Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Scott Adams 

This makes me think of the movies “Pay it Forward,” and “Evan Almighty,” which happens to be two of my top 200 movies of all time. I know you may be thinking 200 is an odd number to have, but it is what makes the most logical sense. “Pay it Forward” is great, because it shows the ripple effect over this one boys acts of kindness. It amazed me how many lives were changed over those three little actions. “Evan Almighty’s” primary message, is how we can all change the world with one act of random kindness at a time.  These movies made me think of what role I play in acts of kindness; besides “The Bucket List Foundation” I do very little to better my fellow man. I write about how greed keeps us from thinking about the needs of others in our society. I do not consider myself a greedy man, but I wonder why I do not practice what I preach.

I think one of the reasons for this, is I have not been in a position to really execute these acts of kindness. I am aware, that what I am in a position to do is acts of kindness towards my family, but I even find myself having trouble with this. My doctor says this can be attributed to my Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I actually had an opportunity to display an act of kindness, but I passed on the situation.

I went to get our morning coffee, and there was this younger gentleman with a makeshift duffle bag made from a bed sheet tied on all four sides. He said he needed a ride to Mystic Lake Casino, so he could catch a bus into downtown Minneapolis. He said he only had ten dollars on him, which wasn’t enough for the cab fare. He went on to say he had a pretty bad fight with his girlfriend, and he had to quickly get out of the house before there was a domestic violence issue. I honestly told him I just didn’t feel comfortable giving a ride to someone I didn’t know.

As I was preparing my coffee I kept thinking to myself that I should give him a ride to help him out, but then my other side was telling me this was a bad idea, because he could take my car and rob me, or possibly worse. I think this is a key reason why people hesitate to help out those in need. It saddens me to say but the society we live in today is violent, and void of morals. You really cannot tell who you can trust and who you can’t. I think because of this people are hesitant to do the right thing. It would have been so easy for me to do this guy a solid, but this voice in my head was telling me he can’t be trusted.

What interests me the most is the ripple effect random acts of kindness can have. It is amazing to me how the smallest things have such dramatic effects way beyond what we even realize. This makes me think of the butterfly effect, and how the most minor trivial changes can drastically change the future as we know it. It would be amazing to do a social study on what would happen if every citizen made it a priority to do one act of random kindness a day. Would this mass ripple effect alter the outcome of the human race? How much would our society be altered if we all made this a priority?

I want to do my part and better society and my fellow man, but I am at a loss for how to do it. I suppose this can be done through my foundation, or I can start looking for the smaller things. I believe the message in “Evan Almighty” was focused on how the main characters acts altered his family. Evan was so focused on his work that he neglected his family. In the end his journey was one of creating a stronger family unit. I stated earlier, how I am in a position to give these acts of kindness to my family. I think this is a great start, and in reality should be my top priority over anything else. I would imagine these acts towards my family would have a massive ripple effect, even more so than giving that guy a ride.

Now that I think about it, I do perform random acts of kindness, anytime I am on the floor in the nursing home. I go out of my way to interact with the residents here, and I always leave them with a smile on their face. I know I leave them with a feeling that they are valued. You would be amazed at how this vital human need is lacking in our nursing homes. I can do my part everyday I come to work, and in all my interactions throughout the day. I can do my part by strengthening my family unit, and by nurturing an environment built on unconditional love. Maybe this is the simplest way to change our world.    

God asks Evan “How do we change the world.” Evan answers “one single act of random kindness at a time.”

 Evan Almighty

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One of my greatest regrets in life is not taking school seriously. There was so much knowledge I missed out on, and I kick myself to this day. I was never really into school when I was younger. I was always in trouble getting detention, suspensions, and expulsions. My high school experience was limited to one class in which I lasted around twenty minutes before I just walked out on the class. Needless to say I was expelled within a month or two. When I was a teenager my priority was trouble and drugs. I honestly thought at that age I would become a career drug dealer, so I felt little need to learn anything.

I did not leave this life style or frame of mind until I reached my early twenties. Once my mind finally cleared from all the substances I had been feverishly consuming everyday for the last ten years, I finally realized that I needed an education to further myself in life. When I enrolled into college I was excited to begin learning for the first time in my life. When classes finally started, I was hit with a dose of reality as to how ill prepared I was for this experience. I had no idea how to properly study, and I lacked the basics of early learning. Despite these setbacks I managed to get A’s and B’s in all my classes, I was in heaven learning things for the first time. I ended up falling two semesters short of getting my B.A. in Philosophy.

I have noticed over the years since I left school there are many things I know very little about. This lack of knowledge has been a jumping off point for many of my insecurities. It wasn’t until around four months ago I decided to start a “learning list.” I decided I was going to start a list of everything I wanted to know more about. I carried this folded up notebook paper in my back pocket, and if I came across anything I didn’t know, or something I wanted to know more about I wrote it down on my piece of paper. The plan was to make sure I was setting aside sometime everyday to pick something off my list and learn as much as I could on the topic.

Time went by, and the only thing I had managed to do with this list is add things to it. I was having trouble finding the free time to dedicate to learning all these things I wanted to learn. It wasn’t until I decided to only write in this blog three times a week, I was able to find and dedicate my time to this project. I am happy to say that I have been able to finally cross some things off this list. I am overjoyed with this new found time.

When I started this I was just reading as much information as I could find on the topic. I realized I was not retaining all of this new found knowledge. I was discouraged because I was spending free time on something aimed at improving my intelligence, but I was unable to retain everything. I pondered this conundrum for a while and came up with the idea for weekly “learning books.” I decided that along with reading the material on a subject, I would also transfer key information into a word document. At the end of every week I would print a new volume of the learning book. My goal is to not only add new stuff every week, but to also go back and read past volumes. I feel that if I record all this into a booklet, and go back and read it over and over then the information will stick.

I am thirty-one years old and I desire to know so much more than I already do. I have always wanted to further my knowledge on an array of subjects. I feel this idea and structure will be a perfect tool in furthering my independent education. I am sure I will be using this new found knowledge to write some new posts. Perhaps I could create a new ongoing series called “The Learning Corner” or something like that. Whatever happens I know right now I feel very proud of myself. I would recommend this model to anyone interested in learning new things. It seems to be working for me.

I am a Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. My main job function is to ensure we are fully staffed twenty-four hours a day. One of my many other responsibilities is managing our lodge employee program. Lodge employees are people who work at the nursing home and live in one of the lodges on our campus. This lodge is a housing unit for people in recovery, many of which are homeless. These individuals, after their first thirty days of sobriety, are then allowed to come up and work at the nursing home as monitors. I can name about a dozen people who are here for a few months, try to go out on their own, then relapse and come right back. Then there are the guys who I see once and never see them again. I feel for these people, and the lives they have chosen. I grow fond of some of them, and try to be there for support, and tell them about my own personal recovery. I root for them hoping they can beat their addictions and enter back into society with a place to live. I look at their lives and it makes me grateful for who I am and what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I had one of my lodge employees come talk to me over the winter. This guy has been one of the best employees I have had in over three years. He came to me one day to ask me for advice. His dilemma was whether he should leave the lodge and grab his fiancé from another sobriety/homeless shelter in Minneapolis, take the money he has made working here, and go back to St. Cloud to live in a motel. Being that it was winter, he was concerned about what he would do when he ran out of money. He told me it would be almost impossible to find a homeless shelter to live in up there. He said he felt content and safe at the lodge and is going on two years of sobriety. His fiancé, on the other hand, was staying somewhere in Minneapolis where they will hold a bed for her as long as she volenteers as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. She does not like where she is and is trying to pressure this guy to leave. He wants to stay here until springtime because he says it’s a lot easier to be homeless when the weather is nice. I offered some programs he could check into but I really wanted to shake this guy and tell him there are so many options out there for him, he doesn’t need to be homeless. I advised him to stay where he was at and encourage his fiancé to do the same.  

This got me thinking of my own life and how truly lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, and wonderful family. I have a stable job, although not what I dreamed I would become; it pays the bills. I live in a beautiful home, there are times I just stop and take a step back in awe seeing all that I have. There is always food on the table and we feel blessed knowing our kids will never starve. Although I do not place a high value on possessions, we have many things people only dream of. We are able to spoil our kids for Christmas and even though we live check to check, we manage to survive month in and month out. These are all blessings I have been given, which I am sure any of the guy at the lodge would give anything to have. The problem is, I don’t always realize how truly blessed I am, it is as if, I almost forget how great I have it (this is usually when ego takes over.) I will at times take for granted the life I have and the people within it. I just grow comfortable with my situation, I do not take the time or energy to realize and reflect on what I am thankful for. In this situation I  take for granted the things and people I have in my life. I do not express enough how grateful I am to have everything that I do.

Considering my severe mental illness, and my personal battles with addiction, I could realistically be any of these guys over at the lodge, or perhaps even much worse. I wish I could take all the credit for this, but my beautiful wife has been my guiding light. Even in my darkest hours her love, compassion, and just plain giving a shit, has always lead my way home. She has always seen me for the man I can become, even though I have shown her the opposite. My children give me the motivation to become a better father than I have ever had. I have wonderful mother, supportive siblings, regular readers, a killer children’s book series, a great home,  cool shit I never thought I would have. I have kids who love and think the world of me, a great dog (not my first choice but I have grown to love him) and I am one of the few people out there who can say they found and married their soul mate. I may not always see it, but I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

As for the gentleman I mentioned earlier; sadly he did not take my advice. He left two days after we had our conversation, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Wherever he is, I hope he can find the same happiness I know today.

About a year ago I founded a non-profit organization “The Bucket List Foundation.” This foundation started after the responses I received from a post I did in remembrance of a dear friend who lived at the nursing home I worked at. All I did was throw out an idea I had to help make the lives better for our oftentimes forgotten elderly. This post helped unite the founding members of the foundation. The founding board members changed a bit but the core members came together and everything started to take off. At first we were going to apply for the Pepsi Refresh Grant to get us off the ground but Nicole and I were concerned of the impact that would have on us come tax time. We decided to start from the ground up, and build from there. I must admit we were a bit awkward. Despite this we started to make some real progress, until recently where we hit a major hurdle in our development.

Our last meeting was months ago. The end result of this meeting was we were going to figure out how to break up the writing of our business plan. Nicole was put in charge of researching everything that went into writing a successful business plan, once completed she was to delegate sections to each member to complete before our next meeting. I do not think we were fully prepared for the sheer scope of this project. In reality we had just set ourselves up for failure because this was far more than one person could handle by themselves, when you added in Nicole’s workload the task was almost impossible. Time went by with no progress being made. The days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months. I was afraid with all the time which had passed the dream of this foundation just sort of sizzled out. I honestly thought the foundation had died completely.

I ended up talking to our president to see if she was still interested, and she confirmed that both her and her father were still very much interested in making this dream come true. She sent out an e-mail to all the board members to make sure we were still on board, and to see about scheduling our next meeting. I responded to the e-mail letting everyone know I was still interested in proceeding and advised we should either get together or brainstorm via e-mail on how to get us back on track. I am sorry to say I have not received a response from anyone.

I am a bit discouraged by the lack of response. I am worried that our first hurdle may end up being the last hurdle we ever face. I feel without the unity of the board this foundation may be dead in the water. This is a sad day for many people because the foundation could have made a difference and changed so many of our aging population’s lives. I wonder how we can proceed if we cannot all pull together. Could I place an ad in the paper saying we are looking for board members to join our foundation to fill the spaces of the departed? I think one thing which caused this foundation to falter after hitting this bump was the lack of members on the board. We were a group of five individuals trying to accomplish a daunting task, and perhaps this task was too much for just five people to handle.

I truly hope The Bucket List Foundation is not dead. I know this foundation would make a difference in so many peoples lives, and if this doesn’t get off the ground than it is a shame this idea rested in my head instead of someone who could have made it a reality. When we were chugging along I kept thinking of all the peoples lives we were going to change for the better because of this. Now I am afraid I will be thinking how many people’s lives we didn’t change because we just kind of gave up.

I have spoken in posts recently about failure and I feel this is yet another example of failure on my part. I think back and if I would have been more organized and vocal as a leader perhaps this foundation would still be moving forward instead of being stuck in the mud. If you want my opinion; we need more members on the board to make this thing work. I have honestly thought then as I do now that we require members with specialties in the hurdles we are trying to overcome. How can you ask a group of people to come together and figure out how to write a solid business plan? The answer is you can’t. I place full blame on myself for allowing this thing to die down. Like I said earlier I hate that this idea was wasted on me. All I am able to do now is do what I can in hopes the individuals still interested come back together. If we are able to ignite a spark and move towards finding the right people to join the board; I feel confident this thing of ours can come back to life.

If you are interested in knowing more about the foundation you can check it out under “The Bucket List Foundation” in the categories drop down menu. I think some posts may be missing. If so let me know and I can point you in the right direction or give you more information.

“Hi my name is Tim and I am an addict.”

I am happy to say it has been around ten years since I have uttered those words in an NA meeting. This does not mean I have been totally sober the entire ten years, it just means I haven’t been co-dependent on meetings to stay sober. I have discovered a much more successful approach at staying sober, and that is controlling the addiction instead of the addiction controlling me. Learning this key lesson is in my opinion the most efficient way to maintain sobriety. As addicts if we are talked into, forced or just decide enough is enough our options to beat this thing is through treatment and NA/AA. Unfortunately this system does not work for everyone and those who it does not work for are in danger of allowing the drugs to continue to control them. I am sure there are programs out there that do not follow the traditional NA/AA model; I have just never heard of any before. I have often times thought about sharing my experiences to others in hopes my approach and philosophy may help them beat their addictions.

In my life I have had my fair share of issues with addiction. I started using at the age of thirteen and from that very moment I was in love with getting high. I would spend the next ten plus years getting high everyday all day. I have almost thrown my life away several times in the name of getting my next high, and in the midst of it all I really didn’t care. My life had zero value to me, and I felt it had zero value to anyone close to me. Since my life had zero value and nothing really mattered I might as well enjoy life and party. Because of my chronic using I have been through treatment several times. Except for the last time I was in treatment I always used while I was going through treatment. For some reason I was never able to buy into the NA/AA model, and because of this I took very little lessons away from my time in the program. The last time I was in treatment I was there for a week and I had to go AMA (against medical advice.) I didn’t want to leave to get high, I just hated being locked up. There was no way I would survive getting clean in this place, so I checked out and went to wage battle against my addiction.

I am not saying the NA/AA model is completely useless because it does help many people get clean, it just didn’t do it for me. The sad part is I do not believe I am alone in this thinking, and to my knowledge there are not many treatment centers out there that take a different approach on getting people clean. I think NA/AA takes vulnerable individuals and creates co-dependency upon the meeting and the collective in order to stay sober.  I was never able to get past the concept of handing my life over to a higher power. For those of you who read this blog a lot you know I am stubborn and have strong feelings and opinions on religion. It was this step that almost always caused me to shun this organization. The only higher power I recognized was myself, and I was broken so this is scenario simply wouldn’t work. Little did I know at the time that this concept would become a huge component of my personal plan to beat addiction.

In my journey from being a drug addict to a non-addict was a long and hard road. I had many relapses some worse than the others. I do not look at a relapse of using just once. I look at a relapse as thrusting yourself back into the using and abusing routine. My last relapse was probably my worst ever. I am not going to get into great depth of what I was using or how it was systematically destroying my life. I will just tell you that by the time I hit the absolute bottom I spent two weeks curled up in my bed detoxing, insanely sick from withdrawals. My doctor recommended I go to a detox center to be monitored because the drugs I was using were dangerous to come off of. I being the stubborn man I am wanted to do this without the aide of professional assistance. I wanted to prove to myself that I had the strength to beat this thing. It was an extremely rough road, and I can tell you with certainty this last binge/detox episode changed my life. I have not nor do I ever plan to relapse again. I can say this with complete certainty because of the personal program I built myself.

Among many other things I realized this lifestyle I had been living my entire life has been nothing but destructive, and has hurt those I loved. There is no high worth fucking up the lives of those who care about you. There is no high worth my kids seeing me as a junkie. This last situation will be my last. Since this last episode I have had many chances to take my drugs of choice and every time I have turned it down. I realized that if I put myself in safe situations then I am limiting the possibility of being confronted with the option to use. The times where the drugs were still able to find me I said no every time. I may have wanted to say yes so I could experience the sweet embrace of my drug of choice, but I realize that these particular narcotics had a profound control over me, and if I gave in even one time it could be my last. Unlike the AA/NA model I do not believe that once an addict always an addict, and to stay sober you can never touch another chemical of any kind. I think this concept is the downfall of many people who follow this model. It is possible to enjoy chemicals without completely throwing your life away. Personally I just needed to know which chemicals I had control over like drinking for example and which ones had control over me. With these things along with the other lessons and practices I put together I went from my addiction controlling me to me controlling my addiction. This my friends is part of the magic key to finally beating addiction.

I do not recognize addiction as an illness. I view it as a self-induced affliction. We all had the choice to say no at one point in our lives, and many more after we said yes for the first time. We all had the choice to make better decisions but we did not. These choices in the beginning were not made because we had an illness it happened because we made poor choices, because of this we were lead down the path of addiction. I believe the withdrawals and suffering which comes from getting clean is tough, but far from an illness. We did this to ourselves and taking ownership is a huge step in looking at your life of using, and as a result beating it. I believe many people use the cop out of addiction as an illness to justify their behaviors while they were using. I know when it came down to making amends I whole heartily blamed my horrendous actions on my using, as if I had no control over my decisions. These types of justifications keep us from seeing who we really are, and what we are capable of becoming because of our using. Saying “the illness made me do it” almost makes you blind to the person you have become.

I recognize when the drugs control you the addiction seems like an illness. But more so I consider addiction as a choice. I understand this to be true because in looking back at my using days my drug binges always started with a choice to relapse and use again. Even in the beginning I made the initial choice to use drugs I knew were highly addictive and destructive. I knew this yet I still made the choice to try them, even after trying them the first time I had to make the choice to try them again and again. At any point I had the choice to make a better decision. Relapsing was my choice which threw me back into a self-induced affliction. We addicts are very much in control of this decision; we just need to possess the strength and common sense to make good choices. We may sit back and blame it on our “illness,” but in reality it is our choice to use once again which is the issue. Finding the “why” in this scenario and facing it will assist in solving the problem. This along with learning to control the addiction instead of the addiction controlling you is a good start in getting sober.

“Forget the past- the future will give you plenty to worry about.”
George Allen

Forget the past; wouldn’t that just be so wonderful? Imagine if we could all go to sleep tonight and wake up with our past pain and worries wiped from our memories. I wonder how much differently we would look at life if we were not shackled to our painful past. I imagine we would live life to the fullest not being afraid to try new things, and experience once missed joys. I think our past define who we are and as a result defines our future.

I understand the future will dump on us just as our past has, but this future will soon become the past and before you know it that ball and chain we carry around just seems to get heavier and heavier. The only way to cure the past is through the power of forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Mark Twain

I don’t think we can ever forget our past, but we can forgive. By practicing forgiveness we can eventually move beyond our past pains. I wake up every morning and say “today I choose to forgive.” I do not direct this towards any direct individual or situation I just say it. In saying this I am not only forgiving those who have harmed me, I am also forgiving myself. This little daily exercises has really helped me chip some weight off the ball and chain of a painful past. Try it sometime.

Verse 23

To talk little is natural:

Fierce winds do not blow all morning;

a downpour of rain does not last all day.

Who does this? Heaven and earth.

But these are exaggerated, forced effects,

and that is why they cannot be sustained.

If heaven and earth cannot sustain a forced action,

how much less is man able to do?

Those who follow the Way

become one with the Way.

Those who follow goodness

Become one with goodness.

Those who stray from the Way and goodness

become one with failure.

If you conform to the Way

its powers flow through you.

Your actions become those of nature,

your ways those of heaven.

Open yourself to the Tao

and trust your natural responses…

Then everything will fall into place.

Lao-tzu

I have been reading this verse over and over again and doing nothing but spinning my wheels. I just kept trying to find the meaning and how to articulate it. Whenever I am stuck in life, or in my journey through the Tao I will consult my wife. If I read her a verse she immediately can point out the meaning as if she has known this stuff her entire life. My wife and my son are the two most enlightened Taoist I have ever known, and neither are Taoists. The amazing thing is how quick she picks up the meanings and does a wonderful job articulating that meaning to me. I am being honest with you when I say she should really be writing these things not me. When I read it to her she looked at me funny and said “how do you not get it?” She went on to say that this verse is a great lesson to be learned by me. After a brief talk my eyes were opened to a few things.

When I looked into the analogy of storms not lasting forever I think the message is no matter how hard life gets it is but a passing storm. When it talks about heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action I translated that to mean if Mother Nature cannot sustain a storm that lasts a lifetime, than neither can any of our troubles last forever. This is a comforting statement for me considering I have a penchant for dealing with dark storms. When my darkness comes my mantra I say over and over in my head is “this to shall pass.” I think this is part of what the message Lao-tzu was trying to get across.

My wife saw a different translation. She said that heaven and earth not being able to sustain a forced action (storm) means that man cannot sustain a forced life. In this she explained trying to force things that should just be let go and allowed to flow. She brings up my OCD and how because of my compulsions I try to force things to be a certain way and control my surroundings to ease my anxiety. She said that this type of lifestyle cannot be sustained because things are being forced, being forced is not natural and will eventually wear you and the world around you down, just as if it were to storm and blow fiercely for days on end, nothing could sustain that.. This can also be true in the sense of trying to always be in charge, always be right and always in control. These types of behaviors cannot last forever and indeed go against the very laws of nature.

Lao-tzu urges us to follow the Way and to follow goodness. How true is it that those who follow goodness become goodness!! Its simple, you are what you do, you follow negativity, negative will come, you are disrespectful, disrespect will come to you, you are self-centered, and you will be all by yourself. Life will always give back what you give to it. Living as nature does is how we are supposed to live. When troubles come bend not break, for after the storm you will be standing tall once again. Nature moves along naturally nothing is forced every action is as it is supposed to be. Every reaction is in line with the Way. I think conforming to the Way is probably one of the hardest steps. First when I see the word conform or what have you I immediately feel the urge to do the complete opposite. If we live as nature does, if we flow like a river, listen more and talk less the power of the Way flows through us and with us. When our actions are one with nature we are living a Tao centered life, and our ways transform into the ways of heaven.

I look at a current conundrum I am in. I had this great idea for a gift for my wife. My wife sacrifices everyday for our family and I cannot remember the last time she thought about her self first. So I had this great gift idea, but the problem comes where we may not have the money to get it. She chose to get gifts for others instead of the gift for herself. I get this, but I really think she deserves this gift and it is perfect in my mind. My ego wants to step in and control the situation and say “this is what we are going to do, okay great let’s get it done.” This forceful approach has done nothing but cause problems. I need to step back take a deep breath and just allow whatever was meant to happen will happen. If we have the money then the gift will come if we don’t then it wont. I need to be at peace with this situation regardless of the outcome, and let the natural order just happen. I am happy to report that I was able to get her gift and she loved it. Amazing how the Tao works.

If we are living a Tao centered life trusting our natural actions and reaction without ego-driven thought and actions then we are at one with nature. If we are one with nature and ultimately the Tao then everything will always fall into place. This is by far the most comforting piece for me. The knowledge that if I trust in a power greater than myself and follow the Taos lessons then everything will always fall into the exact place it is supposed to be.

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”
Hank Aaron

Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron: (born February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama) is a retired Hall of Fame baseball player whose Major League Baseball (MLB) career spanned the years 1954 through 1976. Aaron is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Sports figures have given us many memorable motivational quotes throughout history. These quotes not only give us motivation to keep trying on the field, but off it as well. An athlete may give us a quote that only pertains to on the field perspective, but we can always incorporate it into our personal lives. The lessons we learn about ourselves through participation in competitive sports reflects in our personal and professional lives long after we hang up the cleats.

In baseball if you are able to achieve a .350 batting average you just had an All Star season, you would be praised by the fans, as well as by your peers. If you are able to finish your career with a lifetime batting average of .350 or greater; you would have written your own ticket to the Hall of Fame. If we stop to think about this success to failure ratio, a Major League Baseball All Star only succeeds 35% of the time! I do not know many companies who would keep an employee who failed 65% of the time.

I use the batting average analogy with my children who participate in sports. They will get down if they have a bad at bat, fumble, or just an overall bad game. This success to failure ratio in sports will put a smile on their faces, knowing those they look up to also have bad games. They are motivated for their next at bat, next down, or their next game. I think this and the analogy of practice makes perfect have given my kids valuable lessons on how to succeed in sports and in life.

Sometimes failures can become our greatest lessons. In life we will make many mistakes. We should look at mistakes as learning opportunities. These lessons shape us into who we are through trial and error; success and failures. We learn what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully refrain from what doesn’t; sometimes that can be a mistake all on its own. The mistakes we make today will become tomorrow’s good choices. Imagine a world where everyone was perfect 100% of the time. In my vision this world seems dull, and not very much fun. The reason we cherish and remember successes so much is because of the lessons and stories behind them. Trying to accomplish a task or fulfilling a dream will result in many failures before you are successful. This builds character and teaches us about perseverance. Actress Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music) said it best.

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th

The nice thing about living creatures is we are resilient. If a lioness gave up every time she failed to make a kill; her pride would starve. If we were to give up every time we experienced failure in our personal and professional life we would cease to advance and grow. We are similar to our idols in professional sports; we will be judged on our successes and failures. In order for us to reach the Hall of Fame in life we need to keep swinging.

Sunday March 21st 2010, was the third meeting of the founding board members of the foundation. The meeting went very well, but still many things need to be figured out. The main thing we accomplished was fine tuning the Pepsi Refresh Grant. We need to add pictures and video, which is our final hurdle.

This grant is our seed money, and is very important in jump starting the foundation. We need to make sure we are putting a good product out there, and market the best we can, with the resources we have. This grant is our source of life.

I received an e-mail from one of the founding board members Rebekah Elling, and she was able to get some of our local ABC news anchors on board, to assist us with the video. This is fantastic news, what amazed me the most is how quickly they responded. I feel this is a positive, because it shows our cause is a good one.

I am attempting to secure our local sports teams in Minnesota; to see if they would be willing to endorse us, or allow us to do a video of team members endorsing our cause. The waiting list to have your application reviewed is six-eight weeks, which means it will not be ready in time for our April submission. I feel if we are able to secure some more public interviews i.e. newspapers, or radio stations we could increase our exposure. Since we are starting out in Minnesota with plans to grow to other states; I would imagine most votes would come from our state.

There are other issues which need to be addressed. I think if each member came up with their own agenda then we could combine into one for our next meeting we should be able to address all issues. I am truly grateful for the founding members of the board. I have stated before my gratitude, but I can never say it enough the group of people we have assembled is a rock star group of people.

As we grow we need to recruit an attorney and media specialist to join our board. Rebekah’s father is interested in joining the board; I think he would be a fantastic addition to the board. His skills in the art of building websites is invaluable.

If you have any questions regarding the foundation; you can reach me at thephilosophyofme@yahoo.com

On Saturday March 6th the founding board members of The Bucket List Foundation met at my house. It is so exciting to be apart of something that can improve so many peoples lives. I had an idea posted in on this blog, and soon after the foundation has become a reality, it truly is amazing. In my mind I thought this would take two months to get going, I was wrong. This could take a good year before we are up and running. If we get that grant, it would happen sooner.

We were supposed to submit our application to Pepsi in March, so we can obtain our grant. We were not ready, so we are going to shoot for April. We are trying to recruit some local celebrity or sports figure to do a small video for us. We are going to use the video for our application, and post it on You Tube. The board members were given access to the grant application, and we are all going to answer the question, then on our next meeting we will combine ideas.

Bekah came up with a great mission statement, which sums up our foundation very well. I really think we assembled a passionate dedicated group. Due to the amount of legal work involved we need to recruit an attorney to join the board. I also think we may need to add a sales professional, so we can attempt to sign corporate sponsors.

After the meeting Heide, my wife and I were brainstorming, and we thought of starting our own group home. This would be no normal group home we would do it Bucket List style. The residents would have 1-1 dedicated attention, rooms designed and arranged to their liking, and of course they would have a chance to fulfil their bucket lists. I am not sure how all of that would work out, we will discuss at our next meeting.

If you want to know more about the foundation you can reach me at thephilosophyofme@yahoo.com

Sorry if this post is choppy, I just had a root canal, and I am still a little fuzzy from the gas.