Is your life beautiful? Do you live in surroundings that you have made beautiful through your own unique, creative ideas? To expect and lovingly require beauty to be apparent in all areas of your life is to be deeply loving to yourself, your soul, your world, and shows reverence to God and all of life. There is always something beautiful to be found, right where you are, if you will look for it. Concentrate your thoughts on the good, the beautiful, and the true things in life.
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Taking responsibility nurtures self-confidence, and self-confidence can help you to be a more interesting and attractive person. And best of all, the more you believe in yourself, the more power you possess to attract your good. . . . Those who speak constantly of their right to freedom must understand that an irresponsible act does not bring greater freedom but only greater bondage to the action. One law of life says, "If we are to enjoy freedom, we must accept responsibility." A great awareness is expressed in this statement.
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You are present in your life on earth at this moment for the purposes of living, loving, learning, and growing. Be assured that life can reliably provide a wide variety of adventures, experiences, and situations that may require you to draw from the depths of your being. Your level of self-awareness and manner of expression can determine the quality of living you experience. Why? Because you get back what you give out.
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Life is made up not necessarily of great sacrifices or high-level duties but of little things. The smiles, the kindnesses, the commitments and obligations and responsibilities that are given habitually and lovingly are the blessings that win and preserve the heart and bring comfort to one's self as we as to others. This is the ministry of service performed by every useful life.
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If you reflect on your life, you may recall times when you couldn't see the value of some person and were tempted to brush him or her off. It takes hindsight to recognize that the very situation you may have seen as an irritating bother turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Wouldn't life be a much more enjoyable and meaningful experience if we decided to look at the difficult people and irritating situations as blessings in disguise? If we look deeply enough, we might see how these experiences as situations that motivate us to grow and change for the better.
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Your mission in life is to have a "why" to live for, to use your best qualities in the service of the kind of world in which you would like to live. That is your purpose. This is what life expects of you. And when you live according to your purpose, setting goals that support it, you may find the pieces of your life drawn together into a strong internal whole. Then, no matter how difficult life's experiences may prove to be, you can be able to endure and even prevail.
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We may find the Divine to be 3,000 times what we think it is now. It's like asking the tulip there to explain you. The tulip is a beautiful creation, with millions of atoms cooperating with each other to produce great beauty, but ask that tulip to talk about you, and it can't do it. It doesn't have those perceptive abilities. Wouldn't it be conceited to suggest that I had the abilities to describe the deity?
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Many of us understand giving, but some of us may still be confused about the meaning of forgiveness. Some people may go through life in a groveling mode, mistakenly believing they have to receive forgiveness from others. Forgiveness offers more than a reprieve granted to us by another person. True forgiveness is a process of giving up the false for the true and allows us to rid our thinking of rigid ideas. We can develop the flexibility to change our mind and our behavior patterns to higher and greater expressions and find new avenues to freedom.
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How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative, or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.
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Many media commercials encourage us to believe that if we buy a certain product, we can be physically appealing, or popular, or successful. According to the commercial message, it may be easy to make friends and influence people if we simply do what we're told to do. It would be wonderful if that were true, but unfortunately life does not seem to work that way. What is inside of us can be much more important and influential than what is outside.
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The parable of the talents is a good analogy of what happens when we give. When we merely try to hold on to what is given or entrusted to us, life may seem to take away even that. But when we choose to use what life has given us, the return of abundance can include friendship, companionship, financial blessings, homes, transportation, and security in wonderful ways. The universe holds nothing back from the one who lovingly and sincerely gives.
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What happens when we begin to praise our own abilities? And this is not focusing on an inflated ego, but on appreciation and praise. What happens when we begin sincerely to give thanks for our wonderful minds and our strong and healthy bodies? It's not at all difficult to believe that our own senses of confidence and self-worth are actually activated and strengthened.
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The more love we give away, the more we have left. The laws of love differ from the laws of arithmetic. Love hoarded dwindles, but love given grows. If we give all our love, we will have more left than they who save some. Giving love, not receiving, is important; but when we give with no thought of receiving, we automatically, and inescapably receive abundantly. Heaven is a by-product of love. When we say, "I love you," we mean that "a little of God's love flows from me to you." Thereby, we do not have less, but more. For in flowing, the quantity is magnified.
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If you buy all the stocks selling at or below two times earnings, you will lose money on half of them because instead of making profits they will actually lose money, but you will only lose a dollar or so a share at most. Then others will be mediocre performers. But the remaining big winners will go up and produce fabulous results and also ensure a good overall result.
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Counting our blessings can transform melancholy into cheerful mass; laughter and joy are expressions of praise and thanksgiving for life's glories. When looking at the glass that symbolizes our life, we can view it as half full or half empty. The choice is ours... The more joyful we are, the more attractive we become. When we feel gratitude for our experiences, it becomes easier to see the good that always exists. When we give a smile to someone else, we are likely to receive one in return, and that smile reflects a happy heart that is open and receptive to what the good life has in store.
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What are we going to get out of life? This can understandably be a question of fundamental importance to us. We begin with certain basic needs and desires. It is important to have a comfortable home, plenty of food, a meaningful and well-paying job, comfort, companionship, and joy. However, many of us have not fully realized a simple, basic principle: for our receiving to take place, we must first give. Giving and receiving are two aspects of the same law of life.
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From the standpoint of our spiritual development, it might be important for us to realize that we came from an unknown somewhere; we brought with us an attained state of consciousness; and while we are here, we are expanding that consciousness. From some perspectives, it may seem that we are making giant strides, but from the greater overview, our quantity of spiritual knowledge is smaller than Ptolemy's knowledge of astronomy!
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I served for 42 years on the board of trustees of the largest Presbyterian seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and we had brilliant people - teachers and students both-but they did not come up with many new concepts. They weren't invited to come up with new concepts. Anybody who had come up with a new concept would have been under suspicion for being out of step with the tradition or out of step with the teachings of the church.
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See the investment world as an ocean and buy where you get the most value for your money. Right now the value is in non-callable bonds. Most bonds are callable so when they start going up in price, the debtor calls them away from you. But the non-callable bonds, especially those non-callable for 25-30 years, can go way up in price if interest rates go way down.
In my 45-year career as an investment counselor, humility did show me the need for worldwide diversification to reduce risk. That career did help me to become more and more humble because statistics showed that when I advised a client to buy one stock to replace another, about one-third of the time the client would have done better to ignore my advice. In other endeavors, humility about how little I know has encouraged me to listen more carefully and more wisely.
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Not yet have I found any better method to prosper during the future financial chaos, which is likely to last many years, than to keep your net worth in shares of those corporations that have proven to have the widest profit margins and the most rapidly increasing profits. Earning power is likely to continue to be valuable, especially if diversified among many nations.
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I never ask if the market is going to go up or down because I don't know, and besides it doesn't matter. I search nation after nation for stocks, asking: 'Where is the one that is lowest-priced in relation to what I believe it's worth?' Forty years of experience have taught me you can make money without ever knowing which way the market is going.
If success were easy, then it would not necessarily be true success. Some of history's most successful people learned to cope with failure as a natural offshoot of the experimental and creative process and often learned more from their failures than their successes. By taking the attitude that failure is merely a detour on the way to our destination, hope can blossom into success.
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There is a distinction between failing and being a failure. Few things are learned in life without failing at least once. Did you learn to roller skate without falling a few times? Did you learn to ride a bike without losing your balance? Chances are you didn't. You may have wanted to do those things so intensely that you quickly put unsuccessful attempts behind you and kept trying. Soon you acquired the skill to do the thing you wanted. Even though in the process of learning you may have failed many times, you were not a failure. "Failing" simply became an open door to try again.
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When we desire to be a blessing, we find that there are many ways in which we can bless others. We can give material goods to others, and we can also offer them the benefit of our experience. People who have faced and overcome challenges with alcohol and drugs often involve themselves in helping others who are experiencing similar difficulties. They understand the value of overcoming the problem. In every area of the human experience, we may find those precious ones who are able and willing to be a blessing to others.
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I have no quarrel with what I learned in the Presbyterian church - I am still an enthusiastic Christian. But why shouldn't I try to learn more? Why shouldn't I go to Hindu services? Why shouldn't I go to Muslim services? If you are not egotistical, you will welcome the opportunity to learn more.
Be aware of the words that go into your mind, both conscious and unconscious, because words and ideas can be great tools for your mind to use in coming to appropriate decisions. Remember that a statement spoken in spiritual consciousness can contain great spiritual power. Speaking powerful words of love changes things and outer circumstances as well as consciousness itself.
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When we have no goal, or when our vision of the goal is obscured, we may lose our sense of purpose. Even when we've prepared ourselves well and have an aptitude for a given activity, poorly directed efforts can rob us of vital energy. We can spend a great deal of our time, money, and other resources running around in circles. Unless we create specific goals that match our purpose in life and unless we keep a clear vision of these goals, we may eventually falter and fail.
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Each of us has a purpose for living beyond our own survival and pleasure. Every individual is like a thread in a beautiful tapestry with a vital contribution to make, not only to the sustenance of life as we know it, but in the creation and development of more beneficial expressions of life.
Often a successful problem-solver is one who creates a new context in which to view the problem. This can often be done by directing one's attention away from the distracting details of the difficulty. From a detached perspective, we may examine the situation in a new or different light and, after exploring information and options, choose an appropriate course of action.
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It has been said that "to enthuse" means "to fill with spirit," and that spirit of enthusiasm is awaiting release or manifestation. Enthusiasm can be harnessed and activated. It can be transferred from one person to another. The energy of enthusiasm is similar to a radio signal that carries around the world. It can be transmitted and received; and when enthusiasm is shared by a group of people, it can be potentiated to a higher degree of power.
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Most people think of love as some sort of power outside of themselves that will "take them away from all of this." Sadly, this is not the case. Love exists only within our own hearts, and to have happy relationships we must first become truly loving people. And as we fill our hearts with love by expressing love for others in thought, word, and deed ("acting as if" until we make it happen if necessary), that love can heal our own lives, help to solve our problems, and enable us to feel good about ourselves.
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A lot of people talk about life. Some love it. Some disparage it. And a few realize that life can be what you make it because they have learned from past experiences. Lessons learned from these experiences have often contributed greatly toward seeing the possibilities in what some people call "the game of life." When we've "been there" and "done that," we can have as good of an idea of what we don't want as what we do want. Experience is certainly an excellent teacher!
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A flower is a miracle, but it does not have the sight or speech to describe us. And our own ability is no greater than that flower when we try to describe God. His infinity covers not only one planet, but the entire solar system and 100 billion suns. That doesn't mean he is limited in his ability to be part of you.
We hope that there will be nothing that conflicts with anybody's religion or faith. We would never say a person's religion is not effective. We say, 'Would you be interested in something more effective?' We always put things in an optimistic, progressive perspective. Do you want to make your prayers more effective? Not that they are not effective, but do you want to help them become more effective?'
We often see people every day searching in the wrong places for the things they desire. Too many of our fellow humans try to find peace and happiness in drugs, alcohol, and sensual excitement. And it doesn't work. If we desire peace, the first place to look is within ourselves. Peace isn't an external condition as much as an internal context.
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A grower of chrysanthemums awaited a visit from the emperor, who was coming to enjoy his blossoms, of which there were hundreds in bloom. The grower selected one magnificent specimen, then cut down all the others, leaving this one perfect flower. The emperor arrived and sat for several hours quietly gazing at this beautiful flower, letting its beauty have its way with him. Can you imagine being so caught up in appreciation of one flower that everything else fades into the background?
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We have a choice. We can live in the past and be miserable and unhappy, or we can pick ourselves up and move ahead in life. When we choose to focus forward, we can find the energy and ability to remove any obstacles that may appear to be hindering our smooth progression. If you take stock of yourself and find you may be spending time frequently reliving unhappy experiences of the past, make the decision to rid yourself of the ties that bind you to a former way of life.
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