Finest of Friends, Maxwell

The finest of friends must sometimes be stern sentinels, who will insist that we become what we have power to become” – Neal A. Maxwell

I was cleaning out some boxes this weekend and came across this 3×5 card with this quote. I am reminded of my best friend from high school, we still keep in touch. I am reminded of college friends and several others I have met along the way. Men and women that have and will call me when I forget my place. They hold me accountable to our shared standards and the ones that I hold for myself. These friends also continue to build me up and encourage me to improve; to continue the quest of personal improvement.

True, it isn’t something that everyone undertakes and can seem to be a daunting task. I would say that those first few weeks and sometimes months it can seem like it. That is why it is so important to focus on the future and have your goals set and firmly placed in your minds eye.

Jim Rohn says, “That you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” So, who are your sentinels? Who do you spend time with? What books (audio, paper, or electronic) are you reading? What lectures or workshops are you attending? Who do you follow on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter? What are the people at work you are spending time with?

These are all things that have an effect or impact on us. These quotes that I write about have been my companions for a very long time … some for over 20 years. They each have had the desired affect on me that I wanted them to have. Pick your friends and influences, be mindful of who you associate with, and above that read non-ficton business and personal development books!

iron wil

The Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong, And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I don’t’ know when this song first had an impact on me, it’s meaning has changed over time as I have heard it year after year. In the last few years, it has changed from a song of dispare to a song of great hope and joy! I love to hear it and in my church, the organist really makes it wonderful and uplifting!

In my own life, I have moved through this opinion of the world and mankind in it. I remember a time when I was not interested in the affairs of those around me. It was typical of me to avoid others and not care what happened to those around me. At one point I didn’t even care about my siblings. Over the course of several years, my life took me into hard times and an actual and spiritual all desert.

It took a a few small acts from friends and family to soften my heart. Then I was presented with a choice … the choice between dark and light. The choice between walking the path of faith of the path of rebellion.

I was attending church with a very dear friend of mine, a guy who was and is an example to me. During the sermon, the pastor spoke about making New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t remember most of his sermon, at the very end, he said; “If there is only. one resolution that you make this year, make it to become more like Christ.” It was in that moment a decision had to be make. I was acting like the Israelites and halting between 2 decisions. It took me 3 days to make a decision about what path I would take.

As this year comes to a close, the twentieth year since that day, I have reflected upon the path my life has taken. I have often reflected on the decision I made and all the good things that have come from that day. I am ever so grateful for my wife – Lauren, my 4 boys, the faith that has developed, my education, the experiences, the books, the friends, my home, and job. All the good things that have come into my life, have come from that day.

The relationships with my siblings and parents have improved, my friendships have grown and more friends have come into my life. My gratitude abounds and my desire to share that gratitude and abundance continues to grow the more abundance and blessing flow into my life!

My hope and desire for this New Year is that you will be able to see and experience the blessing and abundance that is there for each and every one of us!

iron wil

da Vinci, Mastery

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” – Leonardo da Vinci

As this year comes to a close, it just felt like the right quote to close out 2016. We have to control our own selves to shape the world into the place we desire to live in. We have to shape our thoughts, desires, passions, and feelings to create our better selves! Start 2017 with a vision of what you want to become and work to master yourself and see that change develop!

Happy New Year!

iron wil

Iron Wil, the Mighty Freight Train

“My brother, William asked me to explain where his nickname Iron Wil, the Mighty Freight Train came from.  This is a two part name and has separate stories combining the name and clarifying who he is.

It all started when we moved to Texas, he was preparing to go on a two year mission for our church, we watched a Disney movie call Iron Will and then we realized that that is what made our brother Wil different from so many others, he would push through adversity no matter what the cost or the reward as long as it was right or the principle true. Determination would growl out of him as he pushed on to be more than he was or to move past an issue in front of him.

Then after his mission we played a friendly game of tackle football on a Thanksgiving morning, something that was a favorite pastime of ours. During one play Wil had the ball and was pumping down the line with three younger men clinging to him, he was a freight train rolling by me. He did finally get taken down when the fourth man came in for the final tackle and the entire group came down as a train would blow off a track.

I remember stopping in the middle of my action to stop and watch him push forward despite the others clinging to him.  I at first was awed, then I remember thinking the others were just hanging on with a hope that they could do something, but my brother defied their desires by chugging forward.

A train with its movement slowed or not must press forward and can only change course by a small change initially, Wil is also like this, but when he changes course know he will keep the same speed and determination he had before. Don’t get in his way because you won’t slow him down.”

Receiving Wise Council

Recently, a quote was shared with me that came from a man I greatly respect. He lived a life that was full of work and commitments. When asked, he always gave very wise council. He words can be trusted. The dilemma that I now face is a personal one. I know that you may be wondering what the quote is … which aside from my personal decision doesn’t really matter.

My life has been spent in the pursuit of wisdom and council from some very well known individuals and by some not known outside of my religious life. My desire to learn and grow and become a better person has challenged me in many ways. Most have dealt with changing my thinking and actions. Each time I select a quote is because in some way it spoke to my heart and soul. It gave me a glimmer of hope that I could change myself enough to become more like the ideal encapsulated in the quote. I could see the quote as a stepping stone to becoming the old man I desire to be. I know an old man! I say that because I see becoming a better person as a marathon not a sprint. A journey that will take my whole life. The life a christian is to be spent following Christ; in subjugating our will to His. He does not subjugate us, He provides the law by which we are to live and we are the one that must chose to walk the path or not.

Since the day I chose to walk this path and committed 100% to the cause of Christ; I strive to be a better man. As always, some days are better than others and the cost is one I do not count. I made the choice to give somethings up; not for any another reason, than I felt it would help me on my way.

Again, wisdom from a tried and true source can always be trusted and those values that have lasted for thousands of years … and see controversial today will stand you in good stead. A man can live a life with a clear conscience when he is right in his heart and if he be religious, he can stand before his god with a clear conscience. That is a feeling that gives the ultimate confidence in oneself and the journey he has been called to serve.

iron wil