« February 2005 | Main | April 2005 »

Any Lessons From The Terri Schiavo Case?

As I'm sure you all know, Terri Schiavo passed away earlier today. Instead of entering into the already bitter debate, let me ask you a question... are there any lessons we can learn from this tragic situation? Anything that would help us all live a Better Life?

Please post your thoughts.

March 31, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Communication Is Everything

My aunt Kathy is the editor of a small newspaper in Newman Grove, Nebraska. For fun, she collects actual clippings from church newspapers. They offer a great lesson in communication. What you're trying to say isn't always what people are hearing. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at The Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Now Up Yours."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Don't forget the National PRAYER & FASTING Conference. The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight will be: "Searching for Jesus."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Barbara Jones remains in the hospital and needs blood do-nors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Don't let worry kill you - let the Church help.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Irving Benson and Jessica Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoy sinning to join the choir.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Lutheran men's group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The eighth-graders will be pre-senting Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in the Church basement on Friday at 7 PM. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

March 30, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Search for the Soul of Kindness

Marc_barasch_1Meet author Marc Ian Barasch

Watch Windows Video
[4:30 Min., 14.8 MB]

Watch Quicktime Video
[4:30 Min., 14.6 MB]

This past week I had the privilege of spending some time with the author of an exciting new book, Field Notes On The Compassionate Life:  A Search For The Soul Of Kindness.  I'm only 100 pages into the book, but it's already worth a recommendation.  We're going to do some things together in the future so I thought I'd introduce him to all of you.  I hope you enjoy it. 

P.S.  We were rushing him to the airport and I pulled over at a park to tape this.  Unfortunately, we were right under the flight path of a bunch of airplanes.  Sorry for the noise.

March 29, 2005 in Video | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Greatest Networker In The World

Harveymackey_078_3 My candidate? None other than Better Life's good friend, Harvey Mackay. You might know him best for his book "How To Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive" or maybe you've seen his most recent best-seller, "We Got Fired And It Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us", but my favorite is "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty".

The theme in "Dig Your Well" is to build a large network of quality relationships so they're ready when you need them. There are tons of writers who present beautiful words without feeling the necessity to follow their own advice. In Harvey, it's exactly the opposite. He teaches this topic so well because he's an absolute genius at building, supporting and growing his increasingly awesome network of "friends". And, by "friends", I'm not kidding around. In reality, there are literally thousands of people who would sincerely say that Harvey is their friend (myself included). And, it didn't happen by accident.

Let me give you a real-life example. Harvey and I both happen to live in Minnesota and this past year he invited me and my wife Lisa to a little get-together at his home. In his words, "every 4 years, we hold an election party where we invite over some friends... watch the results come in... and have a great time." It sounded interesting and we didn't have any other plans for the night so we decided to go.

We started to get an idea of what we were in for when our car was diverted to a local church about a mile from his house. It turned out to be a staging area where people would park their cars and get into limousine style vans. We parked... got in line with all the other very fancily dressed guests... and loaded ourselves into a van.

Our next checkpoint was the main driveway to the house where FBI-looking guards were coordinating who was arriving and who was leaving. As we entered the driveway, we saw that it was lined with big signs listing every State (Michigan/California/New York/etc.). When we turned the corner and finally saw his house, the outside was lit in Red, White & Blue and there was a huge blown up Uncle Sam bigger than the house. It was unreal!

But that was nothing compared to walking in. Harvey's wife, Carol Ann, was greeting people at the door while Harvey made sure that every single person felt completely welcome. Everyone got an American Flag button with their name on it. There was all the food you could eat, any kind of drink you could want, at least 15 televisions (including about 4 big screens) showing the election coverage all over the house and a band playing in the living room. There was even life-size cardboard cutouts of every Presidential candidate for the past 20 years along with a photographer who would take your picture!

And all of this wasn't the amazing part. To be truthful, we could all do the same thing if we had as much money as Harvey. The amazing part was the people who were there. First of all, there was probably 300 people in the house at any given time, with about 20 new ones coming or going every 10 minutes or so. But more importantly, this was literally the "who's who" of my little neck of the woods.

The Minnesota Billionaires were there.

Leaders from virtually every Minnesota based Fortune 500 company were there.

The most powerful political families (from both sides of the aisle) were there.

Coaches and players from Minnesota College and Professional sports teams were there.

News Anchors from several of the local television stations were there.

The famous local newspaper writers were there.

You name it.

And get this... on election night, United States Senators and representatives from Congress from both sides of the aisle were there as well as the Governor of Minnesota! On election night!

And, in the midst of all this, Harvey found the time to seek out Lisa and I and take us around to meet some of his other close personal friends. Pretty wild.

So here's the question... How could a man attract this much regional star power on election night? Because he practices what he preaches. And in this day and age, that's a very refreshing thing. One thing I can tell you for sure is every person in attendance that night could tell you stories about how Harvey helped them in one way or another. It might have been a referral. It might have been a connection. It might have been a phone call on their behalf. It might have been any number of things. I can tell you this, Harvey and I have been friends for a few years now and he's already helped me with referrals, connections, phone calls, ideas and more. I keep trying to pay him back but he always seems to MORE than return the favor. Interesting lesson, isn't it?

And I'll tell you one more thing about Harvey. His genius for networking isn't just about making money... it's about having a quality life. Harvey's a wildly successful businessman, but it's important to note that his network of friends has helped him lead a very rewarding life.

So, that's my candidate for Greatest Networker In The World... who's yours?

March 28, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What the Bleep Do We Know!?

In November, 2000, I read a Forbes article called “A watched pot never boils” by Fred Alan Wolf. It affected me in a profound way.

I’ve included a link to the entire article, but let me give you an excerpt…

“Take the old proverb “A watched pot never boils.” Now imagine a tiny, quantum-sized “pot of water” being heated on a really tiny stove. We all know pots of water boil, given a few minutes or so. You would certainly think the watched quantum pot would also boil. It turns out, however, that if you vigilantly watch the pot, it will never boil. If fact, all vigilantly watched “quantum pots” never boil, even if they are heated forever. The only requirement for this to happen is that observers must have the intent to see the object in its initial state. This intent is determined by the frequency of their observations. The observers must look repeatedly in very short time intervals to find the object in the same state. Suppose physicists don’t watch vigilantly, or suppose they do, but with the intent of seeing the quantum pot boil naturally. Then what? If the physicists look intermittently, expecting it to boil eventually, the pot will follow its natural course and will boil. Infrequent observations have little effect on the result. Or if the physicists wish, they may vigilantly observe the object along its natural evolution and will observe the same result. In other words, a watched pot boils if you intend it to.

Finally, there is another bizarre aspect to all this. What if you want the watched pot to do something weird? If your intent to observe that occurrence is vigilant enough, the object actually will follow the strange path. Hence a watched pot boils on a cake of ice, if you intend to.

Here I need to point out that “intent” and “intentions” are not the same thing. By “intent”, I am referring to a person’s active observation. To make what you desire come true you need to pursue your vision vigorously, not passively dream about it and hope it will come true. If this “watched-pot” theory turns out to be correct at the human level, then our desires and accompanying actions are what actually govern our daily lives.”

I thought about that article a lot and wondered about it's implications. It actually gave me a feeling of hope that I could work on my thinking and take more control of my life.

That leads me to the reason for this post. I just finished watching the movie “What the bleep do we know!?” While I wanted to see it in the theaters, I never made the time so I finally got it on DVD. What a great, thought provoking, inspirational film. I could do without the Marlee Matlin dramatic cameo's, but the content contained in the interviews is fascinating. Overall, I’d highly recommend it. Do yourself a favor and go get it at Amazon or Netflix or wherever you get your DVDs.

The movie talks about the same concept as the article, but on a much deeper level. It suggests that we have the ability to be more in control of our lives if we can just get more control of our thoughts and intentions. In some ways, that shouldn’t be too surprising to us. Great thinkers have been saying it in one form or another for centuries.

Where your thinking is, there is your experience.

As a man thinketh, so is he

That which I feared is come upon me

Think and grow rich

Creative visualization for fun and profit

How to find friends by being who you are

The power of intention

All of these ideas suggest that we’ve been created with more power than we think. And, that we’re all connected in a very powerful way.

One of the great sections of “What the bleep” is an interview with a person who “Creates his day before he lives it”. Check out the full transcript. It’s fascinating.

So, do we create our own realities? Can our thoughts change the physical things in our lives? Is this a God given ability? Can we really ask and receive? If we knock (even in our thoughts), will doors be opened for us? Are you reading this for some important reason?

I think the answers to all those questions is… YES.

March 24, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Is anyone else sick of what the mainstream media dishes out to us on a daily basis?

I know it's disguised as news, but for crying out loud, enough already!

To illustrate my point, this morning I logged a half hour from Fox News Live. Here is the minute by minute recap (CST):

9:00 - 9:10 Updates on the Terri Schiavo death watch
9:10 - 9:13 Updates on the Jessica Lunsford kidnapping and murder
9:13 - 9:16 COMMERCIALS
9:16 - 9:19 Terror Targets - There are no shortages
9:19 - 9:23 COMMERCIALS
9:23 - 9:28 The North Korean Menace
9:28 - 9:30 COMMERCIALS

What are they selling? "Train wreck TV" capitalizing on other people's pain and playing to your fears. All designed specifically so you can't take your eyes off it and you stick around for the commercials.

You might argue that I'm picking on Fox. I assure you, I'm not. It's the same story on MSNBC, CNN, the major networks, you name it.

Our news diet for the past week has been dominated by:
- Terri Sjiavo's tragic story
- Jessica Lunsford's kidnapping and murder
- Michael Jackson 's pedophelia trial
- Robert Blake's acquital of murder charges
- Steroids in Baseball (And why your kids are more at risk of steroid exposure than you think)
- And why we should all continue to live in fear of Terrorists

Isn't there anything good happening in the world? Any heroes out there? Any breakthroughs in science or medicine? Any stories of people overcoming difficult situations? Any countries that have made big improvements for themselves? Anything we could learn from those stories?

I know it's much easier to just repeat what every other network is saying, but shouldn't some news organization accept the challenge of coming up with something new and productive?

Or is it true that no one cares so long as they're entertained?

March 20, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

How to Not Suck at Sales

Jeffrey Gitomer is a totally outrageous sales pro, author and speaker.


We filmed him live -- he's funny but has great tips too, whether you want to sell an idea or a real product...

Watch My Intro:
Windows Media
QuickTime Movie

Watch Jeffrey's Clip:
Windows Media
QuickTime Movie

March 18, 2005 in Video | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"The Best Advice I Ever Got"

There is a very interesting article in the current issue of Fortune Magazine (March 21st issue). It's called "The best advice I ever got" and it lists good ideas from a bunch of business superstars.

Here are some I enjoyed:

Warren Buffet, 74 - CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
"You're right not because others agree with you, but because your facts are right."

Richard Branson, 54 - Founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and the Virgin Group
"Make a fool of yourself. Otherwise you won't survive."

Howard Schultz, 51 - Chairman of Starbucks
"Recognize the skills and traits you don't possess, and hire people who have them."

Sumner Redstone, 81 - Chairman and CEO of Viacom
"Follow your own instincts, not those of people who see the world differently."

Jack Welsh, 69 - Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
"Be yourself."

Sallie Krawcheck, 40 - CFO of Citigroup
"Don't listen to the naysayers."

Andy Grove, 68 - Chairman of Intel
"When "everyone knows" something to be true, nobody knows nothin'."

Brian Grazer, 53 - Academy Award-winning movie and TV producer, Imagine Entertainment
"All you really own are ideas and the confidence to write them down."

Rick Warren, 51 - Minister, founder of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life
"Regularly sit at the feet of Peter Drucker."

Jim Collins, 46 - Author of the bestseller Good to Great
"The real discipline comes in saying no to the wrong opportunities."

Peter Drucker, 95 - Business consultant
"Get good -- or get out."

Ted Turner, 66 - Founder of CNN and former vice chairman of Time Warner
"Start young."

Donny Deutsch, 48 - CEO of Deutsch Inc. and host of CNBC's The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch
"If you love something, the money will come."

I'm going to ask some of the Better Life talent to offer up "The best advice they ever got" and will post in in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

In the meantimie, why don't you post a comment and share some good advice that you've received?

March 16, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Atlas Shrugged

I love books.

One of my favorite questions to ask people is, “What book has influenced your life more than any other?” About 12 years ago I was going through a particularly tough chapter in my life and I asked that question of a friend who was very successful. He answered without hesitation, “Atlas Shrugged”. I said “What? I’ve never even heard of it.”

He told me that there had been a recent survey of the 10 most successful self-made people in the world. They were each asked which book had the most positive influence on them and 7 out of 10 said Atlas Shrugged. In addition, he told me the National Book of the Month club and the Library of Congress ranked Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book in America, behind the Bible.

Well, as you can imagine, I bought the book that afternoon and immediately began reading it. Since then, I’ve probably read it 20 times and, for me, it’s had a very powerful positive influence on my life.

If you haven’t read it yet and are curious, let me offer a few comments:
1. It’s for players only. No wimps allowed. It’s an 1,100 page novel and you have to get 200-300 pages in before it gets traction.
2. If you finish it, you’ll be in a special group.
3. If you read it more than once, you’re either my brother or you’re my sister.

One of the reasons I like it so much is it gives a glimpse of what we’re trying to do at Better Life. In the book, a group of high-minded people decide to walk away from a negative world and, to do everything in their power to create a better one.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are at it’s worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”

So, here’s a question for all of you… What book rocked your world?

Post a comment and share your favorites with everyone.

March 13, 2005 in Ideas For Life | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

What Makes You Happy?

Check Out our First Video Post!

Watch Quicktime Video [9 MB]
Watch Flash Video [9 MB]
Listen to MP3 [1 MB]

I’m just getting started with the whole concept of adding video to the Better Life Blog.  To kick things off, I asked a bunch of people “What makes you happy?”  Take a look at what they had to say.

Now it's your turn -- tell us what makes you happy. Just click on the "Post a Comment" link below.

March 9, 2005 in Your Better Life | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack