Monthly Archives: December 2014

Just Asking… (Have you encouraged anyone today?)

 

When we look around the world, we see hopelessness, pain and despair. Not only do we see these things in strangers, we see these things among family members, friends and acquaintances. Many times, we shake our heads in pity and say we wish things were different. We say if we were rich, we would make changes. We claim if we were influential, we would make a difference. We reason if we had more resources, we would move mountains. This sounds honorable, but what happens if you never get rich? What happens if you never become more influential? What happens if additional resources don’t show up on your doorstep? Will not obtaining these things help you feel justified in not encouraging others?

 

I believe we are allowed to see certain situations for a reason. What touches us may not touch someone else. What moves us may not move another. What causes aches in our souls may not make another blink an eye. However, the things that touch, move or cause aches in our souls may be indicators that we can make changes in those areas, even if only in small ways.

 

An encouraging word can stop someone from giving up. A hug can make someone feel loved. A telephone call or letter may make someone feel that you care. A cooked meal may make someone feel valuable. A pat on the back may make someone feel proud. Babysitting for a single parent may give him or her relief. Offering to take an older person to the grocery store may save that person his last dollar. A smile may make someone smile back.

 

I know these things sound menial, but sometimes the most menial things have the greatest impact; and if we start where we are, doing what we can do, other opportunities will present themselves.

 

Therefore, never see yourself as powerless when it comes to making changes or encouraging others. You may not change the world over night, but you can do your part, one kind deed at a time. So why are you waiting? Go out of your way to encourage someone today. Not only will it benefit the receiver, it will place you in a position to receive encouragement and kindness.

Books by Levon

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Just Asking… (Do you know rejection can motivate you?)

 

You’ve worked hard on that project, giving it your all. You’ve reviewed it from top to bottom. You’ve examined every aspect of it, making sure you did things perfectly. You’ve checked it one last time to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Now you’re ready. You’re ready to present your work to that place where the experts are in your field. You’re nervous, but you know if they look at what you’ve done, they will feel the same way about your masterpiece as you do. Nervously, you gather that last bit of courage and send it to them, waiting for the opportunity of a lifetime.

 

Time passes, and you busy yourself to keep your mind off the results. Then you receive that letter or e-mail. You slowly stall before opening it, knowing that behind that contact could be the chance of a lifetime. Your heart flitters as you gather your nerves. You slowly and carefully open the contents. Your eyes scan the words. You read it slowly…over and over again. What you thought would be the greatest opportunity on earth ended in rejection.

 

You are crushed. Your hopes are dashed. You feel you invested so much time in something so important, and the receiver didn’t see the value in your piece. What do you do?

 

You can allow this rejection to make you bitter, or it can make you better. If an explanation came with the rejection, take what you can use and revise your work. But never, ever allow rejection to cause you to quit. Use it as a stepping-stone. Use it as a learning tool. Use it as a motivator, but never use it as an excuse to cave in or give up.

 

Remember, each no gets you closer to a yes. And what’s not valuable to one is valuable to another. So move on from that rejection. It’s not the end of the world, but it may be the beginning of a new idea.

Books by Levon

Just Asking… (Do you know complaining doesn’t change your situation?)

 

Lately, I’ve been reading forums on different topics, and I’ve found many individuals posting their complaints about not succeeding as they think they should. Some of them rant, rave and blame the entities on which they’ve posted their contents for their lack of success. Some blame the economy, and some feel others have a conspiracy against them. It amazes me that in most of these posts, the writer doesn’t look within for the problem.

 

As long as a person blames someone else for his lack of success, he will never make the changes necessary to succeed. Complaining gives a person a crippling crutch to lean on. It zaps his energy, and instead of leading him towards solutions, it allows him to spiral down into the depths of despair. Complaining also keeps a person in a “stuck place.” It blocks creativity, and it fails to look at options. Complaining may seem logical at the moment, but it never offers anything productive.

 

The interesting thing about a complaint is it must be expressed. Not only is the complainer contaminating his atmosphere with negativity, he is also contaminating the atmosphere of others.

 

Just remember, the energy used in complaining could best be used for problem-solving, exploring options and in other positive avenues. So the next time you’re tempted to complain, remember it doesn’t bring you any closer to your desired goal. It steals time that could be used in solving the problem.

Books by Levon

Just Asking… (Do you know life will present you with the same test until you learn the lesson?)

 

 

Life is a patient teacher. It is not in a hurry to get you from one point to another; it will allow you to learn lessons as quickly or as slowly as you choose. It won’t even criticize you for not knowing there’s a lesson to be learned. It will continue presenting you with the same test, oftentimes clothed in different environments and with different faces. It will not scold you for failing. Your tears do not move it. Its only objective is for you to learn the information or skill needed to move to the next level.

 

Have you ever asked yourself why you keep finding yourself in the same situations? You may have moved umpteen times, but the new environment presents the same challenges as the one(s) you left. You may have changed partners, but the same issues that irritated you in the old relationships are irritating you in the new one. You may have developed new friendships, but the same characteristics you didn’t like in the old friends are popping up in your new friendships.

 

Running into the same issues repeatedly is an indicator that life is trying to teach you something. It is presenting you with a test, alerting you that you lack some information or skill needed in order to proceed.

 

If this is the case in your life, slow down, get quiet and self-examine. Get feedback from trusted advisors. And most importantly, pray. Use every tool that’s available to help you find answers. Since life is a patient teacher, it wants to give you answers. The tests are open-book tests, but you have to search for the answers in order to find them.

 

Now make a decision that this is the last time you will go around this mountain. Learn your lesson and move on. They’re other mountains to conquer.

Books by Levon

Just Asking… (Have you written down your goals, or are they figments of your imagination?)


When I get in my car, and I want to head to a destination but don’t know how to get there, I would be foolish to start driving, hoping I would somehow end up in the right place. Instead, I type my destination’s address into my GPS (Global Positioning System). I can’t explain all of the technical applications of this apparatus, but I know it does the job of getting me from point A to point B if I follow directions. Not only that, it gives me an approximate arrival time. If I don’t arrive at my destination around the time suggested, I know something went wrong. There was an obstacle (maybe a car accident), or I got off course. However, I know I’ve made it when the GPS says that I’m arriving at my destination.

 

Many people can see the rationale in the above example, but when it comes to their lives, they travel on life’s highways, hoping they’ll end up in the right place. They have never set their destinations (or goals), and if they have set goals, they have never written them down.

 

The first thing a person has to do in order to reach his destination is decide where he wants to go, but he has to make sure he sets something realistic. After he’s decided the destination (goal), he needs to write it down (equivalent to typing address in the GPS). Writing down goals gives him a visual roadmap to follow. (Most people fail at this step. They believe having goals in their heads is just as good as having them in written form.) Next, he needs to write down small steps or objectives that will help him reach his goal (similar to following specific directions). Then he can set a timeframe for his goals.

 

This may be a time-consuming process, but remember, anything worth having is going to cost something. So sacrifice a little time and write out some goals you want to accomplish. You never know, you may surprise yourself and accomplish them all.

Books by Levon

Just Asking… (Who have you allowed in your inner circle?)

Your choice of friends says a lot about you, but who you allow in your inner circle says even more. If wisdom were to advise you regarding your inner circle, it would tell you to guard your heart (mind) with all diligence. Why? Because what enters your heart has a way of directing your life. One of the most influential factors in your life is your inner circle. They are the people you listen to, confide in and trust. They are the ones with whom you let your mental, emotional and spiritual guards down. They are the ones whose thoughts and words hold a great weight in your life.

 

But have you evaluated the people in your inner circle lately? Are they worthy to remain there? Some have failed to evaluate the members of their inner circles and as a result have been disappointed or severely wounded. Instead of guarding their hearts, they’ve allowed acquaintances (those with whom they have casual contact) to slip into their inner circles. Instead of guarding their hearts, they’ve allow those who don’t have their best interests at heart to counsel them. Instead of guarding their hearts, they are influenced by those who are lost and clueless.

 

In your evaluation, remember right people energize you in positive ways (even when they correct or confront you), and wrong people drain you. Right people have your best interests at heart while wrong people are your friends when you experience pain but can’t tolerate your successes. Right people tell you the truth (in love) while wrong people find every opportunity to point out your flaws.

 

Treat your inner circle as the exclusive club it is. And if someone’s membership no longer meets the standards to remain in your inner circle, do yourself a favor and terminate his privileges.

Books by Levon

Just Asking… (Are there no guests at your pity party?)

Most people like a party. A party is a time for talking, laughing and having fun. It’s a time for socialization and letting your hair down. It’s a time for eating and drinking. Many times, it includes music, games and dancing. It’s a time for getting together with old friends and making new ones. The ultimate goal of a party is for guests to leave feeling better than when they arrived.

 

But there is a party that defies most parties. The guest list is small (usually one in attendance). The food is for stuffing feelings, and the only socialization is negative self-talk. The attendee may let his hair down (if he has hair), but it’s due to neglect instead of having fun. Crying replaces laughter, and the songs are not jovial; they are usually about how somebody wronged that person or how crappy his life is. The only dancing present are the destructive thoughts dancing in his head. And the games…well, he’s playing a mind game with himself.

 

The person sent out invitations, but no one responded. He hoped if others saw how miserable he was, they would rush to his rescue and shower him with attention and understanding. Instead, he sat alone, mulling over his state. Instead of feeling better at the end of the party, he felt worse.

 

Just remember in the real world, pity and party is an oxymoron. Therefore, if you expect guests at your party, you should lose the pity. It has a tendency to drive your guests away.

Books by Levon