Archives for posts with tag: determination

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September 25th, 2015 is World Dream Day.  The organizers make it clear why we need a day to celebrate dreaming.

Every year, many countries around the world honor the ability to labor with labor holidays. On Friday, September 25th, the weekend before Labor Day in America, individuals, businesses communities and organizations from all over the world will celebrate the ability to turn thoughts into action by honoring a simple truth: before one labors, one must dream.

Source: Dream Day 2015 – About

A friend and fellow blogger Ernestine Van Der Greindt from Happy Minds alerted me to this wonderful day earlier this week. She asked us if we’d be willing to share our dreams with her since she was writing a blog about it and it got me thinking about dreaming and goals and success.  Click HERE to read her inspirational words.

If you ask people who have a successful business how it all started, you’ll often hear that they had a dream. ~ Ernestine

Think about it, before one labours, one must dream.   How true.  But so often, we hear, “get your feet back on the ground”, “get your head out of the clouds,” “well that’s just a pipe dream,” “oh, he’s just a dreamer.”  It’s like dreaming is considered at best unimportant and at worst a bad thing.

But when you think about it, dreaming is so important to life, to achieving goals, to making it through tough patches.  It opens up doors, opportunities and possibilities that you didn’t even notice were there before.

No, I’m quite certain that dreaming is actually a very, very, very good thing. So the next time someone tells you that, “you’re just a dreamer,” smile and say thank you.  It might just be one of the nicest compliments you receive.

 

 

So what’s your dream?  I’m sure you have one, even if right now it’s just a tiny one.  Make it grow, share your dream today using the hashtag #WorldDreamDay.  It might just be the start of making that little dream of yours come true. Risk it. I dare you.

 

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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We’ve all had bad things happen to us. We’ve faced challenges, been dealt hands we’d rather not play. But it’s play what you’ve got or play nothing at all. There’s really no sitting out.  It’s game on. What’s your next move? That depends on the player.

Some people choose to sit back and complain, maybe loudly, maybe quietly but the first card of the game is played, the Victim card.  “Woe is me. What did I do to deserve this?  I’m a good person!”

This determines the second card often chosen, the Blame card. “It’s not my fault!  If that hadn’t happened…  If she would have… But no one told me…”

The final card is thrown down with vigour. The Despair card. “There’s nothing I can do!  I’m too insignificant, I’m the victim after all!  Won’t someone else fix this?”

It’s understandable. Tough challenges, disappointments, well, they just aren’t fair, or fun.

photo-5

So while the reaction is understandable it doesn’t affect much benefit. Instead there’s more wallowing in self pity and sorrow. Still not experiencing much fun. Nothing gets better.

But then there is another kind of player. These players get knocked down, but they get up again.  Even if that means getting back up many times.

I Get Knocked Down Again by Chumbawumba

Their approach to the game is different. The first card they prefer to play is the Patience card. They get their bearings, see what they’re really up against, size up the situation.

The second card they select is Determination.  Strategies are considered and they proceed to carry out the plan adjusting as required along the way.

Weeble’s commercial circa 1970s

Their third and final card, played without fanfare, is Resilience. They turn into Weebles® if you remember the toy from the 1970’s. Their slogan was  “Weebles wobble but they don’t  fall down.”  Resilience means they keep at it and are set up to handle whatever their opponent has planned. They do what they need to to meet the challenge, to succeed.  They may wobble a bit but they won’t fall down, not now. They play the hand they’re dealt and more often than not they come out ahead. If they don’t, they adjust again.

I recently came across a young father who is busy playing the hand he and his family have been dealt with a smile. It’s a hand many of us may think about folding on but not Darren. Our first encounter was nothing really special. We are both members of Life Vest Inside and I saw a request come through from Darren that said his son was turning 10. If anyone was interested he’d appreciate some happy birthday wishes.  It seemed an easy way to spread a little kindness and cheer so I popped off a message.  His subsequent post of appreciation put his original request into context.

As it turns out Jayden has been faced with challenges since he was born with the heart condition Truncus Arteriosus, the same condition that killed his Aunt Karena, Darren’s younger sister, when she was only 17 weeks. Almost 20 years later medical advances in surgery allowed her nephew to survive, but it’s not an easy journey.

Jayden remained in hospital ICU for three and a half years, his mother seldom leaving his side for more than a few moments in all that time. He lives with global development delay and a high level of autism. Jayden has already endured 2 heart surgeries and will soon be undergoing his third. He has a tracheostomy to aid in breathing properly and since Jayden doesn’t have a very strong immune system once a month he spends a day in hospital for an immune booster.

Jayden’s conditions create a risk of choking meaning he must have an attendant 24/7.  Darren and Rhonda share the exhausting job of watching him around the clock. But all you have to do is listen to Darren talk about their son to know what a positive influence he has on his parents and others. Darren calls him a hero, super man, a survivor. With love and compassion and lots of time and dedication he proved sceptics wrong by learning to walk, he goes to school and he’s gaining skills. He is overcoming anxiety about eating from a spoon and he’s mastering his colours.  He has lots of challenges but he has a loving family to help him meet them.  That doesn’t make him less, maybe it actually makes him even more.

Jayden and Darren used with permission

Jayden and Darren
used with permission

“When my son wakes up in the morning and he smiles at me, that’s my payment.” Darren Kontista

Jayden eating

Darren knows first hand the struggles that Jayden faces. He himself was born with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot and nearly died as a child.  Like his sister and his son, Darren required the assistance of a heart and lung bypass machine and has also endured two heart surgeries. He is expecting to undergo a third operation within six short years.

As I read Darren’s post about his sister and his son Jayden’s story I was left speechless. When I wrote my birthday greeting never in my wildest imaginings did I think that this family was going through so much every single day.

Darren and Rhonda could certainly choose to focus only on themselves, their challenges and no one would blame them. They could play the blame card, the victim card and the despair card without question. But that’s not what they’ve chosen to do. Instead Darren has undertaken a serious fund raising  campaign to procure a heart and lung machine for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The cost of the machine is $500,000. Darren and Jayden have set their sights on contributing $5,000. towards that. Checkout their fundraising page through Hearts for Life HERE.

They didn’t stop at a simple page though. Darren has a love of music and a talent to create it. He came upon the idea to have a fundraising event! November 1st a musical charity fundraiser Jayden’s Hearts for Life will take place. This family knows first hand just how important this life saving machine is.

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Recently Darren and his family moved to a new home. They were so happy to be settling in but for reasons out of their control they may be forced to pull up stakes once more before they’ve even had time to settle in and catch their breath. Something most of us would be angered by and this family is no different, especially given the extra challenges they face. Jayden doesn’t find change all that easy, being 24/7 caregivers takes planning, preparation and is exhausting without throwing in a full blown relocation again. But Darren puts it in perspective. At least some things are already packed! Or well, still packed.  And though they are tired Darren joked it was good his last surgery went so well and he feels strong like an ox. Looking on the bright side, even if the light is rather dim. That’s how these players play the game.

When I heard the news I felt tired and frustrated for them but my advice reflected Darren’s already positive attitude. Sometimes when you think you’ve arrived you discover it’s only a pit stop on the way to your true and even better destination. Deep breath, do a little dance, sing a little song and get ready to move on – to something fantastic, even if the road is a bit bumpy. Glad you’re looking on the bright side. “

When I thought about it I realized that it’s all the trials and tribulations, the challenges and pain that they’ve already experienced that are probably making them strong enough to face yet again, another unexpected and daunting challenge.

And that’s what this family is doing. Instead of wallowing in frustration and disappointment they’re playing their best cards. They are patient, determined and resilient.

And they’re already showing how that pays off.  Ticket sales for the upcoming fundraiser are selling well even before the the official advertising campaign kicked off.  If you want to show your support in some way click HERE! There are a lot of people who would really appreciate it.

Even though life can deal you a tough hand, Darren knows how to be grateful and see beautiful no matter how elusive it might seem.  He recently showed how well Jayden is doing at school and as a parent I know exactly how that thrill of success and pride feels.

Jayden learning at school

Kindness and gratitude help make the world a better place in my opinion, and Darren agrees.  Although generous himself in many ways he has been “blown away” by the support he’s received from their friends, whether it be financially, a helping hand or a listening ear.

Darren, Rhonda and Jayden exemplify  how to play the game of life everyday, with patience, determination, and resilience. Be kind, be grateful and you really can’t lose. With their dedication and determination we are certain they will have great success in helping so many people whose health and life will be greatly improved with the new heart and lung bypass machine.  Please show your support if you can.   A kind message, sharing their story, or if you are so inclined a financial contribution. All forms of support are appreciated.

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In memory of Karena

To hear more about Darren’s life and background in 8 minutes watch this video:

To see Life Vest Inside’s inspirational kindness video that started it all watch The Kindness Boomerang:

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Michelle Nicholson- Managing Editor-The Star Newspaper: March 6, 2015.

Michelle Nicholson- Managing Editor-The Star Newspaper: March 6, 2015.

Last month, just before International Women’s Day, our local paper ran the above editorial.  Considering our little paper is, well, quite little, I’m always impressed with the quality and content.  Michelle Nicholson’s editorial caught my eye and she has been gracious enough to allow me to reprint it here. I chose to wait awhile because I think we need reminders more often than once a year to ensure we don’t become complacent for the other 360+ days in the year. The editorial is simple enough, a gathering called Pamper Yourself Expo held in a very small community.  Just a blip on the radar.  But that’s the point.

There are fantastic women absolutely everywhere!  In sprawling cities, tiny towns, on farms, on the road, in their homes, in the workplace.  Wonderful women, super women, everyday women.  Women that make the world go round every moment of every day. Michelle recognized that the expo was filled with wonder women. Wendy, Betty and Janet, awesome women, and I’m sure they weren’t the only ones there.

A celebration of awesomeness. I’m glad to see more women admitting that we’re important.  Women who no longer just smile and say, “Oh it was nothing.”  It is something!  Our contributions are important, are meaningful, are needed.  There is no reason why we shouldn’t admit our awesomeness, our value and accomplishments. Michelle notes all too accurately,

How come we as women don’t see our own awesomeness or the awesomeness of the women around us on a more consistent basis? We need a day to celebrate being a woman.  Men don’t.  Telling.

It’s not easy to change our thought patterns, our habits or the way we look at ourselves and each other.  Our perceptions have been coloured for so long by society, patriarchal attitudes and poor representation in history that we’ve come to accept it as true reality rather than just an incomplete perception. However, we are women, staying the course, changing, flexible, adaptable, these are all traits that lurk under the surface within us if we haven’t already teased them to the surface.  It’s time, as Michelle says, to

remind each and every woman and myself:  you are awesome, you are loved, you have value and you can do it.

It’s not about one day a year, it’s about every single day.  Women step up to the plate every day.  We work, we love, we toil, we pick up the slack, we persevere.  Some days we succeed, some days we don’t, but we keep going.  It’s not about doing it alone, being a hero or being perfect.  I think International Women’s Day has it right.

We together: Stronger, Better

It’s time to look for the best in each other, to be part of the whole.  It’s not about competing or being better than someone else.  It’s about working together, being together and supporting each other – together.  It’s about today, and every other day too.

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an’ pretend

‘Cause I’ve heard it all before

And I’ve been down there on the floor

No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Helen Reddy – I Am Woman

A very special thank you to Michelle Nicholson from The Star for allowing me to share her thoughts with you.

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Much has been written about happiness, how to be happy, how to stay happy.

I believe happiness is different for each of us.  Even if we are happy for the same list of reasons, those same reasons touch each of us uniquely individual way.

We strive to find the balance, walk the tight rope that ensures we stay on the fine line that is happiness. I’ve done that for a very long time.  Trying to grasp happiness so tightly that I can’t lose it, living in fear that I will wobble  causing my toe to touch the opposite of happiness.

Slowly I’m coming to realize that clinging to happiness really living in happiness, it’s living in fear of loss. I’m learning that happiness is a lot like beauty. It can be obvious, bright shades of yellow, loud and big! It can be unexpected, slightly more subtle, shades of pink, maybe a bit reserved. Or it can even be elusive, where you have to look for the silver lining or experience a mix of emotions that change the hue of happiness. In this world, if one listens to the news, there is plenty of “evidence” to validate unhappiness.

I’m beginning to really understand the wisdom in being happy for no reason, for being happy simply because I can choose to be happy.  I can choose it.  I realized that it is true – whether I make a conscious choice and take steps to fulfill it, or allow my choices to be random unconscious manifestations, it’s a choice non the less.

We are creatures obsessed with reasons. Why does this happen? Why did you make that decision? Why is the sky blue? Why is snow cold? Why is a rock rough? We judge, we label, we file away. Our judgements become key in determining our happiness.

I used to live my life thinking in the future, “I’ll be happy when I get through this project.”  Then I finally asked myself, “Why make your happiness dependent on a timeframe and not feel happy now? So right there I chose to change my thought. I felt a bit silly and like I might not be telling the whole truth, but I said, “I’m happy because I’m gaining lots of experience as I work through this project.” I allowed myself to enjoy that accomplishment. Because it was ongoing, I was able to remind myself I could be happy at any time.

I realize that’s still a reason.  It can be difficult to think of life without attaching judgements, labels and reasons to everything. After all we’re pretty good at it, although often not very accurate in the outcome. So what about being happy for no reason – or at least simply because you can.

“I’m happy,” period. No conscious reason, just a set intention everyday, with a good dose of an attitude of gratitude.  And maybe that’s part of it, we don’t need to focus on why we’re happy as much as focussing on gratitude for what we do have. It’s the old chicken and the egg question. In this case, maybe it’s not that we need a reason to be happy, but that if we choose happiness we will end up with plenty of reasons to be grateful and, well, even happier.

So I’m working at being happy for no reason, just being happy for the sake of happiness. That way when life throws me that curve ball it inevitably will, I’ll be ready.

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

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Eating Disorder Services: "MIRROR" Print Ad by Clemenger BBDO Wellington

Eating Disorder Services: “MIRROR” Print Ad by Clemenger BBDO Wellington 

Believing is Seeing.  What are your beliefs showing you?

A quiet killer, often hidden by baggy clothes and popularly supported in the dark recesses of the internet.  An addiction to being thin at any cost, even their lives.  When the line to good judgement has been blurred, the spiral begins.  This is an illness that has created a community that doesn’t help each other get better.  Instead, they help each other get sicker.

Antonia Eriksson has traveled this path herself and is recovering.  Her opinion of thinsperational accounts is clear.

“They’re really dangerous,” she says.  Eriksson is now in recovery from anorexia, and runs an Instagram account and blog focused on fitness and healthy eating. But back then, she was easily triggered into unhealthy behaviour by those images. “It would help me in my eating disorder, like in the most negative way… It would keep me sick,” she says.

via Pro-anorexia, bulimia communities thriving online – Health – CBC News.

I’d like to say this trend comes as a surprise, or that I’d never even heard of such a thing but of course that’s not the case.    I worry about my own children and their self image and how these sites and associated hashtags influence them. Trying on a pair of skinny jeans the other day my daughter lamented, “But my calves are too fat!”   She is in perfect physical shape and size for her body.  I reminded her that she’s just fine.  The jeans were just made for a different body.  Let’s face it the very nature of skinny jeans is a challenge.  It was obvious her first thought wasn’t that the jeans were wrong, it was that her body was wrong.

On one hand, when it comes to “thinspiration”,   it seems obvious that anyone with “half a brain” would “know better”.  But that’s not really what it’s all about after all. Whether a person is spiralling into a gloomy pit from an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, PTSD or abuse there is one thing that everyone has in common.  They’ve crossed a line from the reality of  “normal” most of us know to a reality the rest of us don’t share. You would think they should be able to simply step back over that line but it doesn’t work that way.  Slipping over the line to illness seems so easy, but taking that one step back sometimes feels impossible.  Spoiler alert – it might be the biggest challenge you face in life but it isn’t impossible.

These thinspo accounts are like putting a line of coke in front of an addict, it’s fills the need and there is almost no way that the addict will be able to resist on their own, at least not for long. In my opinion this is like an unrecovered alcoholic being the sponsor for another alcoholic.  Pretty much doomed to failure.  Instead of helping each other they are actually encouraging and empowering each other to continue the spiral into the disease.

The good news is that I see more and more sites and resources that are dealing with recovery, self care and hope. Healthy is in, skinny is out.  Unless of course you are naturally skinny, which some people are.  Then rock it and love it.

I’m glad that many social media sites are trying to make things better.

Tumblr, Facebook and Pinterest have also attempted to circumvent users’ access to material that promotes self-harm. -CBC article

Dr. Rebecka Peebles, co-director of the Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia… found that nearly 40 per cent of the sites included pro-recovery information. Many of the troubling Instagram posts also include pro-recovery tags: #EDrecovery, #ANAwarrior, #BeatANA.  She believes that reflects the nature of the disease. “Part of you wants to get better, and part of you wants to stay sick.” – CBC Article

We all know that there are different body types.  Within each type there is an infinite number of slightly different shapes and sizes.  They are normal.  They are healthy.  They are beautiful.  Instead of embracing this fact, we watch the photoshopped ads, the models that have countless groomers and preeners fawning over them, that have been selected because they have this very specific body type.  And don’t kid yourself, even though they are “perfect” in our eyes, the industry tells them they aren’t quite good enough, they have the same qualms and self doubts as all of us “average” girls (and guys) out there.

Don’t ever fool yourself that any of these images are put out there because big business really cares about you.  They care almost exclusively about making money.  Really, most of them don’t care at all about you.  I mean honestly, not at all.  Those ads with all those beautiful people are meant to do one thing.  Get money from you.  Period.  They don’t care if you become prettier, smarter, fatter, skinnier, healthier even if their fake smiles seem to say otherwise.

We all have our moments, or maybe lifetimes, of wishing “something” was different about us or our lives.  No one is completely immune.  Unless.

Unless you make the conscious choice to begin loving yourself AS YOU ARE TODAY.  With all your perfection and all your flaws (which by the way, are almost always your own opinion).

We are all perfectly imperfect.  Quit fighting it!  It’s a battle you will never win, and were never meant to.

No matter what you do, unless you can love yourself (or at least like yourself) as you are, nothing you do will satisfy you for long.  You will always come from a place of lack.  You don’t have to.  Just start seeing your own good, your own beauty little by little.  Trust that it’s there and you’ll find it.

I really do recommend taking time every single day to look at yourself and tell yourself you love you!  Find the little things that you can love.  Maybe it’s your smile, or a dimple, or the way your one eyebrow raises when you smile. Maybe it’s how you can make your mother laugh or your little sister asks for your help.

Like any addict, or someone with a habit that needs breaking, do it one step at a time.  And don’t beat yourself up for every single little misstep.  Work to stop following the propaganda and start following things that inspire you and give you hope to be all you can really be.  Ask for help.  Then ask again, and again and again.  Do not give up.  Be kind to yourself and others.  It’s a start, and that’s what has to happen first.  A start.  A very simple start.

Life and love are so much more than thigh gap, or protruding bones, or the vision of outer beauty.  

If that’s all you can focus on right now you are missing out on so much, actually all the wonderful awesome stuff. Need help?  That’s ok.  Recognizing it is the first step.  We all need help for something at sometime.  Don’t give up.  Keep looking, keep trying.

If you are overweight an unhealthy amount, and I do mean unhealthy, not your own jaded opinion, then yes, do something positive and constructive to move yourself to a place of health.  But do it because you love yourself and you are worth it.  And if you don’t believe that right now it’s ok.  Believe me.  You are worth it.  Change your focus from one of controlling yourself and your weight to one of loving yourself and working together with your body towards wonderful health.

If you still need some convincing, I encourage you to listen to Maya Angelou explain and read her poem “Still I Rise”. Never doubt, that you too can say, “Still I rise.”

Eriksson was once an #ANAwarrior. She started an Instagram account, which has since grown to nearly 40,000 followers, the day before she was hospitalized to document her six-week in-hospital treatment and recovery.

What she calls her Instagram family helped motivate her recovery. “I wanted to show them that it was possible,” she says. “So I just kept fighting it.” – CBC article

As Eriksson reminds us,  it is possible.  Don’t give up.

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

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Change Changes Changing

6 Thurs change

Push

Force

I can’t fix it!

Why won’t they listen?

Why won’t they change?

I am no one.

I can’t do it alone.

It’s too hard.

I’ve failed.

I pause.

I look again.

I see.

Gently

Kindly

Slowly

The world changes

I change

You change

We change

©2015 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

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I was valiantly trying to get off my tech and get productive for the day. I was just about to set my phone down when I noticed another West Jet Above and Beyond story. It was one I’d seen before so you’d think I would have ignored it. For some reason, I had one of my connect the dot moments, where my world momentarily gets fuzzy, heart beats a little faster, chest feels tight and the butterflies in my stomach flutter awake. The symptoms sound like a panic attack, but the differences are subtle and those differences mean instead of feeling anxiety and like I should run for my life I feel excitement, anticipation. It hasn’t been lost on me that there is an incredibly fine line between excited anticipation and abject terror. But I digress.

The description on the Facebook post is what did it.

“It’s remarkable how a simple act of kindness toward others changed Josh’s world. Even more remarkable is the profound impact it had on every single person around him.”

Little things that result in something profound.

By the time I reached high school I had become fairly adept at discerning exactly what a teacher wanted and then proceeding to produce it. After years of hating school, experiencing bullying, I had finally found a school and reached a time where I was at peace and could enjoy life.

I had one teacher in particular that I dreaded. He was gruff and a little mean.  While I enjoyed the material in his class, I would rather have gone miles out of my way to avoid him. He was a man who always looked angry and had a way of making students feel insignificant and incompetent. In the hallway you were invisible, unless you were in his way.  At least that’s how it seemed to me.

Our school had one hallway in particular that was frantically busy in the morning, and I met this particular teacher in the rush, every single day. At first I tried my best to get as far away from him as possible. I remember the tension avoiding him seemed to cause within me. After avoiding him yet again, I decided I’d had enough. I wasn’t going to let my fear do this to me anymore.  Eleanor Roosevelt sums it up pretty well.

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

The next morning instead of moving to the opposite wall, I walked towards Mr. M.  so we would pass directly by each other. As I approached I put a big smile on my face and said as brightly as I could, “Good morning Mr. M.” No reaction, but I turned as we passed each other and noticed he paused ever so slightly and glanced back. In truth, my smile and good morning were likely quite noticeably forced. I admit, it didn’t come naturally but as I rushed to class I noticed something. I had two distinct feelings rumbling around inside of me.

I felt very vulnerable. I had gotten myself noticed and thereby might be “noticed” in class which made me feel a bit like I’d painted a bullseye on my forehead.

But I also felt powerful. Powerful, strangely, for mostly the same reasons. I’d made him take note. I’d interrupted his flow, I’d caused a reaction. And he’d noticed. I felt like I had some control. I realized what I was really feeling was confidence, confidence in my ability.

I decided to conduct a little experiment that my psychology teacher would have been proud of. My hypothesis was that if I repeatedly greeted Mr. M. warmly eventually he’d greet me back. The idea was simple enough but when I mentioned it to my closest friends even they looked doubtful.

Having a goal, a purpose motivated me. Every morning I kept to the same schedule that would put me face to face with my teacher. Every morning I smiled and said, “Good Morning!” as I looked him directly in the eye. It took a few days but eventually he replied with a quick, gruff “Morning,” as he skillfully navigated the sea of students. My friends were thunderstruck. I was thrilled. As time went on my smile and good morning became sincere. It was a habit, but I also realized that now that I didn’t have the same fear, I sincerely was enjoying a good morning and actually hoped he was too. I don’t remember how long it was before I decided one morning to break the routine. Mr. M. cruised right by me. No good morning, but I was pretty sure I detected a slight nod. He’d definitely looked my way.

The next morning I ensured I smiled and cheerily said, “Good Morning Mr. M” and continued to do so. I began to notice his eyes met mine from a greater distance down the hallway. While his good mornings were still very gruff, there was a barely perceptible smile on his face.

One morning as I walked toward class I was running a bit late and was preoccupied. For the first time I wasn’t looking for Mr. M. As I walked along only partially paying attention I was suddenly aware of someone in front of me, Mr. M.

“Good morning J, better get to class,” he smiled broadly. I stopped, and it was my turn to look back over my shoulder. I called back. “Morning, thanks!”

Just like Josh in the West Jet story, my life was changed and so was Mr. M.’s. It was small, to most it would appear insignificant but it wasn’t. Mr. M. seemed to soften a little bit. He just wasn’t quite as scary anymore. I can’t speak for him but a great many years later that experience still affects how I deal with people, situations and challenges.

There are countless stories like this, someone does something seemingly insignificant, unnoticeable even and then the magic happens, the change occurs. The potential is realized. The ripple resulting from the tiny pebble that was tossed begins to grow. When we are changed, the world is changed.

Certainly big events, traumatic events are obviously life changing. But in everyday life, in our own little personal worlds, it’s really all the repetitive little simple things that change us the most, that change us little by little every day. It’s the “good” things and the “bad” things, the things we look forward to and the things we dread. It’s the things we are conscious of and most certainly the things we aren’t conscious of at all. Little by little, bit by bit it’s what forms and moulds us into who and what we are. However, we are not victims, we are creators, as long as choose to be.

Here are some of my favourite examples of small things that made big impacts. Share your favourites with us too and we’ll create a timeless list that will inspire and empower.

The protestor who took the soldier a birthday cake in Brazil

Pancho Ramos Stierle, the rebel who is kind.

The guy who gave his mugger his coat and then bought him a meal.   I couldn’t get the audio to work on this one but the transcript is available in the link as well.

Margaret Mead who was a cultural anthropologist (someone who studies the cultural variation among people) knew what she was talking about when she said,

“Never ever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

If that concept seems too daunting for you to believe,

“Tell the negative committee that meets in your head to sit down and shut up.” Ann Bradford

She knew what she was talking about too.  So go on, pick one simple action and see where the ripples take you.

©2014 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

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Failure.  It can be the end, or it can be the catalyst for a new beginning.  It’s all in how you look at it and most importantly how you deal with it.

A great article on the Huffington Post called How to Bounce Back From Failure – Over and Over Again by Carolyn Gregoire holds some gems of advice.

What do you think the opposite of depression is?  Was your first thought happiness?  Psychologist Peter Kramer says its actually resilience.  People who get out of bad situations and who are depressed most often share the trait of resilience.
re·sil·ient adjective
 1.(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.  synonyms:  flexible, pliable supple.

Carolyn Gregoire quotes Winston Churchill

It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Gregoire goes on to describe seven habits of resilient people.  Really well worth the read in detail but here’s a bit of a summary.

Resilient people allow themselves to feel all their emotions whether the emotions are negative or positive.  Feeling them allows you to work through them and use them. This enables them to see both the positive and the negative without being overwhelmed by either.

My favourite is that “They’re realistically optimistic“.  I love that .  Optimism doesn’t have to mean being unrealistic – you can still be positive allowing yourself to see choices and make plans, be flexible.

They don’t fall into the rejection trap.  Elaine Dundon says, “Rejection steals our joy.”  It wears us down and makes it harder for us to get back up and try again.

Having strong support systems helps resilient people get back up and move forward.

They recognize the importance and value of and appreciate small and positive things.  It keeps them positive and willing to try again and again.

Resilient people don’t wait for opportunities to come to them.  They go out and find them!  Something like that old ’80’s catch phrase of being proactive instead of reactive.

Resilient people also have a great tendency towards gratitude.  They are not the bah-hum-bug types.  They’re thankful for the little things and the big things, the obvious and the not so obvious.  It sets the tone for what they do.

Most of us tend to exercise our muscles and our minds on a regular basis, well, at least once in awhile.  It might not be a bad idea to exercise our resilience too.  It just might be that catalyst to get you through the next failure and turn it into a resounding success.  Happy exercising.

© 2014 J Fries/Rise Like Air  all rights reserved

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