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Developing the Thank You Note Habit
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Developing the Thank You Note Habit - April 22nd, 2006

Developing the Thank You Note Habit
I learned the value and power of thank you notes early in life. When I was a young child; my parents occasionally went out with friends for dinner. Invariably, when my parents returned from an evening out, I saw my mother sit down at her little desk in the hallway as soon as she got home and begin to write. One night I asked her what she was doing. Her answer came straight out of Emily Post: "We had such a wonderful time with our dear friends this evening that I want to jot them a note to thank them for their friendship and the wonderful dinner."
My mother's simple act of gratitude, expressed to people who already knew that she and my father appreciated and enjoyed their friendship, helped to keep my parents' friendships strong for their entire lifetimes. Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. I set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. That goal meant that I had to meet and get the names of at least ten people everyday. I sent thank you notes to people I met briefly, people I showed properties to, people I talked with on the telephone, and people I actually helped to own new homes.
I became a thank you note fool. And guess what happened? By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 98% referrals! The people I had expressed gratitude to were happy to send me new clients as a reward for making them feel appreciated and important.
____________
Tom Hopkins International 7531 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251 Tel: (480) 949-0786 or 800/528-0446 Fax: (480) 949-1590
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How To Identify & Motivate Bad Employees
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How To Identify & Motivate Bad Employees - April 22nd, 2006

The Manipulator

The manipulative employee thinks everything is all about him. At best, they're backbiters, but more often than not they keep score and seek payback years after a perceived slight. Such people are hollow at their core and don't know how to form stable relationships. Don't share personal information with such people, because they'll use it against you. Manipulators can be charming and might succeed in sales or as deal closers. Be careful, because constant vigilance isn't enough.

Perfectionist

A perfectionist never gets off the dime. They fuss and fulminate and believe everything has to be just so. They seek to control the small details because they're afraid of failure. Don't expect perfectionists to be good team players. They do best with solitary, rule-based tasks and often excel at accounting or other detailed jobs.


Mr. And Ms. Irresponsible

Chronologically, irresponsible workers aren't kids--they just act that way. Try to find out what makes 'em tick: money, attention, strokes? Set standards, enforce them rigorously and show your appreciation for a job well done. When you find something that works, it must be done again and again and again, forever and ever without end, amen, because they will quickly backslide.


Dr. Phil's Patients

You're a manager, not a TV shrink fixing the world's problems between commercial breaks. If an outside problem gets in the way of a critical assignment, give the worker a less stressful task. Then offer your support. You can't be a therapist, but you can direct the worker to an outside person who can help.

Source: forbes.com


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Don't Hope Friend...Decide
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Don't Hope Friend...Decide - April 22nd, 2006

Don't Hope Friend...Decide
by Michael Hargrove


While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about. You know, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly? Well, this one occurred a mere two feet away from me! Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First, he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, and movingly loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, diverted his eyes, and replied softly, "Me too, Dad!"

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9) and while cupping his son's face in his hands he said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug. His son said nothing. No reply was necessary.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one and a half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder and remained motionless in total pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then quietly said, "I love you so much!". They stared into each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant, they reminded me of newlyweds but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't be. I puzzled about it for a moment, then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"

"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those." he replied without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face.

"Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile and told me, "Two whole days!"

Two days?! I was stunned! I was certain by the intensity of the greeting I just witnessed that he'd been gone for at least several weeks, if not months, and I know my _expression betrayed me. So, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"

The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with an intensity that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope friend...decide." Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!". With that, he and his family turned and energetically strode away together.

I was still watching that special man and his exceptional family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?" Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"


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The Magic to Creating Opportunities
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The Magic to Creating Opportunities - April 22nd, 2006

The Magic to Creating Opportunities
Young children are wonderful to be around because we learn so much from them. When they begin to ask questions we, as adults, find ourselves searching for appropriate answers to their many questions. They get us to think.
Our answers reveal a lot about who we are, what we believe and what we value. We learn through these moments about the power of questions. We are held captive by their wondering eyes, their inquisitive minds until, after (what feels like) hours of questioning, we finally become frustrated and exhausted and tell them to go play.
Through the years these same children, often as young adults, stop asking questions. First they stop because they think that they know it all, so they do not have any need for questions. Second, and this happens as they mature, they stop asking questions out of fear of appearing ignorant or foolish, often this second phase can last a life time. It is in the second phase that most people remain. I admit that it took me quite a while to move out of this second phase.
The repercussions and costs of staying in the fear stage included lost sales, financial missteps, poor purchases, difficulty in some relationships, missed opportunities and many boring social gatherings. Thankfully, I saw the light regarding the power of questions.
Questions are effective in our different relationships, because they connect us to each other. Asking questions creates communication and enables to build deeper understanding of who we are, what we value and how we can help. Each of us has various roles that we play. The roles may include manager, salesperson, team member, wife / husband, parent, son / daughter, volunteer, financial manager for your family, coach or friend. Within each role we can use questions to teach us about the other person, show us how we can be of service, learn expectations and clarify misunderstandings and goals while becoming more interesting.
Remember the saying "be interesting to others by being interested in others"
In my new book "Bragging Rights: How to Get Teams to Identify, Defend, and Increase the Value They Add to Your Company", I instruct managers, through the use of questions, to elicit the values of their team, to learn from their team members their strengths and goals and how to use those strengths to be a more productive and powerful team. The most effective sales people are those that ask questions and then listen to the answers. Powerful sales people ask a variety of questions so that they understand their client. '
* What makes this particular customer effective?
* What do they value?
* What do they value in the companies they work with?
Most sales people talk too much and listen too little. If they asked more questions and listened more effectively most would have more sales, because they would know which of their products meets their clients needs. Of course one question to ask, after you close the deal is:
Is there someone you can refer me to who could use my service/product?
If you are a parent, can you relate to this scenario?
Parent: Hi, how was school?
Child: Okay? Parent: What did you do today?
Child: Nothing. Child walks away and that conversation ends.
By using different kinds of questions you can generate more effective answers. What was the funniest thing that happened today? If I called your science teacher what would she say she taught today? What is the easiest homework that you have today? Change the variety of questions from day today. Use the same techniques with your wife/husband. After many years of the same old "How was your day?" Answers can become repetitious. Change the question. "Where did you drive today?" "What did you see that was different today?" "Did you read anything interesting today?"
Questions create conversations. Friendships are deepened when you ask questions. You learn about your friend's experiences and thoughts. Questions also make social gatherings more enjoyable. It is easy to start a conversation by asking someone a question; creative questions can bring interesting answers.
"What do you like best about living here?" "Where did you go on your last vacation, I am planning mine for next year and not sure where I am going?" "What do you like best about your business?" "What brought you to this event?"
Questions create opportunities, because if you are paying attention and listening you can learn about new places to visit, new products to offer, new insights into your daughter's or son's life, new people who can help you achieve your dreams.
Your job is to ask questions, be an active listener and then connect the dots. Use the conversation to create connections between who they are, what they do, and how they do it and who you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there.
Questions are powerful and can open doors. They are magic.
____________
Pegine's has over 15 years of experience as a nationally recognized expert on success, leadership, and teambuilding, and 30 years of experience in the workplace, ranging from corporate America to public service. Visit her site at http://www.pegine.com


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The Genius of Teamwork
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The Genius of Teamwork - April 22nd, 2006

The Genius of Teamwork
True teamwork is the rarest, most exhilarating, and most productive human activity possible. Every business wants to harness this incredible energy, but achieving such a level of motivation and esprit is not always easy. A team is not just a group of individuals who work at the same location or have the same logo on their business card.
A real team is made up of people who may be unequal in experience, talent, or education, but who are equal in their commitment to working together to achieve the goals and good of the organization, each other and their customers. If we are going to be successful, we can no longer look at our organizations as departments, divisions, or branch offices. We must look at the bigger picture and resolve to work together in ways we may never have done before. We may even need to cooperate with the competition. Think of all the mergers and acquisitions in the past few years. Your number one competitor today could be your partner tomorrow.
Futurist Bob Treadway CSP, from Littleton, Colorado often gives the Mensa IQ Test to participants in his seminars. He has found that many "average" people, when working as a team, test at "genius" level or higher. Participants contribute in different ways. Some brainstorm. Some work alone and then report back to the group. Treadway finds that a team "becomes a genius when everyone works together."
Treadway also noticed that when a team is working at optimal performance, it is hard to know who the leader is. In other words, the team runs the team. Such teamwork doesn't happen by accident. It requires commitment and effort, a willingness to accept the uniqueness of others, and an appreciation of diversity. We build teams in our companies the same way we build relationships with our friends and coworkers. High-functioning teams establish us and our companies as reliable, internally and externally. We then project this image to our customers, vendors, competitors, and communities.
With downsizing and restructuring, many managers today are responsible for as many as 250 people. More than ever, these managers need to build responsible and committed team members if they want the best performance from them. But how do they go about it?
A very dynamic, productive example was the team led by Mike Powell, when a senior scientist at Genentech. Because of its past successes, his ten-person team was given the most important assignments. I asked Mike how he managed to keep his people highly motivated in an environment with long hours and a great deal of frustration. "I keep them happy," he said. Now, every manager wants to do this, so I pressed Mike for details. "Ten years ago," he continued, "I told team members only what I thought each needed to know. Now I tell everyone everything. It may slow them down a bit while they are filtering through all the information, but they get the big picture. Then they can then decide what it is they need to know and do."
He added, "I also gave them lots of positive feedback via email and voice mail. One group at Genentech lost their leader, but they stayed incredibly productive. I left a voice-mail message for one of them, saying 'Everyone in the company is talking about how well you all are doing.' They were really effective as a team and appreciated knowing it." Building a real team gets real results, but it can't be done with slogans and directives. Ed Stair, Senior Vice President at Gap talks about 'Gap Heroes,' everyone who uses innovation to find ideas to save money or improve productivity. Start by respecting each person's individual contribution, showing appreciation, exciting them about their possibilities for achievement, and sharing with them that their group effort has the potential for real genius. Good luck!
____________
Patricia Fripp CSP,CPAE is a San Francisco-based professional speaker on Change, Teamwork, Customer Service, Promoting Business, and Communication Skills. She is the author of Get What You Want! and Past-President of the National Speakers Association. [email address], 1-800 634 3035 http://www.fripp.com


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The Secret of Happiness
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The Secret of Happiness - April 22nd, 2006

The Secret of Happiness
by Steve Brunkhorst, © Copyright 2004

The old man shuffled slowly into the restaurant. With head tilted, and shoulders bent forward, he leaned on his trusty cane with each unhurried step.

His tattered cloth jacket, patched trousers, worn out shoes, and warm personality made him stand out from the usual Saturday morning breakfast crowd. Unforgettable were his pale blue eyes that sparkled like diamonds, large rosy cheeks, and thin lips held in a tight, steady smile.

He stopped, turned with his whole body, and winked at a little girl seated by the door. She flashed a big grin right back at him. A young waitress named Mary watched him shuffle toward a table by the window.

Mary ran over to him, and said, "Here, Sir. Let me give you a hand with that chair."
Without saying a word, he smiled and nodded a thank you. She pulled the chair away from the table. Steadying him with one arm, she helped him move in front of the chair, and get comfortably seated. Then she scooted the table up close to him, and leaned his cane against the table where he could reach it.

In a soft, clear voice he said, "Thank you, Miss. And bless you for your kind gestures."

"You're welcome, Sir." She replied. "And my name is Mary. I'll be back in a moment, and if you need anything at all in the mean time, just wave at me!"

After he had finished a hearty meal of pancakes, bacon, and hot lemon tea, Mary brought him the change from his ticket. He left it lay. She helped him up from his chair, and out from behind the table. She handed him his cane, and walked with him to the front door.

Holding the door open for him, she said, "Come back and see us, Sir!"

He turned with his whole body, winked a smile, and nodded a thank you. "You are very kind." he said softly.

When Mary went to clean his table, she almost fainted. Under his plate she found a business card, and a note scribbled on a napkin. Under the napkin was a one hundred dollar bill.

The note on the napkin read...
"Dear Mary, I respect you very much, and you respect yourself too. It shows by the way you treat others. You have found the secret of happiness. Your kind gestures will shine through those who meet you."

The man she had waited on was the owner of the restaurant where she worked. This was the first time that she, or any of his employees had ever seen him in person.

Authors Note:This story is based on actual events experienced by a friend from St. Paul, Minnesota. The note is the exact wording on the napkin that she has kept in her scrap book for fifteen years.

About The Author: Steve Brunkhorst is a professional life success coach, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life.


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The Fine Art of Gratitude
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The Fine Art of Gratitude - April 22nd, 2006

The Fine Art of Gratitude
"What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it -- would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have."
- Ralph Marston

Think for just a moment of all the things that require practice: grammar, arithmetic, algebra, and even the guitar. Practice is probably something you think you're done with when you leave school or give up music lessons. But, have you ever thought of practicing the fine art of gratitude? In our generation of instant satisfaction, the art of gratitude is nearly lost. How often do we pause to consider the seamstress who tailored the shirts that we wear? The truck driver who delivered the goods that we purchase at the store? The many hands that labor in the background to provide our many comforts?
The farmer grows the wheat, the wholesaler sells, the distributor supplies, the truck driver delivers, the baker kneads and bakes and the salesperson sells the bread. If you consider them, their support staff and those who provide the background material and ingredients, it requires hundreds of laborers to provide a single loaf of bread. There is, indeed, an art to gratefulness that can best be expressed as a GREAT-FULLNESS.
Every single thing we have has been given to us, not necessarily because we deserved it, but gratuitously, for no known reason. And whatever source we believe is the giver - some spiritual concept or simply the breathtaking randomness of the universe - when we give thanks, we take our place in the great wheel of life, recognizing our connection to one another and to all of creation.
A Prescription for Better Living
Suppose for just a moment that practicing the fine art of gratitude were not only among our most important positive emotions, but one that links directly to physical and mental well-being. Suppose it is in our self-interest to feel gratitude because it makes us better people. Surprisingly, that is what research has been indicating.
Consider that recent academic studies have shown:
* People who describe themselves as feeling grateful in general tend to have higher vitality and more optimism, suffer less stress, and experience fewer episodes of clinical depression than the population as a whole. These results hold even when researchers factor out such things as age, health, and income, equalizing for the fact that the young, the well-to-do, or the hale and hearty might have "more to be grateful for."
* Grateful people tend to be less materialistic than the population as a whole and to suffer less anxiety about status or the accumulation of possessions. Partly because of this, they are more likely to describe themselves as happy or satisfied in life.
* In an experiment with college students, those who kept a "gratitude journal," a weekly record of things they should feel grateful for, achieved better physical health, were more optimistic, exercised more regularly, and described themselves as happier than a control group of students who kept no journals but had the same overall measures of health, optimism, and exercise when the experiment began.
* Grateful people are more spiritually aware and more likely to appreciate the interconnectedness of all life, regardless of whether they belong to specific religions. The Benefits of Gratitude While forgiveness heals the heart of old hurts, gratitude opens it to present love. Gratitude bestows many benefits. It dissolves negative feelings: anger and jealousy melt in its embrace, fear and defensiveness shrink. Gratitude deflates the barriers to love. Gratitude also evokes happiness, which is itself a powerfully healing and beneficial emotion. The great Taoist sage Chuang Tzu even went so far as to say that "When one reaches happiness, one is close to perfection." When we are happy, we like to make others happy, and this fosters kindness and generosity. Gratitude is a gift to everyone. No wonder Saint Paul urged us to "Rejoice always" and to "Give thanks in all circumstances." Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We don't have to wait for someone to shower us with gifts before feeling thankful. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that are already ours. These reflections can be done for a minute, a day, or throughout a lifetime. Most people celebrate their birthday and holidays, but those who cultivate gratitude celebrate every day. We can be grateful because we are happy, but we can also be happy because we are grateful. We tend to forget how very different the laws that govern the mind are from the laws that operate in the physical world. In the world, if we give a physical thing to another person, whether it be a toy or a diamond, we lose it. Yet in the mind, the opposite is true. Whatever we intend for another person we experience ourselves, whatever we give we gain, whatever we offer flowers in our own mind. If you feel hatred toward someone, that hate boomerangs back and scorches your own mind. On the other hand, if you offer love to someone, that love first fills and heals your mind. Once this is understood, the desire to hate and hurt starts to shrink, while the desire to love and help begins to flourish. The words "As you give so shall you receive" are profound statements about the way our minds work.
How Grateful Are You?
Do you light a candle or curse the darkness?
Do you bless each and everything that comes your way, trusting that its meaning will become clear--even if you can't possibly see
how in the moment?
Take the following quiz to see how grateful you are.
1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
2. When I look at the world, I don't see much to be grateful for.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
3. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
5. As I get older, I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Your response to each question will reveal your how well you practice the fine art of gratitude. Regardless of your responses, here's a closing exercise which will help you to put the principles of gratitude into practice.
I have so much in life to be thankful for such as...
I am most grateful to the following people and for the following reasons...
I intend on practicing the fine art of gratitude by doing the following...
"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.
Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.
Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.
Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."
- John Henry Jowett

______________
Gary Ryan Blair is President of The GoalsGuy. A visionary and gifted conceptual thinker, Gary is highly regarded as a speaker, consultant, strategic planner, and coach to leading companies throughout the globe. Visit The GoalsGuy at http://www.getmotivation.com/qk.cgi/goals-guy-grb


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Nikhil Gadodia
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I Wanted To Change The World
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I Wanted To Change The World - April 22nd, 2006

I Wanted To Change The World
By Unknown Monk, 1100 A.D.

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.


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Integrity Leadership
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Integrity Leadership - April 22nd, 2006

Integrity Leadership
It is true that integrity alone won't make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one. A classic example involving integrity is one displayed by Steuben, the manufacturers of crystal. For generations they've had a policy of breaking every imperfect piece of crystal, no matter how small the flaw.
Needless to say, this is a potent symbolic act, to both employees and customers. By the same token, genuine leaders must resolve to uphold their standards and values and act as role models for everyone in the organization. If leaders don't place values on a pedestal and defend them against attack, who will?
A person of integrity will make many of his or her decisions in advance. They are guided by principles and decisions that are made not for each individual situation, but according to principle. When values are well established within an organization, when those countless occasions arise where there has been no specific prior example, the integrity principle will lead to an integrity decision. This enables the organization to avoid serious pitfalls.
Leaders with integrity know they are not infallible, so when they make the inevitable mistakes they acknowledge their errors and immediately make amends. In other words, they are big enough to admit their shortcomings and wise enough to right their wrongs as quickly as possible.
In his books and speeches, former Notre Dame head football coach Lou Holtz regularly admonishes people to "do the right thing." When you do the right thing, even if the results are not good, your integrity remains intact; and your followers' confidence in you is not irreparably damaged, because they know you are a person of integrity.
... Adapted from Zig's popular book Staying Up, Up, Up In A Down, Down World.


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Its all about Understanding !!
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Its all about Understanding !! - April 22nd, 2006

Let us learn to love & understand ...
Sometimes we spend time asking who is responsible or whom to blame, whether in a relationship, in a job or with the people we know. We miss out some warmth in human relationship to give each other support.
Treasure what you have.
Just a little story ....
A boy was born to a couple after eleven years of marriage. They were a loving couple and the boy was the apple of their eyes. When the boy was around two years old, one morning the husband saw a medicine bottle open. He was late for work so he asked his wife to cap the bottle and keep it in the cupboard. His wife, preoccupied in the kitchen totally forgot the matter. The boy saw the bottle and playfully went to the bottle and fascinated by its color, drank it all. It happened to be a poisonous medicine meant for adults in small dosages. When the child collapsed the mother hurried him to the hospital, where he died. The mother was stunned. She was terrified how to face her husband. When the distraught father came to the hospital and saw the dead child, he looked at his wife and uttered just four words.
QUESTIONS :
1. What were the four words ?
2. What is the implication of this story?

ANSWER :
The husband just said "I Love You Darling"
The husband's totally unexpected reaction is a proactive behavior. The child is dead. He can never be brought back to life.There is no point in finding fault with the mother. Besides, if only he had taken time to keep the bottle away, this would not happen. No one to be blamed.
She had lost her only child. What she needed at that moment was consolation and sympathy from the husband. That is what he gave her. If everyone can look at life with this kind of perspective, there would be much fewer problems in the world.
Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiving attitude, selfishness, and fears. And you will find things are actually not as difficult as you think.
"A successful relationship requires falling in love many times - with the same person."



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