire and ice

Every night is broken by the sunrise.
A rock can stop a ripple.
A sharp knife has a blunt handle.
When we pull a door from the outside, we push it from the inside.

So many things in our life require an opposite to make sense, and so it is with people.
In any company you will find introverted people working in quiet offices writing reports, cleaning, making art or or doing accounting. Extroverted people from the same company are out of the office selling the product, attending events for publicity and putting a face to the fabrication. Both make the company run, in fact, one couldn’t exist without the other.

There is balance in humanity outside of the office as well and only when we becomes separate and unbalanced do we have conflicts.

The next time you are tempted to write someone off because you feel you might have nothing in common with them, take a minute to think about what they might know that you don’t. What can they do that you can’t? What is the harmony they can add to your song? (Perhaps your harmony will perfect their song!)

“Opposites attract.” for some very good reasons.
How attractive are to your perfect match?

Explore Your Growth

tree of life

Flora and fauna are not that different. Both need water and oxygen, both start with a tiny “seed” and grow into their final form and both have an end (on this plane anyway).  Like any organic being, you too have a life cycle. You have roots in what you have learned and in your mentors and role models both living and historical. You have branches in your work and experience, buds in your ideas and goals and fruits in your triumphs.

Contemplate how you are growing. Has your growth been stunted by adversity? Can you shift your branches to a place where there is light and your roots to where there is nourishment? Think about the cactus that lives where nothing else can and blooms most beautifully when given the opportunity. Imagine your garden flowing to fruition and your cactus flower bursting to beautiful bounty.

Find Your Gift

grass whistle

Everyone has a gift, something that helps them enrich their lives or the lives of others. Do you fully appreciate yours?
You might be a natural mathematician, have a green thumb, be a great listener, have no fear of public speaking, or maybe you can play music on a blade of grass..
However small or weird it is, you do have a gift. Don’t mind the significance, just as pennies add up to dollars, small contributions over time, add up to a happy and respectable life.
To find it, just look back on your day, week or month and recognize the times that you felt most comfortable or happy. What were you doing then? How could you contribute to make that grow? Your answer is most likely your gift.
Please use your gift whenever you can, to make the world a better place and notice when you benefit from the gifts of others. It happens far more often than you realize.
In the end, we are all here to help and learn from one another.

Listen to a Child

You’ve heard the phrase, “Out of the mouths of babes.” meaning children have a knack for getting right to the crux of the issue. Generally, they do and unless they have been taught to lie, kids are gorgeously honest.

Spend some time talking to a child about what is on their mind. You may be surprised to find that they worry about a lot of the same things you do and they often have amazing solutions to problems.

Don’t burden them with life’s issues, keep it light, just allow them to talk and really listen to what they want to say. Kids have a unique connection to reality that has not been spoiled by the “facts” the rest of us have been taught.

Talk to a child but mostly,

Symbolic objects: stones, pressed flowers, photos, an old watch, anything you can carry can help you visualize your aspirations. It’s not supernatural and it’s not magic, only in that it helps to remind you of your goal.

A wish-stone or even a note to yourself kept with you or in a place where you spend a lot of time helps you focus your time on the things you want or need.
If you start to forget where you are going or begin to lose your will to go on, take out your object and remember the way you felt when you made the wish or set the goal.

Our ancestors would call a symbolic object a “talisman”.
Often the object was as simple as a grandfather’s watch, a lucky coin or a pebble accepted from a child.

A talisman only has as much power as you have desire for what it symbolizes to you.
That pebble might remind you to compliment your child more often.
That watch might remind you of your grandfather’s work ethic.
The lucky coin? Well, we are only as lucky as we are grateful!

Stop Narrowing Your Mind

If you’ve ever tried to convince a stranger on the internet that they are wrong and you are right, you understand the concept of narrow-mindedness. But whose?

adjective: narrow-minded
not willing to listen to or tolerate other people’s views; prejudiced.

Because we choose what we see on the internet, we tend to choose things that please us and ignore things that make us consider other points of view. This leads to polarization and the inability to understand people in our own society.
It’s how families, friendships and even countries are split apart.

We will not willingly visit an unpleasant website when there are so many better choices, any more than we will eat vegetables when pie is available.

But we can take other steps to open ourselves to possibilities and broaden our thoughts and opinions.
Here are a few:

Try new things. When you eat in a new international restaurant, you smell new smells and taste new flavors. The same is true for new experiences of all kinds. Get a massage, swim in a river, listen to a new radio station or watch a different news station for a week or two. It will show you just how much you have been missing.

Close your eyes and pay attention. When you see a man in a dirty shirt, he may just be a messy eater. He may also be in the middle of a dirty project, have a small child that just vomited on him, or have a broken washing machine. Likewise, when you see someone dressed in fad clothing, they may be passing through a phase of their life in which they are questioning. Judging them will not change them, it will only alienate a person who may have a lot of new ideas and perspectives.

Read and watch non-fiction. When you strengthen your skill set or learn about historic or current figures you put yourself out of your own pattern of thinking and absorb pure information.

Widen your circle of influence. When you make new friends you learn from their habits as well as their opinions. There is an old saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” to improve, move.

Travel. New sights and new people are the single most important mind broadening experience you can have, even if the only traveling you do is across your own town. (Reading is a very close second.)

Stop criticizing. When you look for reasons to tear another person down, you are not seeing their potential and you are damaging your own. When you lift another person, you find new ways to improve your own life and the lives of people around you. (You also find yourself loved and appreciated, which is never a bad thing!)

Listen. You already know what you think and when you use your time talking about your own thoughts, you miss important ones others may have. Instead of formulating an answer to a question while the other person is talking, hear what they are saying and respond to them without trying to persuade. Your opinion will matter more to someone who feels their opinion matters to you.

Emulate. Choose a hero or two and do they would do. Would the Dali Lama talk over the words of a friend with whom he disagreed ? Would Mother Teresa yell insults out a car window?