HelpersI was at the University of Michigan with a friend who is on the list waiting for a liver transplant. We spent a half-day listening to doctors, nurses, dietitians and others tell us what to expect through this process.

One social worker really emphasized the care of the patient’s body prior to the transplant as a way to help with recovery from the surgery. He said, Pre-habilitation helps rehabilitation.” 

I like that!

It’s sort of a variation on Benjamin Franklin’s maxims, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and “A stitch in time saves nine.” Even wise King Solomon wrote, “A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered” (Proverbs 22:3, The Message).

To help things go better later, we need to start working sooner. Later things go better with helpers that begin sooner. 

Here are a few helpers I thought of:

Pre-habilitation helps rehabilitation. 

Preparing helps repairing. 

Exercise helps recovery. 

Proaction helps better reaction. 

Accepting responsibility helps apologizing. 

Praying helps working. 

Daily study helps studying the night before a test. 

What other helpers would you add to the list? (Add them in the comments below….)

Humility (book review)

HumilityDavid J. Bobb has a title/subtitle combination that almost sounds paradoxical—Humility: An Unlikely Biography Of America’s Greatest Virtue. After all, when many think of America they are more likely to use the terms “confidant” or even “brash,” but not usually “humble.” But in this seeming paradox is a great truth.

The Greek philosophers often described a virtue as the golden mean between two extremes. Indeed, David Bobb uses such philosophers as Socrates and Aristotle, alongside Augustine and even more modern thinkers like Benjamin Franklin, to explore how America could be virtuous because of its humility.

Or more precisely, how America could be virtuous because of humble Americans. Dr. Bobb explores the biographies of notable Americans like George Washington, James Madison, Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to give us an intriguing description of what true humility looks like. Although in their time many thought of these people as proud or even glory-seekers, Dr. Bobb shows us how it was their profound, often hard-won humility that made them examples worth emulating.

And we do need these examples. In the epilogue, Dr. Bobb quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Humility is the first of the virtues for other people.” How true! The question is: Will Americans re-learn the virtuous power and strength of humility, or will humility continue to erode, mistaken by many as a weakness?

For both history enthusiasts, leaders, leaders-in-training, and those who love a good biography, Humility is a very enjoyable and educational book.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

21 Quotes From “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”

Sometimes You WinAs I mentioned in my book review (which you can read by clicking here), John Maxwell always expands my horizons with his writings. I appreciate his ability to use his own life experiences as well as historical and contemporary examples and writings. So some of my favorite quotes from Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn are from Dr. Maxwell, and some are from others that he quotes. Enjoy!

“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful, I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder that I am not dealing with facts. When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.” —Hugh Prather

“Those who profit from adversity possess a spirit of humility and are therefore inclined to make the necessary changes needed to learn from their mistakes, failures, and losses. … When we are focused too much on ourselves, we lose perspective. Humility allows us to regain perspective and see the big picture. … Humility allows us to let go of perfection and keep trying.” —John Maxwell

“Most people spend their entire lives in a fantasy Island called ‘Someday I’ll.’” —Denis Waitley 

“An idealist believes the short-run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short-run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Those things that hurt, instruct.” —Benjamin Franklin

“You can’t grow and learn if your focus is on finding someone else to blame instead of looking at your own shortcomings.” —John Maxwell

“The highest reward for our toil is not what we get for it but what we become by it. … Mistakes are not failures. They are proof that we are making an effort. When we understand that, we can more easily move out of our comfort zone, try something new, and improve. … Improvement demands a commitment to grow long after the mood in which it was made has passed.” —John Maxwell 

“Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“The main trouble with despair is that it is self-fulfilling. People who fear the worst tend to invite it. Heads that are down can’t scan the horizon for new openings. Bursts of energy do not spring from a spirit of defeat. Ultimately, helplessness leads to hopelessness.” —Norman Cousins

“Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.” —John Maxwell

“When you are influential and highly respected, people tend to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. They are seeking your approval, or they flatter you. Unfortunately, this creates a gap between what you hear and reality. If you find yourself in that situation, you will need to work extra hard to get the people close to you to speak honestly into your life. And you will have to become highly intentional in observing and listening.” —John Maxwell 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.” —Doug Larson

“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise.” —Samuel Lover 

“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” —Denis Waitley

“Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit. … As you face bad experiences, it’s important for you to remember that you can rarely see the benefits while you’re in the midst of them. You usually gain perspective on the other side of it.” —John Maxwell 

“Most people would rather change their circumstances to improve their lives when instead they need to change themselves to improve their circumstances. They put in just enough effort to distance themselves from their problems without ever trying to go after the root, which can often be found in themselves. Because they don’t try to change the source of their problems, their problems keep coming back at them.” —John Maxwell

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” —Alan Cohen

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” —Tallulah Bankhead

“Maturity is doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to be doing it, no matter how you feel.” —Dom Capers 

“Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” —Fridtjof Nansen, Nobel Peace Prize winner

“How we think when we lose determines how long it will be until we win.” —G.K. Chesterton

What’s Your Excuse?

It’s so easy to make excuses, isn’t it?

  • I wasn’t feeling well.
  • I don’t have enough training.
  • The sun was in my eye.
  • The other guy was supposed to….
  • I don’t have the right tools.
  • If only….
  • I can’t because….

John Maxwell has started a new teaching series where he presents a one-minute lesson on one word every day. Today’s lesson was on excuses. Watch the clip here.

Here are some other quotes on excuses —

“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” —George Washington Carver

 “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses only results.” —Kenneth Blanchard

“Obstacles are not excuses for failure, they are opportunities for growth.” —Craig T. Owens

“People who are good at making excuses are seldom good at anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

Okay, now it’s your turn. In the comments below, add one of your favorite quotes about excuses.

Tell Better Stories

People often ask me why I read so much, or even why I read the things I read. I like to read widely — classics to contemporary, history to biographies and even a little poetry.

Tim Sanders wrote Love Is The Killer App. In this wonderful book he says that reading and studying should be motivated by love. We read and learn so that we can be informed enough to help others who are in need. Not reading just to read, but reading with a purpose. Reading to help tell someone a story. I haven’t found a book that does this better than the Bible.

The world’s greatest storyteller (ever!) was Jesus of Nazareth. Check this out —

With many stories like these, He presented His message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when He spoke (Mark 4:33-34, The Message).

Jesus could tell a story to anyone at anytime. He learned, He studies, He observed, so He would always be ready. He frequently used whatever was at hand to tell His stories — a child, a farmer, fish, bread made with yeast, a coin, a bridal party. But He had to know something about each of those things in order for His stories to be effective for each person’s “experience and maturity.”

Once Jesus encountered a man so demonized that he spent his life naked and living in the graveyard (my friend Jim Wiegand calls him the “naked, cat-eating guy”!). Jesus set this man free from his demons. When this newly-freed man wanted to accompany Jesus, He told him, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story” (Mark 5:19, The Message).

Tell them YOUR story.

The best story you can tell is your story.

It’s wonderful to read to be informed… I highly encourage this. I love to be able to say, “Benjamin Franklin said…” or “I love the Longfellow poem about…” or “Stephen Covey wrote that we should….” But it’s so much more effective to say, “Here’s what I have learned from my personal encounter with Jesus. Here’s MY story of what Jesus did for me.”

What about you? Do you have a story to tell? If you’re in a relationship with Jesus, you always have a story to tell. Keep walking with Jesus. Keep reading His love letter to you written on every page of the Bible. Then tell YOUR story — the best story of all!

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