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Monday, October 12, 2015

All About that Fearful and Wonderful

Photo By: Mary Brack
The American King James Bible cites Psalm 139:14 as follows:

I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.

Believe it or not, I think what the Psalmist expressed all those centuries ago is much the same sentiment you may hear bouncing sprightly out of your car radio these days.  

Meghan Trainor, a 20-year-old pop singer, wrote a song called "All About That Bass" that uses an irresistible bubble-gum beat to blast away at unrealistic, damaging body issues that too many people - mostly females - suffer under in our society.  

The best line of her catchy, No. 1 tune comes when Trainor sings, "I'm here to tell you, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top."

Every person ever born arrives with his or her own special stamp of beauty, both visible to the eye and experienced by the heart.  No one deserves to be made to feel unworthy, insufficient, lacking, or anything but a divine creation.

When the Psalmist says "I am fearfully made," that has also been translated in other versions of the Bible as being "amazingly made." And if you stop to think about how you are put together - how all of those disparate parts work in breathtaking harmony and fluidity, how food gets converted into energy by some internal miracle of chemistry, how blood serves as your inner transportation system, and how billions of tiny electrical explosions in that wrinkled block of jelly between your ears control it all - how could anyone say it's anything but amazing?

It's worth taking a moment to appreciate the astounding creation you are, and that everyone who has ever walked the earth, is.  We're all, truly, fearfully and wonderfully made, and no matter how big or small or fat or thin or plain-looking or stunningly gorgeous we may be as individuals - every inch of us, every one of us, is perfect from the bottom to the top.

Be well,

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vic Turns It Around 

Photo by William Ward
Vic always seemed to find himself in a rut.  He rarely felt happy.  He couldn't catch a break.  He focused on what went wrong in his life, not the things that worked well.
And mostly, he blamed it on his friend Tim.
Tim wallowed in the lifestyle where everybody was out to get him.  The world operated a vast conspiracy against him.  Nothing was ever Tim's fault.
Remember the lady who sued the fast-food conglomerate a few years ago because she spilled coffee on herself that was "too hot?"  She was Tim's role model!  The U.S. has about 6% of the world's population but 80% of the world's attorneys.  Tim loved to throw that fact around!
This mentality of living like the doormat for everyone else that Tim seemed to love so much, had rubbed off on Vic for years.  Until, finally, Vic decided he'd had enough.  He knew he needed to find some new friends, people who chose to live on the positive side of life.
That's when he met Tory, and his whole universe got turned around.
Tory loved life.  She embraced challenges, and even when she fell short, she took it as a chance to grow and learn.  Tory took responsibility for her decisions, and her sunny outlook reflected that calm confidence that Vic had been missing for so long.
Deciding to be happy and energized to make others happy is indeed a conscious choice.  It's the reason we're here.
It may be easier to live as a "Vic/Tim," but so much less fulfilling and meaningful.
Instead, put forth the effort to live in "Vic/Tory."  Make that choice every morning, and continue to choose happiness with every encounter, every day.  It may seem like a challenge at first, but soon it becomes a wonderful way of life.
Be well,
Eric's sig

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What's the "Why?"


"People don't buy what you do, but why you do it."  So says leadership expert Simon Sinek, whose 18-minute TED Talk* on this subject from 2009 has been seen by nearly 19 million people, and has been translated into 42 languages.
With those sorts of statistics behind him, Sinek's theory must hold some serious water. I believe it does, and I believe in what he is saying. Sinek holds up Apple as an example of a company that has succeeded and flourished in an otherwise crowded market, for one simple reason. 

According to Sinek's analysis, Apple doesn't sell products - whether they be Mac laptop computers or iPhones or iPads or AppleTVs. Instead, Apple explains its beliefs, and people who share those beliefs want to be a part of what Apple is doing. Those are the people standing in line for days, waiting for the newest Apple innovation to be released.

In other words, Apple doesn't promote what it does, but why it does it - and the stunning results it has reaped speak for themselves.

I believe the same philosophy applies just as strongly to interpersonal relationships as it does in business. It's not so much what we do that attracts other people to our orbit, but why we do it. 

What do we believe in? 

Why are relationships with other people important to us? 

Where are the common bonds that make us happy, comforted, and loved?

It's not the "what," or even the "how" of our behaviors and decisions and outcomes that matter most. It's always the "why." And when we can start from that perspective and live based on that philosophy, relationships can blossom and grow.

Be well,

Monday, June 8, 2015

Starring You

Starring You

Photo By: ARMLE
Did you ever think of your life as a movie?

You know, where you're the star, and there's a supporting cast of characters, and you overcome some obstacle and achieve your goal, and reach a happy ending?  Wouldn't that be a great movie?

No?  What do you mean, no?

Oh, you don't think there's enough of a story there.  Not sufficient drama.  Nobody would pay to see a movie about you.  Is that it?

Well, I'm here to tell you that you're wrong.  Completely wrong. Spectacularly wrong.  Every life tells a story.  You grow up and your parents, teachers, neighbors, and friends help form it.  It takes shape in your mind, and that story can either be one of hope, happiness, and confidence - or one of fear, hesitancy, and doubt.  As long as you hold onto it, it remains your story.

But here's where the dramatic part comes in.  If you don't like your story, or if you know that your story could be redirected, improved, made more positive and strong, you can change it.  It may take some courage.  It may take some risk.  It may take some faith.  But it can happen.

Think of scrawny Steve Rogers, who couldn't pass his physical to join the U.S. Army during World War II - but who refused to accept that story of weakness and failure, and instead volunteered to become Captain America.  

Think of Rocky Balboa, who eked out a living breaking bones for a Philadelphia loanshark and who fought in grimy clubs at night for a few bucks - but who refused to continue with that story, and earned his self-respect and the love of a girl on his way to the world heavyweight championship.

Yes, those are fictional characters, projected larger than life on 30-foot theater screens.  But the idea's the same.  If you don't like your story, you can change it.  Nobody else can do it.  Nobody else would even know where to start.  

But you do. You can. You must.

Every life tells a story. A story that would make a great movie.  Even your story.  But deciding to change it for the better will always be up to you. Today could be the day.

Be Well,


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recalibrate to Celebrate!

Recalibrate to Celebrate!

Photo By: Matt Reinbold

I believe it is safe to assume - with an extremely miniscule number of exceptions - that as a child enters the world, he or she does so surrounded by abundant, boundless love.

After many months of gestation, it's time for a celebration.  Anything can happen, of course, but as that infant emerges, can there be a more joyous electricity in the air?  Can any other event in life come close to matching the explosive outpouring of affection and gratitude?

So, if we're born into a place of abundance, with unbounded love surrounding us, how does that get turned around and misdirected as we grow up?  Why do we get raised into poverty by concentrating on what we lack?

That is not the equation for happiness, contentment, and peace on our lives.  We need to recalibrate that equation back to a bias for gratitude, acceptance, patience, respect, and love.

In my travels with the Center for Victory, I've been blessed to meet people from all over the world, in all walks of life, and from every point on the economic spectrum.  I can tell you with absolute certainty that many people living in tents in remotest Africa with barely enough to scrape by are happier than executives in Manhattan upset that they're "only" making $600,000 and not $800,000 a year.

There's a word for this.  "Insane," I believe it's called, "Unnecessary" may fit the bill, too.

Recalibrate the equation in your life.  Don't waste another second dwelling in remorse or regret by trying to live someone else's life.  Happiness is always a choice.  The Creator tells us over and over that we are hard-wired for love.  Act on that wisdom.  Focus on what you have - the people who value and accept and love you.  Just like when you were a little baby and were celebrated with joy.


Love or Fear?

Love or Fear?

Photo By: Andre Bohrer
It's been said time and again that some of the funniest comedians come from some of the saddest backgrounds.  Professional funny man Jim Carrey may not completely agree with that assessment in his case, but he cited a specific event in his childhood that has affected his outlook as an adult.

In a commencement address to the Maharishi University of Management in May 2014, Carrey spoke about lessons he learned by observing his late father - lessons that took him from the depths of poverty and lack to the very heights of fame and fortune.

"All that will ever be is what's happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based on either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality," Carrey said.

"My father could have been a great comedian but he didn't believe that was possible for him, so he made a conservative choice," he continued.  "Instead, he got a 'safe' job as an accountant.  But when I was 12 years old he was let go from that 'safe' job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. 

I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

What a powerful statement!  Knowing that there are no guarantees in life, why not live for love - by pursuing what makes you happy, inspired, challenged - instead of living in fear, playing it "safe," merely existing at a level below your potential? 

It's the same fundamental life choice we talk about so often at the Center for Victory - love or fear?  What Carrey told his audience of graduates about to take on the world contains all the truth any of us needs to live the life we were born to lead:  You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Never Surrender!

Never Surrender!

Photo by: BK (flickr)

"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

With those stirring words, heard over millions of scratchy radio receivers, Sir Winston Churchill rallied the British population against the bombs raining down upon them by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Thank Heaven we don't face those same realities in our own lives today, but the fighting spirit of Churchill - the flinty, defiant cry to "never surrender" - still rings true on a personal level for many.

A great part of our work at the Center for Victory revolves around helping individuals realize their potential, and the fact that one's own potential is within one's own control.  You can overcome the hurts of the past, the misguided guidance of a parent, the seeming unfairness of the workplace, if you decide to change your own personal story.

To refuse to be defined by other people's perceptions or actions or intentions toward you is where victory begins.  Learning to shed those old definitions - if they cause pain or regret - takes courage, focus, and determination.  But the journey is well worth the effort.

The path toward living a life based on love - starting with a love of oneself, which naturally and supernaturally blossoms into the reciprocated love of others - may not be simple, or easy, or without its own hurdles.  Yet making the commitment and sticking with it promises to pay dividends you can hardly imagine.

Redirect your outlook.  Live based on love.  Commit to the journey.  And never, ever, ever surrender.