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Monthly Archive for December, 2009

I have heard much about Nelson Mandela’s 27 years in prison and his eventual release and election as South Africa’s first president in a representative democratic election. But I didn’t know how he survive those long, drawn-out years in a tiny prison cell on Robben Island, until I saw the movie Invictus.

In a conversation on the big screen with Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon, the captain of South Africa’s rugby team), Mandela (Morgan Freeman) shared with Pienaar that during his darkest moments in prison, his spirit was lifted and sustained by the poem Invictus (below) by William Ernest Henley, and that he would not have made it through prison if not for the words of this English poet who lived from 1849 to 1903.

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Have you ever had moments in your life when someone or something kindles a spark of gratitude within you and changes your perspective on life ever so subtly, or not so subtly?

I remember one instance, back when I was barely out of my teens, while attending college as a bright-eyed freshman. It was the first day of a “Psychology 101” class. Everyone in class looked around my age, except a 60-plus-years-old African American woman. I will never forget what she said as we went around a seated circle introducing ourselves.

After working hard all my life, and seeing my five children grow up, go to school and graduate from college, it is finally my turn.”

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What Is It About Flowers?

Today, I simply have a pictures blog post, of the numerous flowers I have come across this year and taken pictures of. What is it about them that surprises and delights us? That enthralls and captivates? That makes us cast aside our troubles, no matter how temporarily? That makes our hearts sigh with contentment and joy? Here are some “eye candy” (no calories added!) for your viewing pleasure!

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During another downturn several years back, I learned a new definition of success.

It was a time not unlike these times. Many companies have folded. Many people have been laid off.

In the eyes of the world, these companies would forever be tossed in the “failure” category. After all, didn’t they run their companies to the ground?

I was, at that time, the owner of a public relations agency struggling to keep my clients and my employees. While I was discouraged, I wasn’t defeated. But for sure, I didn’t feel like “success” either, until I met professor Erickson from the City College of San Francisco, where I had signed up for a complimentary small business management class.

Professor, how do you define success?” A dark-haired middle-aged woman at the front of the classroom raised her hand.

The grey-haired balding professor in a navy suit looked up from his lecture notes and turned in the direction of my classmate.

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