Aliveatwork's Blog


A Reflection of Gratitude … Relatively Speaking!

One of the things I love most about Albert Einstein is that he had a way (at times) to simplify some of the most important decisions that we make in our lives.

He said this about how we see the world, “One of the most important decisions we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe!”

Simple right … you have two choices and based on your choice you will either live from a place of love or a place of fear.

Here’s what Einstein said about gratitude, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Simple … again you have two choices and based on your choice, you will either be ungrateful for most things in life or extremely grateful for the littlest of things in life.

According to Einstein our happiness comes down to how we per- SEE-eve  the world around us.

The truth is that sometimes our lenses get smudged or dirty. We can become cynical with age, especially if life hasn’t always delivered to us what we want or think we need.

Interesting Thought: We spend time cleaning the screens (lenses) of our laptop, iPhone, iPad, or android and yet we rarely take the time to clean the lenses by which we view the world, especially from the perspective of gratitude.

So maybe your lenses have gotten a little smudged …

If so, here are 3 things you can do to cleanse your lenses of gratitude:

  1. Go to a animal shelter and hang out … take some of the dogs out and play with them for awhile. Notice how happy they are to get a little love and attention … and all you did was throw a ball!
  2. Go to a homeless shelter and volunteer for a few hours so you can see how grateful those are who are less fortunate than you feel just because you listened to them. They just need to know that somebody cares … even if it’s for a short while.
  3. Go to a nursing home and spend a few hours with some of the folks who never get visitors … ask them their story and watch their faces light up because you seem interested in them,  knowing in the back of your mind … that could be the last time they ever tell their story to anyone.

Sometimes we simply need other living beings to reflect back to us what we most need to see for ourselves.

And isn’t it an interesting paradox …  sometimes it is in the eyes of those who have the least that reflect back to us … the most.

Then again maybe not … according to Mr. Einstein … it’s all relative!



20 Things You Can Do To Be More Grateful …

Do you sometimes find it difficult to stay focused on the things that make you happy?

Do you ever find yourself forgetting about all of the things that you have …  and instead focusing on the things that you don’t?

If you should find your thoughts headed out into the ocean of “don’t haves,”  here are 20 things you can make a list of that will help you turn the ship back around to the port of happiness and gratitude.

Make a list of:

  1. All the things you bought with your last paycheck that you couldn’t have if you weren’t getting one.
  2. The 3 best lessons you learned from the 3 biggest mistakes you’ve made in your life.
  3. 3 people that you could do something nice for this month.
  4. 3 things you can do for those 3 people (at this point you might as well do them).
  5. Your 3 favorite movies.
  6. All of the freedoms you have because you live in the United States of America (or wherever you live).
  7. The 3 best things that you smell when you walk into your favorite restaurant or bakery or just your 3 favorite smells.
  8. The 2 best things that ever happened to you.
  9. Your 3 favorite songs and the first time you heard them.
  10. The best concert you’ve ever been to in your life.
  11. The 5 things you love most about your children, spouse, partner, or friend.
  12. The first time you kissed your first love.
  13. 3 activities that make you extraordinarily happy.
  14. 10 things you CAN do right now with the body you HAVE right now.
  15. 5 people who impacted you in a positive way at some time in your life.
  16. 3 nice things you can do for 3 complete strangers you meet in the next 3 days (it wouldn’t hurt to do them).
  17. 5 things you can see when you look outside the window that you couldn’t if you were visually impaired.
  18. 3 different sounds you can hear that you couldn’t if you were deaf.
  19. 3 teachers that had the greatest impact on your life.
  20. The total number of items you wrote down on the previous 19 lists that you are grateful for!

Remember that you choose your attitude based on what you focus your thoughts on. You can choose to be grateful or you can choose to be unhappy because you’re focusing on what you don’t have … it’s really up to you!

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder said this about gratitude, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

According to Thornton … focusing on what we have (our treasures) is a matter of  life or death.

For some reason this one seems like a no-brainer … and for that my friends … I am grateful!



That’s What Friend Are For …
May 10, 2012, 5:52 am
Filed under: Alive @ Work, Alive at Work, Aliveness, Joe Contrera | Tags: ,

“For good times, for bad times, I’ll be by your side forever more, That’s what friends are for!”

Burt Bacharach & Carole Bayer Sager

Back in 1982 Dionne Warwick and Friends (Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight) collaborated on the hit song entitled “That’s What Friends Are For.”

Recently, I was thinking about the topic of friendship and realized that “back then” the word “friend” seemed to have a much different meaning

“Back then” I knew who all of my friends were. I didn’t feel the need to do a mass correspondence to beg people to like me, something I liked, or something I did.

They were my friends because we liked each other and we liked hanging out together.

And we hung out together … at the park, at my house, or someone else’s house … not in some virtual living room that didn’t exist!

“Back then” I didn’t need to know that my friends were drinking a cup of coffee, sitting in a restaurant, eating a doughnut, or burping.

“Back then” we played games like dodge ball, baseball, and kick-the-can, where you actual had physical contact … it was real. I didn’t play an imaginary game with person I claimed to be my friend whom I never met.

And when I made a move while playing monopoly … with my friends, I didn’t have to broadcast to 1,357 other friends that I just bought Baltic Avenue.

It seems to me that that the word “friendship” has been diluted down to a point where it really doesn’t have a whole lot’ve meaning anymore.

Today there are people who believe they have 4,000 friends on Facebook.

Here’s what I know …

I can still count on 2 hands my good friends and on one hand my very best friends. These are the folks who have stood by me during the good times and the bad times in my life.

You know who you are and I am grateful that you are in my life.

And for those of you who truly believe that you have 3,757 friends on Facebook …

As your “friend” I think I need to tell you this …

WAKE UP, get a real life, and get some real friends.

I wasn’t gonna say anything but … THAT’S what friends are for!



May 4, 2012, 8:32 am
Filed under: Aliveness

Aliveatwork's Blog

Yesterday we talked about the difference between talents and skills.

We said that getting clear about your talents, strengths, and gifts, will lead you to your purpose.

Well maybe that got you thinking … how will I know if I’m getting close to my purpose?

Here’s how you know you’re getting close …

Answer this question: “Is my purpose about serving me, or is it about serving others?”

You see when you utilize your strengths and talents to serve others you accomplish 2 things:

  1. You have a greater sense of fulfillment and joy in your life.
  2. You will be multiplying your talents by inspiring others to work and live from theirs!

Marianne Williamson in her famous “Words To Live By” says it so eloquently …

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine as children do.

And…

View original post 62 more words



Multiplying Your Talents …

Yesterday we talked about the difference between talents and skills.

We said that getting clear about your talents, strengths, and gifts, will lead you to your purpose.

Well maybe that got you thinking … how will I know if I’m getting close to my purpose?

Here’s how you know you’re getting close …

Answer this question: “Is my purpose about serving me, or is it about serving others?”

You see when you utilize your strengths and talents to serve others you accomplish 2 things:

  1. You have a greater sense of fulfillment and joy in your life.
  2. You will be multiplying your talents by inspiring others to work and live from theirs!

Marianne Williamson in her famous “Words To Live By” says it so eloquently …

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine as children do.

And as we let our own light (talents) shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

Think about that … living and working from your talents actually inspire others to live from theirs.

And THAT my friends … is a powerful multiplier of your talents.

I think this may be the first time I can truthfully say that I like math!



Talents, Skills, and Being Extraordinary!

People seem to use the words talents and skills interchangeably, almost as if they had the same meaning.

I believe that talents and skills are different.

Talents encompass your strengths, your brilliance, and your genius.

And by genius, I mean in its original form found in the word – genie which mean magic … specifically, your magic!

Talents also include your God-given gifts and when you’re aligned and utilizing your talents in your work … it doesn’t feel like work.

Skills are a little different, skills are the things that you work on, learn, develop, and continue to work so that you can become an extraordinary lawyer, parent, teacher, leader, etc.

It is in the blending of your talents and skills that 2 of the 4 ingredients for greatness are found.

Michael Jordan was probably one of the most naturally gifted basketball players who ever played the game. One of the components that made him so extraordinary was his commitment to constantly sharpen his skills.

Even after winning 6 NBA Championships, if he missed foul shots during a game he would go out on the court after the arena was empty … and practice free throws.

So that got me thinking …

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. Are you conscious and aware of your natural strengths, gifts, and talents?
  2. Are you utilizing them in your work?
  3. What are you working on (reading, learning, growing) today that is enriching your skills as a leader, as a sales person, as a teacher. etc?

Every single person on this earth has a unique set of talents and gifts. Identifying them and incorporating them into your work/life will bring you happiness and set you on a course towards discovering your purpose.

Additionally, if you continue to develop your skills by learning, growing, and constantly increasing  your skill base … you will be on a path to being extraordinary!

So are you on your path to being extraordinary?