1071 HEAVEN “When Fred arrived at the Pearly Gates, he was met by an official-looking angelic being who began to process his entry data. Fred was asked for some purely unselfish, kindly deed he had done on earth. Well, Fred thought about it for a minute and then said, “Oh, yes. I think I have something you might be interested in. One day I was walking along and I came upon a little old lady who was being mercilessly beaten up by a huge motorcycle-gang type of fellow. He was smacking her back and forth. Well, I just stepped right up and first I pushed over his motorcycle just to distract his attention. And then I kicked him real hard in the shins and told the old lady to run for help. And then I hauled off and gave the guy a great shot right to the gut with my fist.”
The angel looked at Fred with a great deal of interest and said, “Wow, that’s quite a story. I’m very impressed.” Then taking his clipboard in hand he said, “Could you tell me just when this happened?”
Fred looked at his watch and said, “Oh, about two or three minutes ago.”
Excerpt From: Hodgin, Michael. “1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking.”
1072 NON-COGNITIVE SKILLS: (a.k.a. CHARACTER STRENGTHS)“Students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically [in high school]. Instead, they seemed to be the ones who possessed certain other gifts, skills like optimism and resilience and social agility. They were the students who were able to recover from bad grades and resolve to do better next time; who could bounce back from unhappy breakups or fights with their parents; who could persuade professors to give them extra help after class; who could resist the urge to go out to the movies and instead stay home and study.”
Excerpt From: Tough, Paul. “How Children Succeed.”
1073 DETERMINATION “The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”
Excerpt From: Steven Pressfield & Shawn Coyne. “The War of Art.”
1074 AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM “The story of the United States is the story of an economic miracle and a political miracle that was made possible by the translation into practice of two sets of ideas—both, by a curious coincidence, formulated in documents published in the same year, 1776.
Adam Smith’s key insight was that both parties to an exchange can benefit and that, so long as cooperation is strictly voluntary, no exchange will take place unless both parties do benefit. No external force, no coercion, no violation of freedom is necessary to produce cooperation among individuals all of whom can benefit. That is why, as Adam Smith put it, an individual who “intends only his own gain” is “led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”
The second set of ideas was embodied in the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson to express the general sense of his fellow countrymen. It proclaimed a new nation, the first in history established on the principle that every person is entitled to pursue his own values: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Excerpt From: Milton Friedman & Rose Friedman. “Free to Choose.”
1075 THAT DAY “What about the day that hasn’t happened yet—the day of Christ’s return? On that glorious day, children will head off to school, loaded down with their homework and their peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Morning rush-hour traffic will choke the freeways. Merchants will be opening their doors to customers. The stock market will be abuzz with excitement and activity. Homemakers will be shopping. Planes will be taking off and landing. Judges will be sitting at their benches, hearing one case after another. Television newscasters will be busily gathering the stories of the day. Then, suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will split the sky, and God’s great plan for the future will suddenly take center stage. It could be tomorrow. It could be today! But whenever it is, that morning will begin as just another uneventful, ho-hum, no-big-deal kind of day.”
Excerpt From: Charles R. Swindoll. “Esther.”
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