On January 3, 1864, the Grafton, an English schooner piloted by Captain Thomas Musgrave, was destroyed by a hurricane that broke its anchor chains and sunk it on the rocky beach on the southern end of Auckland Island. The captain and his crew of four men made it to shore but not to safety. Auckland Island, after all, is one of the most inhospitable places on earth, with freezing rain, howling winds, and little to eat year round. On May 10th of the same year, the Invercauld, an Aberdeen clipper piloted by Captain George Dalgarno, was struck by a heavy gale and driven between two steep cliffs on the northern side of Auckland Island and sunk.… Read the rest
Deep down in the hearts of those who call themselves “American” exists a shared ideal that we commonly refer to as “the American Dream.” It is a dream that has shone brighly at times and has faded in others. It is a dream that reflects how things could be different if we choose to operate at our individual and collective best.
Have you ever stopped to define this dream for yourself?… Read the rest
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence!
A famous 50-year-long study of nuns produced a remarkable finding. Namely, the nuns who possessed a more hopeful, optimistic outlook on life lived on average, 10 years longer than those who had more pessimistic or negative outlook.
Several years later, Dr. Charles R. Snyder of the University of Kansas sought to examine the significance of hope in young people. Assessing 3,920 college students, he found that a freshman’s level of hope was a more accurate predictor of their college grades than either their SAT scores or their high school grade-point average.… Read the rest
I love the story of the young man with the bandaged hand who approached the clerk at the post office. “Sir, could you please address this post card for me?” The clerk, happy to help, agreed to write the message on the card.
Once complete, the postal clerk asked the young man if there was anything else he could do for him. The young man looked at the card and then said, “Yes. Would you please add a P.S., Please excuse the handwriting.”
As this tongue-in-cheek tale illuminates, gratitude is rarely our first response. For all the benefits of gratefulness, it’s just not a virtue we naturally put into practice.… Read the rest
Many of you may remember seeing the following TV commercial several years ago: A soldier is running alone across the desert, carrying a backpack but no rifle. Helicopters swoop overhead. A squad of soldiers runs past, moving in the direction opposite of the lone runner. Voiceover: “Even though there are 1,045,690 soldiers like me, I am my own force. . . . The might of the U.S. Army doesn’t lie in numbers. It lies in me. I am an Army of One.”
For those of us serving in the military, this seemed a particularly odd recruiting slogan. With very few exceptions, the image of a warrior acting alone is far from the reality we either espouse or embrace.… Read the rest
The recent political wrangling’s over our countries numerous fiscal challenges certainly seems to bear this out. Instead of rolling up their sleeves to fight the right fight, it seems scores of those we elect to represent our best interests prefer to protect their own ideologies or promote their own agendas. Perhaps this sad truth is why so many of us find ourselves hungry for a different kind of leadership. Specifically, leadership willing to risk doing the right thing, no matter the potential cost to self, in order to promote positive change in their surroundings.… Read the rest
Not long ago I had the opportunity to don a penguin costume and jump into a pool of icy-cold water, all in the name of supporting a good cause. I, and about three dozen others, braved near-zero temperatures to take turns diving into a frosty pool (really an extra-large refuse dumpster) to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
Although it seemed like a fun idea when I first volunteered, I have to admit I was a little fearful the actual day of the event. Now don’t get me wrong.… Read the rest
“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.”
I grew up playing the violin in an orchestra. As a young man, I didn’t fully appreciate how important the conductor’s role was towards conducting a successful concert. My friends and I were doing all the heavy lifting of learning the music and playing the notes. The conductor just stood up there and waved a baton around, how hard could conducting be?
An orchestra is a great example of a team where all members must both do their individual jobs and work together to achieve a common goal. … Read the rest