When have you Persevered?
“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.”
George Edward Woodberry
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“Happiness is a choice, so choose to see the good in everything.” Holly M Anderson
I heard of a woman who worked for a living helping those who were dying. She worked with dying people! What would that be like? I have no idea. I’ve never seen anyone die, or leaned in to listen to their last words. But she did this for a living, so she thought she would ask those who were preparing to die what regrets they had. One of the main regrets that she heard, time and time again, was that they wished they would have been happier. This implies that happiness is a choice.
If happiness is a choice then how can we choose to be happy? One way is said in this quote.
We can choose to see the good in every situation. Now, I’m not going to say this is easy. It is hard. Sometimes it seems close to impossible, but even if I listened a little more to my own advice I give my children on a regular basis, I would be happier more often.
I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve said to my kids, “It’s your choice to be happy.” or how about this one, “Can you think of a reason to be happy right now?” That one’s a good one. This one works well too -Especially after they fall on the floor, crying out that something isn’t fair, “Life isn’t fair. The sooner you realize that, the better. Deal with it.”
Sometimes I just need to take my own advice. This world would be a better place if we all took this quote to heart.
“Happiness is a choice, so choose to see the good in everything.” Holly M Anderson
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
What is a big thing? What is a small thing?
A big thing could be that deadline for work or that email you promised to send… a week ago. Those big things are pressing and demanding and important! Gosh darn it, if you don’t get them done there will be a nasty consequence. They are BIG, remember? They are the things you HAVE to get done today, like getting to the grocery store and remembering everything on your list so that you don’t run out of eggs, diapers, or toilet paper and you don’t have to run to the store last minute for a bathing suit for your three-year-old cause swimming lessons start in an hour. Can anyone relate?
A small thing is calling your mom and telling her that you love her. It’s smiling at your neighbor, helping someone out, or just being kind in a simple way. A small thing is singing a song with your son, reading your daughter a book, playing with them, hugging them, paying attention to them as they tell you a long story that never ends and doesn’t make much sense, but you listen anyway.
Now, before I get carried away, let’s agree on something here. It isn’t smart to cater to your children 24/7. We can’t just do what they want all the time. Actually, that would be incredibly unhealthy for us and for them. If we always say yes to everything, every time they want ice cream or want to stay up or want yet another story, we’ll end up raising a very spoiled, entitled child who’s never had to wait or learn to be patient. So let’s take a step back. The quote says, enjoy the little things, not make sure you do little things the whole day long and put off the big things. It just says to enjoy them, for they will become memories that will be more important than any of the “big things” we talked about earlier.
As you go throughout your day, crossing off all those big things on your list, remember to take some time to enjoy those little things, too.
“Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.” – Micheal Josephson
While attending a large conference in Silicon Valley, California, just this past year, I listened to a multimillionaire speak on how he has chosen not to listen to negative voices, especially those nameless ones on the internet.
He is a very successful author, speaker, and businessman, now. But back when he was just starting his writing career, it took a lot of effort to keep momentum. In his speech to us, he shared a comment that was posted on Amazon.com about one of his motivational self-help books. The comment stated, “He’s just trying too hard,” We all laughed. The comment sounded ridiculous. The writer said with a sarcastic tone, “Finally, someone who sees my hard work and recognizes how hard I try.” He mentioned many other comments that were spiteful, hurtful, and just plain mean.
Hearing the negativity this #1 New York Times Best Seller was still receiving on-line, taught me something. No matter who we are, we will have people trying to bring us down. The bigger sphere of influence we gain, the more haters we’ll have as well. We can’t let those people get to us. We can’t let others define who we are. We define ourselves.
Don’t believe the negative around you. Don’t listen to it. Don’t let your past confine you and trap you in a world you don’t want to live in. Just remember this quote by Micheal Josephson,”Don’t let others define you. Don’t let the past confine you. Take charge of your life with confidence and determination and there are no limits on what you can do or be.”
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I never had any patience in college for those boys who spent hours gaming on-line or partying. I didn’t feel sorry for them when they complained about their difficult classes and unfair teachers. I had little compassion for them, and never went on a second date with a gamer or someone who constantly partied. My roommates called me too picky. Be that as it may, I knew that we just wouldn’t get along, and didn’t want to waste mine or their time on a relationship that wouldn’t last. I truly believe in this quote and feel that we all could be happier if we listened to the wise advice by Thomas Monson, “We must not let our passions destroy our dreams.”
We shouldn’t let what we think we want now, come before something that is actually more important to us. We should keep our long-term goals in mind and ask ourselves what our true priorities are. If we make our decision on those real dreams that we aspire to achieve, we won’t look back on wasted time and missed opportunities.
If we live “day to day,” then that’s all we’ll get out of life, days, unconnected and separate from each other. But when we plan long term goals, that may require sacrifice, hard work, and discipline, then we can achieve years and a full life of growth, contribution, and achievement.
This quote is applicable in every stage of life, but I would like to reflect on motherhood with this simple poem.
I’ll always remember when you were born
and forever changed my world.
I felt the warmth of a mother‘s love
for the tiniest baby girl.
I could cry cause I can’t hold you now
and sing you your favorite song.
Those days for playing patty cake
and hide and seek are now gone.
My tears could easily escape
recalling the first time you walked.
Your smile so big. I was so proud.
Just like the first time you talked.
You were teased. You felt sad.
Someone was mean, and you got mad.
I was the one who’d make you smile.
I loved how we’d sit and talk awhile.
I could easily cry and miss those days
now that you are gone.
With a family of your own,
you’ve grown up and moved on.
But instead I’ll sit in this rocking chair
and reminisce for a while.
I’ll choose to be glad it happened.
Instead of crying, I’ll smile.
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This quote brings me back to my Freshman year of high school. At the very end of the school year, I decided to run for Sophomore class president, for the upcoming year. I attended a large school in California of over 2,000 kids. I surprised all my friends when I told them I was going to run, for I had done nothing like this before. Some of them didn’t believe me. As I prepared for the big assembly when I would have to give a campaign speech, I received a memo with directions. It specifically stated that I needed to write any notes on 3 by 5 cards. Since there would be a podium, I shouldn’t bring paper, for it would crinkle in the mike and make a distracting noise. I dutifully made notes on ten cards, and practiced my speech with those cards so many times; I lost count.
When the big day arrived, for me to give my speech, I was surprised to find out that there was no podium. I was expected to hold a mike. As you can guess, it is difficult, near impossible, to hold a mike in one hand while turning over 3 by 5 cards in the other. Try flipping cards one handed. It’s hard! While I gave my speech, I dropped all of my cards while attempting to flip over my first card. I stood, in shock in front of about 400 of my peers. It felt like this quote. “Life is like riding a bike.” Sometimes you just have to go with it. I was so embarrassed to drop my cards in front of everyone. I just wanted to run off stage and sign up to go to a different school. Thankfully I didn’t. I knew I needed to keep going if I wasn’t going to fall flat on my face.
Though I don’t remember much of what I said during that speech – who knew if there was any real content- I do remember getting everyone to stand up and yell that they were excited for next year. I also vaguely recall a teacher taking the mike away from me as I shouted, “Vote for me!”
Here is another quote for you. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” by Dale Carnegie
It is easy to give the excuse, “I need to be confident and be brave before I do something scary or intimidating.” A lot of the time we just need to get on our bike and ride. During our experience where we have to be brave, we most often find our bravery. And sometimes confidence comes at the moment we most need it. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting in the game and keep our momentum. So get out there. Get on your bike and get busy!
Oh, and I did get voted as Sophomore Class President.
There is nothing wrong with wishing. That’s where dreams start and where our mind runs with ideas of what could be. Once we start to plan what we desire to accomplish, we turn our “I wish” into “I will.” This is an important step. David Copperfield says we can turn our possibilities into probabilities. I would like to take this even one step further by turning our ‘I will’ into an ‘I am.’ This means putting our dreams and plans into action.
Following through is sometimes the most difficult part. It’s signing up for those music lessons and practicing daily. It’s getting out of bed early and exercising. It’s signing up for those night classes and studying.
This action is what will make those dreams a reality. It’s having faith in yourself. Faith is an action word, not just a belief. So when you are dreaming about your wishes, remember David Copperfield’s quote.
“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.”
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
~ George Eliot
It is easy to think that it’s too late to be what you wanted to be. I’ve heard excuses like: “I didn’t learn to play that instrument when I was young, so now I just don’t have the time.” or “I didn’t go to school to get my degree while I was younger, and I am too old to go back to school.”
I heard a girl say that she felt it was too late for her to start learning a new sport. She said she saw all her friends who had been playing the sport for a while and she felt she had just missed her chance. She was in the second grade! These were her honest feelings and she didn’t end up trying, feeling the regret of the ‘what if.’
I read a book from an author who had 10 children. She told of her life as a stay at home mom and said that since she had spent so much time caring for her children, she never was able to do something for herself. She said she always wanted to learn to play the Violin. Well, she didn’t give an excuse. She got to work. She was 40 years old when she first started taking lessons and by the time she was 50 years old she was performing with a symphony.
Hearing a story like that gives me new perspective on the quote, ‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’ Don’t let the past decide your future. Make your future how you want it to be, and become who you want to be now.
I have four children, ages 7 years old to 6 months old and I will never forget what it was like bringing home each of my newborn babies. When I was sleep deprived and felt the burden of a little one’s constant need for me, I would tell myself, “I can do this, I can endure.” This wasn’t a bad mindset, after all, I did endure. We all survived. That’s a good thing.
This is a time when a mother is on the baby’s schedule. Having her own schedule is impossible. It’s not really fair. Babies are demanding, unappreciative, and loud! But Babies are each a miracle and blessing, and a mother is their whole life when they are first born. How does it feel to be someone else’s entire life? Ask a mother, she knows.
When I brought home my fourth baby, I made it a goal not just to endure, but to enjoy the newborn period. I thought of a quote by President Gorden B. Hinckley, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” It was hard work. It took a concerted effort. How a mother helps herself enjoy motherhood during the newborn time, will be different for everyone. Here are 7 things I did, that helped me enjoy the newborn stage.
Now that I’ve scared all those first-time pregnant mothers out there. I would like to say, that there is a purpose for everything. As children grow up we help them, we try and teach them through word and example. They get bullied. They fail a test. They lose their game. They make their own choices, and as time goes on, sometimes you wish you could just hold them again like you did when you first brought them home. So hold on to these days when your baby is small and enjoy this time. It goes fast!
At a four-day conference in Silicon Valley, California, I met people and writers from all over the world. Some were beginning writers and some were award-winning and New York Time best-selling authors. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and learn from some amazing people.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was while I was introducing myself on the first day of the conference. I told someone that “I would like to be a writer.” She instantly corrected me saying “No, you are a writer. Don’t introduce yourself as a wanna be.” I was honestly surprised by her blunt response, but I took her advice and introduced myself as a writer the rest of the conference. Before the conference, I couldn’t see myself as a writer until I was published. During those four days, while telling everyone that I was a writer, I convinced myself that I was indeed a writer.
On the trip back home from California, my husband drove while I wrote. I wrote a Mother’s Day tribute and submitted it to a magazine. They ended up posting it on their website and drove 100 times more traffic to my blog than I had ever had before on one single post. This is how powerful our mindset is.
Once I had decided to think of myself as a writer, I was published just days later.
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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Many people have their opinion of what happiness is and how it is found, created, or discovered. In researching this topic, I’ve created a “top ten” compilation of quotes about happiness, from people throughout history.
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” – Martha Washington. 1732-1802, First American First Lady
“We need to decrease the noise so that we can find a signal back to happiness within our lives.” – Shawn Achor
“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx
“For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
“Happiness is not a goal… it ‘s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“I’ve learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” John Stuart Mill.
And of course, my favorite,
Hellen Keller’s – “True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Florence Nightingale was born to a high class, British family in 1820. She refused at least two suitors that we know of and wrote in her journal that she felt called to become a nurse. Nursing at that time was not a respected profession. She defied her parents’ expectations and at age 24, left her family to train to be a nurse.
When the Crimean war broke out, she was asked to help as a nurse in a military hospital in Turkey. Florence Nightingale was contacted by the Secretary of War, Sydney Herbert, to take a group of nurses and offer their services. In the hospital, water and food were rationed, and there weren’t enough beds and supplies for the wounded. Many soldiers were placed on the floor with the rats and insects. Florence Nightingale said this about the hospital:
“The British high command had succeeded in creating the nearest thing to hell on earth.” Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Florence Nightingale”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net, 25th Nov. 2010
She and her group of nurses must have worked hard with little resources. They ended up reducing the mortality rate to about 2 percent.
This history sets an impressive background for her quote. Florence neither gave or took any excuse. She was a woman who changed public health care dramatically throughout her life. Hospitals and the nursing profession in general, increased in their efficacy because of her diligent efforts.
So remember Florence Nightingale when you find yourself giving excuses, and ask yourself, what she would do in your situation.
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”
One day while attempting to clean, unpack from a family trip, and wash the laundry that accumulated from it, I heard a soft cry from the bottom of the stairs. It was my one-year-old daughter, Marie. She wasn’t yet used to our new house and the intimidating stairs that came with it. She wanted me to carry her up the stairs, but I knew that she wouldn’t learn to do it by herself if I helped her every time.
I sat up at the top of the stairs and called for her by name. Upon hearing the sound of my voice, she climbed five steps only to look back, sit and slide safely down. I kept calling for her, and she did this again, and again. It was honestly difficult for me to see my little girl struggling for so long and over something I had the ability to fix, but I stayed at the top of the stairs calling for her. I kept encouraging her, saying,
“Don’t turn back. Just come up. Come to Mommy. Come to Mommy.” Marie was only one-year-old. She didn’t comprehend what I was saying, or why I wouldn’t just pick her up, but she did know one thing; she knew me. She knew the sound of her mother’s voice, and she trusted me. Marie finally climbed toward me one last time. She whimpered and whined on every step until she made it to the warmth of my open arms.
It was then that I came to a profound realization. Throughout her life, Marie will have to learn and grow and do hard things. I will see her make mistakes, and suffer consequences. I will have to let go and let her live her life, one step at a time. There will be times when I will want just to pick her up and carry her over every hard thing, but I won’t be able to. I will watch her cry, laugh, make choices for herself, feel guilty and say sorry, change, and become better. What a wonderful, terrifying, joyous, yet heavy responsibility every mother has.
Now Marie is growing up. She is more her own, and less mine. I no longer hold her entire world in my arms anymore, but it is one of my greatest privileges to be her mom. It is endless, and no one can take it away.
So be sure to thank your mother this mother’s day for helping you in your life’s journey every step of the way.
See the Blog for more about the quote. Make sure and listen to the end for the extra song bonus. 🙂