Tag Archives: life

Between A Rock and A Hard Place

There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.

— Richard David Bach, American writer

I stumbled upon this quote the other day and it reminded me of the movie 127 Hours, which we watched recently. For those who haven’t seen it, 127 Hours tells the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) who became trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone in Utah and *spoiler alert* courageously amputated his own arm in order to survive. Although the realistic amputation scene is a bit difficult to watch, the story itself is an inspiring look at the strength of the human spirit. The incident is also documented in Ralston’s autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Although I had trouble at times connecting with the character and the choices he made that led him to that rock, there is a scene towards the end of the movie where Ralston, dehydrated and delirious after a few days of trying to lift and break the boulder, says something that got me thinking:

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You Have the Power to Be Happy Today

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, comedian and film star

If Today Were the Last Day of My Life

Today I read a news headline that the first authorized Steve Jobs biography will be published in early 2012.  It reminded me of the famous Stanford commencement address he gave in 2005.  There are many inspirational quotes in this speech but the one that has stuck with me, since I first heard it several years ago, is this one:

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The Businessman and the Fisherman

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders. Unable to sleep after an urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to clear his head. A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.

“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But…What do you do with the rest of your time?”

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This is to Have Succeeded

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, it is an adaptation of a poem published in 1905 by Bessie Stanley. No version of it has been found in Emerson’s writings.

Don’t Wait to Be a Hero

Don’t wait til you make your first million to make a difference in somebody’s life.  If you have something to give, give it now. Serve food to a food kitchen, clean up a neighborhood park, be a mentor. Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one.

It’s funny, we had a different post ready to go this morning until I stumbled upon this TED talk. Not only does it have an inspiring and motivational message, a reminder that every bit counts, but it also ties in nicely with One Day Without Shoes, which is today.
By the simple act of taking off your shoes today, you will help raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life and affect the lives of millions of children around the world.

How will you affect somebody’s life today?

The Power to Choose Your Own Path

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

— Dr. Seuss, bestselling author and cartoonist
From the book Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Happiness is Simply About Enjoying Life

I thought about how easily we are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is really just about enjoying life.

— Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and bestselling author of Delivering Happiness