Category Archives: Lifestyles

It’s Closer Than You Think

by Bryan Golden
During the gold rush of the 1800’s one fellow, Roger, headed West, bought a claim, and started digging for gold.  After a few weeks of excavating, Roger hit pay dirt.  The vein he struck was fairly substantial, yielding a consistent amount of the precious metal.  Roger didn’t get rich but he certainly made quite a good living from his mine.
Roger’s good luck lasted for about a year.  Then the gold he tapped into seemed to run out.  Undeterred, Roger kept digging.  After a month of no success, he sold the mine and all of the equipment for pennies on the dollar.  Roger wasn’t really that upset.  He had been able save up a sizeable sum which he was going to use to start a business back east.
William had also gone west hoping to strike it rich.  Having very little money, William was happy to buy Roger’s mine for next to nothing.  William didn’t care that the mine was no longer producing gold.  He saw it as an opportunity.  William had more time than financing so he figured he could devote his time to further exploration.
Since he knew nothing about mining, William hired a geologist to examine the claim and advise him as to where he should dig next.  The geologist calculated that the gold vein Roger originally discovered had turned inward about half a foot.  All William had to do was dig a few inches in a different direction.  William followed the recommendation and struck a major find that made him very wealthy.
Roger called it quits when he was literally inches from more gold than he could have imagined.  He was closer to success than he realized.  Every day, people all over the world give up on something they conclude is unobtainable.  Usually, they are literally a mere grasp from their goals when they throw in the towel.
The problem is that until your reach your destination, you often don’t know how far you have to go.  Like Roger, you are usually closer than you think.  What a shame to abort your quest when you may be so near.
You will only fail when you give up.  Since you don’t know how near at hand success is, it doesn’t make any sense to quit.  Had Roger understood this principle, he would have struck it rich.  I’m sure if Roger ever discovered how close he was, it would have haunted him for the rest of his life.
As a society, we have grown impatient.  We expect immediate results.  We can communicate instantaneously with virtually anyone on the planet.  It’s possible to travel anywhere in a matter of hours.  We can see the pictures we take instantaneously.  A person can win the lottery and become wealthy overnight.  There are examples of people being plucked from obscurity to obtain instant celebrity status.
So it’s very possible you expect to reach your goals rapidly.  If you are impetuous, you will abandon your quest prematurely.  It really doesn’t matter how long it takes, the time goes by anyway.  Just imagine how you would feel knowing you gave up when you were so close.  You don’t want to be in a position to always wonder how things would be if you had just kept going a little further.
Continually keep in mind that you are closer than you think to attaining your dreams.  Don’t repeat Roger’s mistake and quit when you are just around the corner from success.  Since you never know how close you are, you have no option but to keep going.
NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

The Tide Always Comes Back In

by Bryan Golden
Suppose you know nothing about the ocean. One day you make your first visit to the beach. You stay there for six hours and watch with amazement as the water level drops. Not understanding the tide pattern, you would be alarmed that sea level is dropping due to an unknown cause.
In some coastal areas the fluctuation is 10 feet or more between high and low tide. This could cause someone with no perception of the tides a great deal of alarm. What if a hiker decided to make camp on an exposed beach during low tide? In six hours or less, the campsite would be underwater.
Obviously, anyone who lives by the sea needs to be aware of the working of the tides. Accommodations are made to coexist with the changes in sea level. In tidal zones, boat docks are designed to move up and down with the water level.
Other natural phenomenon have caused problems for the uninitiated. For example, primitive societies didn’t understand solar eclipses. At the times the sun was blocked by the moon, causing darkness during the day, they may have even thought the end of the world was upon them.
There are aspects of life, many outside your control, with their own recurring fluctuations. Understanding them is just as important to you as comprehension of tides is to a sailor. You have to be aware of the past and look far enough into the future to ascertain when circumstances are likely to change.
Even things you have control over fluctuate. You may have the best attitude. Your outlook can be 100% positive. Yet you will have off days where you don’t feel too upbeat. But because of your strong mind set, you will quickly get back to a better emotional state.
It’s important not to panic when you encounter a fluctuation. Acting rashly, based on a false premise that the situation is permanent, tends to exacerbate your situation. You may have to ignore the advice of others. Many people tend to panic and encourage you to do the same.
The economy is one example of circumstances beyond your control that fluctuate. Economic downturns happen. They can even seem worse than they actually are due to all of the publicity they garner. Invariably, economic conditions improve as they always have.
Successful business owners understand this concept well. They take steps to weather downturns by reducing expenses and adjusting the products and services they sell. You can do things personally to prepare for economic variations.
Having enough savings, keeping your expenses low, and reducing discretionary spending, enables you to endure fluctuations. Should you lose your job, being prepared will allow you to get through until things pick up.
With planning and preparation you will be OK during fluctuations. People get into trouble when they don’t understand cycles or are not prepared for them. Without realizing the cyclic nature of events, you will mistakenly assume a condition is permanent. Any subsequent strategies will then be flawed.
In order to recognize the tides that impact you, you must look to past patterns to see how things have varied over time. It’s easy to get caught up in today’s circumstances and lose track of the fact that the situation isn’t static.
You can’t control the tides of life any more than you can limit the power of the ocean. You will be much better off when you use them to your advantage. Remember that the tide always comes back in.

Wine Revolutionaries Call America Home

By David White

One of the hottest winemakers in France is Jerome Bressy, the proprietor of Domaine Gourt de Mautens the Southern Rhone village of Rasteau.

Over the past decade, he’s developed quite a reputation. American wine critic Robert Parker has called his winery “sensational,” and France’s two leading wine commentators, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve, have said Bressy deserves recognition as one of the Rhone’s great winemakers. This past year, Bettane and Desseauve honored Bressy for producing both the “Best White” and the “Best Rosé” in the Southern Rhone.

But next year, thanks to a recent decision by French regulators, Bressy may find it difficult to market his wines.

The reason? In France, strict laws dictate winegrowing and winemaking — and Bressy violated the rules. Even though the basis for many of these rules make sense, Bressy’s tale helps explain why adventurous winemakers feel more welcome in America.

French wine laws trace back to 1935. At the time, globalization threatened the dominance of French wines, so lawmakers created a system to guarantee both quality and geographic typicity. Some laws codified tradition — like what grapes could be grown where — and others detailed total minutiae, like vine density.

Because of these laws, consumers know what to expect from French wine. Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir; white Burgundy is Chardonnay; Sancerre is Sauvignon Blanc; and so on.

Jerome Bressy’s “offense” is hardly offensive.

A student of history, Bressy has spent the last few years reintroducing traditional grapes to his vineyard. So today, about 23 percent of Bressy’s estate is planted with obscure grapes like Vaccarese, Counoise, Muscardin, which are interspersed with the more common Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. By French law, these minor varieties can only comprise only 15 percent of a red wine labeled from Rasteau.

So to label his wines as the market expects, Bressy has no choice but to rip up some of his vines or alter his blend. This despite the fact that his bottlings are historically accurate — and that France’s wine laws were designed, in part, to codify tradition.

At worst, Bressy seems guilty of “creative eccentricity.” That’s how VinConnect, a U.S. company that enables consumers to order wines directly from Gourt de Mautens, has described the winemaker. But he’s hardly a revolutionary — Bressy’s transgression is rooted in respect for his vineyard and its history.

It’s no wonder why wine writer Alder Yarrow once criticized French regulators for being “ignorant, stubborn, and backwards.”

Needless to say, true revolutionaries find it difficult to make wine in France. They turn to the new world, where experimentation and innovation is embraced.

Consider Syrah. Today, some of California’s most exciting Syrah comes from incredibly cool climates historically associated with Pinot Noir. Producers like Wind Gap and Arnot-Roberts — who both make their wine out of an old apple-processing facility in Sonoma County — craft stunning Syrah from vineyards where grapes struggle to ripen.

If a winemaker in France wanted to experiment with Syrah in the cool climate of Burgundy, it’d be nearly impossible to sell his wines, as it’d be illegal to note where the grapes originated.

In the United States, winemakers aren’t limited by such strict laws. Indeed, the teams at Wind Gap and Arnot-Roberts are constantly on the lookout for esoteric grapes with potential in California’s vast and varied climate. Arnot-Roberts, for example, crafts a delicious rosé from Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese variety. Wind Gap makes a highly regarded white using Trousseau Gris, a variety that’s even rare in its ancestral home of eastern France.

Elsewhere in Sonoma, 31-year-old Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company is making distinctly American wines that would make Jerome Bressy smile. Twain-Peterson is best known for using some of California’s oldest vines to make traditional California field blends.

In Napa Valley, a group of renegade winemakers is eschewing Cabernet Sauvignon in favor of intensely floral, crisp whites inspired by the wines of northeastern Italy. One label worth finding is Massican, whose owner, Dan Petroski, studied winemaking in Sicily. Another is Arbe Garbe, owned by an Italian named Enrico Bertoz who moved to California in 1998.

Across the United States, examples like these abound. The wine world benefits tremendously from these vintners — those who innovate new wines and preserve something special. In many ways, America is home to more winemakers like Jerome Bressy than France. That’s worth celebrating.

David White, a wine writer, is the founder and editor of Terroirist.com. His columns are housed at Wines.com, the fastest growing wine portal on the Internet.

Actions Have Consequences

Bryan Golden

All of our actions have consequences. This relationship is as dependable as the ripples created by throwing a pebble into a lake. Consequences can be either good or bad. Problems arise when we don’t think about or recognize the consequences of our actions.

When you are not aware of the consequences of your behavior, two things may happen. In the case where the consequences are negative, you run the risk of repeating the same mistake. When you are pleased with the consequences, you may also fail to duplicate the behavior that gave you the desired results. In either case, you will be frustrated.

For example, how far could you get driving a car if you didn’t comprehend the consequences of the various controls? Without an understanding of the operation of the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brakes, you wouldn’t remain on the road for very long.

Your life works the same way. It’s important to understand the consequences of your actions. Many of the consequences you experience are predictable. However, there may be some you didn’t anticipate. They are part of your unending education.

Unexpected consequences provide you with new insights. Invaluable knowledge can be gained by analyzing exactly what happened and why. The discoveries made in this fashion provide you with new information you can use to reach your goals.

Ideally, when assessing various courses of action, analysis of the corresponding potential consequences enables you to make the best decision. This is the basis of the carpenter’s adage “measure twice, cut once.” You have probably been told numerous times to think before you act.

Acting impulsively, without thinking, is the same as cutting without measuring at all. This approach is similar to attempting to drive a car by cranking the steering wheel in one direction and then correcting by cranking in the other direction. You will run off the road in short order.

Not every decision you make will be perfect. Your objective is to take the most appropriate action based on the information you have available. If the actual consequences are not what you wanted, you must then take different action and keep going. Don’t waste any time lamenting what you should have done differently.

Ignoring or denying the link between your action and the corresponding consequences will often make things worse. You won’t be able to take control of your life unless you see yourself as responsible for the outcomes you are experiencing.

When faced with undesirable consequences, you want to first identify the cause. Next, determine the action you need to take to mitigate, change, or eliminate them. Then get in gear and do whatever is necessary to correct the situation. Action, not complaining, brings results.

If you fail to take personal responsibility for your actions, you will exacerbate your situation. Those who blame others for their circumstances develop a victim mentality. The result is a belief that they have no power over the direction of their destiny. This type of thinking leads people to accept suffering as normal and unavoidable.

The only way to effect different consequences is to alter your actions. This is accomplished by being proactive in every area of your life. Then when something happens you don’t like, your first response will be “what do I have to do to fix this?”

Main Street Grille

Well, here you are: a lovely day in downtown Niantic, next to the blue vistas of Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound, drinks on the table and fabulous appetizers and delicious meals to come. Not a bad life, here by the beautiful sea.

 

The Main Street Grille in Niantic has added a new water-view from the patio and deck, and a great chef to expand the dining specialties at 252 Main Street. Continuing the legacy of the Constantine family on Main Street—and the owner’s celebrated Frank’s Gourmet Grille—the Main Street Grille offers new gourmet taste-tempters and ever-popular comfort-favorites.. The spacious patio and deck are complete, and in the meantime the Main Street landmark remains a friendly place with fabulous food.

 

The classic sizzling steaks and chops are supplemented with a delectable menu of fresh seafoods and seasonal specials, plus pastas, soups and salads, and sandwiches. Lunch-sized portions of BBQ pulled pork, reubens, grilled portabella mushroom sandwiches go well with sides of fries or coleslaw for a tasty midday repast…and dinner choices include the full-catch Fisherman’s Platter, replete with cod, Stonington scallops, and jumbo shrimp in your choice of servings: batter-dipped, lightly dusted deep fried to a golden brown, or oven-roasted with lemon-herb butter. Beyond tasty!

 

Top-grade steaks abound: bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon is topped with house-made garlic and herb butter, and other oven-roasted specialties are stuffed pork chops, veal scallopini, shepherd’s pie with braised beef tips, and shrimp scampi. Recent imports from Chef Frank’s grille are portabella mushroom torte, grilled mussels, veal Oscar, and picatta, as well new items like our grilled boneless chicken breast, and boneless rib eye steak topped with home garlic and herb butter.

 

So put the Main Street Grille on your list for pleasant and relaxed dining indoors by a cozy table or outside overlooking the water. It’s open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. Your reservation is welcome at 860.739.5300 or through the website at mainstreetgrille.com. If you haven’t seen us for a while, stop in and prepare for a treat!

 

Main Street Grille in Niantic, 252 Main Street, Niantic, CT. 860 739 5300

Your Legacy: A Spiritual Gift

“It is not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have.”

by Bryan Golden

Bryan Golden

You may have heard the expression, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” There is nothing wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Who doesn’t want to lead a comfortable life?

The opening quote doesn’t imply that you should suffer. Rather it speaks to a deeper understanding of life. The legacy we leave behind is determined by the lives we touch. It is not what we do for ourselves that matters, it’s what we do for others.

One’s legacy doesn’t have to involve the formation of a charity, a large donation to a hospital, or any other major financial act. You don’t have to work in a third world country to combat hunger, or live a austere life and give most of what you have to others. Although all of these actions may be considered admirable, it is often a lifetime of inconspicuous activity that has a lasting effect.

You effect people in more ways than you may realize. The power of small gestures of kindness shouldn’t be underestimated. Actions start a chain reaction. The manner in which you interact with someone will influence how they feel and subsequently the way they behave towards others.

There are countless numbers of unassuming people who genuinely care about others and do whatever they can, whenever they can, to brighten their lives. There is no kind gesture that is too small or insignificant to make a difference.

You don’t have to have a lot to give a lot. What you do defines who you are. Your actions are based on character rather than a desire for recognition. Although you don’t look for any rewards, the rewards are many.

There is the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. As a bonus, what you send out invariably comes back to you. By your unselfish actions, you will attract positive elements into your life.

There are opportunities each day to give of yourself. It starts with always having a friendly smile for friends and strangers alike. The generous use of “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” is always appreciated. The objective is to radiate a positive energy.

Look to anticipate someone’s needs. Holding open doors, letting other drivers into traffic, helping carry packages at the grocery store, and regular common courtesies are all behaviors that help others.

Conversely, there is never any justification to take advantage of anyone. Regardless of how you are treated, you must resist reacting in kind. If you allow others to drag you down by their behavior, you sacrifice your own identity. You then flop whichever way the conduct of others pushes you.

Your legacy is tied to your having the conviction to be your own person. To do this requires self-confidence, character, and a genuine desire to be of service. You don’t need to impress anyone. Although you are comfortable with who you are, there is a continual desire to improve.

What kind of life will you have? What will you scatter? Why not live your life so that you dispense many good things? Everyone benefits. You will feel good. Others will feel good. It takes very little effort. There are no negative side effects.

You never know how far the effect you have will ripple. If you are not happy with what you have been scattering, today is a perfect time to reassess your priorities and start developing a legacy you can be proud of.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

©2008 Bryan Golden

Forming Some Good Habits and Getting Rid of a Few Bad Ones

by Bryan Golden

It’s easy to form habits. But it seems as if developing bad habits takes less effort than good ones. Before I cover how to form good habits, how do you differentiate between good and bad ones? Bad habits include any behavior patterns that are destructive to you, cause harm to others, or prevent you from achieving your goals.

It doesn’t matter what habits other people have. A particular habit may be good for one person but bad for another. John is extremely well organized. He knows how to manage his time so that he gets a lot done. Organization is also important to Robin. However she devotes so much time to it that there is little time left for anything else.

Although both John and Robin are very organized, John is much more productive. Robin is constantly frustrated about not being able to accomplish more. The same habit has different impacts on each of them.

What’s important are your habits and how they impact your life. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your concern should be focused on what you need to do. Consider your current habits. Which ones would you like to get rid of?

One good way of ending a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one. Eric had a bad habit of being late for work. Rather than trying to not be late, he decided to be early. Now he starts getting ready an hour earlier than he had been. With this approach, Eric can be up to an hour “late” and still get to work on time.

All habits take time to form. It is much easier to eliminate a bad habit before it takes hold. Getting into a good habit takes determination, repetition, patience, and persistence. A major cause for disappointment is expecting to get into a good habit overnight.

A habit isn’t formed in one step. It requires a process of successive steps. The first time you attempt a new course of action, it may not take hold. You may revert to your old habits. If you are to succeed, you must push yourself to focus on the new habit.

Sharon wanted to get into better shape. She joined a health club and worked out four times her first week. But she didn’t lose weight or look any different. Feeling discouraged, Sharon didn’t exercise at all for the next three weeks. She realized nothing positive would happen unless she resumed her exercise program. Shannon kept dragging herself back to the club until she began to see results.

When yourare changing your behavior, you may encounter setbacks. If this happens, just get back on track. Janet was a junk food junkie. Her eating habits were impacting her weight. Janet decided to make a change to a more healthy diet.

Janet started off well but had days where she reverted to her old eating habits. Rather than giving up when this happened, she simply got back to her better diet the next day. Even with the setbacks, Janet’s improved diet has enabled her to lose weight and feel better.

In order to form a good habit you must be motivated. If the habit is not appealing or the results are not important to you, you will not be successful. You have to really want the new habit to be part of your life. Good habits bring many rewards, so get started today.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

Admiral Breckenridge Welcomes Veterans to a New Home

The Resident is proud to present the full transcript of Admiral Richard P. Breckenridge’s speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony of the American Legion Veterans Housing apartment in Jewett City.

 

Admiral Richard P. Breckenridge speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Late last summer, a remarkable thing was happening in Jewett City.

If you were transported in time to the corner of Main Street and Slater Avenue, on the morning of August 29th, nothing out of the ordinary would have caught your attention. The streets hummed quietly with morning traffic, and people walked in and out of the open doors of local businesses.  Like on any other day, you could get a cup of coffee, a newspaper, a tank of gasoline, or a piece of pie. Or you could just roll into town and look out the windows while you idled at the traffic light, convince yourself there was nothing extraordinary happening here, and move on.

But that was the amazing part.  The day before, hurricane Irene barreled through New England, uprooting trees and homes and lives.  The sixth-most damaging storm in US history did not spare this area from its fury. There was no lucky break for this town, and the same awful storm that blazed a path of destruction and misery up the coast, leaving hundreds dead, thousands homeless, and hundreds of thousands in the dark for weeks ripped through the streets of Jewett City…..

And 24 hours later…, the lights were on, and Jewett City was an oasis in the desert of Irene’s aftermath. For weeks after, the glow in the sky was the lights of Jewett City, where you could fill your gas tank, do your banking, visit a church or stock up at a store. The lights stayed on, and for the storm-battered area refugees, Jewett City was the safe port…the sheltered place that seemed, for a little while, like everybody’s home town.

And It wasn’t by luck, or by accident.  It was by commitment, planning, and hard work for in Jewett city, the local utility company is owned and operated by the town, serving its 2500 customers with a dedicated staff of…  three people.   And being small and nimble had many advantages when it came time to get ready for the hurricane, and to quickly recover afterwards. But more fundamentally, the hard decisions, years of planning, and generosity of spirit and dedicated service is what made the city shine in the darkness like a lighthouse on a dark and unfamiliar shore.

Today, the hard winds of another storm are reaching our coast again, but this is not a storm of nature’s making.

Throughout our recent history, the Nation’s best have answered the call to serve.  From the beaches of Normandy to the frozen banks of Chosin Reservoir, from the steaming Mekong Delta to the dusty streets of Fallujah.  In every generation, when our country sounded the horn to muster the troops, they answered with selfless sacrifice and unwavering purpose. They took to the seas and skies and distant lands, and prevailed as uniformed ambassadors of American resolve. They fought like lions, and were as feared in combat as they were respected in peace. There was no greater friend than an American service member…and no more dreadful enemy.

The reasons why so many fought so hard are as varied as the men and women themselves.  Some for patriotism, and others for honor. Some for love of their country, and others for their families. But I think it is fair to say that universally, everybody fought for their home. That when they fought, it was for the streets they lived on, the fields and forests and valleys and shores and towns that they loved.  And we honor them today with the rare title of Veteran; a proud name that only one in 12 Americans bears.

Many can’t come home. They rest where they fell, in France and Tunisia, Belgium and Italy, in the ocean depths, in the jungles of Vietnam and the forests of Korea.  And we honor them with quiet places and rows of stone, with names carved on black marble and battles etched on gleaming bronze, and flags flapping in the wind at half-mast.

But many did come home.  They stand in your communities; leaders and mentors and citizens. They sit at your tables, coach your children, and lead your churches, schools and businesses. And we honor them with parades and ceremonies, with yellow ribbons and simple thank-yous.

But the sad truth is that some of our brothers and sisters have not found their way fully home.  Some never had one, before they answered the Call. Others lost what they had while fighting far away. Many carry their unending war inside their head, and find that while home may still be there, they can’t hear it or see it through the battle that rages in their minds.

Still others find no job, and no hope, and therefore no home to take them in.  How do we honor them.  how do we honor these very special fellow americans?

Tonight, 67,000 proud Veterans, one in every four homeless people, sleep on America’s streets.  By the end of this year, twice that many Veterans will have been homeless for part of the year. Half are Vietnam Veterans, compounding the shame of the country’s bitter division during that conflict. A growing portion of homeless Veterans are from our most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with women representing 5% of the rapidly rising total.

Tonight, 365 more Veterans go on the streets.  The storm is here, and it’s real.

But ten years ago, the people here in jewett city began an amazing journey to get ready for it.  An off-hand answer to the question of what to do with the empty rooms at the American Legion literally transformed the facility, energized the community, and drew a grass-roots passion from many organizations and donors to blossom into a first-ever innovative approach to tackling homelessness among Veterans.  The people and organizations honored here today did not “address” the issue. They did not study it in committee. They did not write point papers or editorials, or produce multi-colored presentations.  Instead, they declared War.

 

The citizens of Jewett City drew a line in the sand, and declared that the scourge of homelessness among Veterans may rage elsewhere, unchecked and unanswered, but not here. Not in their streets, not on their watch.

Bill Czmyr and his allies, like any Council of Generals, built a patient strategy for the long battle. It must have seemed, in the early days, as if there would never be a way to sustain the enthusiasm, get the details right, find the money, and overcome the thousands of obstacles that go along with a major campaign.  It must have seemed like there would be dark days of phone calls unreturned, emails unanswered. It must have seemed like the battles would never be won, and the war would never end.

But the Call went out, and the people answered. With grants and funding directly supported by Congressman Courtney, with loans and permits, with shovels and sweat, the tide of battle turned.  After all, this was Total War, where every element of the community was energized.  The American Legion donated space and property. State and Federal government representatives located funding and programs to assist.  A local hotel donated furniture. In a true “Joint Operation”, when one hotel group in Waterford donated oversized curtains, local Women’s Groups from Danielson and Plainfield  hand-tailored them to fit the rooms.

It was not done for glory, or money or fame. It was done for the most powerful motives of compassion, and a sincere desire to render well-deserved honor, and a sense of quiet resolve but utter commitment to address a moral outrage.  I was deeply inspired by simple remarks made by your own Burgess Geer in a newspaper interview talking about restoring the war memorial plaques in Fanning Park. He said, “The bronze is going to shine the way bronze should shine.”  That has a deeper meaning when we talk about Veterans. A metal that is heated white-hot and forged for strength, that was made to last, that served its purpose with enduring commitment does not deserve to be cast aside or forgotten. It should shine the way it was meant to shine.  President John Kennedy told us that a nation reveals itself not only by the men and women it produces but also by the men and women it honors and remembers. If that is so, then the men and women who fought for this day are cut from the same cloth of honor and dedication and sacrifice as those they choose to serve.

 

Ten years later, the glow in the sky of the dark night comes from the newest jewel of Jewett City, the American Legion Veteran’s Housing Initiative. It guides our storm-tossed brothers and sisters to safe shores. It says to them, “Here, we give honor to ALL veterans, of all wars and all times. Here, the words Homeless and Veteran are not spoken in the same sentence. Here, we who live our lives at home Free and Safe because of the sacrifices of others, we reach out our hands and our hearts to those who have lost their way. Here, in Jewett City, the lights are on and the doors are open, and for a little while or forever, we Welcome you Home.”

 

 

You Can’t Run Away From Your Problems

by Bryan Golden

No one wants problems. Escaping from problems can be much more appealing than resolving them. Running away is certainly tempting, especially when facing persistent, repetitive problems.

Not only is it impossible to outrun your problems, attempting to do so exacerbates your frustration. When you try to escape, problems follow you. This is because the problems you experience repeatedly are due to what’s inside you rather than where you are. When you constantly face the same problem situations, you must look in the mirror to find the cause.

This doesn’t mean all problems are necessarily your fault. But there may be some aspect of your personality causing or attracting the problems. So, an effective way for resolving problems is to alter your behavior to produce better results.

Jane is currently working at her fourth job in ten years. Whenever Jane begins a new job, everything is great for the first year or so. Then things always go down hill for her. Jane’s coworkers start avoiding her. Her supervisor becomes more judgmental, criticizing Jane’s work habits.

Jane invariably changes jobs after growing dissatisfied with her work environment. She erroneously believes there is something wrong with the people she works with. In each new job, the pattern repeats itself. Needless to say, Jane is very frustrated, convinced it’s next to impossible to find a decent work environment.

Of course it is possible to land in a bad job. If that’s the case, changing jobs should remedy the situation. In Jane’s example, the same scenario reoccurs. Perhaps, Jane takes her problems with her to each new job. Jane needs to assess her interpersonal communication skills, and her job performance before once again jumping ship.

Over the last 20 years, Steven and his family moved five times. Sometimes they stayed in the same area, other times they moved to a new town or state. Wherever Steven went, he had the same problems. The neighbors were annoying, their house always had problems, there was too much traffic, and people were rude.

Was it possible for Steven to have such bad luck? Or was there some component of Steven’s nature that always found fault with whatever situation he was in? Since Steven found himself in the same scenario for two decades, chances are he takes his problems with him. Unless Steven identifies and corrects the elements of his personality responsible for his dissatisfaction, it won’t matter where or how often he moves.

Ed has trouble staying in a relationship. When he meets someone new, things are great in the beginning. Then the problems develop. Ed gets impatient with his partner. He is very independent and doesn’t want to adjust his lifestyle to accommodate another person. Ed has little desire to consider the needs of the person he is with.

When each relationship invariably ends, Ed is relieved and starts looking for someone else with whom he will be truly compatible. The problem is Ed’s attitude is incompatible with being in a successful relationship. Ed doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him. Therefore, he is destined to experience the same problems in every relationship. Should he happen to meet someone who feels the same way he does, the relationship will end even faster since neither one of them will be willing to be considerate of the other.

Don’t try to outrun your problems. Objectively analyze why your problems occur. Often it can be helpful to seek input from an objective party who can give you constructive feedback. You can change your behavior and attitude to prevent the same problems from repeating themselves.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

How Do You Treat Waiters?

by Bryan Golden

The way you treat others offers a window into the type of person you are.  Your interaction with people, whose job is to serve you, reflects on your character and offers a glimpse into the way they will react to you.

When you behave in a condescending manner, you are sure to elicit a negative reaction.  Immediately, the person you are talking down to will be put off, even if they don’t show it.  You will squelch any inclination for the other person to go out of their way to help you.  At most, they will do no more than the bare minimum necessary to keep you mollified.

Corporate CEOs like to observe how job candidates treat waiters.  These corporate captains found that how a prospective employee treats a waiter offers a clear picture of the type of person he or she is.  Someone who is polite to you but discourteous to a waiter does not have desirable interpersonal skills.  They tend to be abrasive, causing friction among coworkers and subordinates.

Your treatment of waiters isn’t just significant in business settings.  A survey by a dating service discovered that being rude to waiters tops the list as the worst dining etiquette.  It is a real turnoff to be in the company of someone who is mean spirited.

Anyone can treat a waiter well when there are no mishaps or mess-ups.  The real indication of a person’s true nature is how they react when there are problems.  What do they do when a waiter makes a mistake or their meal is not what they hoped for?  Do they get indignant, make a scene, and jump down the waiter’s throat?  Or are they gracious and magnanimous?

No one likes to be berated when they make a mistake.  Some waiters are better than others.  Some are more conscientious.  You can’t manage their behavior, but you do control yours.  If you can’t handle a problem when you are eating out, how can you be depended on to handle life’s real predicaments?

People, who are rude to waiters, erroneously believe they are displaying power and authority.  They mistakenly think their behavior will impress others.  Anyone who attempts to elevate their status by stepping on others will ultimately fall flat on their face.

People with integrity and character treat everyone with courtesy and respect, regardless of their occupation, financial, or social status.  They don’t view themselves as being above or below anyone else.

The way you treat people determines to a large part how they treat you.  Not everyone will respond to kindness and consideration.  But everyone will react negatively to berating.  Your best bet for bringing out the best in people is to treat them with respect.

If you expect the worst from people, your attitude will project this and your low expectations will usually be met.  If you anticipate the best, people tend to try to live up to those expectations so as not to disappoint you.

People crave approval and recognition.  If you start out rejecting someone, they will feel there is no chance to please you and won’t even try.  However when you say please, thank you, and can you help me, others will make an extra effort to accommodate you.

Treat waiters, and everyone you encounter, with dignity.  In so doing, your relationships with people, even strangers, will improve.  You will still find some individuals you just can’t deal with.  But they will be much more of an exception.  You can never go wrong by treating another person well.

NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.   2006 Bryan Golden

Who Says You Can’t Do It?

by Bryan Golden

You have dreams, goals, and aspirations.   Enthusiastically, you share your plans with your significant other, family, or friends.  Instead of sharing in your joy, they give you a lecture on why you won’t succeed.  They list all of the things that can and will go wrong.

They know someone who already tried and failed at the exact thing you are now contemplating.  They provide you with a large dose of discouragement.  After speaking with them, you question the feasibility of your plans.  After all, everyone advised you to stop dreaming and be realistic.

Yet despite all of the negative advice, you have a desire that keeps gnawing at you.  It may subside for a time, but it keeps resurfacing.  You start to believe everyone else is right and you are wrong.  You wonder if you are viewing your plans with a biased outlook.  The people you speak with are surely more objective.

In spite of all the dissuasion, you see examples of people who are living their dreams.  How do they pull it off while you don’t feel as if you have a chance?

This is what you need to fulfill your dreams: a burning desire along with the willingness to do what it takes.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have.  Your educational level is irrelevant.  Who you know is immaterial.

Don’t listen to people who don’t encourage you.  Constructive criticism is one thing.  It is designed to help you find a successful path to your destination.  A negative onslaught serves no purpose other than to dishearten you.  People offering negative advice may not be aware of the damage it will cause you.  They are just acting in a manner they were taught, which is negative.

The staunchest naysayers are invariable those who have not realized their goals.  They are experts in uncovering justifications for failure.  Their opinions may even be unsolicited.  Subconsciously, they are jealous of any possibility you will succeed.  They would rather keep you at their level rather than giving you a mental boost.

There are people who you should listen to.  They are the ones who accomplished what you want to do.  They are the ones who can show you, by example, all that is possible.  They overcome obstacles and learn from their mistakes.  Your learning from their experience is much less costly and more efficient than reinventing the wheel.

That said, there is always room for innovation.  Just because something was done doesn’t mean there is no opportunity.  It’s always possible to improve on what already exists.  That is why new products and services hit the market on a daily basis.

You don’t have to personally know people who succeeded.  You can read books they write or books that are written about them.  Although most of the stories in newspapers and magazines are negative, there are always articles about people’s accomplishments.

The internet is a great resource for locating biographical information about successful people.  The more you fill your mind with examples of how others succeeded, and how they did it, the more enthusiastic you will become.

So when someone tells you something is impossible, go find someone else who succeeded.  For every critic, there is a trailblazer who is breaking new ground, accomplishing what was thought to be impossible.

And when you achieve what others said you couldn’t do, you will be told you were lucky or just in the right place at the right time.  But you will know it was your tenacity that made the difference.

NOW AVAILABLE:  “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book.  Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.   2006 Bryan Golden

Focus

by Bryan Golden

Focus is the deliberate concentration of all of your energy in order to attain a specific goal. A laser beam is a perfect example of the power of focus. By directing light rays in one unified direction, laser beams can cut through steel.

A light bulb is the opposite of a laser. From the bulb, light disperses in all directions. You can leave a light bulb on until it burns out, but it won’t cut like a laser. Without the focus of a laser, the light bulb’s energy is too dispersed to be used as a cutting tool.

To accomplish any task, you need focus. You must devote yourself to directing all of your efforts toward one end. The maxim, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” perfectly expresses the result of a lack of focus.

Without focus, you go in different directions, winding up nowhere in particular. Additionally, without focus, you are prone to quitting at the first sign of difficulty. With numerous irons in the fire, it’s easy to abandon one or more when the going gets tough.

Irene was a college freshman who didn’t know what she wanted to major in. So Irene never selected a specific major. She spent years taking classes in many disciplines. Irene took courses in history, literature, art, science, philosophy, math, and humanities.

After four years, Irene discovered she hadn’t satisfied the requirements for any degree. Although she had taken as many classes as other students, Irene didn’t have enough course work in any specific discipline to enable her to graduate.

Although Irene earned good grades, she knew a little about a lot of different subjects but never gained enough knowledge about any one topic to receive a degree. Irene’s four years of college didn’t result in a diploma. Irene would have been better served had she focused on earning a degree in her favorite subject. Then she could have continued taking courses in whatever interested her.

Five years after Robert started renovating his dream house, he’s still working on it. Robert never completes one project before starting another. All of the rooms are in various states of remodeling. No part of Robert’s house is complete and ready to be lived in.

There is no end in sight for Robert’s project. As he’s working on one room of the house, he changes his mind about what he wants to do in another room and shifts gears. Robert is constantly jumping from one job to another. He has no focus.

Robert would be more productive by finishing one room before starting another. This strategy would have allowed Robert to finish years ago. Although Robert is constantly busy, his efforts are so scattered that no one thing is ever accomplished.

To achieve a goal, accomplish a task, or complete a project, you need to focus your efforts. This approach will make you much more effective and bring you results much faster than scattering your energy.

Fear of failure leads some people to put a lot of irons in the fire. They mistakenly believe this technique spreads their risk, increasing the chances that at least one endeavor will succeed. In reality, the chances of any one venture succeeding are significantly reduced.

Setbacks can cause people to lose focus before they have successfully reached their goal. Rather than picking themselves up and continuing down their chosen path, they start working on something else instead.

Develop a burning desire and then focus your energy at accomplishing your goal. Regardless of what happens, stay on track. Keep moving forward until you arrive at your chosen destination. The more focus you have, the more effective your efforts will be.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden