July 2008

Full Stop

by Geoff Thompson

The Milky Way is a full stop. It’s true. The Milky Way, our galaxy, the place that our planet Earth calls home, is but the size of a full stop (in comparison to the known universe) in a book, at a library with shelves as high as five ceilings and as long as a football pitch._ _Now that excites me. It really excites me.
You know why? Because it brings perspective to a world that has gotten way – and I say way – out of focus.
We sweat the small stuff. We allow it to become our world, our universe and our galaxy, when really, it is just small stuff. But we allow it to become so big that is clouds the very air we breathe, it smothers our vision and – worst of all – it ruins our bodies and stops us from enjoying the world in which we reside for such a short time._If (comparatively) the Milky Way is the size of a full stop in a five-hundred-page book in a gargantuan library, how small is the earth? How small is our continent? How tiny is our country, city, town and street?
And how small is the problem that you are currently facing, the one that has set up camp in your mind, the one that is threatening to ‘do you in’?
How small is it in comparison to what is really out there?
And your business. You want to grow your business to a £100k turnover, or £500k, or a mill, or a billion, or maybe you’d love to expand overseas, or perhaps you want to float it. But the next step seems too big, too grand – insurmountable even. But how big is it really when compared to the size of the universe. Even a £1 billion turnover (in perspective) would disappear inside a grain of sand on Blackpool beach. What seems hopelessly large, and impossibly difficult, is often tiny. It is just that we allow it to become (in our mind’s eye) much bigger than it actually is. (It is very hard, after all, for the eyes to see clearly what the mind has gotten so out of focus.) If we think it is bigger than it actually is, then it is bigger than it actually is. Real or not, we have made it real with out minds. So a good way to break this cycle is to look at the problem that you are now facing (health, relationship, business) and plac e it into a true perspective within the bigger picture. If it is your health that is an issue, and you think your problems insurmountable, and healing seems a possibility too large to grasp, find an example that is far bigger than yours (universes bigger), one that has already been solved, and use it to spur you on. Be inspired by the likes of Stephen Hawking, who (over four decades ago) was given two years to live by some of the best doctors in the world. Not only did he prove them wrong and survive, but he also went on to shake the very foundations of science with his brilliant insights and discoveries. Read about folk who thought bigger than their depression, bigger than their illness and bigger than their disability – and then went on to complete the most amazing feats of endurance and strength.
If you think that turning over half a mill in your business is too big to contemplate, then read about, talk to and visit businesses that are turning over ten million. And if you are already at ten mill and want to expand more, then be inspired by a billion. Be inspired by people who grew their conglomerates from a tiny, nurtured seed. Be inspired by people like Richard Branson who started his £1 billion empire with no capital and a phone box for an office. Or John Frieda who revolutionised the hairdressing industry from a standing start, by inventing cutting-edge products. After reading Ayn Rand’s amazing book, The Fountainhead and getting acquainted with and inspired by the lead character, Roark (whose integrity was faultless), Frieda was inspired to create one of the biggest hairdressing businesses in the world today.
It works on a global level or on a local level. I used to write an article a month for my newsletter. I secretly wanted to write one a week but I always felt that writing one really good article a week was a bit too much of a challenge (what with all the other plates I was spinning), until my friend John Harrison told me that he intended to write one article a day for his blog. One a day! Suddenly, one a month seemed lazy and one a week seemed positively achievable. So now I write one a week, and maybe later I will go for one a day (so watch your back young John Harrison, I am coming for your title).
There are examples out there ready for you to find that will put your problems (or what the Chinese would call ‘opportunities’) into perspective. And when the perspective changes, the world will change with it. What seems massive today will be very manageable tomorrow, and tomorrow’s goals will seem positively minute – perhaps the size of a full stop in a book of five-hundred pages – compared to what you will be achieving in a year’s time.
Be well.

 

David and Goliath— Insurmountable Odds!

The Philistine army had gathered for war against its enemy, Israel. Goliath, the Philistine giant, was more than nine feet tall. Wearing full armor, he was sent to harass and spread fear among the Israelites, urging them to fight. The Israelites were camped for 40 days and nights. David, the youngest son of his family, was a small, meek, Israelite teenager. Having heard the threats of Goliath, David responded to the challenge. Shunning an offer of beautiful battle armor from his king, David, dressed in his simple tunic, carried his shepherd’s staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones into battle against Goliath. As David approached Goliath, the giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults and trying to intimidate him, but David spoke, “You are armed with a sword, spear and javelin, but I come in the name of the Lord Almighty.”
As Goliath approached, David filled his sling with a stone and flung it at Goliath. The stone hit him in the forehead, felling the giant. David was victorious, overcoming insurmountable odds, despite Goliath’s seeming advantage. David had the right attitude to put his mind to work and achieve his goal. He didn’t let fear and self-doubt cripple him. He remained focused and believed in himself. On that day, he was a true warrior.
Comparing this Story to the Martial Arts
• David believed in himself and knew that he was acting correctly. Goliath was a giant and a symbol for life’s biggest problems. When you are able to vercome giant problems and seemingly impenetrable roadblocks, then, you too, will become a champion in life.
• David didn’t stop or even waiver, even when the giant criticized, insulted and threatened him. The other Israelites cowered in fear, but David ran to battle with Goliath. To achieve greatness, you must learn how to persevere in the face of adversity

Join Me for a Cup of Tea

Many experts recommend drinking green tea because it has been linked to a ariety of health benefits, including weight loss, improved cognitive function, ower cholesterol and cancer protection. Green tea contains many nutrients, especially phenols, polyphenols and catechins. Catechins are the antioxidant compounds that have been most widely studied. One catechin is pigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which has antioxidant potential 200 times tronger than vitamin C and 20 times stronger than vitamin E. Green tea is made solely from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea is made from the same, which reduces the antioxidant content. (Research results vary, egarding the significance of this loss.) White tea is made from the buds and young leaves of the plants, and is minimally processed, resulting in even higher antioxidant potential than green tea. Which one should you select? Additives are the most important factor. Many teas, especially those that are already brewed, contain large amounts of sugar or other sweeteners or dditives. It’s best to brew your own tea from organic teas. hat about your “additives?” Do you drink your tea with lemon or milk? Combining citrus juice ith green tea has been found to increase antioxidant compounds as much as 13 times! This is due to the protective effect the acidic citrus juice has on the catechins, as they travel through the digestive system. It appears that milk may actually negate some of the beneficial effects by precipitating out the phenols (although not all experts agree); therefore, it is recommended that you drink plain tea or with lemon. Green tea contains significantly less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Generally, the longer you steep your tea, the more caffeine it will contain. Tea is definitely preferable to coffee when comparing caffeine intake, and the health benefits that tea offers.

Gratitude

“ The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our lessings.”
Eric Hoffer, 20th American philosopher and poet

Translation for Adults
It sometimes seems that everyone but you has the perfect job, the fancy car and big house. If you’re a “glass-half-empty” kind of person, then, of course, you will view your life in negative terms; but, instead, you should be counting our blessings. Look at life with a positive attitude. You may not have the iggest house, but you do have a roof over your head. You may not have the best-paying job, but you do have a job that takes care of your family’s needs. Look at the glass as being half-full, instead of half-empty, and you’ll learn to be grateful for what you have and be able to concentrate on filling the other half of the glass.

Translation for Kids
It’s always better to be grateful for what you have than be negative about what ou don’t have. Your bike may not be as cool as your neighbor’s or your best riend may have the newest video gaming system—and you don’t. Instead of wishing for what others have, think positive about your life. Be grateful that your parents love and take care of you. Be grateful that you eat well everyday and sleep in a warm bed—many children do not. Most importantly, tell your parents, your friends and your teachers how grateful you are for what they do for you.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Translation for Adults
“You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” is an actions-over-words hilosophy that you can follow to express your gratitude. Sure, you can (and should) say “thank you” to the neighbor who gathered your mail and ewspaper during your vacation, but your gratitude is more meaningful when you return the favor, shovel his sidewalk or rake leaves from his yard. What you do sends a much more powerful message— and teaches a much more powerful lesson—than what you say.

Translation for Kids
It is really good manners to say “thank you” when someone does something nice for you. Not only is it polite, but also it makes the other person happy to know you are grateful. You can make that person even happier if you show our gratitude, instead of just saying, “Thank you.” You should thank your mom every day for the meals she prepares for you, but you can really show your gratitude when you offer to clear the table, wash the dishes or help her make tomorrow’s meals. Your actions can say much more about your attitude than the words you speak.

“ The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
William James, 19th century American philosopher and psychologist

Translation for Adults
Being grateful to others with a “thank you” is polite, but there is a deeper eason for showing gratitude, and that’s to allow others to feel appreciated. When others help you, they want to know that their efforts were noticed. You an easily put yourself in their shoes because, undoubtedly, you’ve helped others, but were never thanked. How did you feel? Unappreciated? Unimportant? Saying “thank you” and showing gratitude with reciprocal ctions are the best motivators to continue to help each other.

Translation for Kids
Thanking others for what they’ve done for you is more than good manners. It can make them happy that they helped you. They know that you appreciate their efforts—and everyone wants to be appreciated. Do you remember when you helped someone and he or she thanked you? Didn’t it make you feel reat? You probably also remember when you were helpful and no one thanked you. How did you feel? Unappreciated? Helping others makes the world a better place to live, but making sure they know that you appreciate what they did will motivate them (and you) to help even more people. That’s what a Black Belt does!