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Showing posts with the label challenge

Happy New Year

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By Douglas Clark
-Head Writer - The Inspiration Engine


There's so much to be thankful for, even if you don't realize it. Set a goal for 2016 and do your best to meet it. For me, my goal is to get as much writing done as I can. Also, my other goal is to get something published.


Make a plan, stick to it and you should hit your mark. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish what you set out to do.


Good luck.


2016

Thanks for reading.

Be a Boat Rocker

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Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Sometimes, rocking the boat is just the shake up you need to get your life on a different course. Making a transition can totally alter your perception of life. It's a curious thing to realize that after getting so used to something one way, we can become so rigid and unwilling to try any other way. Life in our modern age is built on routine. This routine provides structure and a foundation we can rely on and expand.
However, if we become too complacent or dependent on that routine, we can become my lethargic and apathetic. I've noticed that as much as I love routine and structure, if I don't break it up a bit and deliberately introduce new challenges, I get demotivated. I think the desire to remain surrounded by the known factors in life can be so strong, it overrides the need to explore new things, especially since deviating from the known can result in great failure, personal pain, or professional setbacks.
Sometimes, h…

What If a Golden Opportunity Knocked?

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By Douglas Clark
There is always a golden opportunity coming your way. Whether you recognize it or want to admit it, there can always be a better situation resulting from your actions. The flip side of course is disaster lurks behind every decision, ready to strike like a Viper.
Recognizing the opportunities in front of you is not always easy. Roadblocks like stress, pride, fear, despondency, fatigue, or arrogance get in the way. Truth is, most people probably miss golden opportunities because they feel overwhelmed by the change they would bring. Familiarity with your current situation is comforting. As the cliche says "the devil you know is better than the one you don't", but it is that very complacency that gets in the way of improvement and success. 
I felt stuck in a rut for a long time. I wanted to grow, take on a new career challenge, improve, but for years, (I'm sad to admit), I avoided it. Oh sure, I'd complain, but not really take action to force a chang…

Let's Be Positive

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by Douglas Clark

You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.~Epicurus
When things are their hardest, you really need people around you that are of high quality. Positive, honest, and genuinely caring relationships make life so much easier. Forging relationships with even just one person that sees the positive and virtuous elements in life will lift your spirits and change your perspective on life, your outlook, and your demeanor. I count myself fortunate to know several positive, virtuous people. And to be honest, I’m glad they are in my life for the simple fact that they help me to see things clearly. It is especially true when life and the negativity that sometimes clings to it seem to attack you.
There’s an old saying that goes something like “you know your real friends when things go wrong”, and that’s really true. Those that stick around and help you out when you are feeling low…

Let's Write a Novel!

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By Douglas Clark

November 1 starts the National Novel writing month. Check it out here. I first heard about this when I was working on my master’s degree. I actually had a novel writing class where I had to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the semester. The concept for that class was very similar to the National Novel Writing Month contest. After finishing my class, I promised myself at some point I would compete in the contest and see what would come of it.
Now I love writing obviously, but this contest is a challenge. According to the rules, you have 30 days to write 50,000 words. That averages out to 1,667 words a day. Doesn’t seem too daunting until you realize that’s EVERY day, no break, no rest or writing vacation; 1,667 words a day. The whole point of the exercise is to prove to yourself it can be done. I mean, you are allowed to make revisions, do rewrites, add, subtract, etc., but if you want to be counted as a winner on day 30, your word count must be 50,000 or higher…

Let's Watch Some TV!

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By Douglas Clark

So, being a TV fanatic as I am, I'm always looking for the next great television show. Personally, Sci Fi is my favorite (and we're completely lacking in that regard right now), but I also have an interest in stories that focus on power, or lack of power, man's struggle against society, or vice versa. Lo and behold, I've found a couple. 

At the risk of sounding like a billboard, I'll give each show a plug. Not because I'm getting a kickback or anything, but because I think they are great shows. For me, each instills a sort of amazement. 

The first show is House of Cards. You might have heard of it. It's one of Netflix's first original productions, and I'd say they've created a masterpiece. It's based on a British original focusing on English politics, only restructured to fit the American political system. Besides the great casting, settings, writing, pacing, story lines, amazing and despicable characters, and intrigue, the in…

The Comfort Zone

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Recently, I was having a conversation with someone and we talked about our comfort zones. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘comfort zone’ refers to the locations, activities, emotions, and individuals in a person’s life that they are frequently exposed to. Generally, a person gravitates toward those elements that bring them a comfortable and safe feeling. You might define it as your daily routine. The point of the discussion focused on pushing that zone, expanding it and giving it more depth and whether it was always necessary. Now my personal view is most people, including myself, should continually push on that comfort zone because if you don’t, it will shrink.
I’ll explain. If you drive to work and always take the exact same route, you might become so used to that routine the thought of driving a different way might make you feel uncomfortable, or even a bit scared. Here’s a personal example for you. I usually eat out for lunch once a week. There’s a Subway two blocks awa…

Finding a Lost Da Vinci

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Last night I read an interesting article about a painting called the  La Bella Principessa in National Geographic magazine. Yes, I know weird right.  I still get the actual paper magazine.  I like holding a book or magazine in my hands, everything seems more real that way.  But I digress.  This painting and its mysterious story fascinated me.  Supposedly, there is strong evidence that it was painted by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci.  Leonardo is widely considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest master of painting there ever was.  This reputation started during his own life time.  And with a reputation like that, I would have figured everything he ever did was cataloged, indexed, and safely locked behind foot-thick glass, but apparently that isn't the case.  What really struck me was the fact that experts believe the portrait is a Da Vinci, even though some disagree saying that it doesn't look like a Da Vinci.
It's true that artists develop their own style…

It Always Comes Down to Focus

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How Did This Happen?A few months ago I found myself stuck in a malaise.  Every day was a repeat; not much happened except the same old same old.  In December of 2011, I finished my master’s degree, three years of classes, including three and a half semesters of thesis writing.  It was an incredible effort, but I finished.  Mentally and intellectually I need some time off, so that’s what I did.  Before I knew it, I got stuck in a rut and felt mired in the bland boringness of doing nothing.  For a while I wasn’t sure what to do.  I mean I knew that I wanted to start writing again and make some headway on my novel.  But the thing was, I wasn’t writing, not one word.  Well, my one saving grace was this blog.  Other than that, I had abandoned my passion.  And that needed to change. 
I also remember thinking that it was about time I started learning how to play my saxophone.  See, I played for a little while back in grade school.  I really liked it but had absolutely no discipline to practi…

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

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Today our quote comes from Arthur Golden.
What is Adversity?How do you deal with Adversity?  How do you handle it?  Adversity, like a challenge, is something to overcome when driving on your mission in life.  But Adversity is something greater and much more sinister than a mere challenge.  Adversity is usually a prolonged, serious struggle, a difficult and stressful hardship that won’t simply go away or disappear if you give it enough time.  It’s the giant gorilla in the room if you will.  Sometimes it is a physical disability, sometimes, it’s a mental one.  Sometimes adversity comes from society, maybe it’s legal troubles, or persons bent on causing you distress.  Unfortunately, adversity comes in many forms, and it haunts many people in various ways.  I for one have dealt with adversity for many years.  If anyone of you has ever set foot into family court, you know exactly what I mean.  I’ve also dealt with people suffering with psychological problems, who don’t even realize the harm…

Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you.

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-Frank Tyger.


What is self-reliance and why is it important?  There are a lot of things in this world that you may be responsible for: bills, education, work, family members, but most of all, you are responsible for yourself.  Most people would agree with that, but in practice, many disregard their own personal care and supplant it with other chores and duties claiming that to be responsible.  But think about it, you can’t possibly take care of anyone if you can’t take care of yourself.  That is what self-reliance is all about; taking care of yourself.  Now I’m not talking about being selfish and blind to other people.  Learning to handle things on your own, depending on your own abilities, skills, and disciplineare vital. 

There’s a powerful lesson in learning how to do things for yourself.  Once you have grasped the concept of self-reliance, you’ll thirst for challenges to overcome and conquer.  But how do you get there? Having self-reliance starts with believing in yourself and your…

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

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-Sir Edmund Hillary
Achievement can be considered the pinnacle of effort.That which you have strived for, worked for, endured much, promised little and sacrificed to accomplish all becomes secondary to the pride and joy that comes with Achievement.You’ve done it!All feats, great and small bring with them a sense of satisfaction.Once you’ve experienced that sense of wonder and awe at your own abilities you will finally understand what it means to be self-reliant, resilient, and persistent.Picking a goal and powering through what life gives you to accomplish that goal has no substitute.
Once you have reached that level of accomplishment and know what it takes to get there, you must push yourself even further.You may have heard the old cliché “don’t rest on your laurels.”Well basically that means you need to keep challenging yourself.If you don’t, your achievement will fade.I believe a fundamental goal in life should be to continually strive and push yourself to achieve ever greater accomp…

The Final Frontier

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Captain Kirk would say that Space is the Final Frontier, and for a kick ass Sci-Fi show, I’d say he’s right.  But in real life, I think that the Mind is the Final Frontier, but also the true beginning of life.  Think about it, can you not think?  Throughout your entire life, you live inside your mind.  Your senses tell you of the outside world, but you interpret that stimulus, thereby forming your impressions of the world.  Now I’ve said before that if you change your perspective, you change the world.  That is so very true, but that change begins with the Mind.  Your consciousness is truly your own, and uniquely yours.  Sure, you might have similarities to some, or many, but no one is exactly like you.  For some, these ideas are not new.  For others these concepts have never dawned on them.  But guess what, it’s in the Mind’s eye that you draw meaning. They say you can’t change anyone, only yourself.  I totally believe that is true.  I’ve had people ask me advice, wonder what they sho…