Category Archives: Shopping

Inspiring Shipments by Ivana

this is a post from a special person i hold dear for the depth of knowledge that she has shared to the masses and on a personal level because she inspired me to start blogging some two years ago.
thanks Ivana.

Inspiring Shipments (#IS) by Ivana Sendecka

Hi hi hi my dear SCG,

believe it or not, on 17th September 2012  this blog reached another milestone on its journey. Three years ago was the first time I have posted a blog post in this digital space. Naive,   enthusiastic , fearless, driven,  a bit “I know it all”,   “let me save the world” Ivana  posted a video about quitting my job and with title “End, which got me to begin.” Indeed in 2009, closed a door on security, on predictability, on the beaten path of a 9 to 5 job  walked by too many before me.  I have jumped with a bliss of  ignorant  beginner into the world where those who really do the work  meet,  create and collaborate. I have learned how little I know about myself , about human nature and about the world out there.  It is three  years since I set…

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How to Manage Time Effectively

Time is precious.

Managing Time

Time management is one of those skills that you don’t learn in school or university, yet it is one of the most important skills that you must master in order to be successful in today’s competitive workplace.

It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have or how skilled you are; your inability to manage your time well enough to get your work done will definitely cause numerous difficulties and complications to both your professional and social lives. Careers are made or broken on your ability to handle multiple tasks and manage your time, no matter what type of work you do.

In that regard, I have come up with a number of time management techniques to help you achieve your career goals and maintain a balanced working life.

A)     Prioritize tasks with Pareto’s 80/20 principle

Effective time managers are aware of the fact that they cannot do everything that has to be done at once. They prioritize tasks by consciously choosing to spend their time on what is most important to them. The key to effectively time management is to apply the “80/20 Principle”, which states that 80 per cent of your results are produced from 20 per cent of your efforts. This rule will help you discover the percentage of tasks that you need to focus on so as to achieve the greatest returns on your efforts with the limited amount of time that you have.

B)      Manage time allocation with Parkinson’s law

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. It means that the time you need to complete a certain tasks depends on the time you originally give yourself to get it done with. If you give yourself a tight timeline to do something, you won’t start because you implicitly know that the time frame is unrealistic. If you allocate too much time to complete the task, you won’t start either, because you secretly know that you still have a lot of time on your hands.

C)      Get it the right the first time with Total Quality Managements

TQM is a process whereby the need to get everything right the first time and to continually improve your production is required.  Total Quality Management is not about doing more; it’s about improving the quality of important tasks at hand. This might take a little more time in the beginning but will definitely reduce rework required to fix mistakes and will save a lot of time in the long run.

Contrary to popular belief, time management is not about doing more things in less time, but it’s about doing the right things better. Keep in mind that the more you bite off, the longer you have to chew.

D)     Taking control of technology

The internet is definitely one of the top time wasters in today’s corporate world; it can actually consume a whole working day before you even notice. Your email, for example, has grown into a serious time drainer with your inbox getting out of control throughout the day. But just because someone can contact you instantly, it does not mean that you have to reply immediately. Unless you job demands that, do not respond to your emails immediately, instead, assign a few times a day to check it and respond and don’t look at it otherwise.

Whether you feel overwhelmed by your workload or you just want to find an extra few minutes in the day, one fact will always remain the same: we all have the same 24hours and you really can’t manage that time, but you can manage yourself better. If you don’t time will do a pretty good job of managing you.

 

Here’s to the crazy ones-a tribute to Steve Jobs

 

Here’s to the crazy ones. 

The misfits.

The rebels.

The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,

disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.

They invent.    They imagine.    They heal.

They explore.    They create.    They inspire.

They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

While some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

 

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail.  The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle.  In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,” because it gives you a clear idea of what success looks like. Knowing exactly what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there. Also, think about the specific actions that need to be taken to reach your goal. Just promising you’ll “eat less” or “sleep  more” is too vague — be clear and precise. “I’ll be in bed by 10pm on weeknights” leaves no room for doubt about what you need to do, and whether or not you’ve actually done it.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals.
Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them. Did you really have no time to work out today? No chance at any point to return that phone call? Achieving your goal means grabbing hold of these opportunities before they slip through your fingers.

To seize the moment, decide when and where you will take each action you want to take, in advance. Again, be as specific as possible (e.g., “If it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, I’ll work out for 30 minutes before work.”) Studies show that this kind of planning will help your brain to detect and seize the opportunity when it arises, increasing your chances of success by roughly 300%.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress — if not by others, then by you yourself. If you don’t know how well you are doing, you can’t adjust your behavior or your strategies accordingly. Check your progress frequently — weekly, or even daily, depending on the goal.

4. Be a realistic optimist.
When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it. Believing in your ability to succeed is enormously helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate how difficult it will be to reach your goal. Most goals worth achieving require time, planning, effort, and persistence. Studies show that thinking things will come to you easily and effortlessly leaves you ill-prepared for the journey ahead, and significantly increases the odds of failure.

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good.
Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability. Many of us believe that our intelligence, our personality, and our physical aptitudes are fixed — that no matter what we do, we won’t improve.  As a result, we focus on goals that are all about proving ourselves, rather than developing and acquiring new skills.

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential.  People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

6. Have grit.
Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty.  Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetime, and earn higher college GPAs.  Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point.  In fact, grit even predicts which round contestants will make it to at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The good news is, if you aren’t particularly gritty now, there is something you can do about it.  People who lack grit more often than not believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have.  If that describes your own thinking …. well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong.   As I mentioned earlier, effort, planning, persistence, and good strategies are what it really takes to succeed.  Embracing this knowledge will not only help you see yourself and your goals more accurately, but also do wonders for your grit.

7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time. But when you give it regular workouts by putting it to good use, it will grow stronger and stronger, and better able to help you successfully reach your goals.

To build willpower, take on a challenge that requires you to do something you’d honestly rather not do. Give up high-fat snacks, do 100 sit-ups a day, stand up straight when you catch yourself slouching, try to learn a new skill. When you find yourself wanting to give in, give up, or just not bother — don’t. Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they occur (“If I have a craving for a snack, I will eat one piece of fresh or three pieces of dried fruit.”) It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier, and that’s the whole point. As your strength grows, you can take on more challenges and step-up your self-control workout.

8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam. Don’t try to take on two challenging tasks at once, if you can help it (like quitting smoking and dieting at the same time). And don’t put yourself in harm’s way — many people are overly-confident in their ability to resist temptation, and as a result they put themselves in situations where temptations abound. Successful people know not to make reaching a goal harder than it already is.

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper? Then plan how you will replace bad habits with good ones, rather than focusing only on the bad habits themselves. Research on thought suppression (e.g., “Don’t think about white bears!”) has shown that trying to avoid a thought makes it even more active in your mind. The same holds true when it comes to behavior — by trying not to engage in a bad habit, our habits get strengthened rather than broken.
If you want change your ways, ask yourself, What will I do instead? For example, if you are trying to gain control of your temper and stop flying off the handle, you might make a plan like “If I am starting to feel angry, then I will take three deep breaths to calm down.” By using deep breathing as a replacement for giving in to your anger, your bad habit will get worn away over time until it disappears completely.

Remember, you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. It’s never what you are, but what you do.

Difficulties in Life

There are few positions in life in which difficulties have not to be encountered. These difficulties are, however, our best instructors, as our mistakes often form our best experience. We learn wisdom from failure more than from success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do. My dad used to say that he had become all the better acquainted with the country from having the good luck sometimes to lose his way. Great thoughts, discoveries, inventions have very generally been nurtured in hardship, often pondered over in sorrow and established with difficulty.

Outlook

Forget each kindness that you do
As soon as you have done it.
Forget the praise that falls to you
The moment you have won it.
Forget the slander that you hear
Before you can repeat it.
Forget each slight, each spite, each sheer
Wherever you may meet it.
Remember every kindness done
To you, whatever its measure.
Remember praise by others won
And pass it on with pleasure.
Remember every promise made
And keep it to the letter.
Remember those who lend you aid
And be a grateful debtor.
Remember all the happiness
That comes your way in living.
Forget each worry and distress;
Be hopeful and forgiving.
Remember good, remember truth,
Remember Heaven’s above you,
And you will find, through age and youth,
True joys and hearts to love you.

It Isn’t Costly

Does the grouch get richer quicker than the
friendly sort of man?
Can the grumbler labour better than the cheerful
fellow can?
Is the mean and churlish neighbour any cleverer
than the one
Who shouts a glad “good morning,” and then
smiling passes on?

Just stop and think about it. Have you ever
known or seen
A mean man who succeeded, just because he
was so mean?
When you find a grouch with honours and with
money in his pouch,
You can bet he didn’t win them just because
he was a grouch.

Oh, you’ll not be any poorer if you smile along
your way,
And your lot will not be harder for the kindly
things you say.
Don’t imagine you are wasting time for others
that you spend:
You can rise to wealth and glory and still pause
to be a friend.

 

Time to Breathe

If you only knew the reason, For the sudden change in season. For the trouble that was caused, And the life you put on pause. Halting this life in such a way, Made it hard to see a new day. Burning this day in my skull, Made it hard to reach even for a pull. Almost losing all of my grasp, Not much to grab on to nothing to clasp. And in the end the message is clear, With much to lose but nothing to fear. Even though at times with nothing to see, Strong perseverance will set you free.

Success

Success is more than arriving – it is also attempting; more than realizing -it is also reaching.
Happiness comes not from having much to live on but having much to live for.
Success never resides in the world of weak wishes, but in the palace of purposeful plans and prayerful persistence.
Pessimism achieves no success over persistence.
Temporary defeat never spells total failure; one victory never assures permanent success.
A real success is one who makes his mark in life without smearing others.
Excellence without effort is as futile as progress without preparation
Work can be our friend or foe, or joy or our woe.
Success, like happiness, is more than a destination – it is a venture; more than an achievement – it is an attitude.
The greatest failure is the failure to try.
Alter your attitude and you will change your life.
Who seeks success, let him prepare.
Improvement is the son of discontent; success is the offspring of preparation.
To emphasize the positive – the affirmative – is to travel the high road of joy.

 

Just One

Smiling couple.

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,

One heart can know what’s true,

One life can
make a difference,
You see,
it’s up to you!

Wishing

Do you wish the World were better?
Let me tell you what to do:

Set a watch upon your actions,
Keep them always straight and true.
Rid your mind of selfish motives,
Let your thoughts be clean and high.
You can make a little Eden
Of the sphere you occupy.

Do you wish the World were wiser?
Then suppose you make a start,

By accumulating wisdom
In the scrap book of your heart
Do not waste one page on folly;
Live to learn and learn to live.
If you want to give men knowledge
You must get it ere you give.

Do you wish the World were happy?
Then remember day by day,

Just to scatter seeds of kindness,
As you pass along the way.
For the pleasures of the many,
May be often times traced to one.
As the hand that plants an acorn,
Shelters armies from the sun.

Inspirational Thoughts

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...

“All achievements, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea.” Napoleon Hill
“If a man does his best, what else is there?” General George S. Patton
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” Thomas Jefferson
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” Richard Bach
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Saint Augustine

Promise yourself….

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet;

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them;

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true;

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best;

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own;

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future;

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile;

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others;

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear; and too happy to permit the presence of trouble;

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds;

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Beautiful Pearls

Necklace made from crochet lace (mercerized co...

Jenny was a bright-eyed, pretty five-year-old girl. One day when she and her mother were checking out at the grocery store, Jenny saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50. How she wanted that necklace, and when she asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her mother said, “Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of money. I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy you the necklace, and when we get home we can make up a list of chores that you can do to pay for the necklace. And don’t forget that for your birthday Grandma just might give you a whole dollar bill, too. Okay?” Jenny agreed, and her mother bought the pearl necklace for her. Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day, and sure enough, her grandma gave her a brand new dollar bill for her birthday. Soon Jenny had paid off the pearls. How Jenny loved those pearls. She wore them everywhere to kindergarten, bed and when she went out with her mother to run errands. The only time she didn’t wear them was in the shower. Her mother had told her that they would turn her neck green! Now Jenny had a very loving daddy. When Jenny went to bed, he would get up from his favourite chair every night and read Jenny her favourite story. One night when he finished the story, he said, “Jenny, do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you,” the little girl said. “Well, then, give me your pearls.” “Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!” Jenny said. “But you can have Rosy, my favourite doll. Remember her? You gave her to me last year for my birthday. And you can have her tea party outfit, too. Okay?” “Oh no, darling, that’s okay.” Her father brushed her cheek with a kiss. “Good night, little one.” A week later, her father once again asked Jenny after her story, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you.” “Well, then, give me your pearls.” “Oh, Daddy, not my pearls! But you can have Ribbons, my toy horse. Do you remember her? She’s my favorite. Her hair is so soft, and you can play with it and braid it and everything. You can have Ribbons if you want her, “Daddy,” the little girl said to her father. “No, that’s okay,” her father said and brushed her cheek again with a kiss. God bless you, little one. Sweet dreams.” Several days later, when Jenny’s father came in to read her a story, Jenny was sitting on her bed and her lip was trembling. ” Here, Daddy,” she said, and held out her hand. She opened it and her beloved pearl necklace was inside. She let it slip into her father’s hand. With one hand her father held the plastic pearls and the other he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box. Inside of the box were real, genuine, beautiful pearls. He had had them all along. He was waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap stuff so he could give her the real thing. So it is with GOD. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn’t God good? This made me think about the things I hold on to and wonder what God wants to give me in its place.

The Power of Trust

“In the Indiana Jones movie, The Quest for The Holy Grail, Indy finds himself at the precipice of a bottomless chasm. On the other side of the abyss stands the sacred temple in which the cup of Christ awaits him. Indy has searched the entire world for the Holy Grail, defied all kinds rats, skeletons and villains, nearly lost his father, and risked death many times to come to this point.   Now he is so close and yet so far. Standing alone, looking down into this endless gorge, he remembers the instruction that was foretold to help him when he reached this point in his journey: Faith. Indy takes a deep breath and steps out over the chasm. He sees nothing to stand on, but he decides to follow the advice to *Trust*. As soon as he leans out over the abyss, a bridge appears and he finds himself fully supported on a solid mass. The entire chasm, which seemed quite impossible to mortal eyes, was but a test of Faith. The bridge was there all along, but it could only be seen by those who stepped onto it. Faith is the vision of things unseen. Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible. Jesus instructed, Blessed are those who see and believe, and even more blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” How many bridges have you not crossed because you couldn’t see them? How can you view things differently this time and notice the hidden gold within every fear or obstacle? Will you give yourself the permission to leap across the chasm of your fears?, knowing that when you do, you’ll transform not only yourself, but your world as well? How many missed opportunities for joy and fulfilment are waiting for you, right now as you read this? Can you see the possibilities of daring to Dream a bigger Dream for yourself, your family, your community, your world? The possibilities are endless! As you become the co-creator of your world, you’ll realise how incredible your power really is. As you share your Dream with others, you’ll liberate them as well! Dare to Dream my friend, DARE to Dream! and you’ll build a bridge to your Dreams and in ways you haven’t imagined! 

THIEF!

I remember as a small child when we would have these gatherings with either family or friends. Invariably someone would come up and mention my “cuteness” and ask, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Well, it started out being a cowboy or some super hero. Later it was fireman, policeman, lawyer… As I grew older my dreams of the future changed. When, at last, I was in college, I was asked, “What will you major in?” Another question designed to find out what I would be when I “grew up.” By then I had my heart set on becoming a preacher as my father before me. So I studied and prepared for that life. I reached success in that endeavor. I was preaching nearly full-time for much of my adult life. Physical disability keeps me from plying my trade full-time anymore, but I still am called upon to preach here and there. I am content that I could realize my dream and perhaps have a positive influence on someone’s life. My kids are now reaching their dreams and it thrills me to watch them achieve their goals. However, for many, there is a “thief” which goes around stealing our dreams and robbing us of the necessary mental state to attain our goals. Sometimes, the thief will come as a parent, a relative, a friend or a co-worker, but the greatest thief is, so many times, just ourselves. We find ourselves just about reaching the pinnacle, and this “small” voice inside says, “You’ll never make it.” “You can’t possibly do this.” “Very few have ever done this successfully.” And on and on the “small” voice predicts some kind of failure. Failure, though, is exactly how dreams are realized. It is one of the most important tools we have, because it teaches us invaluable lessons. And, when we learn these lessons well, we are poised and ready for success, which is probably just around the corner. The message I always gave my children was, you are capable of doing anything your heart desires. You are smart enough, good-looking enough, strong enough, and worthy of reaching the stars. The human spirit is indomitable. Remember the saying, “If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.” There are no “overnight” successes, but with perseverance, it will come. Imagine yourself in the life you dream of living. Then in your heart, believe it will happen for you, as it has for others. Then work, work, work, work. You get the picture. So, be true to your dream, and don’t let anyone steal it from you — especially yourself. You can do anything your heart desires, so don’t give up or give in. Let the dream in you live. 

Harvard

Statue of John Harvard, founder of Harvard Uni...

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president of Harvard’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods country folks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambrigde. She frowned. “We want to see the president, “the man said softly. “He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped. “We’ll wait,” the lady replied. For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. “Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they’ll leave, “she told him. He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham and homespun suits cluttering his office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, “We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard, and was very happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him somewhere on campus. “The president wasn’t touched, he was shocked. “Madam,” he said gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.” “Oh, no” the lady explained quickly, “we don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would give a building to Harvard.” The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, “A building!! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard!!” For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?” Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, CA where they established the University that bears their name…a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”

I Believe

Endless love

I believe in miracles and dreams that will come true.
I believe in tender moments and friendship, through and through.

I believe in stardust and moonbeams all aglow.
I believe there’s magic and more there than we know.

I believe in reaching out and touching from the heart
I believe that if we touch a gift we can impart.

I believe that if you cry your tears are not in vain.
And when you’re sad and lonely, others know your pain.

I believe that when we laugh a sparkle starts to shine.
And I just know that spark will spread from more hearts than just mine.

I believe that hidden in the quiet of the night,
there’s magic moths and gypsies a fairy and a sprite.

I believe that if you dance the dances of your heart,
that greater happiness will find a brand new way to start.

I believe the gifts you have are there for you to share.
And when you give them from the heart, the whole world knows you care.

I believe that if you give, even just to one,
that gift will grow in magnitude before the day is done.

I believe that comfort comes from giving part of me.
And if I share with others, there’s more for all to see.

I believe that love is still the greatest gift of all,
and when it’s given from the heart then not one of us will fall.

Keeper of the Spring!!

The late Peter Marshall was an eloquent speaker and for several years served as the chaplain of the US Senate. He used to love to tell the story of the “Keeper of the Spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of water. The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer.” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

For several weeks, nothing changed.

By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped of and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A few days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odour was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps.

Never become discouraged with the seeming smallness of your task, job, or life. Cling fast to the words of Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do. ” The key to accomplishment is believing that what you can do will make a difference.