1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Increase Your Possibility of Personal Success


Fail Well

Yes—as an official member of the human race, you will spend most of your time failing. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s gigantic.

But there will only be one time that it will actually kill you.

So relax a little bit.

Understand that failure is the only way that Mother Nature can teach you the inadequacy of your approach and simultaneously place you in a classroom where you can learn to fare better with your second (or seventy-second) attempt.

We hate failure. It damages our ego—when really, it is our great “amigo.” It is our friend. It limits the amount of damage done in our lives if we’re willing to quickly acknowledge error instead of stubbornly and often angrily continuing to pursue a fruitless path. Two words must be learned:

Sustain or Complain

If you can sustain your abiding faith in the power of wisdom, the love of God and the practicality of effort, you can bounce off any failure, making it a rubber surface instead of finding yourself splatting against the concrete.

To achieve this, you must never complain.

Complaining is when we pretend that failure is unnecessary.

Complaining is when we tell everyone around us that life is not fair, when life itself often generates justice by seeming to be unfair but doing it to everyone.

If you can sustain your belief and refrain from complaining, you can attain your goal.

If you can’t, you will think of failure with words like:

  • Unjust
  • Cheating
  • Cursed
  • Or even Satan

So fail well.

Sustain the good parts, avoid the complaining, and you will live to succeed on another day.


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Ask Jonathots … May 19th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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ask jonathots bigger

I heard an Olympic official on a national television news show say, “People will always cheat. It’s human nature.” Do you think this is true?

“To err is human and to forgive is divine.”

This is the classic axiom.

Unfortunately, the proverb has a missing piece. Actually, it should state: “To err is human, but to repent is human also.”

There are two little devils that chase the human heart, trying to turn us into scoundrels.

Ignorance and arrogance.

We only become hapless when we try to combine these two and justify one with the other.

For instance, I may say something stupid, which is completely forgivable unless I try to convince you that it wasn’t stupid at all–you either misunderstood me or you’re not hip to my particular perception of life.

Ignorance is forgivable.

But when it links up with arrogance, not even divinity can salvage such a stubborn creature.

So my problem with the statement provided in your question is that as long as we view cheating as a normal side road taken by humans which needs to be avoided and confessed, we are fine. But when we begin to believe it’s part of our character–an arrogant segment of us that cannot be removed–we not only lose our redemption, but we lose any portion of us to redeem.

So what is the correct profile?

  • Ignorance happens.
  • Ignorance is exposed.
  • Ignorance is confessed.
  • Forgiveness is granted.
  • Knowledge expands.

This is the process that makes a solid human being.

But if we express ignorance, have it exposed and we defend it with our arrogance or insist that what we have done is “no worse than anyone else,” then forgiveness is impossible and knowledge is stalled.

Repentance is not a noble action, but rather, a necessary position that all humans take to make sure that we progress in wisdom and understanding instead of finding ourselves falling back on the failing positions of former times.

So in conclusion, I would say that ignorance happens, and as long as arrogance doesn’t show up, repentance can open the door to forgiveness, which allows knowledge to rule the day.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … January 9th, 2016

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Dear Man Dear Woman

 

Dear Man: Why didn’t you tell me you were sick? I had to find it out from Mike. Would it have killed you to share?

 

Dear Woman: Mike should have kept his mouth shut. It’s not a big deal. I just didn’t want to tell you and have you fuss over me.

 

Dear Man: Fuss? What do you mean by fuss? Here’s something you have to understand. Being concerned for someone else is not fuss. It’s called love.

 

Dear Woman: Yes, but you overdo it. You start feeling my head for a temperature. I especially hate it when you conjecture on what the problem might be or how I need to take care of myself better. You’re just too emotional.

 

Dear Man: I’m too emotional? Are you kidding? You remember the last time you had a cold? Eight o’clock at night–you asked me if I would go down to Porky Bob’s Barbecue and get you some ribs because they would “make you feel better.” If I remember correctly, you did this with a tilted head, seeking pity, and a tear in your eye.

 

Dear Woman: The sauce is tangy. It burns my throat in a way that makes it heal up. Anyway, that’s not emotional. That’s just expressing my feelings.

 

Dear Man: Let me stop right here. Apparently I have a lot to learn. What is the difference between expressing your feelings and being emotional? Because last week when you were watching the football game, screaming at the TV set because the referees were cheating, and then, when the team lost, you cursed and broke down in tears… Well, I guess what I want to ask is, was that expressing your feelings or being emotional?

 

Dear Woman: Yes, I did all that. But not because I saw a little bird with a broken wing on television and I started to dribble tears because it was so hurt, but cute.

 

Dear Man: So what I’m picking up from you is that if you’re emotional, it’s just a natural expression of feelings. But if I’m expressing my feelings on an issue or situation, it’s because I’m naturally over-emotional.

 

Dear Woman: It’s a known fact that women are more emotional than men.

 

Dear Man: Known by whom? Let me ask you some questions. Can you tell me five women who have ever gotten so emotional and angry that they declared war, went off and killed people?

 

Dear Woman: That’s called patriotism. That’s passion. A devotion to your country.

 

Dear Man: Well, I can see that you have an answer for everything. Are you trying to maintain that whatever I feel is emotional and silly, and whatever you feel is human and good? Because let me clue you in–we’re both human. As human beings, if we don’t have emotion, they classify it as mental illness. We both express those feelings at different times, in what some folks watching might call extreme ways. But if it’s real to us, it’s real.

 

Dear Woman: So you don’t think women are more emotional than men?

 

Dear Man: No, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you being emotional, whereas you portray that when I have concerns and feel happy or sad, it’s because I’m going through some “time of the month” or tirade against the male of the species.

 

Dear Woman: You realize, nobody agrees with you.

 

Dear Man: No, I realize that everybody agrees with me, but they’ve bought into the idea that women are more emotional and men are more controlled. Yet it’s difficult to find a female serial killer, a woman who commits genocide, or a chick who has started her own Ku Klux Klan.

 

Dear Woman: So what are you saying? Are you saying that men and women are equally emotional?

 

Dear Man: I am saying that without emotion we’re not human. Maybe men and women have different interests which ignite their emotions. But in the long run, every person emotes, or they die inside.

 

Dear Woman: I’m a little sick. I should have told you, but honestly, when I tell you, because I’m kind of a baby about it, and you’re willing to mother me, it makes me feel real stupid later on, though I enjoy the sympathy in the moment.

 

Dear Man: That was beautifully stated and I totally understand. Do you think we could do it that way the next time?

 

Dear Woman: If I remember.

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Getting in Character… August 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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diane lane unfaithful

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

To thine own self be true. More words from Bill the Bard.

Without being emotionally truthful to ourselves, we set in motion the seeds of infidelity.

Unfaithful. Promising and then failing to deliver.

And the truth of the matter is, if we’re unfaithful to ourselves, we are certainly determined to be equally as unfair to others.

Even though we criticize this kind of cheating as reckless and uncaring, it seems to permeate the human race like a fungus–or maybe better described as a mold that grows voraciously in a damp environment.

If we’re going to be good actors on the stage of life we have to be able to isolate what makes us unfaithful. The lust to be untrue is not born in our flesh, but in our heart. People who feel cheated, cheat:

  1. I am better than what I have.
  2. I am being ignored
  3. I will force my next opportunity.

When you put these three statements together, or isolate even one of them into a great pool of self-pity, the end result is a disregard for promises and leads to the pursuit of whatever is available on the premises.

Once unfaithful, each one of us is deemed a risk.

As a risk, we tolerate a certain amount of scrutiny but then rebel against the incrimination. This only creates more heart sadness, which leads to greater unfaithfulness.

How can we human beings, who are drawn away by our own lusts, ever learn to gain the predictability that makes us trustworthy to others?

A. Do well.

By the way, that’s your well-doing, not something someone else dug for you. In your present status, what is your “well?”

B. Get better.

You have to be willing to admit that there’s always need for improvement, and such adjustments are made much easier if they happen to be your idea.

C. Stay aware.

Aware of what?

  • Aware of being disgruntled.
  • Aware of being disappointed.
  • Aware of feeling left out.

These are the beginnings of the sorrows of infidelity.

If I am true to myself, I have a chance to be true to you.

But to be true to myself, I have to remove all of the ego props that tell me I should be receiving much more attention.

 

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Confessing … June 6th, 2015

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V.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

Being 16 years of age, I was thrilled.

The principal of our high school had agreed to let our music group perform at an assembly for the entire student body.

I was pumped–with a side of arrogance.

I arranged for the custodian to meet me at the school very early that morning so I could get in, set up the equipment and make everything perfect.

I also decided to bring along my 9-year-old brother so he could help me carry stuff and be my legs, running around from place to place.

But when I arrived at the school there was no janitor anywhere and the building was locked.

Fearing that my dear friend who swept the halls might be late for our appointment, I had taken the precaution the previous day of going into the basement of the high school, where they kept the boiler room, and unlocking a window which faced out to the parking lot.

I was so proud of myself.

This was another reason I had brought my little brother–the window was only big enough for him to slide through.

So I went over, opened the window and gradually eased him down, holding onto his hand, thinking that certainly his feet would touch the ground on the furnace room below.

They didn’t.

He was scared and started to cry, so I released his hand.

He fell a few feet to the ground and bumped his head on the wall. Once again, tears ensued.

I yelled at him, told him to go up and open the door so I could get in.

When the janitor finally did show up, I was nearly set up. With an angry tone and furrowed brow he asked me how I got into the school. I explained that it was really weird, but apparently somebody left the door open. He didn’t believe me, but he also couldn’t prove I was wrong.

After I got set up it was time to take my little brother to the elementary school. On the way I told him to keep his moiuth shut about us entering the school and him bumping his head. He promised he would.

But during the day he got a headache, so Mom had to come pick him up–and all the beans were spilled.

She yelled for a while, calling me inconsiderate and selfish. Honestly I didn’t care. The concert at the school went great.

Until writing this essay today, I had not done a whole lot of thinking about that incident simply because my lies weren’t punished, my meanness to my brother was not revealed and it all came off beautifully.

But it does make me wonder if any of that self-righteous deception is still inside me.

Am I willing to cheat to get what I want if I know what I want is a good thing?

I hope the years have taught me that honesty is not a wimp sitting in the corner waiting to be bullied by the lying crowd, but rather, an intelligent student with a secret–knowing that when all things pan out, he will be the valedictorian.

 

Confessing boy falling

 

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Jesonian: Judgeless… May 24th, 2015

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jesus and mary magdalene

At an early age, I awoke from a theological nightmare, quickly realizing that Christianity was not about relating to a composite of Moses, David, Abraham, Joseph, Jesus and the Apostle Paul, but rather, an intriguing study of the personality and character of a Nazarene carpenter, who became a philosophical, healing Redeemer.

I dubbed this pursuit Jesonian.

One of my earliest revelations in this quest was that Jesus did not judge.

This was not an assessment on my part or a consensus of his actions. He said it.

“I do not judge. If I did judge, it would be righteous and fair, but I do not judge.”

To confirm this, he dealt with Herod the Great, who as the story goes, was guilty of killing babies. Infanticide. Yes, it is said that Herod slaughtered all the children two years and under in Bethlehem. Jesus never mentions it.

Jesus also coexisted with the Romans, who arguably might be considered the most hedonistic and cruel dictators of all time. His response concerning them was, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.”

He was criticized for befriending tax collectors, who were traitors to their Jewish brothers and also thieves, levying extra penalties without legal right. He welcomed them as disciples.

He constantly had to dodge the attacks of the Pharisees, who had turned spirituality into an exercise for profit and gain. He told his disciples to “honor their position, just don’t follow their doctrine.”

And of course, his response to sexual immorality was to rescue a woman who was caught in adultery and was about to be stoned by the tenets of Mosaic Law. He snatches her from death, forgives her and gives her the opportunity to “go and sin no more.”

He further enraged the pious prudes around him by saying that the prostitutes would enter the kingdom of God before the religious leaders.

So surrounded by baby killers, hedonists, injustice, cheats, liars and sexual immorality, Jesus decided not to judge.

Stop and think about that.

You see, it’s not that I don’t have opinions.

It’s not that prejudices don’t scream inside me for justification.

It’s the fact that my example–Jesus–felt no need to judge the world nor condemn it, but instead, quietly offered a lifestyle alternative which he died to validate.

 

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Confessing… May 16th, 2015

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(2582)

II.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

832 miles.

It was the entire round trip from our home to a tiny village in Tennessee, which had opened a coffee-house and kindly invited our fledgling music group to come and share.

They promised to give us dinner and to pass the hat for whatever audience might make its way to the 500-square-foot enclosure.

We jumped at the chance.

We were tired of rehearsing, and considered ourselves quite prepared for public consumption. We scraped together the money to get gasoline, a bag full of snacks and we took off.

It was exhausting, exhilarating, haphazard, crazy, silly, inspiring and probably dangerous.

We didn’t care about the peril. I was just 20 years old and had not yet received my shipment of good sense.

The drive down wore us out and after we finished our little show, the 18 souls who had gathered to hear us collected an offering of $31.22. We thought we had discovered Solomon’s gold.

So when we hopped back in the car to head toward home–with no plan whatsoever on how to actually get there–the first 100 miles zoomed by, as we buzzed with tales of our escapade.

But then, as if struck by a “sleep angel,” we all grew suddenly weary and were in grave danger of running off the road. So we decided to do something none of us had ever done before.

We stopped and took out a motel.

The young lady from our troupe who purchased the accommodations came out and explained that she bought the room for just one person, because if she had included all four of us, there wouldn’t have been enough money.

I had the opportunity at that point to object–or at least feign a concern–but I didn’t.

I felt if we got by with it, it must have been “God’s will.”

So half an hour later, when we were lounging around, getting ready to doze off, there was a sharp knock at the door. It was the innkeeper.

Three of us leaped up and hid in the shower stall behind the curtain while our single, legal member answered the door.

The innkeeper pushed his way in, walked into the bathroom, pulled back the disguise and there we were. He was infuriated.

He demanded that we immediately leave, refunding a fair portion of our money, pushing us out the door and into our car–where we departed, cursing him for what we considered to be his evil spirit.

Somehow or another we made it home.

Candidly, it never occurred to any of us that we were wrong. And if there was a bit of guilty conscience, it was swept away by what we considered to be the owner’s volatile personality.

I thought about that incident today.

I wondered if there was any of that 20-year-old boy still left in me, who thought that “the ends justified the means.”

I do know this–whenever we look for an easier or cheaper way, we open the door to a cheater’s path.

Is there any of that in me?

Is there any part of the grown man I am who would trust my own deceptive tongue instead of risking doing it the right way?

motel we count heads

 

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