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Vintage Dilbert August 23, 1993

Vintage Dilbert
August 23, 1993

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was dark brown, almost black. It’s shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree; a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is a rule of nature that only a few of these seeds grow. Most never do or are destroyed early on in their growth.

And it came to my mind, it’s quite often so with people’s dreams. Wonderful ideas come to our minds but they die too soon – we don’t tend to the little saplings, we don’t protect them as we should. And then one day we wonder what happened to our dreams, why did they never come true?

I put the apple seed on the table and bent down to see how the light was reflected from it, this nature’s tiny wonder. I wondered when someone was seriously growing apples, how many times they had to try to get a seed to germinate? How much work did it require?

Maybe it was like with our dreams: the seeds of your dreams did not automatically grow. Like planting an apple tree. It might take many trys; like a hundred job applications to get that good job. You might send your manuscript out two hundred times before it was accepted. You might meet dozens of people until you meet the true friend.

But if you kept on sowing the seeds of your dream, one day you would succeed. And after that others would comment on how you were lucky to be successful – when in fact you probably failed more often than you would like to count. But you were good at failing – you learned, you adapted, and then with your new knowlegde you tried again. And again. And again. And one day success was yours.

I picked up the apple seed again – but instead of throwing it away I took an empty flower pot, poured some earth into it and planted the seed. Maybe one day it would grown into a proud tree. I’d never know if I didn’t try.

Some people think their best time in life is when they are young. Once they’ve hit the 40-mark, they begin to tell how it is of no use any more to start achieving new things.

I refuse to believe that. There are plenty of examples out there that prove you can achieve amazing things even in your mature years.

I love the little story of a woman who decided she wanted to go and study when she was in her forties. Her husband asked her. “Do you realize that if you start your studies now, you will be fifty when you graduate?” To which this admirable lady replied “Darling – I shall be fifty in any case.”

So go ahead and follow your dreams. Start today. No matter what they are, no matter what your age, and no matter what others think of it. It’s your life after all.

 

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Vintage Dilbert August 21, 2001

Vintage Dilbert
August 21, 2001

I closed Words of Affirmation – a book I was reading with my morning coffee. It did not seem to have the effect I wanted.

It was a Monday morning. A dark, wet November morning when it seemed like it would take a million years to get to summer again. So dark I was sure I did not even remember what summer looked like anymore. And no affirmation seemed to work. I thought bears got it right – what a perfect idea to sleep through the lousiest part of the year and wake up when spring came!

I got into a conversation with a coworker about this when I got to work.

You don’t think words of affirmation work? He asked me.

…words of affirmation.

Today – no.

I used to think so too, he said, until I realized the effect my words had on a certain person.

What do you mean?

Well, it was someone I knew pretty well. I have to say I treated him rather badly.

You? But you are always so positive! How did you treat him badly?

I told him I did not like anything about him, really. I looked at him and said he had grown a belly. That his face was sagging. His hair was thinning. I told him I did not even like his name.

I could not find words. I just did not believe him. He could see what I was thinking and nodded.

I swear this is true. You can imagine what it did to his self-esteem. If we hear such negative affirmations about ourselves, we tend to believe them, don’t you agree?

Well I sure agreed.

I still cannot believe you! I said, – You are always encouraging others. How can it be possible you would have said such words to anyone you know?

Such words and even more, he nodded.  Now I am not proud of myself, but I thought this would be useful for you to know when you wonder if words of affirmation work.  It wasn’t only what I said, I also did pretty bad things to him. When he was feeling low, I did not want to sympathize but told him he should snap out of it and play cheerful.  When he was hungry I did not give him a chance to eat proper food.  When he felt like doing something fun I said to him that he was being childish and having fun was not productive.  After all he was always short on cash so obviously he was a lazy worker.

No…

And worst of all, when he was sick and needed care, I did not care.  I told him to get up and get to work. And when he did, I never told him he did good work.  Oh no, I only told him he could do better.

I knew my coworker had been a boss at a smaller firm before.  But still, surely he would never have behaved in such a way towards his employees?

You could say I was ashamed of him, he said,  I wanted to get rid of him because he just wasn’t good enough for me, but couldn’t.

But… That was heartless!

He nodded.

I agree. I was a horrible person. I was cruel towards him. And I could see the effect of my words on him. He was depressed most of the time, tried to drown his sorrows by watching TV, drinking too much and calling in sick whenever he could.

Well no wonder!  I exclaimed, but I have to say I never would have believed you could behave in such a way!

Then one day it all changed, he said.

What happened?

I stood there in front of the bathroom mirror one morning. I saw the dark circles under his eyes, I saw the excess weight.  I saw the hair that needed cutting. And I saw the eyes that once had looked at the world eagerly.  Now they were so sad and tired.  And there and then I realized he deserved better.  I knew the time had come to start finding good things about myself.  So I told the man whom I had disliked so many years that he was a good person after all.  I decided to like every likeable thing about myself and tell it to myself too.

My jaw dropped.

 

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Vintage Dilbert August 13, 2002

Vintage Dilbert
August 13, 2002

 

Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile, not the money!”

 

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Dilbert.com August 4, 2004

Dilbert.com August 4, 2004

A group of frogs was traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit.

All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump out of the pit with all of their might.

The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

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Dilbert.com - August 1, 2001

Dilbert.com – August 1, 2001

 

Some of the difficult moments in life is giving someone a hug when you need it the most.

Fighting back the tears in your eyes to wipe off someone else’s tears.

Listening to somebody’s grief when you want your pain to be heard.

Being the reason for someone’s smile when your own smile is lost.

To bless someone else while you are going through your own storm.

To be the strong one, you know?
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