Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Drumroll, please........

The moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived..... It took a little longer than I hoped for, but sometimes that best things come to those who wait... (I can't say that's always a good rule to live by, but sometimes.....) .......

The new blog is now ready......

Click here to keep your subscription via your reader or Subscribe to Principles for Peace by Email.

Check it out. All opinions are welcome. Please drop me a comment.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Excitement is too Much!

Wow! I'm so excited that I can't stand myself! I have been toying around with this idea and wanting to do it for quiet sometime now. The time is almost here! Well, what is it??

You'll just have to wait....

Just kidding. Well, you will have to wait a little bit longer, but not much.... The surprise is coming soon.

Okay, I have to tell you a little bit, because I VERY MUCH want you to be a part of it, but if I tell too much it will ruin it...

I'm moving... No, not physically, blogospherically. The new blog will be appearing shortly.... A few words to describe it: new, better, relaxing, welcoming..... Sound like a place you would like to hang out? That was my intent....

Stay tuned....

Until then....Thought for the day...What are you doing today to live out your priorities?

Have you ever moved your blog? What expereinces have you had? Tell all - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Obtaining Wisdom in a Chaotic World (Continued)....

In a previous post we began the discussion of wisdom - what is it and how to obtain it. We are going to continue this discussion as we add some more steps to the process...

In the previous post we defined wisdom as the ability to see the big picture. (As we will see it goes far beyond simply seeing the big picture, although that is the foundation.) Then we began discussing the first two steps to obtain it: 1. Defining your values and ordering them and 2. Setting goals and ordering them.

Step 3. in obtaining wisdom is to now take your list of priorities and goals and take a look at them EVERY morning BEFORE you begin your day. This constantly reminds you to see things in perspective.
  • 3a. It's always a good idea to evaluate your priorities (see previous post) and goals lists and ask yourself, "Are these the noblest of priorities and goals that I could possibly have? Are these really what is important? In the whole scheme of things, are these the really important things?" Make sure everything has congruity and that it will bring you the most satisfaction. If you need to change anything then do it at this time. If you are satisfied with your lists as it is, then...

  • 3b. If you haven't already, break your long term goals down into more specific attainable intermediate goals by asking yourself how and when you will obtain them. Write them down.

  • 3c. Begin dwelling on these list and lay out your day according to them. Make out your "to do" list according to the priorities and goals lists and what you want to accomplish in your life.
Now, you will begin to see things from a larger perspective. When something comes along that could distract your attention, somehow it doesn't seem so distracting anymore, because you have a bigger picture. Life all the sudden makes sense.

Step 4
in obtaining wisdom is to raise your level of consciousness. Become conscious of everything you do. In laying out your priorities and goals you are already well on your way with this step. Become conscious of everything you are doing. When something distracting comes along ask yourself, "How does this affect the big picture? How does this fit into my values and priorities?" If it has no relation to them, then you can just dismiss and continue on with the direction you want things to go. " Will this matter next week, next month, year or next decade?" is another good question to ask. With these questions you will easily be able to see what is important or what is simply urgent, but has no real importance.

Step 5
in obtaining wisdom is to focus on value. Before doing something, ask yourself, "Does this provide value?" "Does it provide value to those I love, the world or to me?" Will it make a real long term difference?" Really, if you have laid out your priorities well, this one has already been answered for you ahead of time. But, if a situation arises and you are wondering what to do, this is another great question to ask.

Step 6 is to train your mind to think about consequences - good or bad. When trying to decide whether or not to do something ask yourself, "How will this action affect that or what will it lead to? If I choose to do that, what will be the outcome? What will be the consequences of this action?" Will it produce good results or consequences or will it produce negative consequences that you will have to live with for the rest of your life? In other words, look at it from every angle and determine what the outcome will be.

For more information:
Refer to Jonathon Meade's post on urgent verses important matters at Pick the Brain and/or read Time Power: The Revolutionary Time Management System That Can Change Your Professional and Personal.

As someone who used to be the most indecisive person in the whole world, I enjoy learning new questions to ask myself....What questions do you ask yourself to help make wise decisions?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Tribute to a Man of Men

As promised in an earlier post, here's my feeble attempt to pay tribute to my friend and teacher that changed my life and the lives of thousands of others forever:

I never will forget the first time I noticed this man. It was in Bible class at church. He sat as a student in class, but when he opened his mouth to make a comment all I noticed was an emblem of peace and wisdom and a man of God. His presence of peace almost made me melt. I remember thinking, "Who is this man? I have to meet him." Each comment he made thereafter, each prayer he prayed, each time he spoke, each time I ...... (read more.......)

Here is my friend Ron talking about some of the work he did. What a man!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Look at True Wisdom and How to Obtain it Beginning Today!

I would like to thank my readers for their loyalty and their comments. You are what keeps me going, keeps me writing. You make it all worth while!! My apologies for dropping off the face of the earth for the last week....

I got word last Wednesday, that a good friend, teacher, and mentor was in the hospital. We were so fortunate to be able to see him Wednesday night before he passed from this earth on Thursday morning. It has been a time of much grieving and a time of rejoicing as he has now gone home.

I really cannot stand to think about where I would be now without him. He taught me more about life in the short time I knew him than probably I have learned in all the rest of my life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God that He gave me the opportunity to know him and learn under him. Much of what I write about I learned from Ron, either directly or from one of his students who is following in his footsteps. Now, I will begin focusing more specifically in the future on the things he taught.

I have written a tribute to Ron that will be posted sometime in the near future. I have submitted it to be posted on the website of the program that Ron started. As soon as my friend Gary posts it there I will provide the link for you to read about this great man of men.

So for now, I thought I would focus on the topic of wisdom, since my friend Ron was one of the wisest men I have ever known....

Have you ever wanted to just be really wise and know all the answers, but thought wisdom was just too far away? I sure have.... Before my friend's death, but especially after his death, I began to think about what wisdom is. Ron had it down perfectly it seems... Often it seems so far away from me, but the question is, "Is it attainable by anyone? If so, how?"

As I looked at Ron's life I asked myself, "what made Ron so wise?" What is wisdom? My husband and I discussed this topic over dinner the other night.

Here was my husbands response:

He said that "wisdom is the ability to see the big picture." As I thought about that it made perfect sense. Ron could always see the big picture. Well, at least once he was taught to see it and focus on it. As I looked at what I knew about the first part of Ron's life I realized that no, he didn't always see the big picture. I realized that he had learned it. That was comforting to me because I pondered the thought that it could be a natural talent and not necessarily attainable.

Yes, wisdom can be learned. It is a skill that can be learned. However I believe it takes much effort and practice and concentration. It's not for the half hearted. It probably takes a lot more practice for some than others. Some seem to pick it up easier than others.

Ron taught that seeing the big picture is part of a positive attitude. You can't have a positive attitude if you're caught up in the details of problems. Seeing the big picture requires you to step back and see things in perspective, in the whole scheme of things. When you do that you are able to be more positive about steps you take to find a solution to the problem.

So how do I learn wisdom? How do I learn to see things in perspective? These were the next questions I asked myself.

1. Being wise and seeing the big picture requires you to first define what is important, your values and priorities as I talked about in my previous article. You must define them clearly and specifically and then you will be able to make wise choices based upon what you have said was important to you. If you don't know what is important then you really don't have a big picture. Your life will be filled with meaningless overwhelming problems that you can't solve.
(I know from previous experience.)

However, when you have your priorities in order, you will be able to see how everything fits into your priorities. Is the problem you are facing really that big? Is a good question to ask. If God and family are very important to you and the microwave blows up, sure it will be disappointing. But, in the whole scheme of things how important is it really?

2. Next in line, in order to see the big picture, is to set some goals. (As we continue our discussion next time you will see why this step is so crucial in obtaining wisdom.) My favorite book, Time Power: The Revolutionary Time Management System That Can Change Your Professional and Personal is by far the best information I have ever seen on goal setting. It's system is the only one that has ever made sense to me. Make your goals in line with your priorities and not in conflict with them. Goals should include every aspect of your life and be numbered in order just as you did with your priorites. They should match up and not conflict with your priorities. Goals should include every aspect of your life - spiritual, mental, family, social, health, recreation, professional, etc. What is most important?

It is easy for me to look at my friend Ron's life and see what was most important to him and what his goals were. He lived it every day of his life. God was most important to him, people were next. Going to Heaven, representing Jesus, and helping as many people as he could to find peace in their lives, remove emotional pain and come to know who God really is (both in his lifetime and afterward) and help them go to Heaven were his obvious goals.

Next time, we will take a look at how and why these steps bring about wisdom as we bring in some more steps. It's so hard for me to stop writing.... I am so excited about these posts. It is eye opening to me to reflect and write on these things as I know it will be for you to read and learn....

For today, make a list of your values and goals and prioritize them.

To my friend Ron, your life lives on....

What have you learned about wisdom in your expereince?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ingredients for Inner Peace - How to Get Your Priorities in Order

Would you agree that we are all looking for inner peace in our lives? Whether people realize it or not, that is really what we are all seeking - a way to do away with the chaos in our lives.

It is only when you align all your actions with your priorities that you will experience peace and success in all endeavors and be all that you can be.

This has been a lesson that I have learned the hard way and one that I have to continually remind myself of.

You have probably all heard me rave about my favorite book, Time Power: The Revolutionary Time Management System That Can Change Your Professional and Personal by Charles R. Hobbs. It has changed my thinking and my life in so many ways. It helped clearly define my priorities and put them in order. It has been amazing! Even though the book is about "time" management it really is about "life" management. It takes a lot of time to go through the book, and I am still not finished with it, but it is well worth ALL the time I have put into it! The book is now out of print, but a few used copies are still lurking around.

I thought I would take some time to share with you why I love this book so much:

Why is this book so transformational? What does it teach?

Well, first of all, if you want to get your life together and have any kind of control over it instead of it controlling you, Hobbs suggest these things:

1. Make a list of what you value most; identify your highest priorities in life.
Hobbs calls these unifying principles. Do you value honesty, integrity, family, God, leadership, responsibility, friendships, etc.? What about faith, humility discipline. Make a list of all the things that are most important to you. Be thorough and honest. Some people start our with only a few and add more in the coming weeks and months, while others write down many upfront. It depends on you and what works for you.

2. Since the priorites you make a list of are broad, the next step is to rewrite each principle as an action statement. For example, if you wrote down "honesty" as a unifying principle, you would now write something like "be honest." "Family might become "support my family." Whatever it means to you and causes you to rise to action.

3. Make sure your unifying principles are the noblest of ideas and mutually compatible. If you write down "become wealthy whatever the cost" that will be in conflict with your other principles, because when faced with the decision to be wealthy or honest or have a good family the honesty and family will be the ones that suffer. What will happen is you will push aside everything that is really important to you and lose them. That will leave you more empty than you could have imagined. Simply make sure they are all compatible and can work together.

4. Write a paragraph of clarification under each unitying principle you wrote down. Be clear about what it means.
An example of one I wrote out is:
"Be a woman of integrity. Be honest, trustworthy, consistent, dependable and reliable. Be someone that people can count on to be there for them. Always do what you say you will and make your actions in line with your values and priorities." Doesn't that make me accountable!

5. Prioritize the list. This one took me quit a bit of time to do, but as Hobbs says "your list of unifying principles is the most important list you will ever prioritize. The order you select can make a huge difference in how you perform." Will you love yourself before you neighbor or vice versa? Take some time to think about these things.

In his book he gives a series of questions to ask yourself to help you priortize them in the best order.

6. Evaluate your performance over the past few weeks and months. Have you lived up to this order? You probably have in some areas and not in others. That is very typical. That is the purpose of doing this exercize. It will bring you in touch with reality. This will show you what you need to work on. This is the point where I saw that I was mostly doing the opposite of what was really important to me and saw the need for real change in my life.

For example, if one of your unifying principles is to be honest, you might ask yourself if you have been totally honest. Have you stretched the truth any to try to get your way or make yourself look good?

7. Bring your performance in line with your unifying principles. The best way to accomplish this is to schedule some time to yourself every morning when you completely cut yourself off from everything. At this time read over your unifying principles and focus on what is really important to you. This will help you to achieve concentration of power in your life.

Do you own a business? First lay out your personal unifying principles and then lay out the ones for your company. Personal priorities must always come first.

Well, maybe this will help you as much as it did me and give you a taste of why I love this book so much.

What is your feedback? Was this list helpful to you? What have you found helpful in keeping your priorities in order?

Monday, April 7, 2008

How Big are You?

I have this shirt from my college days that has this quote on it by John Donne

No man is

an Island,

entire of

itself; every

man is a

piece of



a part

of the


I have been thinking about this quote a lot and how it goes along with many of my blog posts on Steps to Happiness. I wanted to share it as a reminder that the world is bigger than we are. Let's continue to think about what we can do to make a contribution to this world.

What contribution will you make today......?