Our perceptions vary greatly about life

Bird Droppings September 9, 2011
Our perceptions vary greatly about life

“Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it.” Irving Berlin

It was ten years ago I was waiting to go teach again after having spent nearly twenty three years in the publishing business. I was anxious to say the least. I had gone by the school and signed a few forms and talked with the principal for an hour or so. Then the next day came and within hours I was immersed in a day I will not forget. It was my first day back teaching. While I spent most of the day locked in a room in a school lock down because of the 9-11 bombing I still introduced myself to my charges and we did get to know each other.

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each moment, is for each of us different and as I use the word over and over our perceptions vary greatly about life. Emerson so eloquently states “the same world is a hell and a heaven” depending on how you take it. How we live life and our reactions can be construed much the same way.

“It’s how you deal with failure that determines how you achieve success.” David Feherty

We live in a world of contrast black, white and a swirling of gray then somewhere there is a dividing line to separate the differences. Our adaptation and manipulation of crossing the line between the variations is our dealing with life.

“Nothing in life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” Ellen Glasgow

“What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.” Thaddeus Golas

Many years ago I recall a story from Hindu lore of a water bearer who each morning would go to the stream and fill two great jugs with water. One was new and held every drop all the way from the river to the house. The other jug had a crack in it and a steady stream of water leaked out all the way from the river to the house. Often when arriving at the house the cracked jug would be literally empty. One day the new jug most boastful said to the cracked jug how can you be so happy you never complete your task each day all your water leaks out and you come home empty. The cracked jug said smiling and never once upset, “have you noticed the flowers all along the way from the stream lining the path where I water them each day.

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz

I find this so true in high school among students; some who are so capable simple choose to just pass. “I have a seventy I am passing that’s all I need”. Others who struggle to achieve try for an A and work each aspect of their endeavor difficult each sentence a chore but they persist and succeed. I got to know a young lady who took the science portion of the Graduation test five times each time she would be closer gaining points as she went, finally recently she passed by two points. I have read how the school board has again passed or stated they will uphold the graduation walking policy. Sadly within that are the girls and guys who do try and may take five tries to succeed not because of attitude but ability. Yet they are in jeopardy of not walking at graduation.
I read how we need to uphold that standard but it is a faulty one there are exceptions and this young lady is one and her mother and she were ones that fought last year to walk. She received her fourth test score weeks before graduation and was one point off. She took classes studied hard and had been a good student all 12 years. She wasn’t a person who did not deserve to walk she tried, but our view is of a failure and we punish her at graduation time.

“Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.” Fredrick Langbridge

Sometimes it is only a matter of looking up versus looking down and perception is radically different.

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” Chrétien Malesherbes

So often we limit ourselves we set up the road blocks and stop dead in our tracks all possibility of success.

“Attitudes are more important than facts.” Karl A. Menninger

“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” Earl Nightingale

“We have unprecedented conditions to deal with and novel adjustments to make; there can be no doubt of that. We also have a great stock of scientific knowledge unknown to our grandfathers with which to operate. So novel are the conditions, so copious the knowledge, that we must undertake the arduous task of reconsidering a great part of the opinions about man and his relations to his fellow men which have been handed down to us by previous generations who lived in far other conditions and possessed far less information about the world and themselves. We have, however, first to create an unprecedented attitude of mind to cope with unprecedented conditions, and to utilize unprecedented knowledge.” James H. Robinson

It was only a few years ago in the history of man that TV became a reality. Yesterday as I was helping someone do a paper a question was asked “when did racism start was it during the civil war”. Racism and slavery are not new to man, some anthropologists look back even to Neanderthal man at signs of racism with Cro-Magnon man. But each generation has more to work with more information more knowledge more data to compile and their response is what had been looked at one way has become different.

“There are times when you just get down, you feel like nobody likes you. We’re in high school forever. It’s just what we do with it.” Rene Russo

Rene Russo is one of my favorite actresses and someone who was famous as a model and actually then made it bigger as an actress. She at one point as her modeling career started to dwindle thought all was over but interestingly enough now she models perhaps more now that she is famous as an actress.

“Don’t be against things so much as for things.” Col. Harland Sanders

Most of us have had Kentucky fried chicken at some point in life Col. Sanders literally changed fast food along with Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame and it was their attitude that did it. Both men took already used and tested ideas and with attitude made them work.

“Nothing will work unless you do.” John Wooden

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” Ray Kroc

Every day I hear a student blame a teacher for being a sorry teacher I have never yet heard a student say they were a sorry student. But I have heard many students except simply a seventy percent and be happy “its passing” and so where does the blame lie if in effect blame is appropriate. We choose and we choose to fail or succeed. We are the culprits not a teacher, not the book and not the class we choose. Please keep all in harm’s way in your thoughts and on your hearts.
namaste
bird

Risk

Bird Droppings December 31, 2010
Risk

How more appropriate to end the year than to look at the idea of risk and what lies ahead. Risk is a driving force of who we are and why we are and what we do. How we take chances and avoid risk are defining pieces of our personality.

“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” Lou Holtz

I think you could possibly argue numbers but Coach Holtz has a good point. Life is a combination of pieces sort of a tossed salad of sorts thrown together and the end result is what we live with. One thing however that Coach Holtz left out is what makes you respond the way you do. Probably being a football coach and one dimensional limited his views on such things but a whole other realm of ideas could be spent on that concept.

“In my own experience, the period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one’s life. …Through a difficult period, you can learn, you can develop inner strength, determination, and courage to face the problem.” Dalai Lama

We learn as we walk through life by experience how to respond to a given stimulus. We learn how to choose from choices presented. I often use the example of crossing a stream stepping rock to rock, as you step each time you see the stones, some are slick or wet, others covered in moss and slippery when you step on them. You learn to avoid certain situations in order to not fall in the stream. However it may be a warm day and the fall is worth it since a cool dip may be worth the risk of a shorter journey across the stream.
As I sit writing I recall a term from many years ago in my days working in industry, Risk Management. In Risk Management Training an acronym has been used for many years in industry and it could apply in life, the four T’s.

1. Terminate the risk – Do not do it, avoid it, eliminate the risk, you do not need to cross the stream
2. Tolerate the risk – In crossing the stream there is a chance you may get wet you are willing to risk it
3. Treat the risk – Build a bridge across the stream and a mighty storm may wash it away but in one hundred years there have not been any storms recently
4. Transfer the risk – Let someone else cross for you or buy stream crossing insurance A paraphrase of Frank E Bird Jr., Loss Control Management

But unless you actually are involved you may never really know which way to go in terms of which T you will pick.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Warren Buffett

Life is about experience and the roads we take it is ours to choose and to make a mistake or succeed with.

“It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Take the day by the horns as the cowboys among would say and try to do your best, carpe diem, and stride across the stream believe it is summer and you will not succumb to hypothermia if you do fall in and as always especially in these days of increasing violence in the middle east keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.
namaste
bird