January 25, 2015

Don't leave it to chance - plan to be kind

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There's a big movement that's been going around for several years now called pay it forward. The idea is that you pay for the person's coffee who is standing in line behind you at Starbuck's, or other places and ideas, among other different random acts of kindness.

The thought is that random acts of kindness lift your spirits at the same time as it lifts the mood of the person who receives your gift. Both are definitely smile-worthy pursuits.

I propose that we can do better than be spontaneous gifters of good feelings and I propose that we can do so through the planned activities in an Optimist Club.

Most Optimist Clubs will perform projects or activities throughout the year with an emphasis on programs that involve or benefit youth. What if we encouraged them to do good things more often and involve more people? Instead of only providing a benefit to children, what if they were to provide community-based programs for adults too? What if their first thought was to perform planned acts of kindness?

A planned act of kindness is a scalable activity; it can be as big or as small as someone wants to make it. Perhaps a club might stand on the corner of a busy street and offer free hugs to everyone who passes or perhaps it might take a group of teenagers to Six Flags. The only difference is that rather than being random, the Optimist Club plans to do kind activities in advance.

Don't you want to be a part of such goodness? Then join an Optimist Club and serve others with kindness. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or send me a message and I will help you get a new Optimist Club started in your community. Share optimism!

January 19, 2015

Do the right thing. Always.

Experience Optimism MLK
Two weeks ago, I attended the movie "Selma."

The movie depicted Martin Luther King's leadership of the civil rights movement in the United States in 1965; specifically, it detailed the events leading up to the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as black Americans made their way to Montgomery to register to vote.

Beaten and tear-gassed on the first attempt, Martin Luther King knelt and prayed and then turned his followers around on the second attempt. Although they could have continued to march, he feared the violence that would ensue and determined to wait for the adjudication of a court order to limit or enhance the nonviolent actions of the civil rights marches. This was a wise, respectful, and much criticized decision. 

Such was the plight of the negro in the south in the 1950s and 1960s. As I watched the movie, I cried at the indignity that was placed upon fellow human beings and the grace with which it was accepted. Their grace was a survival mechanism, I'm sure. Look away, walk away, and live to fight another battle, another day. 

It saddens me that the battle continues today; not for all, but for some. Recent shootings of young black males in cities like Ferguson, MO and Cleveland, OH and the choke hold death of Eric Garner in New York, NY highlight the fact that black males must raise their hands in submission rather than question why they are being approached by a law enforcement officer. 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Government offices are closed and it has been declared a national day of service. I wonder if it should instead be named a day of integrity; a day dedicated to doing the right things, and being just towards all.

Martin Luther King said, "The time is always right to do right." I think that time is now. 

January 17, 2015

Talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet

We are a couple of weeks into the new year. Have you kept your resolutions?

In addition to resolving to lose weight and save money, among other things, at the beginning of a  new year many also resolve to have a more positive outlook on life. That happens when you talk about good things.

  • Instead of gossiping, talk about happiness.
  • Instead of sickness, talk about well-being.
  • Instead of debt, talk about wealth. 
Be grateful for all that you have in your life and your positive outlook will shine through. 

However, sometimes we need a little help to keep the positive outlook shining brightly. You know what will help? Join an Optimist Club. 

When you come together with others in an Optimist Club, you promise yourself, in front of witnesses and friends, to look on the sunny side every day. And just like the second line from the Optimist Creed, soon you will be talking about health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. 

When you join an Optimist Club you find optimism and when you share optimism with others, your positive outlook becomes a way of life. 

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you and join. If there is not one near, please let me know and I will help you start a new Optimist in your community. 

January 13, 2015

Little Dribblers show off their basketball skills

little dribblers brenham optimist club
The Optimist Club of Brenham, Texas hosted a Fun Day on Saturday, January 10, 2015 to kick-off its Little Dribblers Basketball Program.

Little Dribblers consists of Freshman, Sophomore and Junior division players ranging in ages from 6 to 12.

For the Fun Day, the young athletes compete in their age division in dribbling and free throws.

During the basketball season, January 12 to March 4, each team plays once per week and each player must get at least two quarters of court time at each game.

That's one way that Optimist Club members bring out the best in children.

Check out all of the division winners here.

Photo courtesy of the Optimist Club of Brenham, Texas. 

January 10, 2015

Optimism - it's as powerful as Vitamin C

It's been extremely cold in the Midwest where I've been spending my time lately. Along with the cold weather are stormy skies and and an occasional sprinkling of snow. Yes, it's that time of year.

It's no secret that the dark skies often cause individuals to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is recognized by the DSM IV and DSM V as a common cause of depression.

Something that can help stave off those blues is a good dose of optimism. Staying positive through the grey days may take a little work and that's why I recommend the camaraderie of an Optimist Club.

Research indicates that people who are social and share time with friends are healthier.  How wonderful is it that you can enhance your medical well-being at the same time that you make your community a better place to live? I think that's wonderful indeed and that's why I ask you to join an Optimist Club today. Change your point of view and share optimism with your friends, family and all who you may encounter every day.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you. If there is not an Optimist Club in your community, please send me a message and I will help you get a new Optimist Club started.

January 3, 2015

Three words: join, optimist, club

Experience Optimism
Have you made a new year's resolution for 2015? Let me help you out.

Many bloggers and reporters are writing about the types of resolutions that are made each year and why they are so easily broken. According to Chris Brogan, resolutions are broken because they are too vague. He claims that merely saying something like "get in shape" or "save money" has no firm commitment. A better resolution would be "lose 15 pounds" or "save $2,000."

Brogan also claims that three words can be a guide for your life throughout the year. So in Chris Brogan style, I declare my three words to be join, optimist and club.

Taken separately, these words each have special meaning for me.

You see, I tend to be an introvert. I'm really comfortable at my computer all day or taking a bicycle ride by myself. So a goal for me is to join with others to share experiences, adventures, and yes, even work.

While overall I am a positive person, I know that I also tend to be more of a realist. It comes, I believe, from logical thinking - weighing pros and cons - and then going with the choice that makes the most sense. While this works, it doesn't allow room for possibilities. In order to be open to more possibilities, I vow to be more of an optimist.

A club is a group of people who share a special purpose. However, if the club is made up of a lot of people like me, individuals who are comfortable going it alone, the club's bond is weakened and the purpose of being together is diluted. You're just a bunch of acquaintances getting together to share stories of things you've done or plan to do on your own. So my third objective is to be a real part of the club whether it is at work, with volunteers or yes, in my own Optimist Club.

And that brings me to the resolution that I hope that each of you reading this post will make and keep. Resolve to join an Optimist Club. Perhaps my reasons resonate with you or perhaps you have your own; but I promise that joining an Optimist Club will make a difference for you and your community. And if you are really optimistic and part of the club, your life will change for the better.

Click  to find an Optimist Club near you or send me a message and I will help you start one in your community.


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