Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Great Pitcher or a Bad Hitter?

Michael Josephson is the founder of the Josephson Institute for Ethics and Character Counts. He is also one of my favorite commentators and his weekly newsletter is available for free. I strongly encourage everyone to subscribe.

Below is an excerpt from this week’s newsletter. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

“When Ron gave his 7-year-old son Nick his first ball and bat, Nick wanted to play immediately. Ron said, “Son, baseball’s a serious game. You have to practice before you can play well.”

The boy went outside and began throwing the ball high in the air and swinging at it over and over. After an hour, he came in and said, “Dad, can we play now?”

Ron followed him outside and said, “Okay, show me what you can do.”

Nick tossed the ball above him, took a mighty swing, and missed. “Strike one,” he said enthusiastically.

He did it again and missed again. “Strike two!”

Ron said, “Concentrate, Son. Remember, three strikes and you’re out.”

The boy tossed the ball a third time and swung so hard he fell to the ground after hitting nothing but air. Ron winced, but Nick had a triumphant grin.

“Why are you happy?” Ron asked.

“‘Cause I’m great at pitching!”

You have to love Nick’s attitude. He may not turn out to be a good hitter, but he’s likely to lead a happy life. What’s more, he’ll probably bring warmth and cheer into the lives of others because an attitude like his is contagious.

Pessimists might think people like Nick delude themselves by looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. Yet Nick’s world is just as he sees it. His decision to view himself as a successful pitcher instead of a bad hitter will not only make him happier, it may even contribute to his success.

It’s not easy, but if we develop the wisdom to treat frustrations and failures as empowering experiences and generate the strength to let go of self-destructive resentments and grudges, our lives will be filled with a lot more sunshine.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.”

Participate. Make a difdference. Live a life that matters.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It is an honor.

It is an honor for me to be included and recognized by so many people in so many ways.

My blog is now published on four websites and is viewed an average of more than 100 times per day. In just eight months my blogs have been viewed more than 22,000 times. I am truly honored that so many people have included me in their lives.

Our activities with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society continue to grow and expand. This Sunday is Walk MS 2009 and nearly 6,000 people will participate in the event. We expect to have at least 80 people walking with us and on our team. That will be our largest single group of walkers to date.

It is not too late to join and support us. Click here:

As a result of our efforts, we have twice been included in the Society’s “Tour of Champions.” For us, being included in this group of top fundraisers from around the country is a great privilege. The participants are all extraordinary, motivated and caring. They are also all making a difference in the world.

Beginning next month, I will begin leading a Community Support Group for our local chapter of the Society. This monthly meeting is a forum for those of us affected by the disease to discuss and exchange information and ideas on living better with MS. For me, it is the next step in how I can better serve others living with and challenged by this disease.

FINALLY, (I saved the best part for last) I am on TV!
Our local NBC affiliate, KNBC, just aired a segment on "Living with MS" and our upcoming Walk and the segment features ME! If you missed it on TV, you can view some of the footage by going to There are four short segments to watch and they have really given me an opportunity to share some of my thoughts. If you already know me, there are no surprises. If you don’t me, than this is an opportunity for us to get acquainted.

I cannot begin to tell you how it feels to be asked, included and representing our MS community. The acknowledgement and recognition I get as a result of my participation is extraordinary. It is an honor.

My thanks to all of you for your continued encouragement and support.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I have learned to ask for help.

We are going to be on TV this week. KNBC, our local NBC affiliate will be airing a segment this week on the MS Walk and living with the disease and we were interviewed. If you are in Southern California, please tune in and watch the news at 5:00PM. We don’t know what day it will air, so tune in daily. Thanks.

Part One – The Lesson
Asking for help may be one of the hardest things that we ever learn to do. We like to be able to do things on our own. We like it when we can help ourselves. We like not having to depend on others.

Living with a disability has forced me to learn to ask for help. I can no longer do all the things that I used to do, but I do as much as I can. Sometimes I stubbornly refuse to allow people to help me because I want to do it myself. I want to do as much as I can, as well as I can for as long as I can. Truthfully, there are times when I ask for help and don’t absolutely need it. As a practical matter, it is just easier, faster and better if someone helps me.

Having to ask for help has taught me a few things.

Everyone needs help sometimes. I just need more than others
Being nice is passive. Kindness never is.
The world s filled with kind people
People want to help someone who needs it.
Family and friends are happy to help….and so are strangers, too.

Having been the beneficiary of so many acts of kindness has boosted my faith in people. Knowing that there are so many kind and willing people ready to help has made it easier to ask for.

Part Two – We need help.
MS doesn’t slow down just because the economy does. As most of you know, our team, the JiggyWiggits, has been among the top fundraisers in the country for two years in a row. This year both our team and Gail and I as individuals will be lucky if we raise half as much as we did last year. We have asked more people, more times for more money than ever before and it is just not coming in. That is certainly a sign of the times………..and we are not alone. To date, the Southern California Chapter has not yet raised half of last year’s total.

So I am asking for your help. I am asking everyone for $10, $20 or whatever you can afford. If you can’t afford it, we understand. But if you can, I am asking for your help. The only way that we can cure this disease is by funding the necessary research and we cannot do it alone. But we can do it together. If everybody does a little, a lot will get done. We can cure this disease. We can change the world.

Make a difference. Click on the link below and help cure this disease. Thank you.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Try not to try.

Try and eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary. It is not easy. As a society and culture we have learned to rely on this word for comfort, justification, explanation and excuse. It is the one word most commonly used and accepted that keeps us from telling the truth.

That is a heck of a statement isn’t it? Let me give you a definition of “try” and you decide if it is true or not.

“Trying is the experience we have when we don’t do what we say we are going to do.”

Think about it. When do we use the word “try”?

“I tried, but I could not do it.”
“Well, at least they tried.”
“He tried and failed.”

Now look at when we don’t use the word “try”.

“I did it.”
“He did it.”
“He did it and succeeded.”

We diet or we try dieting. We exercise or we try and exercise. We get things done or we try and get things done. We are either going to “try” or we are going to “do it”.

The most interesting aspect of this word is how readily we as a society accept it as an explanation, but what if we didn’t? What would happen if the next time someone said to you “I tried”, you responded by asking “What did you do instead?”

When the question is asked as a genuine inquiry and not accusatorily, we give people the opportunity to tell us, and perhaps themselves, the truth about what happened.

“The diet didn’t work because it required discipline that I just don’t have.”
“I just did not make the time to exercise every day.”
“I just didn’t do what I was supposed to do.”

When people tell the truth about what really happened (or didn’t) they can begin to take responsibility for themselves, their actions or lack thereof.

But why? Why are we so ready and willing to accept “I tried” as an answer? Is it because it is easy? Polite? Or is it because we want people to accept our “I tried” too?

I am not perfect at doing this. I still use the word from time to time and occasionally accept it from others without question. Losing the word “try” is hard to do. But now that I know what it means, I sure hear it differently.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.