My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Persevering After Failure

Last week in my college success courses I teach I shared a true story on what can be learned from failure. The discussion that followed was encouraging as they saw in the story perseverance, learning from wise advice, and that dreams can still come true. Those were the main thoughts the students shared.

The story came from my sharing the book with them, From Failure to Promise “360 Degrees”. I started off with a question: “Is it possible for someone to flunk out of a college and then years later wind up teaching there as a professor?”. After the initial stares some shook their heads no and some indicated yes. That is the reality of the basic gist of the life story, Dr. C. Moorer tells about himself in this memoir about his life from failure to success.
He honestly shares about his high school dream of going to the university to be an auto engineer. He was a good student but various factors interfered in his first year to cause him to go onto suspension, (I won’t discuss the factors here to peak your curiosity to read the book yourself). None the less, he shares about how life happened to him which led to failure. That is what I spoke to my college students about, that life can hit you from left field and bring failure your way. What do you do about it?

There are many principles that can be learned from Dr. Moorer’s story. My favorite is when he accepts advice from his father after he came home dejected from the university on academic suspension. The description of what his dad says is found on page 47, “He asked to speak to me, and I knew it was going to be an interesting conversation , to say the least. “So, you’re finished like that huh?” The dichotomy of his query left me reeling for the right response. “Well, they said I can’t come back for a year or so,” I explained. He quickly followed by asking, “..and then what or now what?” I replied, “I guess I got to go to community college and try to get back in, but I don’t know about my job or engineering…” I said little, but for him, I had either said enough or too much. He calmly but assertively cut in, “Life is hard, ain’t nobody giving away anything. If you really want something worth having, you have to sacrifice for it. It may require bleeding, sweating, and even crying to get it. Just ask the Lord to help you out along the way. Take breaks but don’t break away from it. Everything is going to be alright if you don’t break down like a little sissy every time things don’t go your way.” This was great wisdom from his father who ran a small auto body shop in Detroit, Michigan.

From the rest of the story as the reader follows the progression of his life story up to his present time of being the Dean of the Madonna University School of Business, it shows how he took his father’s advice to heart. He could have played the victim and blamed his professors or maybe that the school did not help him enough. No, he took ownership of his problems. Also his father’s advice showed the values of personal responsibility. I like how he emphasized take a break to gain clear vision of what happened but don’t break away from the future God had for him. You noticed the father did not say. This is unfair! Let’s get a lawyer and start a protest. Instead he encouraged his son to regroup, don’t give up, and turn to God for persevering strength.

Did you notice he is now Dean of the Madonna University School of Business. What happened to his dream of engineering? Sorry no spoiler alert here, you will have to read the story yourself. But it is a learning experience that I discussed with my college students in my college success classes. We discussed how with our dreams and goals we need to be open for shifts to occur. Just as I have shared in the past, Dr. Krumboltz of Stanford University, speaks of how happenstance events can change are dreams and we need to be open to new directions in our lives. This is the same as what Dr. Jim Bright speaks of with the Chaos Theory of Careers that shifts can occur in our life direction. Be open to the shifts if they are opening up new passions and new positives for your life. Some of those shifts or happenstance events start out as failures that come across our paths. That is where we need to listen to Dr. Moorer’s father’s advice in not giving up but taking time to regroup and move forward instead of backwards. Or as I say in my book, Living More Than OK, we need to spiral up to abundant living not spiral down.

Reflection: What does perseverance mean to you? Think back to a failure in your life. What did you learn from the experience?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lessons In Learning How To Fly

This past weekend I took my wife to hear one of her favorite music duos –Tuck and Patti. It was at One World Theatre in Austin, Texas. If you are ever visiting Austin check to see if they are having a concert. They always have a great lineup of artists. It is a small, warm and welcoming venue where you get a great feel for the artists no matter where you are seated.
The concert was phenomenal. Patti is a pure embodiment of joy. Her voice from low tones to high tones is so smooth and clear. She captures the emotions found in each song they sing. Tuck is a guitar virtuoso. Guitar is my favorite instrument so it was a joy to see an artist who was definitely in flow with his guitar.

Here is one of their songs they played near the beginning of the concert. Take a listen to them by clicking on the title of the song.

Learning How To Fly by Tuck and Patti (click on title to hear song)

When your heart is low feel the breezes blow
It's all right you just take your time
There's no hurry now that you're on your way
When you're learning how to fly
No more wandering 'round, step up off the ground
You will find you can glide on by
There's a magic place that is just for you
When you're learning how to fly
You've always known that this was not your home
You've been longing for that place
Where you would not feel so all alone
Well now that time has come for you to fly away
Just breathe on in then breathe on out
And you'll be on your way
Watch the ocean rise, say your sad good-byes
Don't be shy, go ahead and cry
There's a light to guide and you're really on your way
Now you're learning how to fly
Now you are flying, rising, floating
Sailing on this blissful ocean
Everything you've always wanted now
Learning how to fly

Freedom comes while you are soaring
Far away from cares and longing
Take this moment, open up your eyes
You're learning how to fly

Repeat chorus

You are higher now, feeling lighter now
So much joy, you just have to go
Feel the greatest love that you've ever ever known
When you're learning how to fly

You are higher now, feeling lighter now
So much joy, you just have to go
Feel the greatest love you have ever known
When you're learning how to fly
Now you're learning how to fly
You are learning how to fly

Listening to the song I thought of a saying by C. S. Lewis, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” A part of this life in my thoughts is preparing to fly to another realm that C. S. Lewis speaks of. What is ahead on that journey speaks of God’s love in my thoughts and my worldview.

Also as we travel through this life we fly from life passage to life passage. Part of maturity is learning to fly through the time points in our lives. Some of those time points are sad and some are full of joy. I find it important to learn to let go of the weightiness of life cares and concerns to fly lighter and higher to realms of joy.

During a couple of Tuck and Patti’s songs in their concert-- Castles in the Sand and Time After Time; I reminisced back to my days living in Chicago. I savored back to memories of listening to my musical friends, Keryn Moriyah and Lia McCoo in Northside Coffee Houses. Lia’s voice is similar to Patti and Keryn in many songs played a jazzy folk style I enjoyed listening to so much.

One of my favorite thoughts from the concert was when Patti shared an idea to listen back to favorite songs from your past and listen for new gems within the songs. She is so right. I have had that experience many times of listening to songs I enjoyed in the past, and depending where I was at in my life journey the song can take on a whole new meaning. As we traveled home from the concert, my wife and I reflected on that thought in that we heard them last year when they came to Austin and this concert had a totally different feel than the previous year.

If you ever get the chance to hear Tuck & Patti in concert make it a point to do so. Their music is full of positive energy to enhance your enjoyment of living.

Reflection: What does learning to fly mean to you? Look up and old favorite song of yours on YouTube and listen to it. How do you experience that favorite song in the here and now of the present?