Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Personality Trait Necessary For Success

Have you ever wondered- What’s the difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn’t?

What personality trait enabled Abraham Lincoln amount to anything when he had this list of failures:
Lost job, 1832,Defeated for legislature, 1832, Failed in business, 1833,Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835,Had nervous breakdown, 1836, Defeated for Speaker, 1838, Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843,Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
Defeated for Senate, 1854, Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856,Again defeated for Senate, 1858
Elected as President 1860.

Do these events sound like they come from a super athlete?
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

Thomas Edison provides us with the answer to a personality trait that necessary for success with two quotes about failure:
 “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

The personality trait necessary for success is perseverance, which is a steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. I’m not into poems, so I’m not an authority as to what the best poem might be about any topic, but this is clearly a great poem about the value of perseverance:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
 When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
 When the funds are low and the debts are high,
 And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
 When care is pressing you down a bit-
 Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
 As every one of us sometimes learns,
 And many a fellow turns about
 When he might have won had he stuck it out.
 Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
 You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
 It seems to a faint and faltering man;
 Often the struggler has given up
 When he might have captured the victor's cup;
 And he learned too late when the night came down,
 How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
 The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
 And you never can tell how close you are,
 It might be near when it seems afar;
 So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
 It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

I don’t know what challenge in life you are facing where temptation and/or logic leads to you to believe quitting makes sense. I do know it is the presence of preserving, not the facts, that frequently makes the difference between success and failure. A very important question to ask yourself today is: What area of my life currently requires perseverance in order to turn failure into success?

The last and most important question to ask is where can I get the perseverance I need to order to succeed?
Some folks were born with this trait, others developed it over time. It's very possible to achieve great things with your own God-given level of perseverance. For those people, Jesus has a warning:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36-37)

In some ways I feel blessed that I'm frequently tempted to quit. I know I can't rely on my own level of perseverance. I need to tap into the best and most powerful source of perseverance. It’s found in a relationship with Jesus.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:1-5)

Jesus wants to give you more than perseverance. He takes the things that could destroy you to produce perseverance, character and hope. For me that's offer too good to refuse. Each of us must ask ourselves if you want to enter into a relationship with Jesus, so He could  pour His power, His perseverance, His character and hope  into your life.

I often marvel how many people turn down this offer and say to the Creator of this universe "I'd rather do it myself!"

I've taken Jesus up on His offer. I can testify that Jesus took me from being frightened out of my mind when I received the diagnosis of prostate cancer and transformed me into an award winning author who shares his transformation with others.  I'll be expressing and sharing my gratitude for the rest of my life. What will you do with Jesus offer to you?

Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Gain a Heart of Wisdom

                                                                 Ps 90:12
                        So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

A common question adults ask of children is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Children often answer this question with a career choice such as a Doctor or Fireman, etc. If you move up the developmental and maturational ladder, by asking the same question to college kids it’s more than likely you’ll receive a similar answer in terns of hearing about a career choice.

As I ask myself that question now that I’m less than a decade away from retirement, my answer is completely different and has nothing to do with a career choice. I’d like to be known and remembered for two things. First I’d like to be known for my capacity to love, and second I’d like to be known for possessing a heart of wisdom.

I suspect you can’t possess the former without possessing the latter. The Bible clearly says that knowing what it means to number our days will led us to a heart of wisdom. So what does it mean to number our days and what wisdom might we gain from doing so?

There is a healthy way to number your days and an unhealthy way to number your days.  I don’t know why, but I always find it much easier to discover the unhealthy ways. For example I’m currently on vacation in Florida. As the days move closer to our departure day, I’m not only counting the days, I’m feeling very sad as I do so.  Rather than enjoy my final days in Florida, I could easy waste and ruin the time by focusing my attention on the fact I have so little time left and immerse myself in my feeling sad and/or miserable about a wonderful vacation drawing to a close.

A far better decision is to accept the sadness and at the same time realize I have two full days left to enjoy. It’s important to ask my wife and myself how can we make the best use of our time.  We can discover what we’d like to do and experience,  before our time in Florida comes to an end.

To gain a heart of wisdom we can’t live our lives (or our vacations) as if we have all the time in the world. Time is one of our most precious commodes. I wonder how differently we’d live if we’d ask ourselves each and every day what would we do, where would we go, and what would we say to people in our lives if we knew today was our last day to live.

I once asked that question to a man with a type A personality. He said “I’d go to work like I do every day, but I’d bring my child with me!”  His answer is a great example of an unhealthy way to respond to numbering your days.

Prostate cancer or any other potentially life threatening illness, (as well as the process of aging) are vivid reminders that life is short. As we number our days we can ask ourselves some important questions:
1. What do I want to accomplish in my life?
2. What must I do to make those accomplishments a reality?
3. How and what would I be remembered for if I died today?
4. Is that how I want to be remembered? If not what do I need to do to change the way I’d be remembered?
5. Are there things I need to attend to that I've been putting off?
6. Are there things I need to say or do before it’s too late?
7. Are there things I regret that I can do something about?
8. If I stood before the throne of judgement would I hear Jesus say:
      'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you  
      ruler over many things. Enter into  the joy of your lord.' (Matt 25:23)

As you read this I have no doubt some very important questions will come to your mind. As they do, write them down. Set some new goals, take the necessary actions to minimize if not eliminate the regrets you have. Use the gifts and talents you've been given to serve and love other people.  Learn to number your days to gain a heart of wisdom.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What My Dog Taught Me About Love

I've had dogs in my life for as long as I can remember. Looking at baby pictures, my first dog King, became my friend while I was in diapers. When I began Junior High, King was still a good friend. There have only been brief periods of time in my 61 years that I've lived without a dog.

While I've loved each of my dogs, Teddy a Cavapoo, (part poodle, part King Charles spaniel) is my favorite dog. He’s been part of our family for 7 years. It’s ironic to me that my favorite dog is the only dog I've ever had who is not reliably housebroken. Teddy can go months without an accident in the house. Every single time I've thought he’s gone for so long without an accident perhaps he’s finally house broken Teddy will pee or poop in the house. He’s especially prone to do this when it rains, because he hates being out in the rain.

It’s miserable living with a dog who isn't house broken. What I hate the most are the times I've  discovered his pile of poop by stepping in it barefooted. It’s totally gross and disgusting to feel dog poop between my toes. No matter how long I wash, I feel disgusted for days.

I thought putting Ted in a crate might help. It didn't, Teddy will poop in his crate. Worst yet, he didn't  mind being covered in his own poop. The process of getting him clean was both smelly and disgusting. There was no way I was willing to go through that process a second time. By necessity, I gave up on the idea of using a crate to stop him from accidents in the house.

Still determined to get the upper hand, I used clicker training to teach Teddy to pee and poop and command. This works most of the time.  Yet he won't give up on the periodic reminders he''s not house-broken. I find it ironic a dog that periodically pees and poops in the house became my favorite dog.

There’s two more disturbing issues that's unique to Teddy and troublesome to me. If we travel with Teddy and I have to leave him alone, he’ll cry his eyes out. It makes no difference if he’s with the rest of the family. The minute I leave, he begins to howl. He’s so loud you can hear it from hundreds of feet away. This doesn't happen at home, I can leave for work and he’s fine with that. Away from home he's less secure.

 Secondly, there’s an issue with our sleeping arrangements when Teddy goes on vacation with us.  At home Teddy sleeps down stairs by himself. Occasionally Kate (our daughter) will take Teddy upstairs and allow him on her bed. Not me. I've never ever let a dog in my bed  until our first vacation with Teddy. Kate tried to have Teddy sleep beside her. Teddy would have no part of it. He cried and cried until I let him on my bed.

 I know I shouldn't have given in, but it was late at night. There was no doubt his loud protests would wake half the hotel guests if I allowed him to cry for hours on end, so I took the easy way out and let him on our bed. The good news is he’s relatively small and doesn't take up that much space. My wife and I slept the entire night without either of us being aware we were sharing our bed with our dog.

Now Teddy insists on sleeping in our bed whenever he accompanies us on our vacation. At first I didn't mind, because he stayed in one place and never bothered me. Now that he’s certain he has a place on our bed he became a bed hog. There isn't a single night we don’t end up fighting for bed space. He tricked me with a few peaceful nights, which are now distant memories.

To sum things up, my “favorite dog” pees and poops in the house. Teddy is the only dog which required me to invest a great deal of time and money with a professional trainer. I wanted professional help with Teddy's separation anxiety. In addition to his private lessons, I paid for a class to help Teddy become certified as Canine Good Citizen. I specifically asked the trainer to focus on the task of separation because I knew that was Teddy's most difficult challenge 

On testing day, he easily passed every test but one. When I gave him to stranger and went behind the barrier Teddy fell apart. He howled like a baby. I’d never been so embarrassed. We were the only ones who failed the test that day. I'll never forget the kind words of encouragement the trainer gave me which helped me leave the facility that day with my dignity intact. She said Teddy was a very obedient and likable dog who was obviously very bonded to me. She said if your going to fail this test, that’s the best reason to fail.

For those of you who think this is an easy problem to fix you need to know when I board Teddy in a kennel which has an out-door park, Teddy will cry for weeks on end until the day I return to pick him up. Obviously letting him cry it out until he gets over it doesn't work when he’s capable of crying inconsolably for weeks on end.

Once again I took to my clicker. I've tried to increase the time Teddy can tolerate being without me. I thought I finally made progress when I could go behind a door for 5 minutes without a howl of protest. I learned he could tolerate separation if it were behind that specific door. In all other places the training did not generalize. I know if I took this on the road we might make some progress, but I've decided to live with Teddy as he is.

More than once I've asked myself how is it that a crazy dog that has more issues than all of my dogs combined became my favorite dog. Here’s one of the many reasons why. Teddy was five when I came home from the hospital after prostate surgery. During the first three months post-surgery I suffered with severe urinary incontinence, and stayed at home, Teddy never left my side. In fact he preferred to be on my lap. He was a welcome visitor.

His presence was comforting to me in a way I've never experienced with another dog. Currently, Teddy doesn't sit on my lap as often as I’d like him to. In fact I've accused him of becoming unsociable. Yet I’ll be forever grateful when I needed him the most, he was right there on my lap, day after day, week after week, month after month, until three months passed and I regained urinary control.

Teddy’s been and currently remains a faithful friend, so I love him warts and all. That’s not a bad lesson to learn. Each of us has warts. Unfortunately some of us are incapable of loving someone once his or her warts are exposed. In the relational world, those folks will end their relationships once our warts become obvious to see.  I suspect each person reading this experienced both sides of this coin. All of us were dumped by someone when our warts were exposed, and all of us have dumped someone else when their warts were exposed.

My relationship with Teddy is a vivid reminder of the value of continuing to loving someone warts and all. If you've had a pet that taught you something of value, I hope you’ll share the lesson you learned.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Authors Beware of your Publisher

It takes time for any book to sell, especially when you don't have a million dollar marketing campaign to push sales along.
 On 5/7/12 I received what I belief is a shameless e-mail from WestBow Press. Here it is:

"I am the light of the world."
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, 
but have the light of life." - John 8:12 
You have reached a significant point in your author journey. Your inspiring theme, motivating message and uplifting voice are now ready to be shared with as many readers as possible.
And you never know what type of positive change your book could ignite in the hearts and minds of people until you get it in their hands. Your book could very well be the inspiration a reader needs to tackle a challenge or make a positive change, and WestBow Press wants to help you share your encouraging message.
Place an order of 500 or more copies of your book, and we'll provide 10% more free.* Combine your author discount along with this special offer for even greater savings. For example: 
Order 500 books
Save 55%
Get 50 more copies FREE
Order 1,000 books
Save 60%
Get 100 more copies FREE 
Learn more 
Pass the torch of motivation by sharing your book. Call 866.928.1240 ext. 1 now to take advantage of this bonus offer.

The first thing that struck me was the use of Bible verse to begin their marketing e-mail. Did they think that using a Bible verse would add extra motivation for me to take advantage of their "bonus offer"? From my perspective this is a terrible misuse of the word of God. The marketing department at WestBow should be ashamed of themselves for using God's holy word in an ad campaign to increase sales and profits for Westbow Press.

Secondly, as my Publisher, WestBow press has done nothing to help me increase book sales. In fact their advice in this letter is to buy books from them so I can give copies of my book away for free. There is not a single word in this letter offering any helpful advice how to sell a single book or how to use the copies of the book they want me to purchase to increase my book sales. 

If WestBow Press were truly looking out for me here's what this offer should have said:

If you buy 100 books or more WestBow Press will send you a list of 50 Christian Reviewers who may be interested in reviewing your book. As a bonus offer we'll send you a list of 100 Christian websites and/or bloggers who'll consider  posting or writing about your book in exchange for a free copy. 

There is an vast difference between my offer and their offer.  WestBow's offer has value to WestBow Press, but no value to me. In my offer there is value to both me and to WestBow press. In fact in my offer WestBow press would be providing a valuable list which could increase  book sales. Therefore my offer is a win for both of us.

It's nice that WestBow Press keeps reminding me through their pitiful marketing efforts that we are not on the same team. Their goal is to make their profits off of me. 

My goal is to help people facing prostate cancer, through my website and the sale of my book.

If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer and considering surgery here's a link where you read reviews and purchase my book. It's also available on Kindle and iTunes for $2.99 
It's also available at Amazon UK at the following link:
Amazon UK

If you'd like additional information about prostate cancer visit my website at:
Rick's Website
Visit the Pre & Post Surgery Forums, as well as the helpful links and videos-all FREE 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Cure For Prostate Surgery Buyers Remorse

Be Careful what you wish for.
I’ve met a number of men who were so unhappy with their life without a prostate they’ve said: “If I could do this all over again, I’d never have surgery and I’d just live my life and let cancer take it’s course.”  I must confess more than once I’ve thought this as well, but they are fleeting thoughts for me. For some of the men I met their life is characterized by the regret they feel for the choice they made to have surgery.

I have a suggestion for any man who is living with buyers remorse. Call a hospice near you, ask if there is anyone they are caring for who is dying of prostate cancer, who would be open to receiving visitors. Then make a commitment to visit a man dying from prostate cancer on a weekly basis until he dies. If they are in hospice care it’s very likely death is less than 2 months away.

If you can’t do that, I suggest you read this blog titled “The Big C” by David Emerson start by scrolling down this page and read the blog dated 10/2/2012 titled “A Long and Winding Road” found here:

Read what David endured, then ask yourself knowing what you know now, would you make a decision that would result in you experiencing the medical complications leading to death that David endured. If your answer is no, than you've been cured of buyer's remorse!

If reading this story cures you of buyer's remorse, share your new perspective with those you love. I'd also recommend a prayer of thanksgiving.

If reading his story had no impact on you at all, then I suggest you consider seeking out professional or peer  help. If you choose to go at this alone you'll  run the risk of ruining the time you have to enjoy your life without a prostate.

If you want more information about prostate surgery, or are interested in receiving peer support, visit my website at:

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dress for Success- What to wear for victorious living

Suffering can strengthen or weaken your faith. I believe when suffering comes your way, both Satan and God want to use your suffering for their own purposes.

Do you remember when a cartoon character would have an angel on one side of their shoulder and a devil on the other side. Each would present their case and it was up to the cartoon character to make the choice whose advice to follow.

I think of Jesus on the cross facing a literal experience of this. On one side you had Satan’s guy taunting Jesus when he said in Luke 23:39
"If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

Not only did Jesus face Satan’s attack they came from fellow Jews such as the chief priests, scribes and elders who said in Matt 27:41-42
 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”

God had His man on the other side of Jesus. He responded to the thief mocking Jesus by saying this in Luke 23:40-43
Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."

Upon hearing this request Jesus said: "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Both thieves had an opportunity to redeem their suffering. One moved toward Jesus, the other mocked Him.

How will you respond when it’s your season to suffer? Will you allow God or Satan to use your suffering. My advice for you facing this battle is to dress for success. The Bible tells us what dressing for success looks like in Eph 6:11-18

 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

With the armor of God you are assured in your season of suffering your faith will be strengthened. Remember, He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Close to three years ago I was dx with prostate cancer. I'm still adjusting to life without a prostate. I can say without hesitation, that I've grown closer to God through this crisis. My prayer is:  You too would grow closer to God in your season of suffering.