Monthly Archives: February 2016

Hope: In Business and Life, Finding The Light

Wall Street

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“There comes a time in every man’s life when man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”

– Lou Mannheim (said to Bud Fox), in the movie Wall Street

In my last post, I wrote about why I believe in UFOs. Science-fueled arguments aside, the real point of the post was the powerful nature of belief. This human-only construct is how we’ve accomplished so much in our brief time on the planet. Belief underpins almost everything we do, from observing religion to rooting for our favorite sports teams. The latter could easily be confused as delusions of grandeur. Any Philadelphia Eagles fans out there know this all too well. Even so, as powerful as belief is, there’s something else with even greater juice. Hope.

Hope is the fuel for the vehicle we call belief. When we’re full of hope, we move forward in any direction we choose, believing that whatever we set out to accomplish, we will. Hope allows us to believe that we’ll become or do what we want, from finishing school to being a great role model and parent. It gives us limitless belief, which is critical in overcoming the inevitable Everest-like obstacles life tends to toss in our path. Instead of giving up, we look for ways over, through or around an obstacle.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter

Abandon

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Without hope, the vehicle either comes to a rest, or never moves. How many times have we heard the expression, “This is hopeless”? I’m willing to bet that in almost every one of those situations, things weren’t truly hopeless. Even Aron Ralston, the hiker and subject of the true story depicted in the movie 127 Hours, never truly lost hope. His tale is harrowing and horrific, but never hopeless.

Losing hope can feel a lot like what Hal Holbrook’s character describes to Charlie Sheen. It’s like careening toward the abyss without the ability to tap the breaks. When we look into the abyss, it’s our indefatigable human spirit, our never say die will, that pulls us back and hardens our resolve.

Adversity reveals and strengthens character. Still, there are times when we need help to find hope through the clouds of despair. Supportive people in our lives can provide that critical tether to help keep us out of the abyss long enough to rebuild hope.

Building Hope

Solitude

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In gamer terms, hope is the ultimate health unit. A little hope goes a long way to restoring belief. Belief moves us to action. By the way, hope is not: “Man, I hope I win the lottery” or “I hope the Eagles beat Dallas”. Those represent a wish. It’s another four-letter word, but doesn’t punch at anywhere near the level of hope, which is the undisputed heavyweight champion.

So what does hope look like? Hope helps us to build our own fortress of solitude when things seem to be crashing down around us and challenging our beliefs. It keeps us going when we might otherwise give up. There are countless quotes that about hope, including Winston Churchill’s famous, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

My personal favorite: “It’s darkest before the dawn.” This tells me, or anyone dealing with challenging circumstances, that when things appear the bleakest, brighter times are just ahead. I like the visual of leaving the darkness behind and moving toward the hope-restoring light of a new day.

Hope is our ally in life. We feel its power in all we do, whether we realize it or not. It shapes our dreams, anchors our beliefs and guides our actions and decision-making. It’s not “The Force”, but it’s damn close.

I “hope” you enjoyed this post or found some meaning in it.

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Why I Believe in UFOs and You Should Too

UFO

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Anyone who’s drawn in a deep breath, uttered a guttural scream and floored it to complete a high-speed merge onto the New Jersey Turnpike anywhere between exits 18W and 6 knows what it’s like to live on the edge. I’ve run this Grand Prix race more times than I remember, as my wife is originally from North Jersey and I hail from Bucks County in PA. For those that have driven the turnpike, you know the drill. If you haven’t, well, consider yourself lucky (or maybe not).

Given my glowing review of the turnpike, you might be wondering why I’d think you might not be lucky if you haven’t driven this magnificent road. Sure, you can improve your Mario Kart skills on just about any major highway in the country. High speed merges, road rage and tolls galore! But, I ask you: how many roads offer you the opportunity to see UFOs?

One clear night, my wife and I were heading back to PA after visiting her family over the weekend. It was late, somewhere around midnight. Even at that time, the lack of other vehicles in either direction was somewhat surprising. We were debating something (neither of us remembers what) as we cruised along a section of the turnpike featuring a nice long straight track.

I noticed it first. Then my wife, seeing me staring at something off in the distance out the windshield, saw it too.

In the uppermost left part of the windshield, way up in the night sky, we both saw a round, bright, glowing yellow light. As we watched, in less than a second, it zipped across our view to the edge of the right side of the windshield. Its glowing yellow light pulsed in stark contrast to the pitch-black sky. The light zoomed to the bottom of our view out the windshield and then to the top, followed by another move to the left edge, where it flashed back to the right, before finally disappearing past the edge of the windshield. We turned toward each other and together said, “What the h*&^ was that?”

Now, I don’t know if we actually saw an alien spacecraft out joyriding. And I’m sure there’s no short supply of wannabe scientists armed with theories to debunk our sighting. That’s not important. What is important is that we believed we saw something out of the ordinary that night, even if science can muster some explanation. Note: I probably won’t buy it, but fire away.

Belief is a powerful concept. We believed we saw something bizarre, something we could not explain, and that was…well, awesome! It’s not as if I was a hardened skeptic whose life was shaken to the core. I’ve always held out the possibility that there may be other life somewhere else out there in the universe. It’s a pretty damn big place, so why not?

When we believe in something, it becomes real. It becomes something we naturally accept and move toward. Do you belief you’re going to be a lawyer? Or a doctor? Or that you’ll develop a cure for cancer? That’s the first step in accomplishing anything: belief that you can. It moves you toward your goal and helps you to create a plan of action to get there. Belief also is your ally in overcoming any self doubt or doubt others feel they need to provide.

Need a few examples?

  1. Thomas Edison devised thousands of theories to create the light bulb before finally succeeding. He believed he was going to do it, and pressed on until he did. I have him to thank for being able to sit up late at night with the lights on while I hammer out this post.
  2. The Wright Brothers believed that could get a heavy piece of machinery off the ground. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, they nailed it. Without their belief, we would not be able to go from coast to coast in about six hours (jet stream notwithstanding).
  3. NASA believed it could put astronauts on the moon. Check. It also believed it could find a way to safely return the astronauts from the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 mission (great movie, by the way). Big-time check.

Apollo 13 Astronauts

4. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” This is another way of saying that if you believe it, you can achieve it. Henry Ford believed he was going to build a vehicle that worked, and he did.

5. Steve Jobs believed he was going to change the world. Fast-forward through several iterations of the iPhone, iPad, and iMac, among others, and it’s obvious that he succeeded. I’m writing this on a Mac, while working under a version of Edison’s light bulbs.

Steve Jobs

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The list goes on and on. The point: belief is critical to our personal and professional success. Belief gets you going and keeps you focused.

But don’t make the mistake of just believing in something. Take action. Write down goals, objectives, and milestones. These keep you on track and help you reset priorities when you inevitably accomplish one goal after another.

This is why I believe in UFOs, and think you should too.

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