Finding Virtue

At the moment we choose to focus on the attributes of love, the sources of hate lose their power.

Finding Virtue

Every now and then, I hear someone muse, “I think God hates me.”

Odds are good, their spoken comment is a verbal manifestation of the thought all humans have, at times.

Usually, those times are when everything seems to be going bass-ackwards.

If you’re like me, we look for someone to hold accountable for our troubles. As frustration grows and temperament sours, I spot the rascal responsible for everything wrong in my life. As I prepare for a new day, there he is, in my bathroom mirror, scowling right back at me.

What a pathetic sight. I laugh at him and he laughs at me. Then, I’m reminded, “The world is what I make of it. If it doesn’t fit, make alterations.”

Often, we know the right things to do. In other words, we know What to do and, even, How to do it. Problem is we lose sight of Why it’s so important to be doing the right things.

Many times, we discover our favorites by experiencing the distasteful. Without the dark of night, the light of day is impossible to appreciate. Same thing holds true for the touchy-feely intangibles of emotions like love and hate. To recognize love is to understand hate.

There are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests:

  • haughty eyes,
  • a lying tongue,
  • hands that kill the innocent,
  • a heart that plots evil,
  • feet that race to do wrong,
  • a false witness who pours out lies,
  • a person who sows discord in a family.

As I consider the list and think about the results produced by these seven causes of hate, I’m enlightened, empowered, and encouraged to focus on doing the exact opposite.

  • kind eyes,
  • a truthful tongue,
  • hands that heal the innocent,
  • a heart that plans righteousness,
  • feet that patiently choose to always do right,
  • a conscientious messenger who defends the truth,
  • a person who plants seeds of harmony and unity in families.

Oh, and that miserable funk in which I had been a participant of earlier, simply, disappears. The fog of resignation and despair lifts to reveal the sunshine of fascination and curiosity.

At the moment I choose to focus on the attributes of love, the sources of hate lose their power. If I have been the practitioner of the distasteful, I can change. If I have been the recipient of the destructive conduct of another, changing them is not an option.

What I can do is to choose my response.

As for me, I choose love.

www.kimfoard.com

Mind Propulsion

Why do we have a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (with a Map to get there); yet, not a single Google search result for Mind Propulsion Laboratory?

Mind PropulsionEvery time a jet leaves the gravitational pull of earth, those below stand in awe and those aboard marvel at the miracle. The miracle is our Human ability to harness Universal principles.

Why, then, do we have a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (with a Map to get there); yet, not a single Google search result for Mind Propulsion Laboratory?

Which is greater: The creation or the creator; the jet engine or the mind that imagined it?

We readily acknowledge that, individually, we are one-of-a-kind. As unique and temporary as snowflakes, each of us has a short time to make an indelible mark on this world. The best way to do that is to use our mind, for the benefit of many.

Jet engines do not miraculously appear. They are built. The same is true of our mind. Piece by piece and neuron by neuron, our minds become the engine of what we accomplish.

We have a choice in the direction of our lives. It’s a simple matter of programming. Today, we are the cumulative result of every choice to this point in time. We go where we look. The future will find us arriving at the destination of our, individual, choice.

As simplistic as it sounds, the reality is certain: Choose no direction; go in circles.

My recommendation: Choose a worthy pursuit.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity, and honor.

Pursue indicates a passionate desire to achieve.

Here is the point of no return; the fork in the road; the real choice to be made. Will we be a Go-Getter, or a Go-Giver? Achievement for the sake of ego is less than noble. Accomplishing mutually beneficial results is a worthy goal.

Speaking of which, success can be defined in a myriad of ways.

Here are two:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. ~ Earl Nightingale

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable. ~ John Wooden

To arrive, we must begin. To reach a destination, we must have one. To navigate, we must be able to measure our progress.

Remember, our mind is the engine of our craft. The manner in which we fuel it will determine its performance.

Let me ask a very simple question: If we (You and I) are strapped into the nose of a rocket, what quality of fuel do we want in the tank? Great minds do think alike. We want the very Best; Premium; Grade-A; Number-1; Super-duper; Fill-‘er-up-to-the-top!

Same thing for our minds: Let’s pour in the Good-Stuff.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

There are few guarantees in the pursuit of righteousness and love. This is one: By training our minds to Think this way, the odds of success increase astronomically.

How can we remember this daily propellant for our minds?

I’ll guide us into a flight pattern.

Think: Three-P’s. (Philippians)

Think: Two sets of Four equal Eight (4 and 8); begin with True, take a LEAP.

True (4)
Noble (5)
Right (5)
Pure (4)

Lovely (6)
Excellent (9)
Admirable (9)
Praise (6)

Think: What’s up with the Numbers?! Add ‘em up (the number of letters in each word); the sum is 48 (4 and 8). Separate the digits and that’s Chapter and Verse. (Philippians 4:8)

Then, our minds begin processing other relationships between the Letters, Words, and Numbers. For instance … look at the P’s (middle two of the Three-P’s) at the bottom of the Two sets of Four: Pure and Praise. And … since N comes before R, the two-5’s are in sequence: Noble and Right. Flashes of thought are igniting in minds, everywhere!

What was difficult to remember a few minutes ago is now etched into our minds.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

If we, daily, step into the Mind Propulsion Laboratory, for the express purpose of Research and Development, our orbits of influence will increase exponentially!

www.kimfoard.com

Laws of Motion

Individually, deep down, in our heart, soul, and mind, we can feel the forces, which influence the Universal Principle, “What goes around comes around.”

Laws of MotionWhen an idea is tested and verified, it becomes much more than the original thought.

It moves past the semantics of a suggestion to a full-fledged law.

Now, I know that Political Correctness has disdain for the notion of law.

Yet, we fully appreciate the law of gravity. It is a recognized force on our bodies 24/7 and provides the security for us to stick on this spinning orb of Earth.

Sir Isaac Newton is the fellow given credit for “discovering” the Law of Gravity and the three Laws of Motion. Since he was able to put words around these ideas, let’s give thought to why these principles affect our relationships.

Universal Gravitation

Gravity or gravitational forces are forces of attraction. Every object in the universe that has mass exerts a gravitational pull, or force, on every other mass. The size of the pull depends on the masses of the objects.

We attract the attention of others. Everyone within our sphere of influence is affected by our choices. The effectiveness of the pull depends on the size of our character.

First Law of Motion

The first law says that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion, with the same direction and speed. Motion (or lack of motion) cannot change without an acting force.

Habits are so easy to form and so, very, hard to break. Whether stuck in a rut, or constantly searching for the next adventure, people continue on a distinctive path.

Second Law of Motion

The second law says that the acceleration of an object produced by an applied force is directly related to the magnitude of the force, the same direction as the force, and inversely related to the mass of the object.

Less is more. Size of ego will have an inverse relationship on acceleration to growth and opportunity. Large egos seldom budge from their grandiosity.

Third Law of Motion

The third law says that for every action (force) there is an equal and opposite reaction (force). Forces are found in pairs.

The ebb and flow, the give and receive, the yin and yang, creates the harmony of the universe and enhances our interaction with another person.

The common denominator inherent within all of these laws is a Force. In every culture, religion, and belief system, there is an underlying premise of Right and Wrong. No formal reference to an authority is necessary to state the obvious.

Each person knows this to be true. Individually, deep down, in our heart, soul, and mind, we can feel the forces. One is light — the other is dark. One is love — the other is hate. One pulls us up — the other pushes us down.

The force, which we choose to act upon us, will determine our:

Pull ~ Effectiveness of our efforts on those in our sphere of influence.

Progress ~ Effectiveness of our dynamic actions, direction, and speed.

Prospect ~ Effectiveness of our responsiveness to new opportunities.

Performance ~ Effectiveness of our dance into the hearts, souls, and minds of those we love.

All of these ideas, theorems, and thoughts can be summarized into one statement of this Universal Principle, “What goes around comes around.”

www.kimfoard.com

Tough Love

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

Ribbon of LoveIn this season of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All, why is that so hard to find?

Recently, this observation registered on my consciousness:
When someone loves you,
They don’t have to say it;
You can tell by the way they treat you.

Actions speak louder than words.

Accepting that LOVE is an action verb, what exactly are we to be doing?

Gifts galore with no end in sight,
How mighty we’ve become
To think affection we can buy.

Harm is caused to those we slight,
Because they simply desire a welcome,
A pleasant greeting and a “Hi!”

Stuff is an accumulation of an ending never.
Kindness is an opportunity of a beginning forever.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

I can read that paragraph over and over, again and again. What I see is: all action — and, no stuff.

At this time of year, many are adamant in declaring, “Christ is the reason for the season.”

OK. Let’s take a look at what He has to say.

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

Again, what I see is: the action to reconcile — then, the stuff of sacrifice.

For the pack-rats among us, there is a subtlety worthy of note. The stuff is temporarily ours — right up to the moment, we offer it in sacrifice.

For the recipients (who might be the individuals of our family and friends — or, our heavenly Father) of these sacrificial gifts, what is more important: action, or stuff?

The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.

Oh, how the chorus continues: Thank you for the stuff. Please, do what is right.

For the modernists among us, there is a Right and Wrong. In fact, there are very few Maybes. Yes and No are as definitive as Left and Right.

This is Right.

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

Now, that’s a definition of Tough Love.

www.kimfoard.com

Anatomy of a Victor

Deep within the heart of every victor is a burning desire, to serve. They have asked this question of themselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

Anatomy of a VictorTwo words, six letters each, exactly opposite in meaning and world view: Victim and Victor.

All individuals on the face of the earth are in one camp, or the other — There is no DMZ, or middle ground.

Every person has made a choice to be, exactly, where they find themselves at this very moment.

Why?

Because —

We all have a story to tell.
And, we do tell it so well.

This last week was interesting. Personally, I was engaged in a battle for the future. Right in the middle of the whole dang show was lunch with someone, who is victim, wouldn’t you know — anchored to the past, miserable in the present, and morose about the future.

Why?

Since fire-breathing dragon stories are more interesting than melancholy tirades, this is my story about conquest and victory.

After a year of experimenting with secure Client File Portals for the mutual benefit of my stakeholders, there was an increasing uneasiness about the Hosting Service that I had chosen. The portals were fully functional, my Clients were successfully using them, and I was comfortable in the routine.

(Alert — possible misspelling of routine. Maybe, r-u-t? And, the definition of rut: a grave with the ends kicked out.)

Real danger? Or, just the ever vigilant, vivid, imagination of a Warrior?

All we do begins with a thought.

I was thinking, “There must be a better way.”

In fact, each day, each of us has a choice: Grow, or Die. Remember, there is no DMZ — or, safe middle ground.

I was ready to move forward.

Some of the many benefits of a Client File Portal (personal vault in The Clouds) is 24/7 access to digital Documents — and, the ability to provide copies of files, to stakeholders with a vested interest in building mutually beneficial dynamic relationships.

The only constant in life is change. Over the last twelve months, ShareFile has become a robust service provider of file sharing and portals. By clicking on the hyperlink above, access to their website provides a better understanding of features and support.

Ready and Committed are two, very, different things. Although ready, I was not, yet, committed to move forward. This is the introduction to the next important step on our journey to victory. We need to properly plan and meticulously prepare.

Thought without action is as worthless as a dream without a plan — a blueprint, if you will. Researching viable options and studying the technological landscape was the primary focus in my quest for a better way — and, a better Client File Portal.

This is the time in every dragon-slaying story where the weak may want to seek protection. The battle scenes are for mature audiences, only. The most fertile ground and coveted piece of real estate is between our ears. For me, in that moment, that’s where this war was being waged.

I had invested a year of my life establishing functional, yet primitive, Client File Portals for my stakeholders. I wanted to enjoy the dividends from that investment. What would everyone think, if I changed my mind? And, therein was the answer — moving forward was the right thing to do.

Yet, the enemy persisted. The cost of the old way was less than the price of the new, uncertain, and unknown future way. What if I ‘failed’, again? And, therein was the answer — failure in my earlier choice had resulted in a valuable education and experience.

That darn dragon refused to go down! He charged at me, again. This time, he plucked at the heart-strings — by camouflaging his attack with my favorite words, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you. Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

That monster of a dragon was about to die.

Deep within the heart of every victor is a burning desire, to serve. They have asked this question of themselves, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

Picture a vibrant, radiant, pulsating, source of energy within the Warrior. The mechanical, physical, heart is warmly surrounded by a glowing and dynamic membrane of higher power. Love is one name given to the unexplainable — it is a powerful force for doing good.

My love — of those I serve — was the strength behind the final thrust of my sword into the beast.

I was committed to move forward.

Until one is committed,
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back,
Always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas
And splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
Then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
That would not otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material assistance,
Which no person could have dreamt
Would have come their way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.

Begin it now.

—W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Although illuminated by the warm glow of first love, the beginning of anything is ugly. For builders, it’s the serious business of excavating a hole in the ground and the hard work of pouring a solid foundation. In the realm of technology, it’s the learning of a new foreign language and carefully navigating into uncharted domains.

Although encouraged by early results, the middle of anything is a slog. Begin, and begin again — one step in front of the other. The safe shore of our launch has long passed from view and the destination is many days away. One Client File Portal after another will be established and made available to those I serve — the best Clients (and Friends) — those who give so much to me.

Sometime, in the near future, a celebration beckons. All of the new vaults in The Clouds will be available, as another mutually beneficial tool, with which to build dynamic relationships. The victory will be a time of jubilee, because it will provide the opportunity for other new beginnings — yet, unseen.

In stark contrast to the jubilation of a victor was the sullenness of my lunch-time partner, The Victim. The story I heard was one of the entire world using and abusing them. Granted, the hand of fate deals its nasty blows to all of us, from time to time. Curious, though, I asked, “Where were you — and, what were you thinking and doing through all of this?”

The victim’s response (slightly paraphrased), “I was right there playing the role of saintly martyr.” Seemed fitting for me to say, “We get what we allow.” Lunch was over.

Waiting for me, on the other side of the battle with my fire-breathing dragon, were two, new, wonderful relationships.

On my left side is Christopher Doll, a ShareFile sales executive, who graciously accepted my offer to make a GoToAssist remote connection with him. We played, we laughed, and I purchased. On my right side is Kelley Figg, a ShareFile account manager, extraordinaire — she is patient beyond belief, generous at the core, and a caring professional.

Two words, six letters each, exactly opposite in meaning and world view: Victim and Victor. All individuals on the face of the earth are in one camp, or the other. There is no DMZ, or middle ground. Each person makes a choice to be, exactly, where they find themselves at this very moment.

As for me, I choose victory.

www.kimfoard.com

Passionate and Vulnerable

In a moment of clarity, I found the answer: iiWii (It Is What It Is). Same song, second and third verses: taWta (They Are Who They Are) and iaWia (I Am Who I Am).

Royal FlushAfter thirty years engaged in the business of success and relationships, I am beginning to understand certain Universal Principles.

Success can breed the twin evil sisters of Arrogance and Pride. Steve Jobs taught us to stay Hungry and Foolish.

Idealism can breed the twin evil brothers of Bitterness and Reluctance. My encouragement is for us to remain Passionate and Vulnerable.

What do the concepts of friends, price, and value have to do with car salesmen, unrealistic expectations, and the encouragements, above?

Everything.

This is my experience from last week.

As a preface to this story, I’ll ‘fess up. These are the lessons that I learned. There is absolutely no fault attributed to the cast of other characters. At the point of: “Oh, my bad,” all was well. We pay dearly for our education. I was invested in a refresher course on the merits of gamesmanship.

You see, I had let “magical thinking” get in the way of a perfectly good deal.

This story comes together over the span of the last year. Because of my patronage of The Dealership over a lifetime, two of the car salesmen were beneficiaries of watching me do business. So, when they had questions relative to new investment opportunities, I was honored to provide answers.

They were not Clients and probably never will be. Yet, for the last twelve months, by phone and in person, they asked questions and I gave them answers. First mistake: Free advice is received for what it is; worthless. With no established price, the perceived value is zero.

What begins twisted, ends twisted. With hindsight, I can freely admit that I got what I allowed. I chose not to charge these guys and let them think there was no value in my “priceless” advice. That same advice to established business relationships is priced at $2,500.

Now, I get teased a lot about the condition of my vehicles. At this season of life, with no young children and no rambunctious pets, the only “wear and tear” is on the driver’s seat. With an occupation of CPA and mostly highway miles to reach my favorite people, my 2009 Ford Lariat was in showroom condition; a new pickup, with 82,500 miles.

So, with the unrealistic expectation that I had banked $2,500 worth of goodwill with my car salesmen friends, I waltzed into The Dealership. Second and Third mistakes: Gifts are offered and Friends are chosen.

Preconceived notions are always dangerous. For me to unreasonably believe that the car salesmen were friends and that the relationship was enhanced by my generosity, the stage was set for a wreck.

Imagine my surprise to learn that they believed it fair to dock me twice for my “high miles” to arrive at an average Auction value for my beloved pickup. My feelings were hurt. “How dare they? The dirty rascals,” were my thoughts.

Standing in the way of a perfectly good new 2011 Ford Lariat pickup and the future of a relationship with these two guys was $2,500. Exactly, the amount of their second deduction for high miles and the amount of free advice they had received.

Silly me.

Two years ago, I thought I had learned this lesson. At that time, a Family situation had me asking the same question, “How dare they?!” In one of those life defining moments of clarity, I found the answer: iiWii (It Is What It Is).

OK, now, back to the pickup deal. Same song, second and third verses: taWta (They Are Who They Are) and iaWia (I Am Who I Am).

So, very, tired of the nonsense, I walked away. That’s just good advice for any deal; make a decision the next morning. After a good night’s rest, I woke to the realization, “They have every right to make their choices and I have the right to make mine.”

I will continue to generously give of my best with no expectation of anything in return.

Then, I remembered the inherent inspiration in a verse from my first tome, A Dance To Love:

Since life is the hand of cards to which we awake each morning, I admire those who play theirs with grace and poise. Strength of will and courage combined with the flexibility of thoughtfulness and humility results in a softness that trumps bitterness every time. As the windows to the soul, the eyes can be beacons of hope and the sparkling oasis of plenty.

With head high and eyes bright, I accepted their final offer and left an extra $1,500 on the table.

They have what was important to them, a little extra profit. I am the richer man for having the experience of valuable lessons and the opportunity to acknowledge my mistakes.

These two beliefs remain:

I am passionate.

“Friends deserve the best in everything. No sacrifice is too big, or task too small, when friendship is being nurtured. I have noticed that only my friends do business with me; so, probably in a selfish vein, I take very seriously the relationships with which I have been entrusted.”

I am vulnerable.

“Purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves; delivery of value is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts. The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others!”

Stay passionate; Stay vulnerable.

www.kimfoard.com

A Way

The answer will be found in a new WAY. What way?! This better way of asking the hard questions: Why Are You … Thinking, Saying, Doing, Behaving, Repeating, and Believing this WAY?!

Easy Way, or Hard WayImagine that a close friend announces, “I’m going away.”

What is our response?

I know what mine is. I launch into my Philadelphia Lawyer shtick with the: Why, What, When, Where and How questions!

The intent is pure.

I want the best for my friends and am desirous of understanding: Why are they making that choice? What will they be doing there? When will they leave? Where are they going? How long before we are together, again?

Going away is one thing. Going toward something is entirely different!

Wherever we go, there we are. Moving away from one set of circumstances is no guarantee of a blissful life. Moving toward a vision of the future is the best way to arrive at where we want to be!

Life is what we make of it, friends; if it doesn’t fit, make alterations!

To get from here to there, we do need A Way, to go; one which ensures an enjoyable journey and a successful arrival at the new destination.

Have you noticed that everyone has an idea for you and your resources?! They sincerely believe that they know best the path for you. They don’t. Only, YOU do!

Yet, how do we, each of us, individually, know the way to go? Actually, that is quite simple. We begin by sifting our many options through the filter of these three words: Right, Just, and Fair. Before we take the first step, let’s ask these three questions: Is it Right? Is it Just? And; Is it Fair?

Sometimes, the answers will be obvious and we can respond with a resounding “Yes!” to all three. Other times, the way will be more obscure. If that’s the case, then, we add these attributes to our matrix of questions: Patient, Kind, Generous, Honest, Humble, Happy, Protective, Trusting, Hopeful, and eternally Optimistic.  In other words, “Will we exemplify these facets of character as a result of the choice we are about to make?” If so, then, let’s go!

All we do begins with a thought!

Thoughts manifest in words; Words lead to actions; Actions develop into habits; Habits accumulate into character; and, Character becomes our Destiny. The catalyst for this chain reaction is a single choice at the beginning to decide. Individually, we choose. The result is who we are at this very moment!

Although impossible to write a new beginning to our life story, we can at any time begin to write a new ending! The secret? We must begin! It is by our decision, to take a single step down a path right for us, that we find the courage to take more.

That first step will be a failure, or a success. Either way, it is a beginning for us to find a better way. You see, in order to find a better way, there must first be a way!

There are few guarantees in life. This is one: Hard is easy; Easy is hard.

By choosing a path of righteousness, justice and fairness, we have chosen a journey of guaranteed thrills. There will be bumps and curves, ups and downs, tummy-ticklers extraordinaire. This road is not for the faint of heart. It is for those strong of will. It is for those who set their eyes on the horizon of opportunity, knowing full well that long-term growth is a result of short-term pain.

There are no short-cuts, or easy ways, to success. The easy way is always a temptation and it is always a dead-end cul-de-sac. Going in circles is a fitting metaphor for those running away! To break free from the insanity, they have this choice:

Stay and Decay?
Or, Away and Play!

The answer will be found in a new WAY. What way?! This better way of asking the hard questions, of themselves: Why Are You … Thinking, Saying, Doing, Behaving, Repeating, and Believing this WAY?!

Yes, I know; we will never look at the word WAY in the same way, ever again! Because, we will all be asking this question of ourselves: Why Are You …

www.kimfoard.com