Success Is A Mind Set

In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein.

Researcher Carol Dweck refers to The Natural Genius’s as a “fixed mindset.” In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck summarizes three decades of research that demonstrates the enormous impact your views on intelligence and what it takes to succeed have on how you see your own capabilities.

Briefly, when you have a fixed mindset, your energies are focused on performing well and being smart, both of which require you to continually prove yourself. Succeeding does inspire self-confidence for a while. When you’re faced with a setback, however, you often go to great lengths to avoid challenge and failure.

To the fixed-mindset person, intelligence and skill are seen as a sum game. Either you can do math or you can’t. You’re artistic or you’re not. You have what it takes to sell or to be a great speaker or you don’t. Not surprisingly, Dweck found that people who have a fixed mindset are more likely to rate high on the impostor scale.

A major reframe for the Natural Genius involves the recognition that innate talent has remarkably little to do with greatness. Not only can you learn how to any number of things, you can even become great at them, if you’re willing to work at it. As extensive research in the United States and Britain reveals, people who excel in fields from music to sports to chess are the ones who devote the most time in engaged “deliberate practice.”

This involves not just repeated practice but repeated practice based on highly targeted measures and goals. Even people who’ve already reached the top know that staying there requires constant practice. That’s why sports figures are constantly practicing their sports even off-season. This emphasis on continuous improvements is indicative of what Dweck calls a “growth mindset.” In direct contrast to the fixed mindset success is not considered a function of being inherently, gifted, or skilled. Instead the path to mastery is seen as a lifelong learning and skill building.

And because growth-mindset people know how to learn from mistakes and failure, rather than withdrawing from difficult endeavors or becoming discouraged, they redouble their efforts. When you see yourself as a work-in-progress, you’re automatically less likely to experience feelings of inadequacy. Not only is natural talent not required to be competent, having it does not automatically guarantee success. Dweck cites example after example from the world of sports and art of people who started out with only average abilities but were willing ot perceives and wound up doing as well and after better than those who are naturally gifted but fail to apply themselves.

The good news is that effort is available to anyone willing to use it and that includes you. With practice you get better, and when you get better, you feel better. Best of all, you’ll have the hard-won confidence to prove it. Will you encounter setbacks along the way? Bet on it!  The difference is that instead of seeing difficulty and challenge as signs of your ineptness, you now approach them as opportunities to grow and learn. Here’s where the power of self-talk and reframing comes in.

Instead of thinking, I’m unqualified, think, I may be inexperienced but I’m fully capable of growing into the role. In the past, when you were faced with something you’d never done before, you thought, Yikes, I have no idea what I’m doing! Now you tell yourself , Wow, I’m really going to learn a lot, words really do matter. Simply changing how you talk to yourself about a difficulty or a challenge changes how you approach it.

Michelangelo said, “Genius is eternal patience.” writing a dissertation or building a practice or doing anything of consequence takes much time, effort, and patience. Remember that your first draft, first presentation, first painting, or first anything is never going to be as good as your second or your two hundredth. swap your false notions of overnight success for the ideal slow, steady progress, and you’ll discover the true meaning of genius. Remember effort seems to trump ability, challenges are often opportunities in disguise and real success always takes time.

“When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

Many couples are putting their children at the center of the family. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, after all, aren’t your grandchildren the apple of your eye too? But when parents put their children ahead of  their own needs, ahead of their marriage, it may seem child friendly, but it can lead to complications.

When children are the absolute center of the family, they can grow up without boundaries. This can lead to demanding, entitled kids. Who become demanding, entitled adults. You might have a friend or two who are demanding and they can be difficult to get along with. Can’t they? 

 No one wants their children or grandchildren to turn out to be demanding. Do they? Some acting out might be all right for a child, but future bosses, spouses and friends will probably not be so tolerant. Will they? Furthermore, being the center of the family is too much pressure for most childrenChildren cannot fulfill all their parents‘ emotional needs and it’s not fair to expect them to. Children in this position often feel they need to parent their parents and that’s not their job. Actually, it’s your job to be there for your children when they are parents.

Remind them to make time for themselves, their spouses and friends if you want to be helpful offer to babysit so they can have a date night or weekend getaway, and you’ll get to spend extra time with your grandchildren.  Bob and Jane being the wise parents and grandparents that they are, offered to babysit their grandchildren while Jim and  Lynn went out on the town.  As Lynn was leaving, she told her children to listen to Nana and Pops and then gave them a kiss on the cheek and thanked her parents.

Well, Bob winked at Lynn while reminding her of this old saying,”When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Bob’s point was that couples need to spend time together just the two of  them and keep the romance going.  Now Jim plans romantic surprise date nights at least twice a month and all Lynn has to do is show up . Jim and Lynn are feeling reconnected and Nana and Pops are “Happy Grands.” Jim agrees with Bob “When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

A Life Time Of Walking Together

Every wish I’ve ever wished for and every hope I’ve ever had, mixed with every dream I’ve ever dreamed came true the day I met you!  I love you more than there are stars in the sky.  Sharon and David were married for over sixty years their love story is about a walk in the summer time turned into a life time of walking through many seasons together.

Sharon: I have a twin sister, Karen and you have a twin brother Danny. When we met we were sixteen and a half, and we were waitresses in a hotel. You and Danny were musicians in a band and we thought you were handsome, which you still are.

David: At first, you and your sister couldn’t tell us apart and we couldn’t tell you two apart. Do you remember how you decided on which one you were going with?

Sharon: We said, with whomever asked us to go for a walk first and you asked me first. After that when ever you and Danny came in to eat you always asked for me, you never asked for Karen.  Lo and behold, we ended up dating and marring.  Karen went for a walk with Danny; she married him. Lucky us, because I don’t think it would’ve worked the other way.You were tall and handsome. And to me, being a musician made you glamorous and sexy, automatically. You took me out for my seventeenth birthday. We saw, Oklahoma on Broadway. I had never dated anyone else, but from then on I  knew I loved you, and there was no chance of separating us.

David: We didn’t skip a beat we went right from a summer romance into the winter, and on and on.

Sharon: We were married in Borough Park, Brooklyn. You and I married the same day as Karen and Danny it was quite a big affair, two brides, two grooms,  identical gowns, flowers and one set of parents for two brides.

David: We both went on our honeymoon by train to Miami Beach, but we went on different trains and to different hotels, so people wouldn’t stare at us. What did you think about marrying me so many years ago? Did you think it would last this many years?

Sharon: I never thought my marriage would last this many years because to me divorce was not a foreign word, if you remember, David, my mother was a divorced woman when she in her thirties. But I was sure you were the right one for me. And you know what?  I was right. You are the right one for me. I like the way you kiss.You  bowled me over sixty-some odd years ago with your way of kissing, and the way you  fantastically hold me, and I feel it . It’s genuine.

David: You’ve told me that many times, but it still makes me feel great to hear you say that, honey!

Sharon: There are times we can be so annoyed at each other and we get up set at each other but when push comes to shove, we let it go.  And we’re back to our normal selves, because being unhappy is part of being happy. When two people get married,  they say two people become one. No, I don’t agree. Two people should remain two people but walk side by side. I’ve not become David. David has not become me. We remain Sharon and David. And to me that’s important.

David said, to Karen, you made my life complete and  I pray that we will have sixty more years together.

Sharon said,to David, I will  take five more good ones  and I’ll say, “Thank you, God!” 

Recorded in Brooklyn, New York on May 15th,  Sharon, 80 and David, 86

Love Blooms In New York

Scott was across the room and their eyes met. Soon they communicated with words and their body language, but it was their eyes that made the first contact.

Scott was single and feeling lonely on New’s Years Eve. He was living in the Bronx and he was on his way to party in Manhattan, but at the last-minute he felt restless, so he wondered the streets of Manhattan.

After hours of wondering he decided to go into “The Paris Cafe”, and he happened to look over at a corner table, and there was this ravishing beautiful woman sitting by herself, wearing a beautiful dress with Audrey Hepburn gloves and her hair was all done up making eye contact with him.

He approached her and introduced himself and she invited him to join her. After enjoying a New Years Eve’s toast to bring in 1992, they wandered around the Lower East Side and talked all night together. Her name was Isabela and she from San Fransisco. The next day Scott wanted to spend time with her so he drove her to the airport and they stayed in the parking lot for a couple of hours, like they were at a drive-in talking.

They kept in touch by writing letters, and then they started making cassette tapes. He commuted into Manhattan, and he had a little Walkman, so on those one-hour commutes into town he would just interview anybody he saw. He interviewed the brakeman on the subway, He’d say, “I know this girl in San Francisco I really dig, and I’d like you to say hello to her.” He played the song ” I left my heart in San Fransisco” by Tony Bennet more times than he will ever admit.  He was just sharing the joyful feelings that he had for her with the world. He sent them to her as a surprise and she started interviewing people too and sent them to him.

She started interviewing strangers to say something into her recorder, the coffee grinders, newspaper delivery guys and once in a while ambulance drivers. When she couldn’t find a stranger she enlisted help from her family, friends and co-workers. Everyone she knew or had just met started following her love story and cheering her on. Scott and Isabela found themselves playing their recording other over and over. They were courting each other form such a long distance, so playing them was comforting. Scott could only hear voices so he imaged the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. He would think about how beautiful San Francisco was and try to imagine what it would be like to be there.

They started to send each other things they wanted to share, keepsakes, books,songs, small gifts. She knew he was smitten with her when he sent her his grandmothers toaster, and there was a card with it that said, ” I hope some day I’ll be there with you so I can toast your buns for you.”She used to reread the letters he sent her a lot, and of course she used the toaster . And then he sent her salt and pepper shakers from his grandma too. Isabel wondered if he was gradually moving in with her without her knowing it. Her favorite song become New York, New York by Frank Sinatra everywhere she went she would be singing  these words, “start spending the news I’m leaving today I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.” .

In April, Scott surprised her by visiting her for two weeks and on the plane back, he said, This is it! This is the girl. But he didn’t know, how they would make it work? Then over the phone he said, to her I’m moving to San Fransisco in two months. It was really just the most incredible experience, going all that way and knowing that he was going to see this beautiful girl that he had fallen love with.  He wondered was there really the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for them?  In a six month period they had become best of friends through writing letters, tapes and phone calls.

One night at a dinner party one of Isabela’s friends said to Scoot , ” Not all Girlfriends want to be girlfriends forever, you know.” That’s when a lightbulb came on for Scott: “Oh, I should ask her to marry me?  She nodded and said, happiness is happiness. Scott excused himself and went up to Isabela and purposed to her and they were married two months later.Scott and Isabela just celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary and are happy to report they still use grandma’s toaster. This is a true story.

Celebrate And Rejoice In The Moment

  Celebrating and rejoicing is feeling joy, allowing the feelings of exhilaration and delight to enter your being and fill you with a fine,ecstatic sense of celebration. We all need to rejoice, to slather ourselves with exultation, because life if hard and at times our paths are very difficult. 

We need to rejoice because there isn’t enough rejoicing in the world. And we need to rejoice together because, in this world of self-indulgent  and nonstop competitive people, it’s often hard to find a kindred soul with whom to rejoice with.

Rejoicing is empathy at the encouraging end of the spectrum: and, although you may think it’s easier to rejoice than to commiserate with someone, rejoicing, too can be difficult.

As a matter of fact, a lot of people feel so defeated in their own lives that instead of being able to celebrate with anyone else, they feel jealousy or self-pity.

Indeed, unless you’ve really been able to feel your own joy, you may have a difficult time rejoicing, even with the love of your life. So, in order to truly rejoice with someone you must allow yourself to rejoice first of all in your own life, about all the things that delight you, that brighten your day, that makes your heart glad. Celebrate your victories: exult your own achievements. Then you’ll be well prepared to really rejoice with your sweetheart, family and friends.

Rejoicing together is breathing in joy, being together in the beauty of the moment (of soul washing tears, of life is breathing in joy,  in the hour of unbridled happiness, of sweet or stunning success. It is to be the loving witness at the epiphany of a talent (his book, her photography show, his all-star game, her tennis match, to celebrate special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, lifetime achievement awards. It is also to rejoice in all the cycles of your life.

Rejoice in the times and years you have shared with loved ones and friends, crises you have lived through, reunions that rekindled your friendships, and even all the disagreements you have had with your sweetheart and loved ones and their healing resolutions. We must rejoice together because joy begets itself. It brings us more joy, more hilarity, and fun. So one by one, and above all, together rejoice!

The Mother In Law Relationship Is Complicated

The conflicts between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws is still going on it has raged throughout all of history. Nearly 2000 B.C. Rebekah complained to her husband, Isaac, that her daughters-in-law were making her life so miserable that she would rather not even be alive. Read Genesis 27:46).

Today, some 4,000 years later, women are still complaining to their husbands about these women! Mother-in-laws are still wondering why out of all the human relationships, the one between them and their daughter-in-laws is the most complicated? Second only to step relationships of course.

There is a built-in-conflict before the relationship even begins: two radically different views of the same man. The daughter in law will see him first as a man; while the mother in law will always see him first as her child.The mother in law comes into the relationship lugging a suitcase bulging with memories. From the sweetness of babyhood through the tyranny of the teen years into adulthood, these memories have indelibly imprinted her heart. She enters into this life phase acutely aware of a door closing in her life as a mother.

The daughter in law comes waltzing in with a suite case empty of everything but confidence and anticipation. She’s eager to swing open the new door and march in and there lies the basis for struggle. Both the mother in law and the daughter in law are naturally territorial when it comes to their family. Standing in the middle of  these two overlapping territories is a man who is the son of one and husband to the other. It’s in everyone’s interest for the son to step out of the overlapping territory and fully into his wife’s territory and the sooner he does this the better.

The parental relationship is secondary to the spousal relationship, yet the bond between a mother and her child is visceral. The phase “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” refers to husband and wife, yet there is little doubt a mother holding her child in her arms feels more “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” toward her child than she does toward her husband. Again, the basis for conflict between a man’s mother and his wife.

This motherly feeling of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” had been the source of much marital conflict: a mother consciously or unconsciously placing her child before her husband, magnifying her connection to their child. Even the court system typically give more value to the mother-child relationship.

The undeniable connection can easily cause a mother to overstep her territory and interfere with the process of her adult son transferring thus-far primary relationship, the one he has with her  to the one needs to form with his wife. If you are a mother of a son, you fully understand this tendency, because there is a powerful bond between mother and son. A man’s first significant relationship is with his mother. That bond, forged at birth, leaves a permanent imprint on both mother and son. Even if the relationship is broken, it continues to significantly impact both lives. This powerful attachment between mother and son needs to be and must be reassigned when the son introduces another woman into the picture.

Here is a scenario to consider “Suppose your son, yourself and your daughter in law were in a boat together. If the boat capsized and you and your daughter in law were both drowning, who should he save?  You might be saying to yourself, ” A man can always get another wife, but he has only one mother.”  or a daughter in law might be thinking to herself,” well his mother is old any way.” Now, now is that anyway to be thinking?

As a mother you should want your son to have a strong and healthy relationship with his wife. A mother who wants to maintain a close relationship with her son, who truly has his best interests in mind, must willingly step back and fully acknowledge and respect the relationship he is forming with his wife.

Whether she likes the woman or not. There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by allowing competition to into the in law relationship. While the mother may not view her behavior as being competitive, the truth is that anything she does to maintain her status as the first woman,” whether consciously or unconsciously, will be viewed by the daughter in law as competition.

 Sometimes completely innocent behavior on the mother’s part will be wrongly interpreted this way. Knowing, this the wise mother will refuse to take offense and will carefully watch her behavior until he daughter-in-law is secure in her position. 

 Five years ago my friend Jane’s son  David married a terrific gal named Liz and on the day of their wedding Jane’s mother in law shared some advice with Jane. She said, that she chose to forget everything she had ever knew about her son and let her daughter in law discover him for herself. As any mother can image that is not easy to do. Is it? Jane and her mother in law are truly friends and enjoy each others company.

 Jane, decided  she wanted to have the same kind of relationship with her daughter in law so she decided to take her mother in laws advice and chose to forget everything she ever knew about her son David and let Liz discover him for herself.” It was a choice that has richly rewarded Jane over and over and over again. She said ,she loves how excited Liz gets when she learns something knew about David and Jane enjoys Liz’s excitement,friendship plus she completely understands why her son loves his wife as much as he does.

A successful relationship with your in-law does not necessarily mean you become best friends. It doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying lunch dates or shopping together like Jane and Liz do. Success is simply determining to live peaceably with her by any means. Success is getting up every morning and determining to leave the past in the past. Whatever your history is with your in-law find a way to make admins and move on.

Success is recognizing that at the center of your conflict is a man you both love, children you both love, and finding a way to make room for each of you to benefit from and express that shared love.
Success is consistently acting in love and letting go of the negative emotions you may have toward your in-law,start refusing to let those emotions color the quality of your life for one more minute.

Your love is like a garden, and unless you tend to it, you’ll never reap the full rewards that love can bring.


The Wubbolus World OF Grandmothers

Margaret Mead wrote: “The closet friends I have made all through my life have been people who grew up close to a loved and loving grandmother or grandfather.”

In part, she attributed the strong bond between grandchildren and grandparents to the fact that they are united against a “common enemy” the parents.

 It begins to dawn on new grandmothers before that wonderful bundle of joy is brought home from the hospital that this grandmother business can be much more complicated that they had ever imagined.

 When a baby is born, so is a grandmother and that is the beginning of a new love story fresh from heaven. There is nothing for a grandmother to do except love her grandchildren. As days and months follow grandmothers soon learn they can love their grandchildren fiercely, with a passion that can make them hunger for them when they are out of range.

Grandmothers know that their own children love but can they trust them to baby sit? That is an interesting question, isn’t it? You might assume automatically that all grandparents are natural baby sitters but that is not the case in many families.

 Sometimes grandmothers feel like they are auditioning for the role of the” baby sitter grandmother.” Even though your children love you that doesn’t mean that they can trust you with their new bundle of joy. Does that shock you? After all, you are full of motherly wisdom and all that expertise you gained through your years of motherhood. You know how to hold a new-born properly, you are capable of changing their diaper and you know all the ends and outs of bottle feeding. Wait, wasn’t that stomach-down or is it stomach-up just what Dr. Spock advise? 

A wise grandmother will get rid of her’ ” know it all attitude” and ask her little of bundle from heaven parents how they want their child or children cared for and follow their requests because it’s what is best for your grandchild and if your children are happy with you and trusting you then you will have all the Grandmother time you need and that makes for a happy family. 

However with that being said, I suggest that you learn how to pronounce all the tongue twister words in “The Cat In The Hat” books before your grandchild is born. I am recommending this base on an experience that I had while reading to my oldest grandson when he was three or four. He blurted out to me these words to me ” you can’t read very good”, so I don’t want you to read to me any more.

Needless to say I felt crushed but after thinking about it a few seconds I had to agree with him. At the time I didn’t realize I was trying to read made up words by the author Theodor Geisel known as Dr. Seuss. This kind of unexpected situation is not listed in any grandparenting book, so I decided I better get the word out to other grandmothers, so they can be better prepared because there is nothing we enjoy more than our hugs and our reading time with our grandchildren. Is there?

 If you can’t figure out how to pronounce some of the words in your grandchildren tongue twister books ask one of your seasoned grandmothers chances are they have already been through the ranks and will be more than glade to save you from being crushed when your grandchild tells you not to read to them cause you don’t read so good. Welcome to the Wubbolus World of Grandmothers and The Wubbolous World of Dr. Seuss.