It's been said that a smile is the lighting system of the face, the cooling system of the head and the heating system of the heart. But a smile is also a powerful weapon against toxic attitudes of all kinds.
Lisa Gurnsey, of Portland, Oregon, wrote to me about a man whose smile quite literally changed her life: "I was having a horrible day -- hating my job, tired of the weather, tired of trying to keep up on bills, and just completely stressed out. I stopped at the post office in the morning and, as I was entering, an older business man commented to me that it was going
A young woman was filling out an application for college when she came across the question: Are you a leader? She thought she had better be brutally honest, so she answered, "No." She was convinced when she sent the application in that she'd never hear from them because of that answer.
But she received a letter back from the school that read: "We have reviewed numerous applications and, to date, there will be some 1,452 new leaders attending school next year. We have decided to accept your application because we felt it was imperative that they have at least one follower."
Groucho Marx quipped, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Though he is joking, I wonder if he is actually hitting close to home. I need to regularly check in with myself and ask questions like, "Is the thing I'm doing now guided by sound principles?
Principled people are the heart and soul of a society. But whoteaches our young people about character? Who teaches them howimportant it is to be honest and to do what is right?
While attending a conference, I returned to my motel room late one evening. The overhead light outside my door was burned out and I had difficulty finding the keyhole. When I managed to open the door, I felt around the wall for a light switch. I found a plate where a switch was once installed...but no switch.
Not discouraged easily, I remembered spotting a lamp by the bed when I deposited my luggage earlier in the day. I found the bed in the dark and felt around until I found the lamp, but when I switched it on,
nothing happened! Now what?
In his book Asimov Laughs Again, author Isaac Asimov relates an incident when he was interviewed by television journalist Barbara Walters.
She asked him how many books he had written and then asked, “Don’t you ever want to do anything but write?”
He said, “No.”
She pressed on. “Don’t you want to go hunting? Fishing? Dancing? Hiking?”
This time he answered, “No! No! No! And no!”
She continued, “But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?”
He said, “Type faster.”
I read an article about a Texas woman who sued the producers of the now defunct American reality show "Extreme Makeover" for more than one million dollars. The show depicted ordinary men and women undergoing "extreme makeovers" that involved plastic surgery, exercise regimens, hairdressing and wardrobing. Each episode ended with the participants' return to their families and friends, showing the reactions of their loved ones, who had not been allowed to see the incremental changes during their absence.
Did you know that Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven? His parents and teachers worried about his mental ability.
Or that Beethoven’s music teacher said about him, “As a composer he is hopeless”? What if young Ludwig believed it?
Who Rekindles Your Light?
An insightful woman, who had lived through numerous dark nights and days, once taught me about getting through difficult times. "I appreciate your outlook on life," I commented to Mrs. Tucker. I was in my twenties and she was fifty years older. In the short time I knew her she became a significant teacher for me. I learned from her remarkable attitude and her unshakeable strength of character, both of which undoubtedly buoyed her through treacherous waters.
Have you been surprised lately?
A woman called her pastor. "We just won $10 million in the lottery!" she exclaimed. "But I'm afraid to tell my husband. He has a weak heart and I'm afraid he may have a heart attack. Pastor, would you be able to tell him for me?"
The clergyman thought that perhaps he could, so he came right over and sat down with the man. "What would you do," he began, "if you were to win $500,000 in the lottery?"
"I suppose my wife could quit her job and I could work less and relax more," the man reflected.
I once clipped a strange story from the newspaper. It was about a man named Jose Estrada who drove to a popular trail where he like to jog. While Estrada was running, another man on the same trail collapsed and died of a heart attack. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where authorities found a car key in his pocket, but no identification. Assuming they'd find the name of the man in his automobile registration papers, they brought the key back to a parking lot near the jogging trail and tried it in the doors of every General Motors vehicle until they found a match.