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On Taking Stock

Updated on December 16, 2012

Taking Stock Daily

When one stops to ponder one's life, one's contribution to LIFE, one's efforts and results, it gives pause. I'm here to confirm that it gives more pause, the lengthier the time span becomes.

What ARE one's duties to the 'big picture'? Or have we any? Or are we just randomly strewn upon the years and eons as chaff to find whatever harbor we can and stay clear of harms' way? One wonders as one ponders.

It may occur to one that every moment of one's waking day presents choices. Habit may choose. Or random selection rules. Some choices are so incidental that they hardly matter at the moment or for the long-run, at least not enough to think them through carefully. And some of them which hardly seem to matter at the time may be but the first steps in a direction toward major life changes. If one misses the importance of those first steps, one can be assured one will notice their consequences eventually. Not everyone thinks back and admits to the responsibility of those consequences, but those who do stand the best chance of fixing them if needed or of extending them if they turn out well.

When one recognizes a major life-changing choice in the making, then what is chosen and set into motion not only sets the next course and many to follow, but perhaps leans one toward one set of life principles or the other.

Let's think together on that for a bit, if you will. . . .

There are those who stress a daily 'To-Do' list as a valid measuring stick of one's progress and even one's value, it would seem. In a sense, it's a microcosm signal of that other more major measurement of a person's value in a materialistic age: money/earning power.

One's list may consist of a long sheet of everything waiting to be done, from which the most urgent are picked off one at a time; or it may consist of a more concise number of items, listed in priority order, which one can actually get done in a day, with committed effort and a degree of lucky green-lights and peaceable encounters.

Or one may prefer a big list of everything and just lift a few off from it to a shorter list for one day. Supposedly, whatever is leftover, undone at the end of the day must be moved over to the next day unless its opportunity has been missed or it's turned out to be less important than first thought. There are no hard and fast rules about To-Do lists so long as they prove productive as expected or required for one's task.

But rather than ponder the set up or the pros and cons of that standard of measurement, let's just look at the To-Do List as the basic predecessor of one's major goal, it's training ground and indicator of the seriousness of the mindset and the true focus of the person embarking upon the goal or entering the workforce or breaking into a career of any sort, applicable across the work spectrum, from the artistic to the commercial and service fields.

The process goes something like this: first of all, if one regularly MAKES the list and maintains the habit, and then especially If one accomplishes most of the items on the list, one can pat oneself on the back and say "well-done", "I think you've got it, kiddo". Or if one is to report results to someone else, and one has managed to accomplish all that, one is given the thumbs-up, real go-getter, headed-for-the-top treatment and status rating for that day!

What a good trinket counter the Daily To-Do list is!

I use the word trinket because it is merely a symbolic representation of one's true value as a worker, possibly of one's successful future in the chosen field. People must start where they are, but if a person has no clear idea of that, such symbols provide a sense of moorings to help them solidify whatever it is they're supposed to be doing. We get used to it all throughout our schooling, in fact. But that's another story. The bottom line is, we learn the ropes by this sort of steering and self-discipline. We learn to APPLY ourselves and that's a good thing, to be sure.

I've subscribed to the all-powerful To-Do List myself at times. As do many young folks - or even some older ones faced with "making it" in a hostile world of practical matters such as working and earning a 'living', either at the start of one's adult life or even after years invested in education, homemaking or other involvements. So one finds this challenge can be demanding and intimidating. But it seems to be necessary to get going and we need all the props and symbolic helps we can get, especially at the onset of a new challenge!

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

That phrase may ring a bell with your experience, too, as it does with mine. In any case, - read on. This is valuable background for the main points. :)

The phrase above signals that moment when one commits seriously and practically to what one is really going to do or is expected to do, with 'no holds barred'.

It feels good to be energized and ready to go when one's mind is cleared of distractionsand when one's focus is sharply on the chosen goal. Hardly anytthing equals the lift it gives. The phrase encapsulates what it is to be at that point; it's the real indicator that the essence of the project or ambition has been securely set and the banner indicates that its moment has arrived. One is dead-serious about it and determined to accomplish it. It's like the To-Do Master List, Ultra- serious business, non-tentative any longer.

In short, when one is down to where the rubber meets the road, it becomes a consuming passion with no other distractions. No one else needs to pump one up or keep one motivated. It's on its way. The difference between success and failure, between winners and losers. Right? Read on.

You may relate to my example in some other scenario of your own, but you'll probably be able to identify with the principles mine illustrates.

I've been both the one reporting results of efforts and the one scoring them for others. And on those days of successful dispatch of my own list and feeling my momentum from rubber pressed to the chosen road, I've felt the satisfaction and the boost to my efforts when it was high on the positive gauge.

And of course - I've wanted to be sure to help others enjoy the same boost and sense of achievement, as is my nature. I've wanted to inspire them to get past the tentative lists and onto the real thing. So it seemed a perfect choice that, with just that mindset, my challenge which had become my job on the career road I chose, would provide just that opportuntiy to help ohers achieve their goals, once I worked through basic performance goals of my own necessary to achieve that position.

Among those I gave the 'leg-up' for kicking off and maintaining their businesses, there were numerous young wives and mothers, eager to make it in a home-based business, unaware of both statistical probabilities and the trade-offs of their precious time at home taking care of their families as they eagerly invested themselves into 'doing-the-do' and 'doing-whatever-it-takes' to succeed, for at least as long as they were able to maintain their moemtum. For many of them, other career opportunities had been limited because they had chosen or needed to stay home with the family. Little did they realize how much of themselves would be required to go very far in this business, although it was based in the homes.

There were also young women in other jobs who considered the position offered in which they would 'be their own bosses' and go as far as their talent and ambition would take them. It was an appealing field for young women, glamorous and full of glitz and fanfare. It was designed to perpetuate fervor to keep the influx of hopefuls coming and staying as long as possible. At the top were the stellar most successful ones who had started at the very same level as I did and as each other hopeful did. Part of my job at my level was providing a steady stream of those glamorous, glitzy, encouraging ingredients to my little covey of hopefuls and encouraging them to attend my regular meetings to be encouraged as well as the big conferences where the really big stars, presented in their finery, delivered their first-hand encouragement to the throngs. One hardly had time TO think of distractions!

I was charged up and genuinely wanted to charge my group up as well. I didn't want any one of them to miss out due to my neglect or lack of proficiency to inspire and motivate them! Besides, it became increasingly clearer that unless my group succeeded and expanded, neither would I. That was no secret: It was delivered as MY motivation on a regular basis! I accepted it as a reasonable condition and focused all the more on helping them grow!

So this WAS the work! OK. So it was imperative that I not rest on my laurels, but keep bringing in more hopefuls and keeping as many as possible of them moving along, selling and recruiting and expanding their own business bases. I was catching on. And as I became very good at it, I was invited to teach regional classes and I voluntarily devised many creative programs in my fields of expertise to help my group and those from others recruit at the regional level, in fact. I was in my element and I loved all that. I'd been a timid bud, but now I was blossoming. I visualized it for each tender neophyte I brought into my unit.

But into the process crept another less palatable awareness as I also came to realize that statistics are relentless and underlie every move made; and for a vast majority of the initial hopefuls, their 'To Do' lists weren't going to prove to be worth the pink paper they were printed and written on. It was saddening. But I reasoned that if I kept the numbers rather more intimate so that I'd be readily available and close to each one, I could improve on the general statistics. They would 'catch' the enthusiasm. And wasn't that what my job was, to see to it that they did so? I'd just try the harder. No one has ever accused me of not trying to the Nth degree to do whatever I committed to do.

For a time I rationalized that it was of course part of boosting my own rise and fulfilling my own To-Do lists each day to help them all do the same and I reminded myself that they all had the same opportunity to do the same - if they did what it took. It was a golden opportunity and within reach. That was my job to teach them to do that, the proverbial 'Catch-22' of the busines, as I became more and more aware. But I remained dedicated.

My days started early with limbering exercise to Cool and the Gang's Celebration before dressing-for-success and grooming 'to the 9s'. Every day was a 'working day'. If I went out socially, it also became a 'warm-chatter' working event. I might have a demonstration scheduled in any part of the city or in various outlying towns even as far away as 100 miles. But whether I'd planned my day to go out in the morning 'warm chattering' to get new customers, or taking a recruit prospect to lunch and laying on the recruiting spiel I'd worked - or whether I was to be staying in my home office doing my newsletter (before PCs - it was done with literal cut-and-paste and printing at the Quick Copy). There was also the mailing out and calling to my own clients and following up from days of warm-chattering or fair booth leads (which involved planning, setting up and then working those), counselling with my people, or doing my bookkeeping and staying on top of taxes. I was a one-woman dynamo. Once I tried hiring a part-time secretary, but that seemed to only complicate my work. She was too concerned with trifles and had to discuss them with me during my productive hours.

But all day, every day, I was always dressed for success and groomed to the 9s, from daybreak to bedtime. I didn't even own 'grungies' for kicking back - I didn't need any! If anyone came to my door, I was dressed and ready to 'do the do' and I didn't take time off. I was fully committed and determined. How could it fail? I left no stones unturned. I was doing-the-do non-stop. And enjoying it besides!

I also practiced the 'go-give' spirit, by which 'orphans' from other units received the same training and help my own recruits received. There were no limits to where one could sell and recruit, so there were people brought in who didn't have access to any local training from their own directors. Since my recruits and their recruits could also sell and recruit anywhere, the expansion potential was unlimited and I could expect them to be adopted by some other local director in their area.

Gradually it began to dawn on me that the go-give spirit was benefiting those with more stars on their ladders than it benefited small-potatoes me. At the time, the only orphan I counted among my unit was my daughter thousands of miles away and she reported that she'd found little or no go-giving when she tried to join in another director's flock up there. Meanwhile I had almost a second unit of adoptees under my wing.

But I was convinced it was all part of the good master-plan and that rewards would come to those who persisted. When my ladder was fuller and my level higher, I'd have more recruits and recruits of my recruits and of theirs all over the country and surely they would be graciously adopted, as I had helped and spoiled my orphans already. Not too surprisingly, the orphans appreciated my help and attention more fully than my own people did! I was glad they were there, though, - demonstrating their examples that success was within reach by anyone in my unit! And it proved to myself that I knew how to teach and motivate successfully.

I was able to check off a lot of items on my To-Do list in those years as a few of my own members began to recruit and most of my orphans did, as well. Sales (only those by my own unit qualified, however) were sufficient to sustain the unit, with extra sales work on my part some slow months. In fact, some months I wrote letters to God and answered them with good advise and encouragement! I needed lots of help at times.

But tragically, whenever any of the neophytes proved to be among the vast majority for whom statistics had no pity, I found that they were quickly and harshly judged by the entire larger sisterhood as losers who surely had fallen short of expending the required doing-of-the-do sufficiently to make the grade. And that was not a stretch of the truth.

In those cases - 4 out of 5 at least, they had fallen short of it. So they were quickly shunned and forgotten, left to go back to whatever they'd abandoned in order to try the challenge, with tails between their stockinged legs! I didn't forget them, though. It haunted me and made me more determined than ever to be more inspiring and to help the rest of them more, with predictable success ratios. There were those who kept on and those who fell to the side at about an 80% to 20% constant ratio. Of course, new recruits filled in the gaps.

No personal inspiration from me or the stars, no motivational tapes or prizes nor recognision just for showing up at meetings which I might offer could alter what began to show up as unforgiving statistics at play in a way my own commitment to overcome my own personal statistical challenges couldn't overcome for the others.

I could remind myself that the 'losers' may have acquired some valuable practice 'coming out of their shells' and becoming more fitted for future challenges. They'd surely learned many valuable things. All that fed nto my rationalization, though it began to wear thinner whenever I remembered that they'd also had to buy products to resell, perhaps borrowing to do so, and they'd needed to stock enough inventory to be able to fill orders on the spot - or lose them, which inventory now they couldn't move. They had the choice of turning it back in for a % of what they paid, but that would instantly and forever ostracize them from ever again attempting the opportunity, as well as proving to those who loved them that they'd blundered big-time. Many an expired product ended up in garage sales or as dubious gifts. Also they were making friends they wouldn't be able to keep, while husbands and children at home had dined on TV dinners and junk food so they could attend meetings and do whatever they'd been able to cross off from their To-Do lists some days.

But little had they realized at the start - nor did I at its fullest impact - that out of a minimum of every 5 or so of anything attempted, only 1 attempt will be successful .

Let me repeat that:

Out of a minimum of every 5 or so of anything attempted, only 1 attempt will be successful.

And that will be only the initial effort leading to the needed success at any level and only IF they're very good at it. Being the first attempt, in order for it to become successful in getting 1 our of 5 to be affirmative - (needing more attempts for one success if one is not good at it as in the beginning). Then that success will be only a primary level, and then there will be many follow-up levels in which the same statistics will apply. This happens, even as the need for firmer successful results will have doubled and tripled and quadrupled exponentially, the longer they hold out and keep trying 5 more of whatever 'do' they need to be doing and of course, with the same relentless results.

My first personal encounter with this basic statistical truth arrived during my initial training, as preparation for my getting rejected when I would be facing the 4 'no's' I must expect in order to get the one 'yes. I'd have managed my timidity to ask the waitress or the pretty lady waiting in line with me at the grocery store if she'd ever tried our product, after engaging her with a sincere complicment of some sort. The fifth such effort should produde a reply from one of those I'd attempted to engage in the chatter. But that was just getting the foot in the door, as the saying goes.

The message accompanying this sad fact was that I must learn to be thrilled with each 'no' because it was leading me closer to the important 'yes' which would be counted, while the no's would be forgotten. Pity the person who took rejection personally!

But it was solid strategy. It worked for me, in fact. I swallowed my fear and plunged in - after a few tries in which I went out to warm chatter and came home with teeth chattering.

But at least, at this juncture, once I overcame my shyness and fear, no one would be affected by the statistics but myself and if I persisted, I would be the winner when I'd cut through the no's and arrived at the yes's till I reached the goals.

So I was taught that I would have to ask 5 or more people to merely talk to me during 'warm chatter' or in contacting my own family and friends in order to have ONE of them stop and listen. Then after getting 5 of those who stopped and listened, I might get 1 of those 5 to actually agree to trying the product! WHOOPEE! There was no guarantee that that one would follow through - but I'd have to be moving on and booking more anyway. I would only have taken 25 or so people to get one to agree to try it. I felt like I was on the road to the top when I finally did.

But, guess what? Now that meant 25 contacts to get one to actually agree to try it! And out of 5 who did try it, only one would come through and really buy it! See the exponential effect? Hang on. That is just the tip of the iceberg!

It worked at the same ratios for getting recruits, except that the one out of 5 recruit prospects who would listen to the recruiting offer came from the top of the mountain of those who had finally tried and bought the product! But the statistical certainty just began again from there. Out of 5 of those, one would agree to hear the opportunity. Out of 5 who heard, one would agree to either proceed and try it out or at least to go to the corporate building with me for a larger recruiting session where heavy-duty stars would try to cinch mass recruiting. And again - out of 5 of my maybes - one might come through. And of those who tried it, joined, bought product to resell, only one would go on to continue, and so forth. There were special levels below the first real rung of the ladder in which the same attrition would rule. Then those who passed along that course needed to recruit as well as to sell and would have to face the same statistics. I needed to be with them coaching them every step of their way. I had an average of 35 in my unit - which was barely the minimum for a unit, which was a requirement for being a Director. So everything they acccomplished became my concern. And for my part, I was prepared to do it.

The system couldn't fail. But many attempts by the neophyte (or the expert) would have to take place in order to reach any level whatsoever. The more this fact clarified for me, the more I had to ponder this setup. I didn't mind the odds for myself personally. I was geared to expecting them and I was in it for the long haul, whatever effort on my part it took.

But what began to eat at me was the effects on less determined ones who were pre-destined to fall by the wayside, though they had to have been charged up enough to try and to invest time and money into it. And my own statistics and odds became clearly that I must brace myself to go through as many hopefuls as it would take to move up the ladder to the next level - and the next. Eventually it seemed that those bright stars at the top have only Directors and Senior Directors to keep inspired. The neophytes are just the sea of faces at the big conventions and a spiffy newsletter every once in awhile addressed to them is all they get from their National Director - if that.

But after all - there is nothing mean or deliberate about it. It's just STATISTICS. One can rationalize quite easily and many do. I did for five years. Anyone who is willing to do the do CAN reach the top.

Frankly, I had left a good job as Assistant Supervisor and Practical Manager of the Engineering Department of a building company, where I'd worked for seven years. I chose to go into the new opportunity full-time, with everything I brought to it applied to the effort. I'd been at a cross-roads in my career life, feeling a need to get an MBA, for which I'd applied here at my Alma Mater, passed the Graduate Records Exam and was ready to enroll in the Business School. When this unexpected opportunity to start at a base level to build my own business and learn 'on the job' cropped up unexpectedly, I decided to take that road instead of the further formal schooling. It was definitely not a casual choice or lacking in well-developed determination! I'd been serious about the educational boost to my future. To view this as equal opportunity, if not better, needed careful thought and it got it It was a bit of a risk, but an attractive one. Instead of tuition all going out and no returns on it for years, this would be profitable as soon as I really engaged in it. It seemed much more fun, too, as I'd be learning to manage and from managing a business of my own. Very appealing.

Since that beginning, I'd fairly quickly moved up the ladder to a Directorship and was sustaining that level. So I'd managed to beat or keep up with it while I enjoyed the chance to use my various talents and skills in the process and to feel quite good about my choice of an OTJ education. I made an Affirmation Scrapbook picturing me doing all the things I'd do at the top echelon, with pictures out of magazines and cut-outs of my own picture doing the wonderful things pictured. At holiday times, I made beautiful gift packages of the products to sell and to excite my members to emulate. All the facets were fun and challenging.

But when I fully realized on what foundation I was 'winning' and how much broader it would have to become as I advanced, I began to question how this could possibly fit in with my most important personal standards which I'd never betrayed before, despite any price I had to pay to preserve them. As I did, I began to lose interest in playing the statistics game, even as I was fully realizing how inescapably the REAL game was being played and must be played to stay 'in'. And it includied the one I'd engaged in from day one when i threw embarrassment to the winds and screwed up my courage to approach a perfect stranger and initiate a 'warm chatter' with her in order to begin my new business. I'd mastered it really well. And now it hit me that it was inseparable from the basic statistics of the entire plan, any way I looked at it. I could handle these odds within my own efforts, but I began to doubt that I could handle them for those I had to bring in and along into the game in order to continue myself. Of course, if I had told them the full impact of the 1 out of 5 rules, they wouldn't come in and neither I nor they would have a chance of beating the statistics. Statistics would always win unless one stuck them out. It was a very serious dilemma for me.

As I looked at it, I couldn't't avoid noticing that too many young families suffered at least some disappointment and loss. That became the mental image I saw as my stepping stones from 'here to there' rather than the prizes at the top. The adages wore thin as I discovered that I couldn't bring myself to look another anxious young husband in the eye and reassure him that his little 'wifey' could do it, though that was not an untruth. She could. But the truth was, she probably wouldn't do it.

And for the single working girl, there was the anxiety of perhaps having left a secure job to try her turn at this marvelous opportunity which for her, may have begun to seem overwhelmingly illusive and impossible. My grit was honed on a longer lifetime and serious challenges. Hers probably hadn't been. Oh - she might still do it - if she were the one out of 5 or so.

But the young husband wasn't into statistics; he was only concerned about his one precious wife and mother of his children. And the young career-minded woman who had put her eggs into the one basket really didn't give a dang who else failed or achieved according to the statistics. She had expected to be among the latter. This was the human toll which would always be part and parcel of the business and I couldn't just ignore it, as much as I had tried to rationalize and no matter how personally I was prepared to live with the statistics of my own efforts.

It became harder and I couldn't put it out of my mind. My higher values wouldn't let me.

And then the moment of truth came as I was offering the opportunity and trying to recruit a young professional woman, knowing she would see the potential. Indeed she did! But I was taken aback emotionally when she simply said, "I can't do that to women!" before she thanked me and left my living room with the products she had purchased that evening.

I said to me the same words: I can't do this to women any longer, either.

That cinched it for me. A decision of major consequence was required. And I had to make it.

Decision Time

Sadly, when I'd made the choice to redirect my life in another direction while I was at a turning point and ready to move on up the ladder and knew I could be the one out of 5 at the continuing levels, when I announced my decision to leave, I was quickly categorized with the quitter-losers who couldn't succeed or wouldn't put forth the effort, though it was clear that I was succeeding; I was even teaching classes in the methods and my unit was solidly growing. I obviously could have continued to put forth the high-octane effort had I remained convinced it was right. None of that counted. I had become a detractor and a pariah. It mattered not whether it was due to failure or enlightenment - it was a dangerous influence. I might infect the others with doubt if I stayed, or sabotage it if I carried out my plan to leave! So go-give toward me, one of the go-getter winners, gave out in a heartbeat! That just confirmed my suspicion that it was all smoke and mirrors without real substance. I'd thought perhaps that smoke and mirrors really had substance in this world, as they seem to in so many quarters, but I found I couldn't be one of its human pillars boosting it up to prominence - not at the expense of so many for whom it is certan to fall through.

And now - I cannot seem to remember a one of those 'important' items on my own to-do list which was so essential on any of those days. I barely remember the back-patting and thumbs-ups. Their lasting value was zip compared to greater values. I learned many things in the effort and the best was to abandon it, head held high for the courage to do so.

The persisting images of those five years which are more memorable are those looks of disappointment, followed by yet another pat on the back and glitzy you-can-do-it when the young recruits ran out of relatives to sell the products and came to my weekly meetings with nothing on their sales reports for several weeks running. I knew they would be among those 80% or more who really couldn't do it. And I knew that it wouldn't matter how many pep talks, motivational tapes, extra boosts and prizes for just showing up I gave out. But I was expected to keep on keepin' on trying to get them to blossom even with no buds remaining and to keep bringing in more to fill out the statistics of those who could and did proceed.

So it became clearly 'me or them'. Going the way I had been going would mean more and more of 'them' falling by the wayside or snagged so far down the pyramid that I wouldn't even see their eyes or hear the anxiety and disappointment in their voices as I moved on up. I suppose that it would have become easier to rationalize in that case, but knowing that in order for the one 'me' to keep rising in the winners' circle and up from the wide bottom to the heady top would happen on the pile of 'them' with their dreams of going to the top shattered. I just couldn't do it, knowingly. My conscience wouldn't hear of it any longer, once I saw it with that clarity.

So -What has the VALUE?

Value is a personal measurement. It's so personal that no one else can determine what it is for each other person. I know of someone whose personal commitment is never to pass a solicitor for money begging on the street without contributing something. It's surely his own value system and has merit, but he dumped a date because she cautioned him that many of those folks are con artists. Personal values apply to oneself, not to everyone else, though they should be basic to one's personhood and needing to be honored when choices arise.

What I can remember with joy and satisfaction during those days just described, as well as many others, are the unscheduled things in my days which inevitably seem to fall outside my other ongoing parameters and scheduled things, sometimes coming in the form of interruptions of daily list-dispensing in the form of someone who needs a kind word or a bit of advice. Perhaps I just notice a need I hadn't thought of scheduling and so I fill it. Perhaps some person I barely knew online or IRL, at the point of desperation, confesses that she or he is being abused and has no place to turn for advice. A relative who might be feeling lost and alone senses an empathetic ear and seeks it out. Someone who hadn't been able to gather courage to climb into his or her own driver's seat and take over the controls of his or her own life from someone else who's seized the controls in their confusion may indicate this, and I could authentically empathize.  And on and on go the possible unscheduled but more memorable moments of one's life - moments when pausing from one's mad rush means that one can do something which may matter.

I don't know about any "final reckoning" at the end of any day or era of one's life. That's not my prime motivation. But I suspect that it's whatever truth we each must face when we stand before our own lives and face the reality of where we put our efforts and invested our hearts; - or more sadly - where we failed or procrastinated to give of our time and light.

Our choices. Our personal integrity.

Answering For Oneself At the End Of the Day

No one else can take stock of this but oneself. It is not a competitive race. It is not a race at all, but a life-style, an interlacing standard which stitches together the quilt-blocks of one's whole life, a principle on which one builds the quality of his or her own life and contributes to that of others, according to his or her own standards and respecting those of others.

To one who has given up everything and has gone to Nigeria to work with the needy, what else could possibly measure up to that standard, if it were a matter of measuring up or comparisons? The one who accomplishes that mission does measure up - to his or her own standard. It is applaud-able and for him or her doing it, - nothing less WOULD do - for that person.

But for one whose life-work is to find opportunities for giving help and kindness right where she or he IS, in countless ways, though they be efforts which no one else might even notice, if they be efforts needing done when one has the opportunity to see and respond, then seizing every opportunity to live up to that standard is the right measure for him or her. Simply responding whether or not one's own To-Do List must await completion when one is needed more to respond to a cry for help, willingly attending to the needs of someone else is also applaud-able and fulfilling.

In whatever capacity someone may have need which one can and has power to help alleviate - whenever discovered - is a kind of life's mission, too.

The person with little who gives much of it can rest as easy at the end of the day as surely as the one who has much and gives much of it. It's what comes from a generous caring heart which matters most and gives its own reward.

Quality of Life and Giving

If ever there's an appropriate application of the concept of Quality vs. Quantity of service to our fellowman, this may be it. Nothing wrong with quantity but mere muchness without the genuine desire to help THAT person, personally, rather than to just do one's duty and get on with it, is the big difference. The quality of love and genuine caring about the individual is a difference between the clang and the chime, between the trinket and the pearl and between the symbol and the real. There is no comparison in values.

Shining one's light - whatever candlepower it possesses - onto the path of someone with little or only a flicker of light to go by is contributing light, which outshines all other 'things' one may contribute because it alleviates darkness.

It must be maintained so that at the end of the day, 'well-done' will apply and the light that's been shone will continue.


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    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh dear, Aley - how tragic for one so young to die of such a horrid disease. I guess that even when it's kept in check, it's very trying. I had a dear young friend who died from it, also. It was a case of being snowed in to the extent that when she ran out of her insulin, she was unable to get more.

      I guess I've been most fortunate in having parents who - though they grew up in a time when nutrition wasn't much stressed, still had learned about it & lived accordingly. There were still some food ideas they had which wouldn't be wise today. They weren't so aware of cholesterol, for sure. But probably their vigorous lifestyle and other food choices helped. Anyway - it is essential to make the best possible choices. I'm happy for your decision to do so too! It pays off down the road!

      Thanks for visiting my site & reading/commenting on this hub!

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 

      8 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Very insightful. I am happy my decision to change my lifestyle and eat better has been a successful nephew died at age 37 from diabetes, and it make me reflect and change my way of eating...too bad it took something so tragic for me to wake up!

      Deep bows

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, saddlerider1! From one who writes well from your own lifetime of experience, that is high praise.

      Indeed it is an intense world - sales. For those who would scoff at sales, the standard reply was that everyone sells all the time. If you get your children to wear their raincoats, that's sales. If you persuade your spouse to turn out the lights when leaving a room, that's sales. If you influence the boss to implement an idea, that's sales. I suppose one could even say that selling oneself on breaking an old habit or adopting a new one qualifies!

      It only reaches the level of marketing when there's exchange of money, perhaps. Striving for the golden ring, as you aptly named it, can be whatever reward one is seeking or being lured by, from personal satisfaction to material gain. In some ways it's all variations of fulfilling life's needs by using life's means, though perhaps some motivations carry more positive or negative weight in retrospect than others.

      As we both say, looking back, the values of some choices made previously ring hollow now. However, they all have value if we've learned & grown from having experienced them. As Frankie sang, "Regrets, I've had a few, but then, again - too few to mention. I did what I had to do, I did it all without exception. . . but through it all, I stood tall and did it my way." How else can one progress but by following the "light" one has at the time? It takes courage to live with conviction and to take responsibility for it. And when it comes right down to it - all that is in the past means nothing today, except for the lessons learned and the wisdom gained which, without it, one wouldn't be who one is today: a person can make the most of the available dynamic time, - which is always only today, not yesterday or tomorrow.

      Thanks again for reading and enjoying my post. I look forward to reading more of yours & hope you will share more of my little capsules of life and find them not too wanting.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Nellieanna you weave your sentences like a spider weaves an intricate web. I hung on to every word as you penned a travelog of one of your life experiences in the commerce driven world of sales, targets, lists, goals, numbers, achievements, deadlines and percentages and more. I to spent most of my careers in sales and marketing and striving for the golden ring, there were times I exceeded my expectations, given the awards and accolades.But the time spent away from people I loved dearly took it's toll. I chased the $$ day and night. Late night meetings with clients, dinner parties, trips, rubbing elbows with achievers hoping that by being in their circle it would benefit my steps up the ladder. So when I read your story it brings back both good and bad memories. When I look back at it all now, it was just a snapshot in time, meaningless to me now. It's like looking through your car mirror and seeing the road behind you and it's all behind you and means nothing today. I loved this post and thank you wonderful lady for sharing a snapshot in time with your captive audience. Look forward to reading more of your journeys.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Aaron99! It makes me feel good to know you enjoyed it. I appreciate your taking time to read it and tell me what you think! I looked at your site and am sure I'll be reading your interesting looking hubs too!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a wonderful hub it is! It's like a vitamin to me. It enlighten me with so much happyness. The photographs are also very beutiful and the selections are very accurate. Keep writing mam.

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      I know, Maita - I've BTDT (been there, done that) too - it is a most consuming time of a gal's life, to be sure. But I have to say - don't forget to nurture your own SELF all along the way - for many reasons.

      It's a good example to your children to learn to tend to their own beings. It teaches by example how to deal with pressures and keep one's self intact in life's ups and downs.

      You're your most whole as you move through life - and you never know how vital that can be in emergengies you can't foresee.

      And - face it - oneSELF is the only living soul who completely has all the facts and knows all the inner feelings - and is always there - to attend to them and perceive you. That builds your own wise counsel & self-reliance, as it nourishes your soul.

      Taking time for it doesn't require full-time attention - but it does need on-going attention, even if one must 'take a wee break regularly' from all the other pressures and duties to attend to it as a matter of vital importance - which it is.

      I speak from lengthy experience! You are young and very well put together - I'm sure I haven't mentioned anything you've not thought about and probably practice. So it's just a reminder and support of it~ !! I've nothing but awed admiration and respect for young moms who have such an incredible & wonderful task. It's not for sissies, to be sure!! Kudos - and hugs!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      Hi Mam, I am hee again, sometimes when you have children, you need to think of the future as well, working hard while you are young, forgetting to smell the flowers, Happy weekend Mam, Well written hub, Maita

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Excellent, De Greek!! I like it! One couldn't wish for a better response, and yours are always especially appreciated.

      And yes, Sir Churchill got it!

      I've heard it rumored (rumoured, to demonstrate i'm not afraid of the work but it seems ostentatious to add it in a country in which the dictionary omits it in words in which it's not pronounced. If spell-check is active, it even indicates it's misspelled if the unnecessary 'u' appears!) - anyway the rumor had it that Mother Teresa's faith suffered from serious doubts. (see - in that one the diphthong uses/pronounces the 'u' so it's needed).

      Yes, Schwietzer was the exception, though I hesitate to judge these matters.

      Your checklist (not merely a daily to-do list, though I'm confident you practice them faithfully daily) is truly outstanding and anyone would do well to adopt it! It's simple, but surely not always easy to practice. But it is majestically simple, thorough and straightforward. Yes.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      Being a simple peasant form Cyprus, all I can respond with can be summed up in three sections:


      There are lies, horrendous lies and statistics (Not mine, but belongs to another Great Mind by the name of Churchill)


      They wallow in what I believe is their own personal sea of satisfaction by doing exactly what they want to do. It is like a golfer who likes to play golf all say, every day. So in the case of these people, I cannot find it in me to feel overly impressed. However, as in all things, the exception which makes the rules was Albert Switzer.


      • Provide for your family honourably

      • Find a good companion to share life with

      • Be kind and compassionate

      • Have access to music and books

      • Do no harm

      Life is simple, really… :-)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Aw, Kowality, I deeply appreciate that comment! It's nice to be perceived!

    • kowality profile image


      8 years ago from Everywhere

      I will have to read this Hub at least once a week as Soul Food. Thank you NellieAnna

      Live and breath this:

      -It's what comes from a generous caring heart which matters most and gives its own reward. by NellieAnna

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      FP - I guess I have only a mental list-making habit now. Not always so! As a teen, when I was going to take a trip, I made intricate detailed lists of what I was going to pack and in what containers, down to the toothpaste. Early in marriage I made grocery lists, including the price of items. I was on such a strict budget, I would remove an item if I had exceeded my $10-a-week for groceries. Needless to say, I made most everything "from scratch" - not enough allowed for processed foods! I recently ran across a detailed list in a cookbook from the 1960s for what I was going to make and serve at a bridge party we were hosting; and I made everything from scratch for the elaborate refreshments, even the crackers. My list had detailed timing for each step for preparing each item over a period of 2 weeks before the event and included a sketch of the buffet table setting!

      It went off OK but the next couple to host the bridge group just served store-bought crackers and cheese. I felt a bit misunderstood. All I'd hoped to do was try to measure up with my limited resources. LOL.

      Eventually, though I abandoned list making except for jotting down things I need to get as I run out of them. I plan mentally but hate to be tied down to written plans now. Even deadlines are loosely handled. Subconsciously seem to put them off till the final hours. I suspect it's to avoid my tendency to fill every moment from the onset till the end with doing whatever it is and continuously improving on it unnecessarily. Better to wait, rush, get it done once and for all and in the meantime to have had all that time for more fun activities! LOL

      Thanks so much for your kind interest in my weird efforts and for your great comments! We should meet someday and just talk and talk!

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Maita, I appreciate your coming by and reading it. You got the message! :)

    • Nellieanna profile imageAUTHOR

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks for visiting my hubs again the voice, and for commenting on my efforts!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      beautiful about thinking of the present, I love the images and the message, Maita

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      8 years ago

      Here I am again, Nellieanna, for my daily dose of your wise words! :)

      What does it say about me that I go through life without making lists (except the occasional shopping list, but that has more to do with failing memory than a need to be organised and goal oriented)? I am surrounded by list-makers and I am in awe of their determination to cross things off their lists. Meanwhile I meander through my day, and perhaps my life, without any truly specific goal...unless it's a work deadline that I have to get out of the way! :)

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      amazing hub work write pictures god speed thanks


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