Several years ago the U.S. Army unveiled its newest advertising campaign. You may remember it. The TV commercial showed a soldier 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.… Read the rest
Thomas Merton, in his book, The Wisdom of the Desert, recounts a story of the early desert fathers. These were men who gave up everything to live a very simple monastic lifestyle focused on setting aside all elements of self in order to focus on building relationships of service toward others. However, even these pious, selfless men struggled with the battle between pride and humility.
Merton shares an example in which a certain brother was consistently praised by his contemporaries in the presence of Abbot Anthony, the leader of the community.… Read the rest
In most organizations, leaders live in an environment of respect, rules, professionalism, and obedience. In simpler words…the boss is the boss, and we follow their direction. That basic foundation is definitely important to success. As leaders get heavier responsibility and more authority is placed on their shoulders, subordinates tend to follow their direction with even fewer questions.
If you ask anyone who holds a position of authority if they are a good leader, I’ll bet that most say absolutely yes—we believe in ourselves.… Read the rest
General John Handy, a 37-year Air Force veteran, shared the following story at a graduation of the Air Command and Staff College (an Air Force graduate school program) several years ago.
It was Friday afternoon and two college students from the University of Alabama were coming close to finishing finals week. Being good students who had already prepared for their final chemistry examination on Monday, they decided they wanted to celebrate a little early. So, they packed the car and headed north to the University of Tennessee for some good ole fashioned fun.… Read the rest
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