The Pamela Positive

To have a Life of Giving, we can celebrate and be conscious of all the good going on around us.  It’s time to be aware and watch for this flow of goodness.  Here are some ideas that help you with your thinking, your attitude, your shopping, your knowledge of the world, your entire way of life.   We tweet every morning at 9:15 a.m. with our finds so you can get your day started off right!

This page lists all our Pamela Positives from 2009 and 2010.  To find more recent ones, select the “Pamela Positive” category and view them as posts.

 

Do Unto Others

Do Unto Others is from ancient times.  Hearing different versions from philosophers and religious leaders make us realize the commonality of Truth.  What a wonderful way to tie the world together!

“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”
Baha’u’llah, 19th century A.D.

“None of you truly have the faith if you do not desire for your brother that which you desire for yourself.”
Muhammad, 6th century A.D.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Jesus, 1st century A.D.

“Do not unto others what thou wouldst not they should do unto thee.”
Rabbi Hillel, 1st century B.C.

“May I do unto others as I would that they should do unto me.”
Plato, 5th century B.C.

“Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.”
Confucius, 6th century B.C.

“Hurt not others with that which pains thyself.”
Buddha, 6th century B.C.

“Do not do unto others all that which is not well for oneself.”
Zoroaster, 6th century B.C.

 

Know Your Goals. Know Your Team’s Goals. Celebrate the Beauty of Balance!
12/17/2010

I hope I believe in balance. And part of that is identifying and knowing your team members’ goals outside of work.

It’s important to have outside lives and interests.  You have to begin by recognizing those first for yourself.  Your team will see you modeling this balance and how it makes you a whole, fully giving person.

We try to encourage our team to have outside interests, and to share their goals. We know UniversalGiving can’t be everything for everyone (even me ). And so I love to hear about the other interests—how can we help further them? One person wants to be a writer. Another wants to go into aerospace. If I know this, perhaps someday I can help them. I can watch out for a person or introduction that might be helpful.  Or even in a small way, I can find a helpful article in my daily journey of reading.

We’re all here to help each other.  It can happen in so many ways.  Focus on encouraging a balanced life and sharing of one another’s goals.  Let’s see how much we can help each other.  It will amaze you how much it energizes your organization, and propels your vision forward.  But most importantly, it honors the other person holistically, just as you would want to be honored.

 

When You’re at the Table, You’re Open and Your Defenses Are Down
12/16/10

“People want that gathering together. The table is magical. When you’re at the table, you’re open and your defenses are down.”

- Lidia Bastianich, host of PBS “Lidia’s Italy”

Mealtimes seem to be a time of the past. We eat in our cars and desks or even holding a powerbar walking out the door… and yet Lidia points out how we can find deep caring and nourishment at the table.  It’s not just sharing food, but also sharing of our hearts and feelings.  It’s a time to be a sounding board and to have sounding boards…from people who truly care about you.  It’s a time to relax, and yet also profound as some of the most important issues in your life may come out in a casual way.

Don’t miss this time with your loved ones.  “The table is magical.”  Or I might add  “The people at the table are magical.”

 

Better To Make a Few Mistakes Being Natural
12/15/2010

“Better to make a few mistakes being natural than to do everything out of a feeling of worry.”
- The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1946

It’s better to make a few mistakes being natural.   It’s important to be who we are in a natural, real way.  If we get everything right, and are absolutely perfect, but it’s done with anxiety…. then it actually isn’t right, is it?

What we do needs to be done with care, love, calm.  With joy and sincerity…and since Dr. Benjamin Spock was a famous leader in parenting in the 40s, I’ll take his advice not only for parenting, but also for management.  And for our communications, how we live our lives, how we treat others…

Dr. Spock was an influential writer on childrearing, who advocated for increased flexibility and affection in the treatment of infants and children.  He was also an Olympic gold medalist in rowing, and a peace advocate.

 

Why Indonesian Street Children Love the Internet
12/14/2010

On the streets of Indonesia, children often compete, gang against gang, in violent war.  Many of them don’t have a home, much less a bed, to call their own.

But a new night life is emerging in Indonesia.  Starting at 10 pm until 5 am, many cafes, which have internet access and computers, are hosting street children.  They provide a special offer to “spend their time online with a cup of coffee and a piece of bread.”  It costs just one dollar.

Instead of becoming involved in crime, or being the victim of one, now children are able to find a safe haven.  They can not only protect themselves, but also grow their future.  Children are connecting with their peers in other countries…they are practicing new languages…finding new friendships which are caring and nonviolent.

Would that we could find a safe haven for every one of us; one that provides a hot beverage, a morsel of food, protection and the opportunity to connect with others in a kind and caring way.  Who would have ever thought that the internet is saving lives in Indonesia?

 

A Policy of “Zero Problems with the Neighbors”
12/13/10

Turkey is a model for us.  It has a new official policy: “zero problems with the neighbors.”

As is the situation with many countries, Turkey has had its share of challenges with its neighbors.  For example, there were reports of genocide in 1915 in Armenia, or challenges with its other Arab neighbors.

Yet their official policy now is to extend friendship, positive relations and harmony in its relationship-building.  In essence, Turkey is focusing forward, rather than looking back.

Whether we’re a country, a person, in a marriage, or working on a partnership, shouldn’t we all take this view?  “Zero problems with the neighbors?”

Let us let harmony, peace and trust reign in all that we do.

 

To Have a Positive Mindset:  Think about Building your Mind as you would your Dream Home
12/10/2010

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home!   So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level…if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as in many countries pollution blocks the sun.  That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping.   Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

 

Listening: A Business Bliss
12/9/10

When getting involved internationally, it’s so important to listen to others. Respect the person, the culture, and their local community.  To do so is to honor the unique wisdom and presence they bring to the world.

Listening, and striving to understand other people, is the right thing to do. It will also open your business up to new opportunities. When you honor people and their local customs, they will want to work with you.  And you will love working with them!  Listening is mirrored in Respect,  which is a type of “business bliss.”

 

Things That Make You Go Wow!   Parenting is 90% Energy
12/8/2010

“Parenting is 90% energy…”

That’s what Jack Black says, famed comedian, actor, and devoted Dad.  He’s got a good message for us here on kids, and for that matter, for any type of communications we engage in.  Having rest, sleep, regeneration, rejuvenation, is so important to being the best selves we can be:

“The more sleep I get, the better dad I am.  Parenting is 90% energy if you don’t have it, then there tend to be some lazy TV-watching days with the kids, and that ain’t getting it done.  A great day with them—my sons are 4 and 2—is an energized adventure into the world.”

From: Honey, I Kept Up With the Kids
Excerpt from Parade Magazine
From Jack Black’s “Things that Make Him Go Wow!”

 

Don’t Ever Give This Up: Humble Will
12/7/2010

Don’t ever give this up.  Your Humble Will.   It’s your commitment to persevere.

Business models will change and do change. Systems change, marketplaces change, technology changes.

But your Humble Will to persevere cannot.  Your organization relies on it; your team must know it. And you must found this commitment to persevere deeply within your soul and daily execution.

Please note I add “humble will.” It’s a listening commitment, a listening perseverance. You can’t just can’t just bulldoze ahead….. You have to be in touch with your marketplace, sector, clients, board, partners, team in order to know the best way to go, each moment, each day. And that takes humble listening.

Don’t ever give up your Humble Will to persevere.

 

The Best Leadership — Move in Front, Walk Behind
12/6/2010

Sometimes you need to lead the charge. Sometimes you need to gently corral people forward.  Sometimes you need to speak boldly and with principle; other times you need to quietly acknowledge and encourage.  Sometimes you must sprint ahead; other times you must simply walk silently and patiently.

Leadership is always ethical, but its form changes radically.  Let’s listen to Shirin Ebadi…and strive to be the leaders we need to be, moment by moment…

“A political leader shows people the way, moving in front of the people and showing them a path. A human rights advocate, instead, walks behind the people, and, if anyone is left behind, takes their hand to help them.” — Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Iran’s first female judge

 

Rabbis Working for Rights
12/3/2010

What a beautiful testament to true peace across the world. Rabbis for Human Rights helps create greater understanding and compassion for Jewish and Palestian people, in hot spots across the world.

They have some very specific programs which help people work together harmoniously regarding the land, specific to each culture.  Nicholas Kristof did an outstanding video on how rabbis help Palestian farmers plant olive trees. The olive trees have a particular spiritual meaning for Palestinians, and the Rabbis are demonstrating their respect and care for the Palestinian people by honoring their beliefs.  Of course, it also helps nourish the land and provide good food, as well.

If you’d like to get involved in peace building, here are some ways you can contribute to peaceful communities.  Get Inspired!

Contribute to Peace-building Books

Build Peace at a Healing Center for Children

Support the Alliance for Peacebuilding

 

Tell Your Team They Are Great and DON’T Give Them Anything To Do
12/2/2010

One of the most powerful things you can do to recognize someone on your team is to call them and thank them and say “You’re doing a wonderful job today, and I wanted to thank you. That’s it. I just wanted you to know, and for you to take the time to recognize it. Please know how much I appreciate your consistent work and positive attitude.”  Do not add on a ‘to do.’ I know that’s tempting as we as CEOs have a lot we want to accomplish!  But just let the conversation rest in genuine appreciation. It’s one of the best ways you can thank someone — without agenda.

 

Poverty Be Gone
12/1/2010

Poverty be gone. It’s why I get up everyday.  Poverty be gone.  I want my grandchildren to ask me what poverty means.  That’s why we are here.

 

Be a Firefly—2000 Ways to Light Up the World
11/30/2010

There are more than 2000 different species fo fireflies.  That means we all get to light up the world a multitude of ways.  Decide how you’re going to shine today!

 

God Help Me To Become a Clearer More Loving Person
11/29/2010

God help me to become a clearer more loving person.

To think of others more; myself less.
To listen more carefully; respond in deeper gentleness.

To have a quiet centering of appreciation in
morning and in night.
To convince myself of joy in darkened dawn’s flittering might
To protect my thought as well as spiritual sight.

To see the good, seek the good, see the good again.
To cherish all identity in my family brother friend.

To enrich my self’s experience in understanding God’s word.
Constantly grateful, amaze, at His beautifully crooned world.

From Pamela’s journal, 1994.

 

30% of the World Donates
11/24/2010

Worldwide, 30% of people donate money, according to a new survey by the Charities Aid Foundation.  What a beautiful statement to hear.  That’s what UniversalGiving is all about. Our vision is to “Create a World Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Every Day Life.”  We want giving and volunteering to be as natural as eating. We just have to do it.

 

Everyone Deserves a Roof
11/23/2010

EDAR.  It’s the latest innovation in Los Angeles that is taking the homeless community by storm.

Everyone Deserves a Roof.   It’s a well functioning shopping cart for homeless people, with special pouches, features and safety mechanisms. At the same time, it can be converted into a bed and shelter at night.  A respectful, comfortable ‘mini-home.’  Even Richard Riordan, former mayor of Los Angeles, slept in his EDAR with other homeless people, in Skid Row in Los Angeles.

EDAR units are free. And they aren’t trying to ‘make homelessness the norm.’ It’s simply dealing with the situation at hand: There are thousand of stranded people on the streets. And each one of them has a unique story.  They are just “the homeless.” They are homeless people, who have come upon challenging times. And during these times, they quite simply, deserve a special home and cart.

I hope you will join me in supporting EDAR. You can help a person who has fallen into homelessness and  have a sense of safety, security, comfort and dignity. Everyone Deserves a Roof.

I want to buy an EDAR for someone!

 

Girls, We Have An Effect
11/22/2010

Girls, we truly have an effect.  I mean that whether you are a child, teenager or woman.  We have a profound ability to bring joy, compassion to life, and an ability to try to serve many different people who are so important to us, such as our children, nieces, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, workteams, church communities, school groups, sports teams or yoga buddies.  And so we need to take care of ourselves, and all women across the world.

With that I’d like to share an inspirational video called the Girl Effect, produced by Nike.  It’s such a simple presentation, but so compelling–and the idea is so profound.  The answer isn’t new technology or the new innovation–it’s most importantly people, girls, women, our community.   And there’s a beautiful message here that changing the life of one girl will mean a better world for everyone–because we are all so connected…

So girls, please take a look at the Girl Effect.  And if you are inspired, you’ll see a way to help a girl underneath it.  We hope you get involved!

Click here for the video.  And here for the organization homepage.

 

“Don’t Bunt.”
11/19/2010

“Don’t bunt.  Aim out of the ballpark.  Aim for the company of the immortals.” –David Ogilvy

This is a beautiful clear message, especially in honor of our quirky, beloved Giants, about a clear focus.  A focus that aims for the best, drives for excellence, and holds the highest standards in mind.   Mr. Ogilvy did that with his advertising firm, and so we can choose to aim out of the ballpark in our chosen endeavor, too.

David Ogilvy (1911-1999) was a noted businessman, working in advertising.  He is often called “The Father of Advertising,” and was a key thinker in shaping modern advertising.

 

“If It Is Right, It Happens…Nothing Good Gets Away”
11/18/2010

“Love…is an outpouring of everything good in you–of kindness, and consideration and respect–not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable…[This] can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had…And don’t worry about losing.  If it is right, it happens–the main this is not to hurry.  Nothing good gets away.”  – John Steinbeck, to his son Thom

Heartfelt advice is such wonderful wealth.   And it’s even more meaningful when it’s in a letter, which someone took the time to write, and shape with their own beautiful language, handwriting and style.

This is one of my favorites, between a father and a son. John Steinbeck wrote to his son about the meaning of love.  I really don’t need to say anything else.

Enjoy this sincere, kind wisdom. I almost feel its warmth emanating from the pages…of care, of experience, of hope, of trust.  May we all trust love.

John Steinbeck was a Nobel Prize-winning author, whose most famous works include The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men.  Steinbeck’s works often address social issues such as ecology, cultural standards and the condition of laborers.

 

Who Gives Internationally?
11/17/2010

International giving is on the rise.  In the United States, we’re seeing double-digit annual growth.  A recent study called Preferences for International Redistribution by Osili and Cagla Okten explored the characteristics of international donors.  They discovered that people with higher incomes and with higher levels of education were more likely to give internationally, as were foreign-born households.  They also found out that age, gender, employment, marital status and religion had no significant impact in whether people gave internationally.

Another key contributor to giving internationally: living in a diverse community.

Thank you to all who give!  Let’s celebrate our diversity, and our giving.

 

Poverty Less!
11/16/2010

The number of people in poverty swooped below one billion this year.  Agriculture, farming, available crops and a resultant junction in food prices helped nourish people across the world.

However, we still face challenges.  26% of the 925 million underfed people are in sub-Saharan Africa.  You can take action today to feed a family in need.

 

Spiritual Guidance Has Soared
11/15/2010

News reports relate that hospitals have responded to increasing requests from their patients: they want more chaplains.  Data shows that at Brigham and Women’s Hospital requests for chaplains have risen 23% since 2004.  Massachusetts General Hospital’s requests soared 30% since 2006.

The requests are from both religious and non-religious patients, family and friends.  An interesting note—As Liz Kowalczyk states in “Hospitals Expanding Duties of Chaplains” in the Boston Globe, “[Chaplains] have also taken on a more nondenominational role, with Catholic priests at times visiting Jewish patients, and rabbis visiting Episcopalians…”

We celebrate this connection of spiritual leaders helping people heal.  Thank you, Liz Kowalczyk, for this exciting new report.

 

“Never stop paying attention to your feelings: they’re the only warning bell…”
11/12/2010

Never stop paying attention to your feelings: they’re the only warning bell God lodged into your inner circuitry to remind you of your higher purpose.” — Anthony Silard

Anthony Silard has written some very powerful insights on staying in touch with our true course.  It’s the inner voice…it’s the clear light telling us that we need to choose the right activity…not only the good one.  It’s the right course for us, not determined by the world, society, or expectations from others or ourselves. Tony’s profound book, Full Alignment, encourages us all to keep listening, so we can go forward with our highest joy.

 

Wisdom, Philosophy, Greatness
11/11/2010

“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”  — Kahlil Gibran

What a beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran, a philosopher and leader who was so conscious of living in tune with nature, our feelings and our sincerest intentions.

Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883 and emigrated to the United States as a young man.  He is best known for his work of philisophical essays, The Prophet.  He is the third best-selling poet in the world, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu–excellent company to be in!

 

Start Your Life Out With Sugar
11/10/2010

According to a Persian tradition, wedding guests sprinkle the new bride and groom with sugar.  It means that everyone is wishing them sweetness in life as they start out on their journey together.

Here is more background on beautiful Persian wedding traditions.

Whether we are married, single, have wonderful friends, are in college or retired, may we all “sprinkle sugar” on each other each day.  Let’s encourage that sweetness to reign in our daily lives, every day!

 

Lebanon Opens Doors
11/9/2010

This summer, Lebanon passed a law to give its roughly 400,000 Palestinian refugees the right to work in any profession.  Previously, they had only been allowed to work in very low-level jobs.  Thank you, Lebanon, for this move in the right direction to increase freedom.

 

ReUSE  Your Shoe!
11/8/2010

Nike has a great program.  They don’t just sell shoes, they reuse your shoes.

In 1993 Nike started ReUse-A-Shoe. More than 25,056,779 pairs of shoes have now been used to build playgrounds and save our earth from unnecessary landfill.  Old shoes are combined with pre-consumer materials into “Nike Grind.”   This new compound is then used for tracks, basketball courts, playgrounds.

To learn more about ReUse-A-Shoe and donation locations visit http://www.nikereuseashoe.com.  You can also learn more about UniversalGiving and the services we provide to improve Corporate Social Responsibility.

 

“Love Should Be Easy, Free in Connection”
 11/5/2010

“I have learned about Love.  Love should be easy, free in connection; work, wonderfully so, as in investment; vulnerability balanced with courage, and always undergirded with trust.  It should be grace, graced & grateful.  It should uplift you.”

Some thoughts on what love can be, from my journal, November 29th, around 1998?

 

Leave Your Children The Wealthiest Estate Possible
11/4/2010

Simple Truths creates some powerful books and motivating stories.  My dad recently sent me this one, and a phrase particularly struck me.   Mac Anderson talks about how his dad respected people equally…how we should strive to treat everyone as we would want to be treated. To treat them the same.  That is with love, respect, caring — and in a very even, consistent manner. What a life calling!   Anderson states:

I recently heard someone say, “If you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left them an estate of incalculable value.” Truer words were never spoken.”

If you want to read the full excerpt, please see below.

***************************************************

I grew up in Trenton, a west Tennessee town of five thousand people. I have wonderful memories of those first eighteen years, and many people in Trenton influenced my life in very positive ways. My football coach, Walter Kilzer, taught me the importance of hard work, discipline, and believing in myself. My history teacher, Fred Culp, is still the funniest person I’ve ever met. He taught me that a sense of humor, and especially laughing at yourself, can be one of life’s greatest blessings.

But my father was my hero. He taught me many things, but at the top of the list, he taught me to treat people with love and respect…to live the Golden Rule. I remember one particular instance of him teaching this “life lesson” as if it were yesterday. Dad owned a furniture store, and I used to dust the furniture every Wednesday after school to earn my allowance. One afternoon I observed my Dad talking to all the customers as they came in…the hardware store owner, the banker, a farmer, a doctor. At the end of the day, just as Dad was closing, the garbage collector came in.

I was ready to go home, and I thought that surely Dad wouldn’t spend too much time with him. But I was wrong. Dad greeted him at the door with a big hug and talked with him about his wife and son who had been in a car accident the month before. He empathized, he asked questions, he listened, and he listened some more. I kept looking at the clock, and when the man finally left, I asked, “Dad, why did you spend so much time with him? He’s just the garbage collector.” Dad then looked at me, locked the front door to the store, and said, “Son, let’s talk.”

He said, “I’m your father and I tell you lots of stuff as all fathers should, but if you remember nothing else I ever tell you, remember this…treat every human being just the way that you would want to be treated.” He said, “I know this is not the first time you’ve heard it, but I want to make sure it’s the first time you truly understand it, because if you had understood, you would never have said what you said.” We sat there and talked for another hour about the meaning and the power of the Golden Rule. Dad said, “If you live the Golden Rule everything else in life will usually work itself out, but if you don’t, your life probably will be very unhappy and without meaning.”

I recently heard someone say, “If you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left them an estate of incalculable value.” Truer words were never spoken.

 

“It is the world’s religion, and not the world’s weather, that links us to one another.”
11/3/2010

“It is the world’s religion, and not the world’s weather, that links us to one another.” – Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold has a personal mission to find where Islam and Christianity come together.  She traveled to many places along the 10th parallel, the longitude line 700 miles north of the equator: here the majority of Muslims live, as well as 60% of Christians.  As she relates in her book, The Tenth Parallel, religion can be what connects us all.

She found in the special places along what she calls “the Fault Line,” where these two religions meet, that both religions have a commitment to know God intimately, and that there is a commonality in this spiritual grounding.

Thank you, Eliza, for your revelation, which helps us feel more connected across religions, race, ethnicity, and any type of background.

Griswold spent seven years traveling in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.  You can read more about what links us together in her recent book “The Tenth Parallel.”  You can also read her interview with Christian Science Monitor editor Marjorie Kahe.

 

“None of Us Are Born Thinking We Are Ordinary…”
11/2/2010

“None of us are born thinking we are ordinary.  Feeling special is an essential part of the human birthright.  If you don’t think you are special, you won’t seek to contribute your gifts to the world.”  — Shmuley Boteach

Shmuley Boteach is a rabbi, radio and TV host and the author of Renewal: A Guide to the Value-Filled Life.

 

Just For Today
11/1/2010

“Just For Today” is a moving, practical piece that allows us to warmly embrace life, each day…I hope you enjoy and it helps you live life more graciously today!

Just for today I will be happy.

This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within, it is not a matter of externals.

Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is and not try to adjust everything to my own desires.

I will take my family, my business and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

Just for today I will take care of my body.

I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind.

I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways.

I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.

Just for today I will be agreeable.

I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, not find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.

Just for today I will try to live through this day only.

Not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will have a program.

I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour all by myself and relax.

In this half-hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid.

Especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.

 

It is difficult to find a conclusive author for this piece.  It is often cited to Sybil Partridge, and seems to be inspired by a hymn she wrote.

Sybil Partridge lived from 1856 to 1920, and was a governess in a school in Liverpool.  A Roman Catholic nun, she was also called Sister Mary Xavier. 

Thank you, Sybil, for your wise, kind guidance…  We send gratitude from the 21st Century.  We appreciate the eternal truths espoused here.

 

Pamela’s Favorite…Pamela Positive

“What’s Important to You Is Important to Me”
10/29/2010

“What’s Important To You Is Important To Me”

This is one of my favorite statements.  It helps me understand and sincerely care about others.  When we truly listen to our family, friends, partners, team mates, improv players, then we can really hear…what’s important.

Sometimes it might be a clean kitchen.  For others, it might be taking the dog for a walk or getting the car cleaned.  Or it might be that you showed up at your daughter’s gymnastics recital. And sometimes, sitting down and listening to your boyfriend, while not multitasking and cleaning the dishes at the same time, may be the biggest sign of attention. It can even be as small as keeping your desk clean at work because you know it inspires your manager.

The point is, we all fall into habits.  These habits are what are most comfortable, and convenient, for us.  They are our priorities. But they are not necessarily important to others.  Instead, we need to take a look at what motivates others.

So even if I can live with a messy desk, if I know my manager really is inspired to see an ordered workspace, then I can try to rise to that new standard.  If it bothers my boyfriend that I’m doing something else while he’s talking about a serious issue, then I need to stop and sit down, and give my undivided attention.

These are the small and important ways that we can let someone know they are important to us.

It’s the Substance of what builds or breaks down any relationship.

Many of us have felt that overwhelmingly warm feeling when someone does something for us… It specifically hits our hearts.  “Ah…how grateful I am that they took out the recycling!  I love an ordered home…”  It’s something that puts you at  peace.  And that positive energy allows you to give more.

“What’s Important to You is Important to Me.”

What a beautiful way to live…

 

Let the Tree Release Its Branch…Then You Can Use It
10/28/2010

During the Edo era in Japan (1603-1868), the only wood they’d use from the forest was if a branch had fallen from a tree.  In the same way, we don’t pick fruit before it’s ripe.  We don’t wrench the tomato from the vine until it’s ready to give itself to us.  Perhaps, then, the message for us in present-day as well is, don’t cut down the wood until the tree is ready to release its branch.

 

Do You Have Any Volunteers In Your Garden?
10/27/2010

I’m fortunate enough to have grown up with a very small vegetable garden that my parents maintained.  We often ate vegetables for dinner from the garden, picked flowers, grew corn, potatoes, zucchini.  We also had our “volunteer plants,” meaning seeds that happened to pop up, nurture themselves, and volunteer their wonderful offerings to us.  Sometimes it might be a type of berry, a different tomato plant, or a flower.

Let’s encourage all the “volunteers” in our lives.  Whether they be unexpected gifts, new people, or effortless events that pop up into our lives to help, inspire, or encourage us.  Not everything has to be done through an act of will.  Sometimes goodness shows up on its own… and we should embrace and be grateful for its welcome entrance into our lives…

 

Do You Have Enough Green Light in Your Life?
10/26/2010

Try to use all the natural light that comes to us from our earth.  Green light is light from the sun, and not fluorescent bulbs.  In fact, I’d even go so far to say that what a wonderful world it would be if we operated based on when our day was light — and our night was dark.  Our body rhythms would be in tune with this natural course of living. Perhaps light is sending us a message of when we should work, engage with  people, and when we should sleep, rest, rejuvenate.

Home
10/25/2010

A home should be inspiring.  All the objects in your home should reinforce your values and character.  Home should be a respite of calm and peace, and a reflection of who you are.

A home should demonstrate moderation.  Homes should reflect what is needed.  Meet your needs, and then embrace moderation and simplicity.

A home should have balance.  The best homes reflect a sense of balance within the spaces, allowing for different types of activities.  Some may be more energetic, others which are more peaceful.

 

Michael Douglas’ Little Pieces of Innocence…and Unequivocal Love
10/22/10

“Do you know what absolute happiness is?  For me, it is to wake up to my kids in the morning—these little pieces of innocence—to wake them and find they’re so happy to see me!  It is unequivocal love, no question about it.”

Although Michael Douglas is facing a challenging time with his health, he shows us all what our priorities should be.  Thank you, Michael, for valuing what is important in life.  We wish continued health and happiness for you and your family.

 

The Economist Reports: Prayer Keeps Us Together
 10/21/2010

A new report from The Economist came out last month that people who prayed specifically for their partners were more likely to stay committed and faithful than those who prayed in general.

First, the study examined if prayer had any effect at all.  There were some very interesting results.  For those who thought positive thoughts about their partner, or who prayed in general, there was  a stronger likelihood that their marriage would last.  However, there were different levels as to how prayer and positive thinking affected fidelity.

The test group who was asked to think positive thoughts about their partners were more likely to stay married than the control group.

The group which prayed in general for their partners was more likely to stay married than those who thought positive thoughts about their partner.

And the group who prayed specifically for their partner was more likely to stay married than those who prayed in general.

So it sounds like the effect of specific prayer can have a profound impact on the health of our marriages.

It is certainly a low-cost and available to us all resource for any of us involved in a significant commitment.  And as The Economist says, “People [who have] worried about potentially cheating spouses may find praying together a better safeguard against adultery than checking mobile-phone bills and scrutinizing credit card receipts…[A message] that builds trust rather than destroying it.”

 

Thoughts on Kindness and Battle
10/20/2010

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

This quote is most often attributed to Philo of Alexandria.  Philo was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived from 20 BC to 50 AD.  This quote is also sometimes cited to Plato, a classical Greek philosopher who was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle.

I received this great quote from a wonderful academic leader at USC, Warren Bennis. I was sharing my Mission and Values with Dr. Bennis, and he provided this quote as helpful guidance.

I met Dr. Bennis when I was inducted into his Leadership Institute while getting my Master’s in Communications.   His demeanor is warm, kind, astute and constantly open to new trends and progress in our society.  Dr. Bennis, thank you for this meaningful quote!

How Your Laundry Helps the Environment!
10/19/2010

You might want to join Project Laundry List.  I’m sure most of us don’t think about joining an interest group that supports laundry, but this might be one to consider.  Recently, there’s been a movement across our country to reduce the use of unwarranted energy.  Many families are beginning to dry their clothes on traditional clothing lines, outdoors.  It saves much energy (clothes dryers often account for 12% of a house’s total energy use!)  You might be able to use your natural environment to do the same thing as your dryer.

In some communities it may not be possible to do this due to weather, and understandably, sometimes due to busy schedules.  Each person has to determine where they place their energy in helping preserve our environment.

There is a bit of an uproar in some communities, calling these laundry lines unsightly.  Perhaps we can find a way to meet both goals: aesthetics and the preservation of our environment.  We could consider having a special area to dry laundry, where we replant our trees from the holidays.  In that way, we’re helping contribute to the natural landscape, discreetly drying our laundry and allowing the community to remain beautiful and natural.

This movement is becoming so strong that Alec Blee started Project Laundry List, which has recently attained approved legislation for “right to dry” of your laundry outdoors.

I hope we can use our natural resources to help us with our day-to-day activities, while also allowing our communities to remain beautiful, and peaceful.

 

Pamela Pensive: “The Highest Leader Is Barely Known…”
10/18/2010

“The highest leader is barely known by men.  Then comes the leader they know and love.  Then the leader they fear.  Then the leader they despise.”  – Lao Tzu

The specific birthdate of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (tao—meaning the way of all life, te—meaning the fit use of life by men, and ching—meaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.”  Lao Tzu’s wise counsel attracted followers, but he refused to set his ideas down in writing. He believed that written words might solidify into formal dogma. Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s Leadership: The Better Angel
10/15/2010

Abraham Lincoln not only embodied but adored leadership.  He stated, “leaders provide hope in a world of doubt.”  He mentioned the importance of a shared humanity, and how leaders provide a sense of a positive future, of being uplifted, and of lessening despair.  As one of our best presidents stated, leaders are the “better angels of our nature.”

 

Well-Being Through Community
10/14/2010

John Haworth and Graham Hart are on to something big, yet something natural.  In their book, Well-Being, they speak about having health through several core areas.   And one of the key areas is Community.

Community is defined as being connected to our surrounding area, and especially through giving of ourselves.  They speak strongly about the positive impact of donationg money and volunteering.  And of course at UniversalGiving, we couldn’t believe in that more strongly.  We’re headed on our vision to “Create a World Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Everyday Life.”

Thank you, John and Graham, for such great yet practical steps available to us all.  You encourage us to live with joy, health and wellness.   If anyone would like to pick up Well-Being, it can be bought here.

 

Quality of Life on the Rise in Iraq

An article in The Christian Science Monitor highlighted statistics on how life is changing in Iraq.  Health services are still recovering, but for the most part, the reports are encouraging ones!

Number of Schools
2001-2: 9,115
2006-7: 12,141

Internet subscribers
Pre-war: 4,500
January, 2009: 688,410

Telephone subscribers
Pre-war: 833,000
January, 2009: 14.7 million cellular subscribers, 1.3 million landline

Average hours of electricity per day
Pre-war: between 4 and 8
February, 2009: 14.3

Independent newspapers and magazines
Pre-war: zero
March, 2006: 268

 

The Dutch Turn to Volunteering—and Reduce Crime
10/6/2010

The Netherlands and Belgium incarcerate the same amount of people every year.  Yet, the Dutch are increasingly having their jails emptied.  Their crime rate is fast falling due to innovative initiatives they’ve been promoting since 2001.  With some minor crime, instead of locking people up, they’re promoting community service.  Just two years ago, almost 40% of trials were ending with initiatives requiring the perpetrators to perform volunteer hours in their local community.

As we encourage people to give of themselves, their hearts become more compassionate, and their lives reflect a new appreciation for others.  Often they will see how they can be of help, rather than hindrance, to our society.  They feel good about what they’re contributing.  They gain perspective, that we are all here to help one another, and their confidence soars because they have a purpose.

We all need to feel valued in our lives.  If we can introduce the concept of giving, no matter what someone has done, their lives can be changed.  It’s a much stronger solution than languishing in a closed-off cell by oneself.  Let’s encourage each other to give, so that we all can benefit from renewed lives and a stronger community.

 

How Does the US Measure Up as a WorldWide Giver? Not so bad.
10/5/2010

We give, we volunteer, we help strangers. As exciting as it is to see the rest of the world take off in increasing their ability to help others, the U.S. is still playing a strong  part.

According to a survey by the Charities Aid Foundation, of those Americans interviewed, 20% had volunteered their time in the past month and 30% given money. And while we don’t compare to Liberia (76%), we still help strangers at a solid rate of 65%.

 

20% of the World Volunteers
10/4/2010

Worldwide, 20% of people volunteer, according to a new survey by the Charities Aid Foundation.  What a beautiful statement to hear.  That’s what UniversalGiving is all about. Our vision is to “Create a World Where Giving and Volunteering Are a Natural Part of Every Day Life.”  We want giving and volunteering to be as natural as eating. We just have to do it.

Liberia Beats Russia and India in Giving
10/1/2010

Just because you are poor, that doesn’t mean that you don’t give.  And often it means that you give more, as has been widely demonstrated.  People in poverty give a higher percentage of their income than wealthier individuals do.

In an index on charitable activity done by the Charities Aid Foundation, 8% of Liberia’s population donated money to nonprofits.  In contrast, Chinese people give 4% and Russians 6%.

Even more compelling was that Liberians help strangers at a staggering rate of 76%. What a resounding statement about caring for their communities!

 

Australia and New Zealand Lead the World in Giving!
9/30/2010

What do Australia, New Zealand… and then Canada, Ireland and the U.S. have in common?

Giving!

In a survey focused on charitable behavior, Australia and New Zealand attained philanthropic scores of 57%, showing them to be the most ‘giving nations’ amongst 153 countries.   Overall philanthropic scores were determined by a combination three categories–giving time, giving money, and helping a stranger.

So here’s the positive examples of top countries for philanthropic scores:

AUSTRALIA – 57%

NEW ZEALAND – 57%

IRELAND – 56%

CANADA – 56%

UNITED STATES – 55%

SWITZERLAND - 55%

 

Don’t Throw Out the Baby OR the Bathwater
9/29/2010

The expression says, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I think we have to change our mindset completely…don’t throw out the baby…and don’t throw out the bathwater.  Both represent life.

Two million people are dying annually due to lack of clean water.  Most are children.

So if you find yourself with extra water at the bottom of a hot pot, or an unneeded glass of water…don’t throw it out.  We can water our plants.  Or we can use it to scrub down the basin, clean the bathtub, scour the shower, or dampen a cloth when we’re wiping down the kitchen table.  Let’s not waste something that actually sustains other people’s lives.

 

Courtesies Which Strike Deepest
9/28/2010

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike the deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.” – Henry Clay, 19th-century American statesman

 

Come to the Edge
9/27/2010

Come to the edge, Life said.
They said, we are afraid.
Come to the edge, Life said.
They came; Life pushed them.
And they flew!

 

Why Certain People Are In Your Life

These words have been inspiring to me, and I am glad to share them with you.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly.  They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.  They may seem like a godsend, and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.  Sometimes they die.  Sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.  The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.  They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.  They may teach you something you have never done.  They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.  Believe it!  It is real!  But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.  Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person (any way); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.  It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

 

“Every Child Will See Themselves As a Resource to Their Community…”
9/21/2010

“Our organization’s vision is that one day, kids will grow up very differently than today.  Every adult will feel responsible to pass on wisdom and experience to children; and every child will see themselves as a resource to their community.  All children will have an opportunity, morning, ‘noon and night to get a world-class education through active hands-on learning.” – Eric Schwarz, a leader who created Citizen Schools

Eric realized that low-income children needed to be served by parents, the community, teachers–in order to succeed.  So everyone becomes a citizen teacher…  Yet equally important, children were and are valuable contributors to our world!

 

Chocolate, and Wisdom
9/20/2010

Wisdom recently found on the inside of Dove chocolate wrappers:

“Think without boundaries.”

“Give into love; obey thy heart.”

“There are 86,400 seconds in the day.  Have you used one to say ‘thank you’?”

 

Filter Water for Money and Drinking
9/17/2010

Kevin McGovern is an innovator, and his product is water.  He is bringing “cheaper water” to the poor.  Through his company, Water Initiative, he offers purifiers that clean the water—and are durable for an entire year.  While other procedures take energy and actually use some of the water to purify the water, 100% of the water coming out of his device can be used.

Kevin calls himself a “pro bono capitalist.”  His goal is to deliver a meaningful product which helps our communities and can also profit.  We thank you, Kevin, for your innovative contribution!

 

Would You Crumple Up a Tree?  A Child’s Wisdom
9/16/2010

I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had got brunch.  With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands.  “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela.  They teach us in school that that’s a tree.  You’re not supposed to do that.”  Lindsey was absolutely right.

What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree?  Would we then be so quick to crumple it up?  Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?

 

Be Grateful Everyday!
9/15/2010

How would your life be different if you made a practice of finding at least one thing to be grateful for every day?  Randy Haykin decided to focus on gratitude this year.  Follow his Gratitude 365 Project, and celebrate the good in life.

 

We’re Going in Different Directions: No, We’re Not
9/14/2010

This morning as I was leaving for work, my mom and I had a very special interchange.

We live in Menlo Park, and I was headed north to San Francisco.  My parents were headed south to Carmel for a bit of rest.  “Have a great day, Mom!  Thank you for having me… and now we’re going in different directions!”

“No, we’re not,”  she said immediately.

I knew exactly what she meant.  Our  minds and hearts are going in the same direction.   She’s taught  me to be loving and kind.   To follow my heart, and to do what I love to do.  And to live rightly.   And that is what she does with her life. She is so consistently, joyously serving others.  I’ve never seen a better model of this.

And so, as we parted this morning, we went in the same direction.

 

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Dr. Robert Schuller
9/13/2010

And the point here is not be tough… but to persevere.  To last through the valley.  To endure, cultivate patience, and live humility.  With that, we develop our character which allows us to serve our world and neighbors more effectively.

So we encourage you to last… so you can live more fully.

Dr. Robert Schuller is a minister and founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.  He is best known for starting the popular TV program Hour of Power; as a result he became a popular Televangelist. Recently he retired as the principle pastor of the Crystal Cathedral and became the chairman of the church’s board of directors.

 

“We were born to succeed, not to fail.” – Henry David Thoreau
9/10/2010

That is our life purpose.  To follow our calling in our own specially designed way. And so we will succeed, because the measurement is solely on how you uniquely pursue your talents, goals and qualities.  Everyone has a different picture of success, his or her own beautiful expression.

Henry David Thoreau was an author, philosopher, poet, abolitionist, and naturalist.  He is the author of Walden, which is a philosophical argument for simple living and preservation of natural environment.  He also had other important writings on natural history, environmentalism and civil disobedience.

 

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain.”
9/9/2010

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.” – Og Mandino

I love this quote by Og Mandino.  He uses wonderful analogies with nature, encouraging us to think big.  But what I love most is that when we think big, being the best we can be, it is so that we may help others.

Og Mandino is a well-known author.  His bestselling book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, sold more than 50 million copies.  His book was translated into 25 different languages.  In addition, he served as the president of Success Unlimited Magazine, and was inducted into the National Speakers Association’s Hall Of Fame.

 

The Importance of “Yes And”
9/8/2010

When on the improv stage, one of the most important principles is listening to and supporting your partner.  If you do this, you help create a very strong sense of team, and also further the story in a way that is interesting to the audience.  For example, if someone says, “let’s go to the store,” you can “yes and” it by saying, “wonderful, I love JZ’s store, because it has such great record memorabilia that dates back to the fifties!”  What you have done is “yes and-ed” your partner.  You have essentially built on the first concept they introduced, a store.

Contrary to good improv, one could have done a “yes but.”  For example, “Okay, that store is fine, but I really want to go to the movies.”  That is denying your partner on stage, and invalidating their idea.  You are not building on their initial idea, nor are you moving the story forward.  You’ve essentially blocked them.  Your story has now halted, and your partner does not necessarily feel supported.  This is the importance of “yes and-ing” rather than “yes but-ing.”

Whether you’re an investor, an improviser on the stage, leading a team at a company, or soccer captain, we can all practice the glory of “yes and-ing” one another.  If we do so, we will build a beautiful and strong world based on a foundation supporting wins for everyone, all around.

 

“…to save what I loved.”
9/7/2010

Jane Goodall is a model of helping to save a portion of the world which she’s passionate about.  She loves primates of all kinds, how they communicate, how they relate to one another, as well as humans.  She loves her work of studying chimpanzees, sharing about what she has observed, and working to protect them and their habitats.

“I had to leave what I loved in order to do what I could to save what I loved.” – Jane Goodall

Often, we have to take a stand for what we love.  We have to take a stand to preserve it.  And that’s what Miss Goodall did in 1986.  She left her beloved continent of Africa to travel the world.  She spends more than 300 days in the year traveling, telling people about her work and endeavoring to protect the chimpanzees she has spent so much time studying.  She returns to Gombe National Park about twice a year to recharge and to visit her chimpanzees.

You can learn more about Jane Goodall’s life and cause through an upcoming documentary, Jane’s Journey, which follows her as she crosses the globe.

 

How Can You Use, and Reuse, Paper?
9/3/2010

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box of a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees.

 

A World Without Salt Packets
9/2/2010

There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous.  I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, the packaging, when we look at individual salt packets.  My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet.  And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it.  There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.

There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day.  In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were.  But they were also against paper bags.  All of the letters pointed towards using canvas.  And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries.  We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.

 

The New Luxury – Water
9/1/2010

In many emerging nations, children are starving and dying due to lack of clean water.  As a “developed” nation, it certainly doesn’t seem that advanced for us to be getting water for free when there appears to be a plenitude of it.  Meanwhile, two million people in the developing world are dying every year because they can’t access clean water.

Maybe we won’t have water fountains in the future.  Maybe that just doesn’t make sense—and people might be forced to buy bottled water, because it is a cherished, expensive and rare commodity. Quite soon, and even by certain nations, water already is the new diamond.  And the only challenge here is that diamonds are optional.  This “high-end commodity” is not something we can go without.

It’s where our society is now realizing that the most expensive, prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess…water must be used and reobtained and used again.  Unlike diamonds, it can’t fit in our jewelry box, where we take it out whenever we so desire.  Its beauty rests in livelihood.

Further, its beauty rests in the continuation of life.

Our “new luxuries” are now things that we must use to survive.  They are things that must be used frequently, and they must be sought out and obtained on a daily basis.  Our new luxury is about survival.

 

Recycling Is Outdated

Recycling is outdated: its time has passed.  I’ve been thinking about this for about the past year, that recycling is outdated.  I know that might seem a crazy statement to some.

Yet we really have to encourage ourselves to reuse, and reuse again, and there are so many creative and inspiring ways to do so.

To-Go Containers

I’m often surprised in my office when people get lunches to go, how many containers go in the recycling.  I quickly pull them out.  Many of these are solid containers which can be used again 100 times.  We actually probably never have to buy Tupperware.  These containers can be reused for a leftover, half-eaten waffle from our breakfast, to a four-portion meal remaining from a dinner party.  Many of them are durable, safe and strong enough to go in the dishwasher.

Tinfoil

I also see the same thing with tinfoil.  Sometimes when there’s a catered lunch at the office, large swathes of tinfoil cover the main entrée, or even a side dish.  This aluminum foil can be washed down and dried, and reused multiple times.  50 times, I’ve found.

I’ve stopped buying aluminum foil.

Water

Now this might sound crazy to some, but I am making sure that I am not “throwing out” water.  In our kitchen at home, we have a hot pot which heats up our water.  If it’s half full in the morning, I often dump it out, and refill the whole container.  And yet, I’m throwing away precious water.  How many countries across the world—how many millions of children—would die for those two cups of clean water?  How many are?

I’ll answer it for you—two million people are dying annually due to lack of clean water.  Most are children.

So we can drink it again.  Or we can water our plants.  Or we can use it to scrub down the basin, clean the bathtub, scour the shower, or dampen a cloth when we’re wiping down the kitchen table.  Let’s not waste something that actually sustains other people’s lives.

As the expression says, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I think we have to change our mindset completely…don’t throw out the baby…and don’t throw out the bathwater.  Both represent life.

 

“You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”
8/26/2010

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The key word here from one of our greatest leaders is ‘be.’  Everyday we have a chance to be.  And the most important being is loving. Being kind, gracious, and helping others. That can start today.

We can and should whisk away frustration, for every moment there is one not spent on being the positive force we hope to be. What type of foundation are you building?  One that crumbles from exhaustion and disbelief, cynicism? Or one of solidly, brick, by brick, with each brick contributing Principle, Love, Kindness, Grace, Strength, Truth, Joy…?

As Ghandi says… the other key word here is ‘you.’ No one can do this for you. Not your partner, your parents, your best friend or your spouse.  You… are the being.

Mahatma Ghandi was a political and spiritual leader during the Indian Independence movement.  He preached resistence  through non-volence and mass civil disobedience. He led the Indian National Congress and advocated for the end of poverty and for women’s rights.

 

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom
8/25/2010

“God, grant me the serenity to accept things that I cannot change; The courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.” – Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr

Dr. Niebuhr’s quote is one of the most world renowned, for he paints to the fact that “everything you need is already inside,” and the importance of believing in oneself, balanced with a practical sense of what can be done.  We should encourage ourselves in areas in which we can truly make a change.  Of course the process of trying, especially if we love it, is important to our growth at times. At other times, we need to let go and focus on the positive mountain which is beckoning us to climb it.

For the most part, it does come down to motives, too. If it is our past, you cannot change it.  Therefore his wisdom guides us.  Focus on the present, right now, right now, right now…in order to live fully and effect change as we speak…

Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr was a theologian and orator.  He was an outspoken critic of poor industry conditions in factories.  He supported unions by letting organizers use his pulpit to advocate for workers rights.

 

“Man Was Never Intended to Become an Oyster.”
8/24/2010

“Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt was a true action man. He tumbled down the rivers of Brazil in turbulent times in South America. He took a stand for civil rights when it was not popular to do so.   He defied the odds in elections, time and time again. He was persecuted and persevered in so many realms, overcoming his fears.

Theodore Roosevelt is famous for his larger-than-life personality, adventurous lifestyle, and strong opinions.  He was an avid outdoorsman all his life, fought in the Spanish American War, wrote books on history and naturalism, and made expeditions to Africa and South America.  He was prominent in politics, holding a number of offices, including being the youngest person to be president.

 

It’s already inside.
8/23/2010

“Everything you need is already inside. Just do it.” – Bill Bowerman

I love Bill Bowerman’s quote as he speaks to the potential and belief in each one of us…We should always strive to be our best and to believe in ourselves, even if we don’t always achieve our immediate goal… the importance is in the process and our motives.

We should treat ourselves and others with the utmost care, meaning, “we believe!”  The alternative is costly to our health, to what we can achieve, and to what the world will miss…

What I love is that Bill Bowerman translated this belief across many areas — personal values, sports training and business.   Believing isn’t relegated to any sector!

Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach for the University of Oregon.  In his 24 year career he trained 31 Olympic athletes, twelve American record holders, and 51 All-Americans and 24 NCAA champions.  One year he won 4 NCAA titles.   In 1964 he became the co-founder of Nike.

 

“Manifest Plainness, Embrace Simplicity. Reduce Selfishness, Have Few Desires.”
8/20/2010

“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness, have few desires.” – Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu’s counsel helps us to keep life pure.  If we are running from one activity to the next, we are missing serenity in our daily lives. If we are accumulating things, our lives are crowded by materialism.  It can prevent us from being clear and free to receive new ideas.

Simplicity allows us to not be distracted.  We focus on living a life well lived. We focus on spiritual qualities such as kindness and consideration, which allow our lives to serve others, and ourselves, with the highest good in mind.

The specific birthdate of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (tao—meaning the way of all life, te—meaning the fit use of life by men, and ching—meaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.”  Lao Tzu’s wise counsel attracted followers, but he refused to set his ideas down in writing. He believed that written words might solidify into formal dogma. Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.

 

“Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.”
8/19/2010

“Make each day your masterpiece.” — John Wooden

Unmatched. That’s what Coach John Wooden is asking us to do.  To daily produce a life lived that is unmatched, means living according to your values.  It doesn’t always mean running (or winning) a marathon.  It is being the best you can be, today, this moment, in all the minute interactions you might have. This includes others, as well as yourself.  You – your being and presence are the masterpiece.

From this basis of values, then we can paint another masterpiece. Pick a passion…be it gardening, painting, being elected to office, writing a short story, exploring the best hikes and appreciating nature… And step by step, make your project a masterpiece.  Get inducted into your own hall of fame.

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball coach. He was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (inducted in 1961) and as a coach (inducted in 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories. Only Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman have since been so honored. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach.

 

“Sail Away from the Safe Harbor”
8/18/2010

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

It’s okay to feel safe. In some ways, we need to feel safe as a launching pad, knowing that someone believes in us.  And from that harbor, we can and should launch into spectacular venues where we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. You will grow and be inspired in ways you could never imagine.  You inspire.

For those of you who dream and discover starting from shaky ground, you have a courage that will carry  you through to new heights and insights.  You inspire!

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835.  In his writing, he presented an honest, yet satirical portrayal of antebellum south.  His criticisms of the south, such as in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, cried out against racist attitudes.  He led an exciting life as a ferry boat driver and a prospector during the Gold Rush; his experiences enhanced his understanding of the American culture which he wrote about.

 

Brazil’s Education Rising
8/17/2010

We’re again facing this interesting issue, of providing subsidies to help students excel in school.  This ranges from paying students for better grades, to encouraging attendance.  While there are certainly questions regarding these policies, there are many positive effects taking place.

I’d like to highlight Brazil’s Bolsa Familia.  Bolsa Familia pays families approximately 75 dollars per month, according to the level of school attendance by their children.  In the same region, more than 17 countries are covering nearly 70 million people and children.  The Brookings Institute has found that such programs are decreasing inequality, increasing skill sets and preparing the labor force of emerging economies for more sophisticated jobs, as well as higher levels of education.

 

She’s One of Seven Female Attorneys in Chad
8/16/2010

Chad has a population of ten million, and it’s one of the most devastated countries due to its lawlessness, political corruption, perennial poverty, and lack of human rights.

Even though she’s endangering her life, Delphine Djiraide has come back to her community because she knew she had to continue to hope.  “I know it is not safe…it won’t be safe as long as there is no global dialogue with all the actors, but I am more useful here…”  She’s basically risking her life to help her community.

Delphine works at PILC, the Public Interest Law Center.  It provides legal aid and helps people of the community know how their rights can be protected.  As one of seven women attorneys in a population of ten million, Delphine is most certainly “more” than one in a million.  Thank you, Delphine, for your extraordinary example.

 

Afghanistan Education Rises From 900,000 to 6 Million Students
8/13/2010

Afghanistan’s education is rising.  Not only have the number of students risen to six million from less than one million under the Taliban, but there are more than five million children waiting for access.  An educated country is an action-oriented country.  An informed country is one that can not only care, but can make change happen.

Yet similar to the U.S., Afghanistan faces a challenge in how they pay their teachers.  It’s so serious that teachers are opting to work in the NGO sector because it pays more.  If a teacher is lucky, they can make $100 a month.  If they’re average, it’s $50.  There are efforts underway to increase the pay of high school teachers to $130 a month, which is still a long way away from a viable lifestyle.

Good news for well-performing teachers, and perhaps the U.S. can learn from this–teachers were recently given an exam in general subject areas.  The teachers who excelled have the potential to receive merit pay, which could increase their salary 400%, to almost $500 per month.  What would that look like in the U.S., if we could increase top performing teachers’ salaries five times?  What if you went from making 50,000 a year to 250,000 a year?  Couldn’t we then attract a stronger field of educational leaders?  There’s so much we can learn from Afghanistan.

That innovation from Afghanistan comes despite the fact that 50% of their schools have no long-term structure.  Many of them are held in fields or with makeshift tarps over a plot of land.  In addition, many students who want to attend school all day can only go for a half-day, due to the overpopulated schools.  There simply isn’t room for everyone.  Additionally, many children have to work from early in the morning until noon, to find water, do manual labor, or help with household chores.

We can be grateful our children can go straight to school.  Let’s figure out how we can provide them the best education, and provide teachers the best compensation possible.  Learning from Afghanistan.

 

One of the Best Quotas: France and Norway Lead the Way!
8/12/2010

Normally when I think of a quota, I have to say I’m not that excited about it.  It seems like it’s something we “have” to do.  We have to make a lot of effort to aright injustices, as they pop up every day.

Yet it can help the health of our society.  There are new mandatory quotas, establishing a minimum number of women to serve on boards.  And the country who just adopted this latest measure?  France.  It’s good news already that in France, 11% of boards are populated by women in their largest firms.  Let’s hope this positive trend continues.  Most important, we should recognize the first innovator in this area.  Norway was the first to require a quota of female board seats.  Let’s hope more advanced and emerging nations follow suit.

Vive le exigences pour le femmes! 

Lang bo kontigentene for kvinner! 

Long live the quotas for women!

 

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Advancing Equality of Rights
8/11/2010

It’s often surprising that we view developed nations as having the best representation of rights towards individuals.  There are so many nations which are putting a stake in the ground to help advance the rights of people of different background, ethnicities and genders.  Kuwait is a prime example: Women can vote, run for office, and have the same political entitlements as their male counterparts.

Saudi Arabia has made a mark.  Heretofore, women were denied identification cards.  Now they have personal IDs.  And while they are considered one of the most clamped down and oppressed groups across the world, women can now register—alone—in a hotel.  This was previously unthought of.  On an intellectual and more powerful level, law schools are now open to women.

Of course this is important for any group which is oppressed.  It’s important for women; it’s critical for their children to see a positive example of their qualities of intelligence, judgment, compassion and fairness represented.  It’s also imperative for advancement of the community.  Any type of political repression also translates into economic stagnation.  Utilizing people to their full potential helps countries, communities and children grow into their full being.

 

Women’s Role in Iraqi Policeforce Increased by 100%
8/10/2010

Iraqi women are leading the charge in governance: this year, 50 women became a part of Iraq’s police force.  Next year, that number will double.

It’s exciting to see women in such an important part of leadership.  Providing security, trust, equity and judgment will be critical factors to Iraq’s success as a nation.  An important sidenote is that many women have also completed law school!  We should also recognize that these are some of the highest paying positions currently held.

Sensitivity to men’s issues, and sensitivity to women’s issues, are equally important.  Having both men and women represent our political, legal, policing and community structures is a necessary step in fully representing our community.

Iraq’s leading, and it’s something that could impact the entire Middle East, not only a country.  Thank you, Iraq, for your inspiration.

 

Thoughts from Peter Drucker

1. Build only on your islands of health and strength.

2. Only deal with people who are receptive to what you are trying to do.

3. Only start projects that will make a significant difference if you are successful.

4. Don’t try to build a business; build an organization.

5. Don’t subsidize failure; subsidize success.

6. Don’t try to fix things that are flawed in their concept.  Replace them with a superior concept that works.

7.  The only way to perpetuate a new idea is to make it the norm.

 

“A Smile Is a Blessing.”
7/29/2010

“A smile is a blessing…It really doesn’t take that much to live into our blessing and make the world better for each person we encounter during our day.”

This quote is from Mpho Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and an ordained minister herself.  She was quoted in the Christian Science Sentinel, in an article discussing her and her father’s new book, Made for Goodness.  She also said that they hope the book will help people to “recognize in themselves their own innate goodness.”

How can we each be a blessing to another person today?

 

Money Increases Happiness
7/28/2010

Money increases happiness, according to Harvard University.  But only when it is lifting people out of extreme poverty.  It essentially comes down to Mazlow’s basic needs.  If money can help you attain shelter, food and clothing — which eventually lifts you into the middle class –  then it does bring you happiness.

But little after that.  Once those basic needs are taken care of, we must go to higher needs for happiness.  Caring for people.  Caring for ourselves.  Doing the right thing. Living a simpler life. According to Stephen G. Post, Director of Compassionate Care at Stony Brook University in New York, happiness was on a higher level during the Great Depression than it was at the turn of this century.  He attributes much of this to a simpler lifestyle.

Live simply; be happy.

 

Pamela Pensive: China was always an open country?
7/27/2010

Some people say that China isn’t open.  Yet, when we look at the Tang dynasty, started in AD 1618, there are many parallels to current day.  Back then and as now, we’ve seen companies, who began by copying other ideas, produce new products that are not copycats.

When we look at a translation to present day, we can actually examine the common fixture of the convenience store.  Many countries abroad and emerging nations are wildly crazy about American products.  Particularly Coca-Cola, Santa and Pepsi are featured.  China has increased its openness by featuring a wide array of products.  Drinks from Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, as well as soy milk drinks, tea, coffee and beer, are featured from numerous countries and varied brands.  China seems to be embracing new ideas, new products, new innovations from abroad, as well as pioneering new developments itself.

China was open…China is opening.

 

Pamela Pensive: A Dukie Releases “The Upside of Irrationality”
7/26/2010

A superb Dukie professor, Dan Ariely, has released a new book, The Upside of Irrationality, from Harper.  He examines human behavior, striving to find out what incentivizes people to want to work.  An astute observation is as follows:

“We know that money motivates people.  Yet when faced with extremely large bonuses, the majority of people feel an extreme pressure to perform that can sometimes make them fail.  Additionally, even if the work does get done, it often lacks creativity, because the work is pressured and the person is uncomfortable with the expectations from such a large bonus.”

His summary is that money of course is valued as a reward, but too much money can bring a downfall in execution.

Dan is known for his wonderfully “irrational” studies of how our minds, bodies and hearts operate.  He is an innovative thought-leader, asking simple but profound questions.  We should be watching him for years to come!

 

Building World Trust–For Peace
7/23/10

My bigger than life dream is World Trust. What I mean by that, is that peace comes by relationships. Trusting relationships. Long-term relationships. And if UniversalGiving can connect people, one by one, in long-term trusting relationships, where people are mutually giving, then we can reach a new level of trust. Trust that grows across our world: “World Trust.”

I am not sure we can “create Peace.” We have to build relationships, and, it takes time. If we connect personally, one by one, to each other, then we build increased understanding. We love each other for who we truly are. Stereotypes, race, ethnicitiy, gender, politics become secondary as we embrace the qualities such as honesty, integrity, joy, intellect, kindness which we admire in others. Building these trusting relationships, builds World Trust, which can then, lead to peace.

In any type of relationships, between donor and receiver, volunteer and nonprofit, parent and child, friend to friend, business collegue to advisor, the relationship is equally giving. We can all learn. We can all share and understand more thoroughly someone’s identity; values; culture; principles. From that comes growing admiration, respect, trust — and true enjoyment in the relationship. And from that, develops peace.

 

Honoring Leaders – Bud Colligan
7/22/2010

I recently shared about Bill Draper; I’d also like to share about Bud Colligan.  He is a Venture Capitalist at Accel who has given so much to the community — strategically — through Pacific Community Ventures. They support small businesses and they fundraise from investors who want to invest in their nonprofit, Pacific Community Ventures, which in turn supports these small businesses creating thousands of jobs. It’s smart philanthropy, marrying business and nonprofit.

To be honest — there are thousands of unsung philanthropic heroes, and thousands more to come. Some give from a gigantic pocketbook; other give of a tremendous heart. Both are important.

This world is becoming a circle of giving. We all crave that meaning and sincerity after such a tough economic period; my hope is this desire to serve continues with the flywheel effect, cascading down gushing water of philanthropic good for decades to come.

 

Philanthropy at the Drycleaners
7/21/10

Yesterday I shared about philanthropy as “the love of people,” as a daily practice.  One day I had a pivotal experience that helped me be a better ‘daily philanthropist.’ Each day I make a thoughtful ‘to do’ list with which I hope to carry out my purpose. The list might range from cultivating a large corporate partnership, to an errand at the drycleaners. There was a nice sense of satisfaction in checking off these items.

During this day, I found myself particularly busy. I rushed into the drycleaners. I swooped in to pick up my clothes and leave a bundled pile of clothes to be processed. There, I had fit it in before a meeting. I had gotten one more item off my list! Accomplishment, I thought; and yet I didn’t feel it.

What I realized is that the dry cleaners wasn’t an errand. It was an opportunity to love. We aren’t programmed to just get through life and get things done. Instead, each activity, each to-do, each task, is actually an experience of loving. That is the true spirit of philanthropy.

As one great thinker wrote, a person “…is a marvel, a miracle in the universe….With selfless love, he inscribes on the heart of humanity and transcribes on the page of reality the living, palpable presence – the might and majesty! – of all goodness. He lives for all mankind.”  Rushing in and out of the dry cleaners, I had missed a valuable opportunity. What I needed to do was connect with my dry cleaners, know them by name, greet them warmly, and sincerely ask how they are doing. Now I know how Hao is doing, and we have a great relationship of warmth and kindness.  I look forward to our visits. I’ve now found philanthropy exists at the drycleaners.

 

Philanthropy – Start Loving Others Now
7/20/10

I am saddened to see philanthropy mean ‘money.’ It’s the love of people. And what I love about this definition is that it is accessible to anyone, at anytime. We can all be philanthropists. Whether you are getting the drycleaning, having a conversation with your boss or coworker, or saying a kind hello to a homeless person.

Philanthropy should be, and is, accessible to all.  I love that we can start loving others now!

 

Should Our Work Make Us Happy? 
7/19/2010

I find that so much of what is true ‘happiness’ in one’s job is how we conduct ourselves and our thinking.

For example, even if your job isn’t your exact ideal, there are elements that can bring full happiness. Being of service is not relegated to any one sector. Being professional, kind, courteous, and with a high “client service” attitude to external parties as well as to the internal team, can bring high “happiness” value.  Ideally, it should be coupled with sincere appreciation in return.  Regardless, it makes us feel happy to deliver sincere value. We hold a “high happiness quotient” in our own esteem for ourselves and how we are serving.

On the larger scale of trying to find something you love to do–I do think each person has a wonderful contribution in life and is here for a reason. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to search for it. Part of the searching makes us who we are; hones our goals; and positively affects others along the way…. Life is not just an end game of finding the one job which makes you happy. You are evolving, and your happiness, and therefore growth, is also evolving.

 

Honoring Leaders – Bill Draper
7/16/2010

I was asked by another blog to share about a wealthy individual who I admire.  My favorite wealthy individual is Bill Draper, a venture capitalist who is wealthy in spirit as well as funds. He cares about other people, doesn’t have an attitude, and also has a wonderful foundation supporting entrepreneurs. He truly cares, and is constantly giving of himself. Most importantly, he is just a nice person.

Two more are John Morgridge, former CEO of Cisco, and Charly Kleissner, an entrepreneur and investor.

Find more inspiring people on the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur’s post, 25 Admirable People Who Just Happen to Be Rich.

 

“Love Many, Trust a Few, And Always Paddle Your Own Canoe”
–Terri, from Coudersport, PA, as seen on Dark Chocolate Dove Wrapper
7/15/2010

Terri has it right.  What a joy to enjoy dark chocolate, which I love, with a truly inspired quote.

Life affords us so many ways to love, and how important we keep doing so.  At the same time, we have to be careful, and so Trust, or entrusting ourselves to others, perhaps must be a bit more rare.  I wish it weren’t so….however, everyone is on their pathway of personal growth.  So we must honor them, honor ourselves: We should always love, but not necessarily entrust to others.

As far as paddling one’s own canoe.  As my Oma says, “You’d better put a little elbow grease into that.”  She was always ensuring she had pulled her weight. In fact, when I went over to Oma’s for a sleepover as a young child, even at the age of 8 or 9, our fun together — was working together.   We scrubbed the kitchen floor on hands and knees, sharpened pencils, and wrote up a list for the freezer so she knew what was in there.  She taught me to care about being clean, ordered and organized, which made her home special.  She made it fun.  I loved working with my Oma.

Terri, we thank you for a quote which has delighted us all!

 

Some Informal Volunteering Recommendations

As I think about what has made my volunteer trips more comfortable, or more enjoyable, I thought I would share a few recommendations with you. Some of them make me laugh. Such as don’t wear certain sandals in Bangkok. What might that mean, you say?  I had just arrived and it was sweltering hot.  I was walking the streets with cement sidewalks, just walking around to really get a feel for the city. Perhaps it was 104, pretty hot.

All of a sudden I tripped on my own shoe, and looked down to see my foot half on the pavement.  It was so hot, that my sandal had become unglued from the base. There was no reattaching it, and my feet burned as I rushed to the shade (and then back to my hotel for a new, ‘non glue’ pair!). Wow did the cement scorch my feet.  But I had to laugh. Who knew shoes could become ‘unglued’ in the heat?

So here are some recommendations, some of which you may not want to do for various reasons. But, they do add to the quality of your volunteer trip, or volunteer vacation. See what you think.

1. Get up Early.

I know that doesn’t sound so great for some of you!   But being up early in the morning and really being  a part of quiet nature, especially if you are in a remote village, countryside, or unpopulated place. You will see and hear things that you won’t when more people are up and about.  You will hear  the wind, see a beautiful sunrise, early rising wildlife. It will be a special connection with the land of this country which is new to you, and will imprint a special feeling in your heart, because you have reserved this special time.  (And you don’t have to do this every morning…just experience it at least a few times.)  Especially if you live in a city, you’ll be amazed by the majesty, peace and grandeur of simple, yet vast nature.

On your volunteer vacation, they may take you for a day or two to the sites or for a tour.  If so, definitely go early. You miss the crowds and it so so special to be in the quiet of one of their most esteemed monuments, religious devotions, or natural wonders.

2. Walk Your Community.

As long as it is safe, walk the community. Try to talk with the local  people. Ask them about their lives, listen to their day to day. If you don’t speak their language,  speak everybody’s language which is the language of a smile. Everyone relates to that. You can smile for hours with someone, pointing at things, sharing smiles, cooking together – you’d be amazed.

Point being is don’t just stay on your campsite with the other volunteers.

Get out in the community and get to know people.  Walk their streets.

3. Exchange money into their currency.

Sometimes, people in the community will be fascinated with the dollar and will want you to pay with dollars.  They want to have them either because it is from America, or because it represents a more stable currency.  While it’s good to have them on hand anyway, I always exchange into their local currency.  They might want U.S. currency, but that doesn’t mean you should expect  they will want U.S. currency.

Respect their currency.  Be prepared to have it and to pay with it. You’re in their country, their culture, and that’s how their country operates.  So live as best you can, the way they live.

4. Create your home here.

I really like this one. If you are staying in a low key hotel, a home, or a hut, make it your home away from home. Get to know the people who help you live there. Sometimes someone will be appointed to ensure you have water. They might not be introduced to you, but you should introduce yourself. They are not your slave, they have just been told to make the guest in their community as comfortable as possible. Be aware that you could be getting luxuries (such as fresh water everyday) that they don’t have access to.

So share with them. Create a sense of home with them. Speak or smile with them.  They might not be a part of your volunteer opportunity (building the home, helping in the orphanage) but they are  a part of your volunteer trip. And you’d be surprised how quickly they become part of family to you.  You’ll miss them. Treasure your time with all the people who try to make your life easy there. And try to make it easy for them…if you can, visit their home, or ask about their lives, and always ask about and express interest in their children.  That’s important in any country, caring about someone else’s children.

5. Listen to Taxicab Drivers.

When I was in Cambodia, one of the richest  parts of my trip was speaking to the taxi cab driver.  He told me about the history, the changes in the economy, the  Pol Pot regime, what had happened to teachers, mines, and a whole host of personal stories.  He himself had been sent to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the Soviet  Afghan war. He has been trained and spoke Russian as a second language, English as third, French as a fourth.

Ask them about their lives.

(This is true anywhere! Most taxicab drivers have wonderful backgrounds, or other professions (they  might be a doctor or lawyer, but can’t practice in this country due to different regulations).

 

These Hazard Lights Broke My Heart
An experience from earlier this month
7/7/2010

I’m traveling down today to Carmel to celebrate my birthday with my family.  As I normally do, I try to say my gratefuls at least once or twice a day.  And lately, I’ve been increasing it, because it’s such a wonderful practice of appreciation for Life, my life, people and all the good that connects us.

As I was being grateful for my family (my dear parents, married nearly 47 years; my brother-in-law and sister; their three kids, Will, 13, Connor, 11, and Lindsey, 9) I saw three cars with their hazard lights on.  It seemed very strange and more than coincidence.  And as I looked ahead, there were many more cars with their lights flashing, and moving very slowly in the right lane.  Finally I noticed a small, mellowed orange sign with black capitals in the upper right hand corner of one back window.  It said a calm statement of “FUNERAL” in capital letters.

I’d never seen that before, a procession slowly honoring someone with their lights.  I’m so grateful they could caution me to be gentle and appreciative of what they must have been experiencing on this day.  It was so powerful to see so many, many cars with their lights flashing.

My hope is that that lovely individual realizes that their light is continuing here; and that others are continuing to celebrate and honor them, even if they don’t know them.

 

Sharing the Stories of Inspiring Entrepreneurs
7/6/2010

I was recently so honored to be a Finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  I and the UniversalGiving team attended a banquet for the Finalists, and it was such a pleasure to meet and hear the stories of so many inspiring entrepreneurs.

Steven K. Morgan of Wildlands, Inc. and Scott Johnson of The Myelin Repair Foundation were with me in the social entrepreneur category.  Other finalists included Kenneth Grossman from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Kevin Surace from Serious Materials.

If you’d like to learn more about the entrepreneurs at the event and hear about their work, you can watch a video of the awards show.  I’m glad to share this incredible evening with you!

 

The Secret to Peace:  When Two Religions Celebrate Each Other
7/2/2010

Ahmedabad, India has an inspiring history—this city was the base for Mahatma Gandhi and his campaign of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to British rule.  Ahmedabad’s recent history is more sobering—forty years of violent clashes, primarily between Hindus and Muslims.  Against this backdrop, Ram-Rahim shines out as an example of what can be possible.  Ram-Rahim is a slum within Ahmedabad where Muslims and Hindus are living together, working together, even praying together…peacefully.

The neighborhood committee includes members of both faith groups.  Worship goes on at a plot of land shared by a Hindu temple and a Muslim tomb.  Both groups come together to celebrate the holidays each religion holds sacred.  Niamullah Abdul Samad, a lifelong resident of Ram-Rahim, describes how the community held together in the face of conflict outside: “Anybody from the outside that would come, whether Hindu or Muslim, if they didn’t want to come with the spirit of unity, then ‘Get out.’ ”

As The Christian Science Monitor observes in their article about Ram-Rahim, “integration seems to be the secret to peace.”

 

Obtaining the Things We Crave Most–Give
7/1/2010

There is a wonderful mythical law that the three things we crave most in life – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind – are always attained by giving them to someone else.” – Peyton March

Peyton Conway March (December 27, 1864 -1955) was an American soldier and Army Chief of Staff.  He had enormous influence in preparing America for World War I, and was highly committed to upholding freedom.

March was the son of Francis Andrew March, who was a founder of modern comparative linguistics in English.  He was among the first professors to advocate English be taught in universities.

Peyton March fought in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.  During the Russo-Japanese War, he traveled as an American military attaché with the Japanese army, and he also worked with General MacArthur.  March was promoted to brigadier general during World War I, and later to Army Chief of Staff.

 

“When You Learn Something From People…”
6/30/2010

“When you learn something from people or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve that gift and to build on that gift.”
– Yo-Yo Ma

Appreciate the gifts people offer you…and thank them by passing on their gift to others, whether through appreciation, gratitude, love, recognition, sincerity.  Life and music are about giving.

 

Audrey Hepburn’s Tips for Beauty…It’s All Inside

I love these beauty tips by Audrey Hepburn because they are accessible to us all.  How could Beauty be constrained?  We don’t have to wait for it, prepare for it or create it.  So much of beauty is how we are, each moment.   I look forward to hearing about your beautiful moments today!

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

 

Stay with the Flower
6/18/2010

Stop and smell the flowers is a good starting point.  But why not stay with the flower?

Have you ever really looked at what makes up the flower? Its petals, the stamen, the actual layout and folding over of different petals… it’s quite remarkable.  Appreciate the wisdom behinds its creation… its unfolding process as it blooms… and its journey of growth.   It’s simple and complex in its beauty and expression.  It also endures so much with changing seasons, from brilliant sunlight to wind gusty rain.

And so are you. Appreciate the beautiful simplicity and complexity of you and each of our fellow men, women and children. Be open and beautiful; endure.

 

“Make a Gift of One’s Life”
6/17/2010

“One makes a gift of one’s life and endeavors by sanctifying it with love, and devotion and selfless service. When seeking to uplift others, we are uplifted in the process. Every kind thought or smile therefore benefits oneself as well as all the world.”

David Hawkins

Dr. David Hawkins is a psychiatrist and spiritual teacher, and the author of a number of books about spirituality and consciousness.

 

Words of Wisdom
6/16/2010

I am always searching for ways to grow as an individual.  Great authors I love are Bill George &  Stephen Covey; great leaders I love are Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.  I came across this inspiring brief film by Andrew Zuckerman, cataloguing what many of our leaders across different sectors, thought about wisdom. I hope you enjoy: http://www.wisdombook.org/.

Stay inspired and true.

 

Loyalty to Those Not Present
6/15/2010

“One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.   In doing so, we build the trust of those who are present.  When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.”

Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

 

A Great Gift
6/14/2010

A famine was on in the land and a beggar on a street corner reached out to Tolstoy, who was passing by. Russia’s great man stopped, searched for a coin but found none. With genuine sorrow, he said: “Don’t be angry with me, my brother. I have nothing with me.”

The beggar’s face lit up as he replied, “But you called me brother–that is a great gift.”

 

“Make of Your Life an Affirmation”
6/11/2010

“Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.”

Alexander Haig

Alexander Haig was a four-star general in the United States Army, as well as Chief of Staff under President Nixon and President Ford, and Secretary of State under President Reagan.

 

A Rise in Women Leadership
6/10/2010

Laura Chinchilla was inaugurated May 8th as Costa Rica’s first female president.

 

A Selfless Person is More Concerned About the Happiness of Another…
6/9/2010

“A selfless person is one who is more concerned about the happiness and well-being of another than about his or her own convenience or comfort, one who is willing to serve another when it is neither sought for nor appreciated, or one who is willing to serve even those whom he or she dislikes. A selfless person displays a willingness to sacrifice, a willingness to purge from his or her mind and heart personal wants, and needs, and feelings. Instead of reaching for and requiring praise and recognition for himself, or gratification of his or her own wants, the selfless person will meet these very human needs for others. “

H. Burke Peterson

H. Burke Peterson is an authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the author of A Glimpse of Glory.

 

A Good Person Builds a Small Circle Around Himself…
6/8/2010

*A good person builds a small circle around himself…
*A better person builds a larger circle that includes his family and friends…
*A great person, however, builds a great big circle to include his community/society

My friend Ronnie, whom I recently met through my blog posting on Cambodia, shared this kind Sursdey, Native Khmer greeting with me.  How lovely to think about our circle of kind influence, expanding and expressing itself in wider circles….Thank you, Ronnie, for your wisdom!

 

Keep Your Balance
6/7/2010

I think one key point in life is to maintain balance–balance between time for work, time for loved ones, time for oneself, time for interests outside of one’s business. It’s so important to keep that balance, or we’ll simply burn-out.

I remember once when I was young in my career, and meeting with a fairly older, single woman. She was a successful venture capitalist. I don’t know that I would consider her life successful. She traveled the world incessantly and was on every important board. But she seemed tired and joy was scarce. She told me to “Pack it all in.”

I didn’t. I kept my balance. I started a nonprofit and I did creative improv. I took care of my very young nephews and nieces. I loved life and I loved the people in my life.

We need to be renewed. We need to feel honored as whole, functioning people with families, outside interests, balanced lives, as well as our commitment to achieving the goals and vision of the organizations we run. The beauty of this balance is that I come back energized to UniversalGiving. My mind has had “time off’ and is thrilled to re-engage with our efforts to serve. I look at challenges in a new light. My energy is renewed. I bring new skills to the table; my thoughts are stronger and more helpful. It’s better for me–and for my organization.

 

Celebrate True Wealth
6/4/2010

Wealth is a state of mind and life. We tend to associate poverty with money. But poverty can be mental, emotional or spiritual poverty. I am often struck by this in my travel and volunteering in developing nations. Often, the divorce rates are low. Families not only stay together, but also spend time together. They gather food from the fields together, cook together and share meals together.

Contrast us: 15 minute family dinners if we are lucky. Fast-food and food distanced from its natural base. We eat alone; we eat in our cars. Divorces are easier to get, and in our mind it can be easier to allow those thoughts in as a possibility, rather than work through critical issues. So we lose the connection to family. We lose the connection to the local farm. We can lose the connection to long-term commitment.

We lose our greatest asset in natural wealth: relationships. Relationships with ourselves, our families, the earth. This wealth creates happy, balanced, productive, lower stress lifestyles, because we are connected in the way we are meant to be.

Further, we often pass by our heritage and where we come from. In many emerging nations, and especially in the continent of Africa, we see tribes value their connection to their heritage as primary importance even above their nationality. There is a deep-rooted connection to rituals and history which keeps people grounded in who they are, and the deeper, long-term meaning of being a part of a larger community in their lives.

Poverty is about money, at times. It has to be addressed as people should have the opportunity to live productive lives and make choices about what they would like to devote their lives to. Poverty is also about our well-being. Often when we get beyond “money poverty,” we forget “well-being poverty,” and get trapped in a go-go-go consumer culture.

I hope we can celebrate the healthy wealth that is accessible to us all in positive, committed relationships with ourselves, one another, our families, our earth, our communities and our heritage. How wonderful this is available to us all.

 

Communicate With More Than Words
6/3/2010

It is so amazing to me that when we communicate, the words really ‘come in third place.’

What’s first and second? First is the tone. If we are abrasive, affrontive, sarcastic then it doesn’t open up the conversation and action for change. Calm, proactive, inclusive, even — “slow” — conversations help provide dynamic change. It sounds as if it is an oxymoron. But allowing the participants to breathe in the interaction helps bring about the best and most inclusive solutions for all parties.

Second then is body language and what we communicate; third come the words.

 

Money Can’t Buy Happiness
6/2/2010

Money can’t buy happiness.  Sometimes we forget this.  Remember, it was the Beatles who brought this up through their songs. They had powerful messages which made us think.  So the next time you are enjoying one of their songs, remember, too, their life advice. Money can’t buy happiness.

Strong relationships do.  Working at something you love can bring it.  Spending time with those you respect does. Adhering to your values does.   Relationships, sincere work, people and values bring you happiness.  Focus on those four areas, and not only will you have happiness, but the money will come.  You’ll be doing what you love to do, and that will surely be compensated.

 

How to Be Fully Human: Praise Should Be the Permanent Pulsation of the Soul
6/1/2010

A person is fully human “when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.  Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”

G.K. Chesteron certainly let us know what we need to focus on.  Joy.  And what a life force it is!  We don’t realize how much our thoughts impact us, our minds, our actions, our responses.  And therefore how it affects others’ minds, actions, and responses. He also points to the vapidness of negative thinking. What can it do, how can it build?  It only tears down. And so we should as best as possible obliterate it from thought.

We can contribute so much in this world.  It starts with our thoughts; it starts right now; and that joy can carry us to an entirely different level of harmonious living.

Thank you to Gilbert Keith Chesterton for such wonderful advice.  G.K. was an extremely profound English writer of the 20th century who contributed across philosophy and poetry, as well as fiction. He was known for his incredible intellect, desire to decrease political divisions, and strong reasoning skills.

 

Leaders to Inspire Us: Frances Hesselbein
5/28/2010

As a woman social entrepreneur myself, I find it exciting to see the strong women working in the nonprofit sector. There are so many inspiring stories. One of my favorites is Frances Hesselbein. She was a mentee of Peter Drucker. This 90-something leader is still going strong, speaking internationally, and helping women leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world. She has written two very insightful books geared towards non-profit/for-profit leaders: The Leader of the Future and On Mission and Leadership: A Leader to Leader Guide.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Miss Hesselbein in New York; she has already had a profound influence on me and my desire to become a leader. With leaders like Frances to inspire us, it’s exciting to think what can be accomplished in the future.

 

The Positives of Serving Others

As I’ve found in my own experience, volunteering can be such a positive and valued experience for both the people helping, and the people who need the help. I’d love to share just some of the Positives I’ve observed for volunteers.

1- Be A Part of Something Greater. Often new volunteers find that the “product” — serving homeless people, helping microentrepreneurs, tutoring young mothers on their GEDs, is so meaningful that it’s hard to return to the corporate world. They feel a part of something greater, because it is so definitively clear how they are helping. We all want to feel we are caring for and helping others, and are part of a movement larger than ourselves.

2- Keep Your Skills Current. Use your current skills and ‘exercise’ them just as you would any muscle. Are you an attorney, administrative assistant, construction worker, public relations expert, manager? Put those needed skills to use, and expand them as you continue your work. Since you are not under the guise of a strict corporate manager, you will have more freedom to expand them in creative ways.

3- Attain New Skills and a Second Career. Once you have invested some time at the organization, ask to work in different areas or work on different business units. Express your desire to grow and adopt news skills. Try different areas in order to understand how the entire organization works. Learn for yourself, and learn to become valuable to the organization. You may find a new career!

4- Work on a Hobby. Do you love writing on the side? Perhaps you offer to write or contribute to their newsletter. Are you a hidden tech geek? Revamp their website. Is blogging your passion? Help them set up a blog and create a stronger brand presence. Explode a latent desire of your own to help others!

 

A Flow of Enthusiasm From a Flow of Gratitude
5/21/2010

For myself, I find that one way to keep a flow of enthusiasm going is to live in the present moment and to practice gratitude. Right now, can I think a positive thought? What is going well? No matter how tough it gets, there has to be some thing that is going well. Thank you that the sun is shining. Thank you that I have a great father, or wonderful relationship with my sister. If you are in America, thank you that I have the right to vote, that I have the right to choose hundreds of places to eat from everyday.

For the challenges that seem to stop that flow of enthusiasm, I have to remember, it will pass. The mountain will pass and at some point, you get to start walking downhill. So keep climbing, keep being grateful, and…keep going.

My 97 year old Oma and grandmother, one of my best friends, once told me, “Whenever I feel down I find something to be grateful for, and I find someone else who is in a worse situation and help them. It helps me be grateful.”

 

Tell Your Team They Are Great and DON’T Give them Anything To Do
5/20/2010

One of the most powerful things you can do to recognize someone on your team is to call them and thank them and say “You’re doing a wonderful job today, and I wanted to thank you. That’s it. I just wanted you to know, and for you to take the time to recognize it. Please know how much I appreciate your consistent work and positive attitude.”  Do not add on a ‘to do.’ I know that’s tempting as we as CEOs have a lot we want to accomplish!  But just let the conversation rest in genuine appreciation. It’s one of the best ways you can thank someone — without agenda.

 

Never Too Young for Philanthropy
5/19/2010

You could say it’s a business, and it’s the business of giving.

The other day we received a letter from an elementary school student who had a philanthropy project. He was in 5th grade.

He set up a lemonade stand, raised $25 and sent the proceeds to UniversalGiving.  His letter read: Please send a soccer ball to a child in Somalia. Because soccer players are my heroes. Without soccer, there is no hop.  (hope)

Anyone can get in the business of giving at a young age.  See where it takes you.  Encourage youthful giving!

 

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index
5/18/2010

Most countries measure their wealth and success based on GDP; Gross Domestic Product.  Bhutan honors other indicators which recognize many needed and beautiful elements of a successful life.  Through their Gross National Happiness Index, which is formally established as a part of the Interior Ministry’s mission, they honor ecology, education, culture, standard of living, how one spends one’s time, the vibrancy and health of a community, ethical and effective governance, and overall well-being.  Unlike the United States, spiritual wellbeing is considered an imperative part of Bhutanese culture, religious roots in Buddhism, national health, and worldwide security.

GNH was formulated in 1972 by Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan’s fourth king.  In the United States, economic wealth can be based on capitalism, but that doesn’t necessarily lead us to happiness.  King Wangchuck believed that people’s quality of life was based on fullness, authenticity, compassion, and greater social interaction, rather than economic figures.

We can celebrate elements of Bhutanese commitment to a peaceful culture by valuing relationships and well-being as key indicators of a successful life.  Thank you to Bhutan for your wisdom!

 

What’s In a Conversation…Who Will You “Turn Towards” Today?
5/17/2010

The word to ‘converse’ has morphed to mean using words or talking. But what it meant at inception was to “turn towards one another.”  The point was to delve more deeply into a truth of some sort. It was also to find commonalities amongst people.

Who will you turn towards today?

 

“He wasn’t worried about who was scoring, he was just worried we were scoring.”
5/14/2010

Jerome Randle is 5 8″ and plays basketball.

He plays basketball very well.

The senior leads Berkeley’s basketball team with 241 Three-Point Field Goals, and .874% on freethrows for school records.

How does this young star find success?

“He wasn’t worried about who was scoring, he was just worried we were scoring.” – Head Coach Montgomery

Play with the team. Play for the team. Play together and you will achieve success together.

 

Remember the Importance of Staying With Family: What We Can Learn from Asia
5/13/2010

I am one of those fortunate people whose family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and nieces, Will, Connor and Lindsey live about 1 mile from my parents.

That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family.   Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up :); celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.

Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?

I know I am fortunate.  Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent.  All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate….

In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country.  This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure.  But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia.  Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move.   But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.

Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…..

 

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”  Paul Guaguin
5/12/2010

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)  was an artist who was renowned for his Post Impressionism painting in the 19th century.  He was an innovator in the use of bold colors.  At the same time,  he also brought out meaningfulness of each subject.  He balanced authenticity with innovation.

What we can learn from Paul Gauguin:  Let’s ‘see’ differently. Don’t use your eyes.  Instead, use “meaning” to see.

What’s meaningful to you? Be bold in recognizing it.  You’ll see an amazing painting of goodness, kindness and abundance all around you, if you will just see.

 

Fatality Rate Reduced
5/11/2010

The U.N.’s Millenium Goals are moving forward.  The fatality rate for children under 5 has been reduced by 27%.  How did this happen?

The answers to deeply embedded poverty are varied and require a wholistic approach.  We do know that mosquito nets combatting malaria, water, vaccines, and higher quality sanitation have strongly contributed.  Let’s hope the U.N. makes its goal of 67% reduction by 2015.  Join us and  make your impact:

Supply a mosquito bed net and save a life

Provide water for villages

Immunize a child

Provide clean water and sanitation to an elementary school

Feed 500 children

 

Get Your Culture Shot!
5/10/09

Have you gotten your Culture Shot?  In Germany, doctors are treating patients and sending them to the theatre, both in the name of the health.  In the Culture Shot program, theatre is seen as prevention: It opens the door to culture and higher levels of education, which usually leads to a healthier life.  Kids age 7-15 who go to a pediatrician for a checkup each get 2 free tickets.

Who knows? Your next prescription might not be to the pharmacy but to a play.

 

Drink Up!
5/7/2010

Pour yourself that tall cool glass of chocolate milk.  With flavonoid-rich cocoa, skim chocolate milk can reduce inflammation and keep a healthy body.  It’s not as powerful as red wine they say, but it certainly is sweeter.  Make your life healthy and sweet.  Viva la cocoa bean!

 

Entrepreneurs Give 25% More to Charity than Other High Networth Households: Celebrate the Entrepreneur!
5/6/2010

Entrepreneurs both invest wisely, and, take risks. And so it parallels their philanthropy:  Entrepreneurs are more likely than other high networth donors to donate to education (sound investment in the future) and international (a bit riskier but with a higher return/impact).

Another positive is the donation of themselves: Almost 80% of wealthy entrepreneurs volunteer their time.  Thirty percent of entrepreneurs donate 200+ hours per year, more than other wealthy individuals.

Thank you to All Our Entrepreneurs!

 

Build Trust–For Peace
5/5/2010

World Peace is a hard word.  We all want it. But how can you create “World Peace” ?

What we can do is build World Trust.  We commit to developing long-term relationships based on trust.  If we focus on World Trust, then World Peace can result.  Peace is based on Trust.

Read further on our page, Building World Trust.

 

A Model for Latin America: Chile’s Poverty Rate at Its Lowest
5/4/2010

From 1990 to 2006, Chile became a leader in poverty.  That’s right—in reducing poverty.  During that time period, the number of Chileans in poverty went from 38.6% to 13.7%

Private enterprise is flourishing.  Private and public partnerships are beginning to take place.  Education and healthcare are gaining more prominence and also providing more options.

Thank you, Chile, for your model in combating poverty in Latin America!

 

Hooray for Hollywood: They’re Going Green!
5/3/2010

Hollywood has cleaned up 66% of its industry—with the environment, that is.  Hollywood studios have made a valiant effort to convert 66% of waste from their sets, props, and movie-making into reusable or recyclable materials (formerly it went to landfills).

This effort began in the 1990s and has now grown, the studio says, to reducing their trash by more than 40 million pounds.

Thank you, Hollywood, for going green!

 

Honoring One of Our Oldest Foundations in America!
4/30/2010

It was 1907.  It came at a time when families weren’t able to take care of all their children, and, growing societal needs.  It addressed a wide range of issues regarding poverty affecting children, the elderly, the disenfranchised.  Early on, its impact helped establish stronger reform in hospitals and prisons. We’re honoring the Russell Sage Foundation as one of the earliest foundations whose goal was to serve the community in a broad manner, addressing numerous social ills.

Critically important, the Russell Sage Foundation helped formalize social work as a profession. They strove to understand why the poverty was occurring; how widespread it was; and took action to stop this growing trend.  How proud we should be of our Foundation community and the early pioneers who helped set official standards in both study and research, and, practical on-the-ground services, in order to serve our communities.

Since World War II, the Russell Foundation has now focused on the development of research and study regarding social sciences, allowing scholars to stay at the forefront of reform in social policy affecting our communities.

We honor The Russell Sage Foundation:  “The Russell Sage Foundation, one of the oldest of America’s general purpose foundations, was established in 1907 for “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.”

 

Volunteering For Health and Happiness
4/29/2010

A recent survey released by United HealthCare and VolunteerMatch shared some exciting statistics.  Even in this hard economic time, people continue to give back–and they receive at the same time.  Here are some key findings from the report:

Americans who volunteered in the past year: 41 percent

Americans who donated money to an organization: seven in ten

Of the volunteers, those who felt that volunteering is beneficial to physical health: 84 percent

The number who felt that volunteering is also good for emotional health: 95 percent

Percent of volunteers who believe that volunteering makes people happier: 96 percent

 

“Nobody is going to make me have six babies.”
–Sosanua Solafunmi
4/28/2010

Women leadership is taking off again, most prominently in Abuja, Nigeria.  Young women are striving for equality in sub-Saharan Africa.  The thought used to be that girls don’t need education.  But a new statistic shows that educated women take better care of their parents than educated men, that women are more trusted with political power, that some women are even more productive (as claimed by some local African women).

We see this positive trend of rising women prominence manifested on many levels.  In Nigeria, two-candidate tickets are usually balanced with one man and one woman.  In South Africa, Jacob Zuma’s cabinet is almost half women, half men.  And as midwife and nurse Sosanua Solafunmi claims, “Nobody is going to make me have six babies.”  Sosanua and other women realize they have opportunities not only to be educated but also to give back, make a difference, and change lives, including their own.

A warm welcome to Nigeria, who is helping pave the way in leadership and equality for women.  It’s a dynamic, practical example for emerging economies, and for those of us who have “emerged.”  Sometimes our emerged economies still have critical lessons to learn in increasing rights and participation.

 

“He or she simply cannot come to rest in life until his or her vision has become the new pattern societywide.”
4/27/2010

Bill Drayton beautifully describes the social entrepreneur, as first recorded in the McKinsey Quarterly. Bill founded Ashoka which connects 2,700 Social Entrepreneurs around the world.

“After all, what defines the true social entrepreneur is that he or she simply cannot come to rest in life until his or her vision has become the new pattern societywide. Scholars and artists are satisfied when they express an idea. Professionals are when they serve a client well, and managers are when their organization succeeds. None of this much interests the entrepreneur. The life purpose of the true social entrepreneur is to change the world.”

 

Mitch Albom Makes a Difference with Music in Haiti
4/26/2010

Mitch Albom, the renowned author of Tuesdays with Morrie, has expanded into music.  No, he’s not becoming a musician.  He’s just sharing a worldwide love of the power and connection we can all feel through heartfelt song.

Albom recently visited an orphanage in Haiti through the Caring and Sharing Mission, bringing food and resources to dozens of teenaged children.  As an astute observer, he noticed the differences: “We were white; they were black.  We were used to eating well; they ate rice and beans every night.  We had jobs and money.  Sadrac [a local teenage boy] said he once had 10 American dollars.  He lived on it ‘for a month.’”

Albom states that, despite the differences being so stark, he found a pathway of commonality.  He became a sort of DJ, playing music they liked and introducing new music to them: the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys…all music they had never been exposed to.  But the final hit that bonded them all together was the Fourtops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”:

Now if you feel like you can’t go on

Because all of your hope is gone…

These lines of compassion bonded Albom with the Haitians, who knew all too well a life of struggle.  And yet a moment of joy, a moment of music, brought them together.

 

Promise Yourself

By Christian D. Larson

Promise yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something special in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

 

When Grandmothers Take the Helm in Africa
4/9/2010

I’ve covered women leadership in government before, and countries such as Chile, countries in Africa and Latin America, have a much higher percentage of women in government.

One of my favorite notes is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who took the helm of Liberia.  She was the first woman to ever be head of state in Africa.  And she’s a grandmother.  Wonderful commitment to leadership and family and a fine example for us all.

 

Grace Notes: Quietness and Resisting Consumerist Culture
4/8/2010

Philip Yancey is on a quest for grace.  Through all of his world travels, he is hoping to give companionship, solidarity and community to those who doubt or have little faith.  His vision is a church that speaks not to our need for entertainment.  Not for music, not for “fun” songs, not for great visuals or fanfare.  Yancey wants us to unplug.  Church is not about media or the consumerist culture.  It’s about quiet, rest and trust in the divine power.

“What would worship look like,” he asks, “if it were directed more towards God than towards our entertainment preferences?”

Whatever our “church” may be, let’s focus on the divine, rather than the material.  Philip Yancey reminds us that grace and spiritual power rest in simplicity.

 

Dag Hammarskjold Gives Hope to the World
4/7/2010

Dag Hammarskjold was such a wonderful model of what the U.N. can be and do.  As Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, Hammarskjold was known for his unrelenting energy in striving to create fairness, harmony, peace and collaboration in many corners of our world.  He represented hope and reconciliation for so many.

Hammarskjold flew around the world to try to help so many countries needing support–and independent of whether there was an economic interest there, as it should be.  He acted as a force for the U.N., representing fair involvement for all countries: for example, during one Arab crisis in 1958, the U.S. and Britain sent troops to help Lebanon and Jordan. But Hammarskjold was able to get removal of these troops, and one-sided involvement in the crisis, to stop. He then brokered Egypt lifting its blockade of Syria (which would not join the Arab League.)

In the 1950s he helped obtain the release of U.S. airmen held captive in China. In approaching the Suez Crisis, when Egypt nationalized the canal, Hammarskjold was able to broker French, British and Egyptian collaboration to keep it open.  Meanwhile, Israel attacked Egypt and the peace process was upset.  With Mr. Hammarskjold’s leadership, U.N. Forces were able to maintain a peaceful solution until a longer term solution was reached.  Laos faced extreme danger and he was able to place UN representatives there, which provided watchful protection.  He became part of a very longterm process against apartheid, meeting several times with the Union of South Africa and striving to open up attitudes of equality and fairness regarding race.

Hammarskjold’s last challenge was the crisis in the Congo where violent civil war was ensuing. Here he had brokered leaders to  meet in neutral territory to resolve the conflict.   Unfortunately, his plane was shot down and he did not survive.

Dag Hammarskjold was mourned by the world. He was seen as an extremely strong leader led by principles; absolutely tireless and needing little sleep. It was as if he were “on call” for the world.

“The world in which I grew up in was dominated by principles and ideals…I inherited a belief that no life was more satisfactory than one of selfless service to your country or humanity.  This sacrifice required a sacrifice of all personal interests, but likewise the courage to stand up unflinchingly for your convictions.”

Hammarskjold also created a meditation room or peace room in the U.N.  It is a place only for thoughts, no words, and embraces all types of prayers.  There is a stone in the middle of the room with nothing on it, and yet a shaft of light shines directly there.   It is dedicated as an altar to harmony and freedom that is worshipped in many forms, by different countries and peoples, in many varied ways all over the world.

 

Build Trust–For Peace
4/6/2010

World Peace is a hard word.  We all want it. But how can you create “World Peace” ?

What we can do is build World Trust.  We commit to developing long-term relationships based on trust.  If we focus on World Trust, then World Peace can result.  Peace is based on Trust.

Read further on our page, Building World Trust.

 

Do Unto Others

Do Unto Others is from ancient times.  Hearing different versions from philosophers and religious leaders make us realize the commonality of Truth.  What a wonderful way to tie the world together!

“Do not do unto others all that which is not well for oneself.”

Zoroaster, 6th century B.C.

“Hurt not others with that which pains thyself.”

Buddha, 6th century B.C.

“Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.”

Confucius, 6th century B.C.

“May I do unto others as I would that they should do unto me.”

Plato, 5th century B.C.

“Do not unto others what thou wouldst not they should do unto thee.”

Rabbi Hillel, 1st century B.C.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Jesus, 1st century A.D.

“None of you truly have the faith if you do not desire for your brother that which you desire for yourself.”

Muhammad, 6th century A.D.

“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”

Baha’u’llah, 19th century A.D.

 

Despite tough economic times, 87% of us supported a cause last year!
3/24/2010

87% of us supported a cause last year, according to a new survey in Parade magazine.  On average, we gave $400 to the cause we cared about most.   People over age 65 gave $700; the 18-24 set gave $100.  May the generosity continue. Inspiring!

 

Invite a Friend to Volunteer!  That’s why 1/3 of us go
3/23/2010

According to Michael J. Berland in Parade magazine’s recent survey, 1/3 of us go on a volunteer opportunity, simply because we were asked. That’s a similar, consistent trend we see with why people give, as well.   On the donations front, the percentage is even higher.

In the realm of service, we take personal connections, relationships very seriously. If a friend recommends volunteering, we care on numerous levels. We want to help the community, but even more, we want to support our friends. It’s a type of acknowledgment that what is important to them is also important to us.

If you really want to take it to the next level, go beyond your zipcode.  Invite a friend on an international volunteer journey. Expect to be changed, while you are changing the world.

 

“If that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal.”
3/22/2010

That was what Hannah Salwen said to her family when she was at a stoplight.  To one side she saw a man in a racy car; on the other side was a homeless man.  This picture in her life and her statement brought a profound change to her family.

Previously, the Salwen family was living in a 6,000 sq ft home, with all the amenities of a luxurious lifestyle.  It’s not as if they weren’t charitable: their father volunteers building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and the children grew up serving food to disadvantaged people, as well as donating a portion of their allowance to those in need.

But the juxtaposition of a rich man in a high-end car vs. a man struggling to eat changed their life to one of even deeper service.  In their book, The Power of Half, they challenge themselves to give up half of everything they owned, and to live with less.  They gave up their home and downsized.  With the $800,000 profit, they decided to support The Hunger Project in Ghana.

Furthermore, the Salwen family gained a greater wealth: that of a deeper closeness.  Discussions in their family revolved around giving, not only of their possessions but of themselves.  Though uncomfortable at times, they pushed themselves to go on volunteer service trips, facing extreme poverty.  All of this has brought a new wealth, a deeper compassion and sensitivity both towards the community and within their family.  We salute the Salwen family for their wonderful example!

 

“A productive day for me is much more about human transactions than it is about technical accomplishments.”
3/19/2010

“A productive day for me is much more about human transactions than it is about technical accomplishments.  You can’t necessarily check a human transaction off your to-do list. It’s looking people in the eye and connecting with them in a way that they feel seen. That’s a critically important part of my job.”

Beautifully stated by Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, quoted in Inc.

 

To Have a Positive Mindset:  Think about Building your Mind as you would your Dream Home
3/18/2010

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home! :)  So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level…if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as in many countries pollution blocks the sun.  That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping.   Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

 

Celebrate the Little Big Man: Why Jerome Randle’s Attitude Takes Him to The Top
3/17/2010

Jerome Randle is 5 8″ and plays basketball.

He plays basketball very well.

The senior leads Berkeley’s basketball team with 241 Three-Point Field Goals, and .874% on freethrows for school records.

How does this young star find success?

“He wasn’t worried about who was scoring, he was just worried we were scoring.” – Head Coach Montgomery

Play with the team. Play for the team. Play together and you will achieve success together.

 

Give A Gift Everyday
3/16/2010

Give a gift everyday.

Send your friend’s birthday gift early.

See a gift that would be meaningful for someone you care about, and just buy it. Give it to them now.

Take the time to cook a meal for your partner or your roommate.  Take the time to cook a meal for yourself.

Smile at a person walking down the street.

Smile at a homeless person and stop and learn their name. There is the gift of knowing someone. Of acknowledging you care.

Be kind to yourself.

Get in bed early.

Say three gratefuls before you fall asleep.

Say three gratefuls when you wake up.

Believe today is special.

Take time at lunch to be grateful for three more things.

Pay the phonebill for your roommate.

Drop off banana bread for your neighbor.

Give a lot. Expect little.

Smile at yourself in the mirror.

Work hard and attain the gift of devotion to something you believe in.

Work and leave early and give yourself a gentle night off, nurturing yourself.

Stop and look at nature. Any part of nature. The expanse of the sky; drifting clouds; a vibrant flower.

Give yourself the gift of awareness of how precious and beautiful life is every day.

 

Poverty Be Gone
3/15/2010

Poverty be gone. It’s why I get up everyday.  Poverty be gone.  I want my grandchildren to ask me what poverty means.  That’s why we are here.

 

“Yet to Begin”
3/12/2010

“I never thought about where I would end up. In fact, much of my life and life’s work is yet to begin.”

Martha Stewart

 

The Power of Gratitude
Excerpts from an address by Thomas C. Asher, C.S.
3/11/2010

There’s one thing that I have experienced and observed over and over about gratitude: it works!  It changes things.  It renews.  It strengthens.  It heals.  Gratitude awakens us to the presence of good…

What gives gratitude such power?  For one thing, it’s difficult to be grateful and fearful at the same time.  It’s almost impossible to be thankful and discouraged at the same time.

Gratitude is natural and normal to us.  It’s standard equipment.    There is no breakdown of the divine order…

 

What Do Albania, Burma and the U.S. have in common?
3/10/2010

What do Albania, Burma and the U.S. have in common?  Supporting women!   It’s time to celebrate International Women’s Day, and one of the most important areas here is our right to vote. It’s actually a significant move forward in our “right to voice.”

For the United States, this happened in the late 1920s. So, too for Albania and Burma. Let’s celebrate the commonalities, shared purposes and advancement that we share with countries all over the world!

 

Do You Need a LoveLunch? India is offering them now
3/9/2010

In Mumbai, India, the Alves family of Glen, Gynelle, and Genesia getup at 5:30 a.m. every day to put together dabbas, or “prepared lunches.” People of India appreciate the finely homecooked, hot meals provided to employees and laborers.  The brother-sisters team also uses fresh, organic vegetables from vendors such as Sunil at the local farmer’s market.   Feeling good about their impact on people’s daily lives, Glen says, ” I sometimes feel like Santa Claus.”   LoveLunch has been in operation since 2007. To see more information, view the Business Diary article on Financial Times, January 5th, 2010.

 

Thinking of the things in my life that bring me pleasure is a peaceful and positive way to start the day. – Warren Bennis
3/8/2010

“Thinking of the things in my life that bring me pleasure is a peaceful and positive way to start the day — and a much better way to deal with a perceived failure than to ruminate on it.  When you’re down, think of the things you have to look forward to. When you are no longer in the grip of the mishap, then you are ready to reflect on it….  After reflection, the learning of the past is known, and the solution of the experience — the course of action we must take as a result — becomes clear. “

Warren Bennis, author of Leaders and Leading For a Lifetime

 

Your Best Asset In a Tough Economy: Positive Thinking, says Harvard’s Ben-Shahar
3/5/2010

Tal Ben-Shahar tells us that perhaps we don’t have a lot of control.  We can’t change the crises in the Middle East over night.  We can’t “make” healthcare happen right now, we have to wait on our political system. And we can’t just make our economy rebound.

So what can we do?  Ben-Shahar talks about a “cheap, easy and environmentally friendly” way to effect change: “A Positive-Attitude Adjustment.”  In his books, Happier and The Pursuit of Perfect, he points to the fact that the brain is actually quite flexible. With an increased adjustment towards a positive outlook, our circumstances, habits and disposition can be radically changed. And this is  something you can have control over.   Thank you, Tal, for your wonderful and practical encouragement that we can often control the joy, goodness and positive outlook in our lives.

 

Shame on You, Aunt Pamela, that’s a TREE. We can’t hurt the trees!
3/4/2010

A few years ago, my niece Lindsey gave me a great talking to. She was 5 or 6,  and needed help in the restroom, so off we went. As we finished up, I pulled two paper towels to dry my hands.

“Shame on you, Aunt Pamela. That’s a tree!  We can’t hurt the trees!”

I asked her where she learned that important lesson.

“In school. They teach us paper comes from trees, and we need to keep our trees.”

Anyone that doesn’t have hope for our future should rethink.  What a wonderful opening our world is facing where we teach elementary kids the connection between paper and our living trees…to be conscious of conserving, so that Lindsey and others grow up with conservation being a natural part of their lives.

There is a new standard of living being created, and not only our youth, but our elementary school children, are leading the way.

 

The Greatest Salesman in the World
by Og Mandino

I will persist until I succeed.

The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.

Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.

I will persist until I succeed.

I will be liken to the rain drop which washes away the mountain; the ant who devours a tiger; the star which brightens the earth; the slave who builds a pyramid. I will build my castle one brick at a time for I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.

I will persist until I succeed.

I will toil and I will endure. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep mine eyes on the goals above my head, for I know that where dry desert ends, green grass grows.

I will persist until I succeed.

Each nay I hear will bring me closer to the sound of yea. Each frown I meet only prepares me for the smile to come. Each misfortune I encounter will carry in it the seed of tomorrow’s good luck. I must have the night to appreciate the day.

I will persist until I succeed.

So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win.  I will persist.  I will win.

 

Nokia Surprise: Move From Rubber to Phones, and Be a Success
2/24/2010

Did you know Nokia started out making rubber? That’s right. Nokia, one of the world’s greatly admired brands, started out by making rubber boots and snow tires.  That was their focus on the national front in Finland.  Bit by bit, they made a world entrance into the cellphone market.  Samsung and Motorola were too large to pay attention.  But within a decade, Nokia had outgrown Motorola, with a nearly $40 billion value.

What they did from a business perspective was critical: They both changed, and they stayed focused.  That’s not easy to do.

Nokia consisted of three companies in 1922: Nokia (paper manufacturing, dating from the 1800s), Finnish Cable Works (telephone and electrical cables), and Finnish Rubber Works (galoshes).  They operated across numerous industries: footwear, robotics, military communications, consumer electronics, plastics, chemicals.  In fact, Nokia was going to go bankrupt until the Finnish businesses acquired them in the early 1900s.  So Nokia needed the Finnish Works companies desperately, at the time.  There were many changes throughout the century, different types of ownership and reporting structures, as they made their way in a global economy.

Change occurred again. In the 1990s, Nokia focused entirely on telecommunications, letting go of all other parts of their business.  Three companies reemerged: Nokia, Nokia Tyres and Nokia Footwear.  Within a decade, Nokia surprised Motorola and toppled them.

Their focus on telecommunications and Internet services now canvasses more than 150 countries, and leads manufacturing of mobile phones.

Leadership is an evolving process. There are times you will need to change. Times you need to refocus. Times when you need certain partnerships, and times when you need to focus on your core business.

Stay focused.  And, be open to change.  Success and leadership is an evolution.

 

Pray; Love Humanity; Forgive
2/23/2010

Dr. Fincham has found a way to increase love for humanity: Prayer, then forgiveness.

The relationship expert who hails from the Family Institute at Florida State University, states, “What seems to be operative here is that people experience a selfless love when they pray; they appear to be connecting more with humanity and feeling more positively towards humanity as a whole. That’s what leads them to be more willing to forgive.’

What inspires you in a quiet moment, a prayer, a meditation, a statement of gratitude…opens us all up to giving and receiving the love of humanity.  And with that, we heal. We ask for forgiveness and we forgive. It’s one of the most healing things we do for ourselves and others.

 

Are you ready to take a ‘spiritual’ vacation? Check out this trend in Egypt, Peru, India, Ireland, Tibet…
2/22/2010

“Spiritual vacations” are on the rise.  And that’s a positive rise to $18 billion as a world industry.  People are seeking positive, uplifting experiences which enhance their travel.  You can review sacred traditions in Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Ireland, Mexico and Peru with Sacred Earth Journeys.  Scale the oldest pilgrimage site, Mount Kailash, in Tibet.  Buddhists believe this 51 kilometre trail will cleanse one of any past faults and hurts.  World Religious Travel Association offers Christian tours. Even Milwaukee has jumped in the fray: A 15th century church was moved from Chasse, France, which was the chapel of Joan of Arc.

Be positive, be inspired, be healed.

 

“It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice”
2/19/2010

Sarah Hughes is quite a wise woman.  The above is her quote at the height of being our lead American figure skater and the 2002 Olympic gold medalist. She’s the fourth youngest gold medal champion of all time.

Sarah isn’t only an accomplished skater, but also a champion for charity. She leads breast cancer awareness campaigns in honor of her mother, survivor of breast cancer.  She also helps Figure Skating in Harlem, which provides free ice skating lessons and academic tutoring.  Sarah, we salute your contribution to excellence on and off the ice.  Couldn’t be a more wonderful example of the Positive!

 

There are two types of people, says Winston Churchill…
2/18/2010

“There are two types of people: those who see difficulty in every opportunity, and those who see opportunity in every difficulty.”

Be, see, and live opportunity.

 

Honor the Companies that Honor their People– Barclays
2/17/2010

I love seeing companies be socially responsible. And part of that is not just serving the outward community, but also serving the inward community: your team.  Barclays is one of the few companies that allows up to five years unpaid leave. You can have your job back when you return. You can explore a different avenue of life, for any reason, whether to explore a new career, take time with family, or to travel.    Honor the companies that honor their people.  Thank you, Barclays, for your wonderful model.

 

Go Climb Your Mountain!
2/16/2010

Ed Viesturs has climbed more than 14 mountains which exceed 26,000 feet. For many, this altitude might be too much. While he trains, he states that it is not the physical activity, but the mental attitude.   Ed Viesturs’ “summit” is his mindset.

Go Climb Your Mountain!

 

Know Your Goals. Know Your Team’s Goals. Celebrate the Beauty of Balance!
2/15/2010

I hope I believe in balance. And part of that is identifying and knowing your team members’ goals outside of work.

It’s important to have outside lives and interests.  You have to begin by recognizing those first for yourself.  Your team will see you modeling this balance and how it makes you a whole, fully giving person.

We try to encourage our team to have outside interests, and to share their goals. We know UniversalGiving can’t be everything for everyone (even me :)). And so I love to hear about the other interests– how can we help further them? One person wants to be a writer. Another wants to go into aerospace. If I know this, perhaps someday I can help them. I can watch out for a person or introduction that might be helpful.  Or even in a small way, I can find a helpful article in my daily journey of reading.

We’re all here to help each other.  It can happen in so many ways.  Focus on encouraging a balanced life and sharing of one another’s goals.  Let’s see how much we can help each other.  It will amaze you how much it energizes your organization, and propels your vision forward.  But  most importantly, it honors the other person wholistically, just as you would want to be honored.

 

What’s In a Conversation…Who Will You “Turn Towards” Today?
2/12/2010

The word to ‘converse’ has morphed to mean using words or talking. But what it meant at inception was to “turn towards one another.”  The point was to delve more deeply into a truth of some sort. It was also to find commonalities amongst people.

Who will you turn towards today?

 

Learn from Henry Allingham
2/11/2010

“You might as well talk first.”  That’s what Mr. Henry Allingham, one of the last World War I veterans, said in a recent Economist article.   We have much to learn from Mr. Allingham, as he continues: “War’s stupid. Nobody wins. You might as well talk first, you have to talk anyway.”

We might even change Mr. Allingham’s wise counsel to “You might as well listen first.”  It might do even more for our world; the health of our relationships; and our day to day interactions.

 

How Much of University Diplomas Are Attained By Women… Who Leads?
2/10/2010

At least in America and Europe, 60% of university degrees are attained by women.   Keeping on the quest for learning!

 

How Much of Our Workforce Is Comprised of Women…Who Leads?
2/9/2010

How much of our workforce is comprised of women is now an astonishing figure.  With the recession, numerous men were let go ahead of women.  Now the workforce (and not just due to the recesssion) is comprised of 49.9% women in the United States.  Who leads?  Women CEOs, that is, at PepsiCo, W.L. Gore, and Archer Daniels Midland.

 

Leading the Way

Brazil leads the way as a top developing nation which increases services during tough economic times.  Brazil increased assistance from the poor from 1 million to 12 million through its program, Bolsa Familia.

India leads the way as a top developing nation which increases services during tough economic times. India promises 100 days employment on public works for those who live in the countryside or rural areas.

China leads the way as a top developing nation which increases services during tough economic times.  China’s unemployment rate for rural migrant workers is less than 3%.   Their proactive spending program on infrastructure was the cause, as well as an extremely strong stimulus plan that kicked in mid-year.

The U.S. needs to learn from Indonesia.  What a breakthrough that country has realized these past three years.  Many companies have devolved out of government rule and into private company ownership or into publicly owned companies.  While the GDP mandate is that deficit can be no more than 3%, Indonesia has consistently clipped it to 1%.  Last year it is 2.5% due to increased stimulus planning; next year it is forecasted to go down to 1.6%.  Impressive Indonesia should run a course for us in the United States.

It’s exciting to see all these new world leaders, each with their own competency, skill, investment or proper management!

 

Every problem…
2/2/2010

“Every problem becomes a stimulus to wake up.”

John Robinson, author of Finding Heaven Here

 

The Beauty of Nonjudgment – Why Jennifer Garner leads us all
2/1/2010

“I will tell you what I cannot abide…women criticizing other women and mothers criticizing other mothers.  It just makes me crazy, whether it’s between staying at home, going to work, how long you breast-feed, if you use formula.  I feel we should just assume everyone is doing the best they can.”  (Parade, January 2010)

Jennifer Garner points to the Beauty of Nonjudgment.  Everyone has a uniquely special pathway.  People are raised on love and integrity, not formula or mother’s milk.  There are people who have failed, people who have succeeded — who have moms who stay home; mom’s who work;  moms that have nanny’s and mom’s that don’t.

And it’s not only about the love you have for your child. It’s about the love you have for yourself. And you can’t love yourself, unless you know yourself. What works best for you? In what situations can you be the best mom?  Then follow that loving intuition, and you will be.  You deserve the best mommy style for you, and so do your children.

 

Be a Firefly—2000 Ways to Light Up the World
1/29/2010

There are more than 2000 different species fo fireflies.  That means we all get to light up the world a multitude of ways.  Decide how you’re going to shine today!

 

Why An Orphanage May be a Positive Home
1/28/2010

In the 1890s, people didn’t live very long. The average age from the late 1880s was, in fact, in the 40s.  So orphanages became a way for these young children whose parents died, to have a home.  Currently there are 143 million orphans across the world.

We normally think of orphanages as a forlorn location, and perhaps an evil place.  Especially in developing nations, it can be the case. But it’s not necessarily true.  Richard McKenzie, quoted in a New York Times article, grew up in an orphanage which gave him stability and permanence, and he wishes the positive scenarios would be brought more to light.

Our current system, which is generally accepted as Foster Care, is not generally designed for consistency. We now have 500,000 American children in foster care. On the good side, they can receive a positive, regular, caring lifestyle.  On the negative side, it can seem that ‘life is a suitcase.’  You move again, and again, from one home to another, never sure what you will find.  There can be a strong sense of homelessness.  Establishing trust, giving and receiving love, and cultivating long-term relationships can have little chance for survival. Which means little chance of success as a person, notwithstanding professionally.

In either case, consistency and love need to rule the day.  May we continue to work towards helping children find their right sense of home, which we all deserve: A place of comfort, consistency and caring.

Positive Recommendation:

Silicon Valley Children’s Fund, Silicon Valley, California, USA.  Excellence in foster care.

 

Colombia:  Close Down the Traffic and Open Up the Community
1/27/2010

Who’s got community together? Colombia.  Every week from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., the streets are shut down. People spend the entire day on bicycles, skates, walking and picnicking through more than 70 miles of streets.  The streets are closed to traffic. Which opens up Bogota to Community.

Thanks to Ciclovia, it’s now a weekly norm.  Cut down on pollution, and increase personability, as families and friends spend hours and hours in shared recreation, picnics, and exercise.

A model for any nation or community. Colombia, thank you for paving the way!

 

Don’t Just Stop and Smell the Flowers
1/26/2010

Stop and smell the flowers is a good starting point.  But why not stay with the flower?

Have you ever really looked at what makes up the flower? Its petals, the stamen, the actual layout and folding over of different petals… it’s quite remarkable.  Appreciate the wisdom behinds its creation… its unfolding process as it blooms… and its journey of growth.   It’s simple and complex in its beauty and expression.  It also endures so much with changing seasons, from brilliant sunlight to wind gusty rain.

And so are you. Appreciate the beautiful simplicity and complexity of you and each of our fellow men,  women and children. Be open and beautiful; endure.

 

Money Increases Happiness
1/25/2010

Money increases happiness, according to Harvard University.  But only when it is lifting people out of extreme poverty.  It essentially comes down to Mazlow’s basic needs.  If money can help you attain shelter, food and clothing — which eventually lifts you into the middle class –  then it does bring you happiness.

But little after that.  Once those basic needs are taken care of, we must go to higher needs for happiness.  Caring for people.  Caring for ourselves.  Doing the right thing. Living a simpler life. According to Stephen G. Post, Director of Compassionate Care at Stony Brook University in New York, happiness was on a higher level during the Great Depression than it was at the turn of this century.  He attributes much of this to a simpler lifestyle.

Live simply; be happy.

 

Money Can’t Buy Happiness
1/22/2010

Money can’t buy happiness.  Sometimes we forget this.  Remember, it was the Beatles who brought this up through their songs. They had powerful messages which made us think.  So the next time you are enjoying one of their songs, remember, too, their life advice. Money can’t buy happiness.

Strong relationships do.  Working at something you love can bring it.  Spending time with those you respect does. Adhering to your values does.   Relationships, sincere work, people and values bring you happiness.  Focus on those four areas, and not only will you have happiness, but the money will come.  You’ll be doing what you love to do, and that will surely be compensated.

 

How to Be Fully Human: Praise Should Be the Permanent Pulsation of the Soul
1/21/2010

A person is fully human “when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.  Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”

G.K. Chesteron certainly let us know what we need to focus on.  Joy.  And what a life force it is!  We don’t realize how much our thoughts impact us, our minds, our actions, our responses.  And therefore how it affects others’ minds, actions, and responses. He also points to the vapidness of negative thinking. What can it do, how can it build?  It only tears down. And so we should as best as possible obliterate it from thought.

We can contribute so much in this world.  It starts with our thoughts; it starts right now; and that joy can carry us to an entirely different level of harmonious living.

Thank you to Gilbert Keith Chesterton for such wonderful advice.  G.K. was an extremely profound English writer of the 20th century who contributed across philosophy and poetry, as well as fiction. He was known for his incredible intellect, desire to decrease political divisions, and strong reasoning skills.

 

Never Too Young for Philanthropy
1/20/2010

You could say it’s a business, and it’s the business of giving.

The other day we received a letter from an elementary school student who had a philanthropy project. He was in 5th grade.

He set up a lemonade stand, raised $25 and sent the proceeds to UniversalGiving.  His letter read: Please send a soccer ball to a child in Somalia. Because soccer players are my heroes. Without soccer, there is no hop.  (hope)

Anyone can get in the business of giving at a young age.  See where it takes you.  Encourage youthful giving!

 

Be Prepared to Be Kind:  Girl and Boy Scouts say it best!
1/15/2010

Be Prepared. That’s the motto of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

When you think about it, being prepared is not just for wilderness trips.  And while being prepared often means having savings, storing water for an earthquake or natural disaster, and keeping a flashlight in your car, it also means being prepared qualitatively.  It’s about being prepared to react with positive qualities, in your day to day life.

It’s all about what you hold, store and  prepare with yourself.

So be prepared to be kind.

Some days you may not receive pleasant news.  Will you react in anger, distrust, sadness, gloom? Or will you respond with patience, a willingness to see all sides and the realization that all things are truly working towards a greater good?

Set yourself to react kindly.  That means both to yourself and others. Don’t come down hard on yourself; don’t come down hard on others.  Be understanding.

Be prepared to be kind. It’s the ultimate preparation.

Girl Scouts:

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

http://www.girlscouts.org/

Boy Scouts:

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.

http://www.scouting.org/

 

“Do It Anyway”

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

This poem is widely attributed to Mother Teresa, after it was found hanging on a wall in her home for children in Calcutta.  It is a revised version of “The Paradoxical Commandments,” written by Dr. Kent M. Keith.  You can read more about the story on our UniversalGiving blog, PhilanthroPost.

 

Entrepreneurs Give 25% More to Charity than Other High Networth Households: Celebrate the Entrepreneur!
1/1/2010

Entrepreneurs both invest wisely, and, take risks. And so it parallels their philanthropy:  Entrepreneurs are more likely than other high networth donors to donate to education (sound investment in the future) and international (a bit riskier but with a higher return/impact).

Another positive is the donation of themselves: Almost 80% of wealthy entrepreneurs volunteer their time.  Thirty percent of entrepreneurs donate 200+ hours per year, more than other wealthy individuals.

Thank you to All Our Entrepreneurs!

 

Remember the Importance of Staying With Family: What We Can Learn from Asia
12/31/2009

I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and nieces, Will, Connor and Lindsey live about 1 mile from my parents.

That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family.   Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up :); celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.

Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?

I know I am fortunate.  Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent.  All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate….

In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country.  This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure.  But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia.  Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move.   But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.

Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…..

 

Why Women Will Be Greener Than Men: Green Guilt?
12/30/2009

“Green Guilt”  may be the new norm.  Women feel compassion for the earth, our environment, and the future our children will experience.  While 53% polled have “green commitments” as part of their New Year’s plan, women outshine men, 41 to 27%, on experiencing “green guilt.”

Good news is how this affects our earth.  People are focused on decreasing energy use in our homes, purchasing environmentally sound products, and recycling.  However, I think we miss here: We need to focus on reusing.  Recycling requires a lot of energy. Reusing can cut down on that energy (personnel hauling recycling; recycling processing plants; resending containers to businesses).  Just take the container, and try, to reuse it. Think creatively.  Perhaps a container holding food might house pens, staples, notes, or even jewelry.

To up the positive, 76% of us say we’ve cut down on energy use.  And I just heard the other day of a new electric car which also has solar panels. Now that’s an environmental double deal I’ll take! :)  (Actually, triple deal: Full electric, solar and, no gas.)

What we need to be concerned about most is how we navigate environmental concerns in developing nations. They are at the cusp of being able to put in systems in place that prevent them from facing consumptive societies such as the United States and China.  What’s so challenging is that if a crop isn’t successful, these women still need to feed their families.  Whether good for the environment or not, they may have to plant on soil where it needs rest and turnover. Or they often replant due to incorrect farming techniques, which uses more water than originally planned.   If you like, here are ways to support them:

Support Sustainable Agriculture

Launch a Farm

Water a Field

In the meantime, reuse, reuse, reuse…and then, recycle.   Happy New Year Resolutions for us and the earth!

 

Peace on Earth – Across the World

English: Peace on Earth

Serbian: Mira u zemlji

Arabic: سلام على أرض

Pashto (Afghanistan): دلته دم او قدم دواړه په سوله

Korean: 지구에 평화

Italian: Pace su terra

Russian: Мир на земле

French: Paix sur terre

Portuguese: Paz na terra

Hebrew: שלום עלי אדמות

Spanish: Paz en la tierra

 

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”  Paul Guaguin
12/24/2009

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)  was an artist who was renowned for his Post Impressionism painting in the 19th century.  He was an innovator in the use of bold colors.  At the same time,  he also brought out meaningfulness of each subject.  He balanced authenticity with innovation.

What we can learn from Paul Gauguin:  Let’s ‘see’ differently. Don’t use your eyes this holiday season.  Instead, use “meaning” to see.

What’s meaningful to you? Be bold in recognizing it.  You’ll see an amazing painting of goodness, kindness and abundance all around you, if you will just see.

 

Did You Close or Open the Relationship?
The Most Successful Thing You Can Do in 2010.
12/23/2009

Success isn’t just about closing companies.

It’s about opening up and building relationships. Care about your customers: Find answers to their solutions even if they don’t result in a direct buy. It’s about caring to help.

If you do, you will close clients.  You will build your business.

So start measuring success differently. Instead of how measuring how many business deals “I’ve closed,”  ask yourself, how many people have “I’ve opened” up to help?

Results are in the Relationships.

 

Build Trust–For Peace
12/22/2009

World Peace is a hard word.  We all want it. But how can you create “World Peace” ?

What we can do is build World Trust.  We commit to developing long-term relationships based on trust.  If we focus on World Trust, then World Peace can result.  Peace is based on Trust.

Read further on our new page, Building World Trust.

 

Who’s Next in Female Representation?
12/21/2009

If Rwanda leads the charge in highest female representation in congress, which country is next?  Take a guess and be inspired.  You might think a North American nation; Europe for both; and you’re not right.  Sweden is at 47% representation; Cuba is at 43% representation in their governments.

So what about the U.S.? We’re dying to know.

18%.

We have our work cut out for us.  Thank you–Mirakoze cane, Rwanda; Tack själv, Sweden; Gracias, Cuba–for leading the way.

 

Why Rwanda is Leading the Charge for Women–Thrilling
12/18/2009

Rwanda is leading the charge for women.  Really?  Yes. It’s the first country that had a majority of women in their parliament.  What’s even more impressive: It’s law.  30% of seats must go to women.  And to increase impressiveness even more, they’ve passed it willingly:  56% are women.  When something is a law and people surpass the requirement, it shows it is becoming something natural in their daily life.  We can all learn from that:  Doing the right thing because we want to and it is natural.

 

How Peaceful is Your Country?
12/17/2009

The Global Peace Index Shows Your Country the Way to Peace.   Check out where your country is ranked, and how you can help measure peace.   Founder Steve Killelea believes that peace is highly tied into economic wellbeing.  Killelea was an Australian tech entrepreneur, turned peace do gooder.   Here are some top tips on the most peaceful countries:

*small, connected countries do best

*stable political situation

*democratic governance

*high investment in education

*high investment in economic infrastructure

So how does this translate?    If your country makes efforts to align itself with this index, significant progress can occur.  Airline security provides a healthy environment for business.  Customers are more willing to fly and/or set up business in your country.  Lowered security costs can be invested in other economic infrastructure which helps provide jobs.

Interestingly enough, the countries that were ranked high in peace also showed that consumer spending increased in food, clothing, communications and household goods and services. Coupled with that, tourism spending increased, along with hotel, catering, recreation and leisure.

Peace and Economic Stability leads to a healthier nation.

 

PeaceCorps For the Redeployed:  Age 85 and Up!
12/16/2009

That’s right.  There is no  qualification on how old you can be to serve in the Peace Corps.   One 85 year old is serving in Morocco as we speak.  More and more retirees — well, usually they want to be known as redeployed–are using their time and talent to serve.

Just realize it is competitive, as 66% who apply are turned down.  If you can’t find what you are looking for there, then find a volunteer opportunity on UniversalGiving!

 

Cultivate an Abundant Outlook
12/15/2009

Tim Sanders shared some wonderful suggestions on how to view the holidays from a position of thankfulness, appreciating the abundance in our lives.  Read his December newsletter for tips on gratitude, and for holidays gift ideas too!

 

Go After Your Water Heater
12/14/2009

Who’s Next? Your Water heater.  Go after him!  Cut him down 20 degrees and you could save more than 500 lbs of CO2. It will also save you money.  Who doesn’t want another $100 per year?  Cut him down if not out. :)

 

Warm and Cold
12/11/2009

Get your hands warmed up with your dishwashing gloves. Using cold instead of warm water can save 238 pounds of CO2 per year!  It can also knock down your energy bills by about $50.   Get cold and clean up!

 

Fatality Rate Reduced
12/10/2009

The U.N.’s Millenium Goals are moving forward.  The fatality rate for children under 5 has been reduced by 27%.  How did this happen?

The answers to deeply embedded poverty are varied and require a wholistic approach.  We do know that mosquito nets combatting malaria, water, vaccines, and higher quality sanitation have strongly contributed.  Let’s hope the U.N. makes its goal of 67% reduction by 2015.  Join us and  make your impact:

Supply a mosquito bed net and save a life

Provide water for villages

Immunize a child

Provide clean water and sanitation to an elementary school

Feed 500 children

 

Competition for the Greater Good
12/9/2009

Utility companies in Sacramento now compare your usage rates with your neighbor’s.  Residential use of energy is approximately 1/3 of all energy use in the U.S.  So it’s time for us to get serious about our homes.  Now utility companies are showing how your usage measures up with “Mr and Mrs. Jones.”  Your bill will show three ratings:  2 smileys for great; 1 smiley for average; or no smiley for below average.  It compares you to a block of other neighbors with relatively the same household size, in approximate groups of 100 homes.  Use less energy.  Get Competive for the Greater Good!

 

Volunteering in Pakistan
12/8/2009

Who’s better than the U.S. in volunteering? It might just be Pakistan.  Pakistan has 58% of its population devoting their volunteer time to the community. And of those who give, nearly 34% of them have little or no income. That’s devotion. That’s commitment to one’s community. That’s giving as a part of the fabric of one’s daily life. Pakistan,  thank you for the practical inspiration!

 

Drink Up!
12/7/2009

Pour yourself that tall cool glass of chocolate milk.  With flavonoid-rich cocoa, skim chocolate milk can reduce inflammation and keep a healthy body.  It’s not as powerful as red wine they say, but it certainly is sweeter.  Make your life healthy and sweet.  Viva la cocoa bean!

 

Repeat and Disregard
12/4/2009

Repeat and Disregard. Repeat and Disregard.  Across different time periods, philosophies and religions, these two steps have proven to reduce stress, according to Herbert Benson, M.D.  Focus on repeating positive words and ideas, dismissing the negative, and focusing back on the positive.  Repeat the positive and disregard the negative; repeat the positive.

 

Laugh Your Way to Health
12/3/2009

Start laughing your way to a workout, reduced stress and increased memory.  Think I’m kidding?  Melissa Breyer says that laughter can lower your blood pressure, provide a workout to your body, reduce stress hormones and increase memory and learning. In a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores.

 

Positivity for Health
12/2/2009

Be energetic, happy and relaxed, says Leonard Holmes, as that will ward off colds. Those who are depressed, nervous or angry complain about colds…even if they don’t have them.  Join the positive crowd and remain healthy!

 

Check Out the Passive House!
12/1/2009

Passivism, not activism, is making energy conservation stick.  That’s what Germany’s new “Passive House” demonstrates:  Your home can be outfitted with an airtight shell that prevents heat-loss.  Extremely thick insulation captures natural energy from residents and the appliances, making heating systems unnecessary.  All you have to do is ‘simply live’ in order to heat your home. Check out The Passivhaus Institute.

 

Do Unto Others
11/30/2009

Do Unto Others is from ancient times.  Hearing different versions from philosophers and religious leaders make us realize the commonality of Truth.  What a wonderful way to tie the world together!

“Do not do unto others all that which is not well for oneself.”

Zoroaster, 6th century B.C.

“Hurt not others with that which pains thyself.”

Buddha, 6th century B.C.

“Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.”

Confucius, 6th century B.C.

“May I do unto others as I would that they should do unto me.”

Plato, 5th century B.C.

“Do not unto others what thou wouldst not they should do unto thee.”

Rabbi Hillel, 1st century B.C.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Jesus, 1st century A.D.

“None of you truly have the faith if you do not desire for your brother that which you desire for yourself.”

Muhammad, 6th century A.D.

“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.”

Baha’u’llah, 19th century A.D.

 

Leaders in Women Voting
11/24/2009

Women were granted the right to vote in several areas across the world. Although it might not have been universal suffrage, here are some of the leaders:

Sweden, 1781: Sweden gave conditional female suffrage, dependent on circumstances and restricted

Wyoming Territory, 1869: Wyoming Territory gave women, in general, the right to vote

New Zealand, 1893: New Zealand gave women the right to vote

South Australia, 1894: South Australia enacted legislation giving women the right to vote

 

Empty Means Experiment
11/23/2009

Don’t get down the next time you walk by an empty store. Communities in London are taking back that real estate and turning it into exhibition halls, theatres, art productions, painting show cases, singing and dance classes.  Right in the middle of the community and with excellent visibility, they are drawing in residents who want to learn, grow and share in free ways.  The U.K. government is set to invest 3 million pounds in these community ventures.

 

Norway Knows How To Court Women and They Know It
11/20/2009

Norway knows how to court women and they know  it.  Norway leads in instituting the highest number of women in directorships on boards, thanks to a quota established by law.  Finland, Sweden, Denmark are close suitors.

 

Saving For a Rainy Few Years
11/19/2009

Most African countries in the past few years up until 2008  have enjoyed growth as much as 6.5% in the their economies.  Many governments were overloaded with cash. The smart ones did their best to not only avoid corruption, and not only spend wisely, but also to save.  Tanzania and Mozambique were two shining stars that kept building their reserves for a rainy day –  or a rainy few years.

 

How is Africa’s Diamond Boom Helping Sierra Leone?
11/18/2009

Exports in diamond mining jumped 542 percent over a 6 year period ending in 2007.   Taxes from these exports support reconstruction from the internal war.  Local people are employed in jobs.  Local residents receive 3% revenue on the sales, acknowledging their local presence.  True profit sharing, revenue and rejuvenation is sparked by properly channeled mining activities.  Celebrate this pocket of economic peace.

 

Peace and Politics in Africa
11/17/2009

According to Alonzo Fulgham, 54 million Africans voted in 19 peaceful presidential and high level government elections.

 

Get Your Culture Shot!
11/16/09

Have you gotten your Culture Shot?  In Germany, doctors are treating patients and sending them to the theatre, both in the name of the health.  In the Culture Shot program, theatre is seen as prevention: It opens the door to culture and higher levels of education, which usually leads to a healthier life.  Kids age 7-15 who go to a pediatrician for a checkup each get 2 free tickets.

Who knows? Your next prescription might not be to the pharmacy but to a play.

 

Graduates Giving Back
11/13/2009

The news is out about the coolest jobs, and we’re all going to benefit from some of the smartest. According to The Wall Street Journal, Harvard graduates are increasingly seeking jobs in education and healthcare, less in finance.  In 2007, 47% went into consulting and finance; now that number is 20%.  Serving is on!

 

Tomatoes for Peace
11/12/2009

Wait, don’t throw the tomato, sell it. India has increased sales of its tomatoes to Pakistan to $22 million from $4 million year previous, even within three months of Mumbai attacks last November.  Pakistan and India are uniting over positive tomato sales.   As one Pakistani importer stated, “Government people…don’t want peace. The ordinary people, we want peace. We want to live a better life.”   Positive business increases peace.

 

Fighting Plastic Bags
11/11/2009

Who’s ahead in the Plastic Bag Battle?  Mexico City. They just banned plastic bags, according to the Christian Science Monitor.  Mexico City, China, Tanzania, New Delhi and San Francisco are the first cities and countries to challenge the existence of plastic bags at supermarkets.  Biodegradable or cloth bags are replacing them. Plastic bags litter ocean floors and contribute to the Texas size mountain of waste floating in the ocean.  If you use plastic bags, fines, taxes and in some cases jailtime for retailers are possible repercussions.   Viva un mondo sin plastico y mas naturaleza.

 

Ice Cream Up!
11/10/2009

In a challenging global environment, we continue to look for the positive. Down Economy, Means Ice Cream Up!  We love this.  Ice cream sales are up because it’s comfort food, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.  Some feel good businesses will continue to thrive.  Let’s celebrate small, inexpensive joys that are accessible to us.

 

Choose Chocolate Over Trees
11/1/2009

Sonoma, California is a charming town, founded by Vallejo in the early 1800s.  Right on the original square of the Mission, they have a store called Baksheesh, which features indigenous, handmade products and gifts from local artists in more than 30 countries across the world. My favorite this morning when I bought a gift:  “Would you like a bag or a piece of chocolate?”  Message: You get rewarded by saving the world and not using paper. Choose Chocolate Over Trees!

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