Do you have the grit it takes to achieve success?

Research is slowly helping us understand the qualities we need in order to overcome obstacles on the way to our goals

Do you have the grit it takes to achieve success?American author and motivational speaker Albert E.N. Gray said, “All successful people have the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinate to the strength of their purpose.” In other words, the difference between people who achieve what they set out…

Abstain to satisfy your hunger for peace and understanding

Fasting makes me feel purified in body, mind and spirit, and links me in solidarity with good people all around the world

Abstain to satisfy your hunger for peace and understandingFormer American secretary of agriculture Ezra Taft Benson said, “Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit.” Fasting is largely misunderstood. Food is so necessary to our existence. Why would we want to punish ourselves by not eating? How can abstaining in any way be beneficial? Yet fasting…

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken world

We gain strength when we decide that we won’t allow the crimes of others to hold us back. We gain true freedom when we forgive our oppressors

Moving forward together to be a light for a broken worldCanada is on a journey of healing. But in many ways, we’re travelling through uncharted territory. Few of us understand what needs to happen or where it will lead. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a report and a call to action in 2015. It’s consistent with United Nations documents on human rights and it…

The Beatles just might have been right

Love may not be all we need, but it's a key ingredient to leading a well-lived, meaningful existence

The Beatles just might have been rightLife is filled with challenges and we’re always looking for answers. The Beatles told us, “All you need is love, love, love is all you need.” The difficulty with this credo is that love has many meanings and interpretations. It can be directed at one person or at all of humanity. Love can be selfless…

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongs

The key is to focus on acceptable and unacceptable actions, not the ethnicity or gender of the actor

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongsPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent men and the ‘race’ of indecent men. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.” This is a powerful conclusion from a man who witnessed the very…

Broad social change must first be an inside job

None of us can be an agent of positive change unless we’re at peace within their own being

Broad social change must first be an inside jobAs we look at the world, it’s very easy to give up hope. We see a lack of integrity in politicians and obscene wages for business leaders, and we fear for the future of our planet. Some try to tell us that the path to progress is to change the system. If we can overthrow…

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

History is full of policies established to determine which human lives were valuable and which were not. Are we comfortable going down that path again?

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time. In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the…

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?

Studies show that meditation and mindfulness training lead to better health in body, mind and spirit. Is that enough to solve the world’s problems?

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?The Dalai Lama said, “If every eight-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” This quote has gained a great deal of traction through social media in recent years. Is the answer to all of the world’s problems really this simple? While meditation does bring with…

Tackling conflict in the Middle East cauldron

The importance of human dignity, forgiveness of our enemies, destroying prejudice and living together in peace

Tackling conflict in the Middle East cauldronAs a third-generation Arab-Canadian, I’ve long been troubled by the conflicts in the Middle East. When I read about riots, fighting, hatred and killing in the land of my ancestors, I experience an odd mix of emotions. Sadness, anger and love all broil inside me, demanding to be heard. My Syrian grandfather left Aleppo and…

Forever young: idealism is the fountain of youth

We’re all born with a purpose. By staying committed to that purpose, our lives can be full of joy and achievement

Forever young: idealism is the fountain of youthLongtime consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader recently said in a radio interview, “The only true aging is the loss of idealism.” Nader, the man who changed the auto industry in the 1960s by publishing Unsafe at Any Speed, continues to be active and inspire others. His most recent book Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think illustrates…

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts

The world is full of stories of people who have done the impossible, and it always begins with a goal. But is it a worthy goal and are the methods ethical?

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” author and radio personality Earl Nightingale tells us. The truth is that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We really can achieve what we visualize and believe. The world is full of stories of people and groups who have done the impossible, and it…

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevant

The danger arises when we become too attached to ideas and are no longer open to healthy discourse

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevantHanna Holborn Gray, former president of the University of Chicago, said, “Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.” So it’s quite ironic that issues of freedom of speech have…

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticks

By turning resolutions into goals, writing those goals down, revisiting them daily and imagining yourself accomplishing them

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticksBroadcaster and motivational expert Earl Nightingale tells us, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Many of us come up with New Year’s resolutions every year. Unfortunately, we often end up frustrated and overly self-critical when things don't go as well as we hoped, and we don't reach our goals. How can we improve this…

Building the root system for personal success

Live with integrity and gratitude, work hard, be kind to others and focus on your potential and you'll ultimately accomplish great things

Building the root system for personal successThe Chinese bamboo tree shows little or no apparent signs of growth for four years. Then suddenly, it can grow as much as 25 metres in weeks. That’s a powerful metaphor for the growth of successful people. Over those apparently-dormant four years, the tree actually is growing, we just can’t see it. It’s developing an…

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of Christmas

The Christmas tree is a universal symbol that delivers a message of endurance and light during the dark winter months

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of ChristmasThe traditional German song O Tannenbaum is often translated as O Christmas Tree. This is only partly true, however. The English version is quite different from the German. The essence of the German song is far more universal. One of the beauties of learning languages is discovering what words and poetry mean to the people…