Jay Rifenbary

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Living Up To Your Potential - It's Never Too Late

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Do you desire to be more successful in life than you are? I would hope you do, as it provides an inspiration to wake up each day. To believe you have the potential to improve your life is imperative for being motivated to excel, and optimistic about your future. If you do not believe in your potential to be a better you, why get out of bed? Potential is defined as, “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness”, “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.” A strong belief in your potential first stems from having a foundation of personal core values that you strive to implement daily. Without the existence of core values there is no path to guide how you will ethically live up to that potential.

Core values provide the framework to align what you strive for with who you are, and what you believe in. Living your core values is the cornerstone for building a positive attitude, and attitude is a reflection of your self-respect. Therefore, a positive attitude plus self-respect is a formula for a better you.

What areas of your life would you like to improve upon? When was the last time you asked yourself such a question? I believe we all have the potential to become better individuals. Although there may be some physical and psychological restraints to the extent of that improvement, making the choice to delve into your untapped skills and talents is a positive adventure in itself. For example, how enjoyable might it be to start an art class, take piano lessons, join an outdoors club, take on a new physical challenge, be further involved in your community, take up a cause, or study a new subject matter of interest? There is always the potential for failure, but more importantly there is the potential for success. Joseph Campbell stated, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

Expecting something in your life to change and improve by always doing the same thing is a definition for insanity. Life has a way of offering to all of us the opportunity to discover a new experience and gain a new perspective. Are you one to recognize and grab on to those opportunities, or are you one to expect someone else to do it for you? If it is the latter, say hello to believing you are entitled. Entitlement destroys human potential because there is no perceived effort needed to what one believes he or she deserves. Without effort there is no potential for personal or professional growth. In physics, potential is the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field. Life is your gravitational field, you are the mass, and without substantial energy there is little potential for further success. As Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Self-Esteem is defined as “pride in one’s self”, and pride is defined as “dignity and self-respect.” Living up to your potential, as with self-esteem, is earned not given. It is essential to instill this principle of understanding in your children for they will gain a better appreciation for themselves when they realize they have earned their accomplishments. An “everybody gets a trophy” type of mentorship does little to encourage a high degree of effort by those being mentored. It stifles what it means to live up to one’s potential. As with any fulfilling endeavor, the effort you put in directly correlates with the level of reward that is returned.

Seven steps to unlocking your potential include, * recognize what you would like to improve upon, or research something new you would like to do * understand your limitations and levels of expectation * take everything in moderation, do not bite off more than you can chew * prepare properly to prevent poor performance * pace yourself, yet proceed with enthusiasm * be resolute in your commitment to the new endeavor, quitting is not an option * celebrate the accomplishment and how it has contributed to your zest to live life to the fullest. As Helen Keller so poignantly noted, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”



Deceit - An Emotional Wrecking Ball

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Have you ever been deceived? Being on the receiving end of deceit is emotionally and physically devastating. Deceit is defined as, “cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage.” Deceit is a violation of the goodness of the human spirit and breeds distrust. This behavioral trait is the ultimate example of human indecency. To take advantage of another’s needs, fears, and vulnerabilities demonstrates a lack of individual character that is destructive and victimizing. Homer stated, “Hateful to me as are the gates of hell, is he who, hiding one thing in his heart, utters another. “

There have been incidents in my own life where I have been the victim of deceitful people, scams, false promises and the emotional and financial damage that followed. It certainly diminished my capacity to trust those I conduct personal and professional business with. Being the victim of deceit takes a substantial toll on your sense of self-respect and self-worth. It creates a personal questioning of your skills, intelligence and potential for future success. As with all failures and disappointments it also provides an opportunity to learn, mature, and become emotionally tougher. It educates you in the importance of being analytical, and doing your due diligence prior to making important decisions. It is when you do not conduct your due diligence, with those you deal with, that results in the potential for being a victim of deceit. In addition, it is when you allow emotion to override logic that opens the door to being deceived.

Although the deceiver may be proud of his deception, what goes around comes around. The timeless cliché of “you reap what you sew” is the ultimate punishment for those who deceive. They will eventually suffer in this world or the next. An individual who deceives has little, if any, personal character. It violates personal honesty and although the deceiver may gain monetarily or materially from the deception, the gain is without integrity and therefore diminishes any genuine self-respect they may have. As Benjamin Franklin so candidly stated, “Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest.”

You also tend to punish yourself when you have been taken advantage of, for you believe you should have known better. It is understandable, but it is usually after the fact where the realization that a deception has occurred. I have always been one to give others the benefit of the doubt, but that has certainly changed over the years. Who can you trust? It is a question that should be reflected on often. It is important to monitor your personal and business relationships, and align with those who share your common core values. Validating those values goes beyond what you hear from them. They are revealed by behavior, facts and figures. How do people live with themselves who deceive? They tuck away the truth, but it is always there to poison their soul. Deceit is a lie without accountability, and one cannot be more personally dishonest than that.

There are those who enjoy the hunt to deceive. It provides a false sense of intelligence and cleverness for the deceiver, and yet never fills the true void that exists within that individual. The noted English poet and biographer Robert Southey stated, “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.”

Five keys to preventing deception both personally and professionally include, * Do your homework in regard to researching the person, service, and/or product presented. As we have all heard, if it appears too good to be true it probably is. * Listen to the opinion of those you love and trust. A different perspective is always helpful. * Trust your intuition and put common sense before emotion and spontaneity. * Explore the personal need and/or fear you may have that creates your potential vulnerability to be deceived. For example, if you have a need to be appreciated you will be vulnerable to those who, or those things, that satisfy that need. * Reflect on what you have in your life rather than what you do not have. As English playwright Sir Noel Coward noted, “It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”



Sunday, August 20, 2017

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