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Author Topic: Predictions & Resolutions for 2012  (Read 2264 times)
Power User
Posts: 15530

« on: January 02, 2012, 06:12:09 AM »

Ok, time to step up and make your predictions for the new year.

MARC:  I have added the word "Resolutions" to the name of this thread.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 07:13:55 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Power User
Posts: 15530

« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 06:14:28 AM »

The 2012 election will be historic because of the previously unseen levels of voter fraud on a national level. Holder and the dem machine are already setting the stage for this.
Power User
Posts: 15530

« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 06:24:00 AM »

The Euro falls apart, as does the current version of the EU. If some version of the EU remains, it'll be probably something better called the DUA (Deutchland Uber Alles).
Power User
Posts: 42449

« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 07:04:47 AM »

Government spending will go up.
Power User
Posts: 15530

« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 07:06:20 AM »

Government spending will go up.

And the sun will rise in the east.....
Power User
Posts: 42449

« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 07:18:28 AM »

My point exactly.  grin

Related to the subject of resolutions, here is this from Dennis Prager:

Thirteen Obstacles to Becoming a Better Person
Tuesday, October 04, 2011

This week, for the fourth consecutive year, I am conducting Jewish High Holiday services. Though not a rabbi, I spent 12 years studying in yeshivas and 35 years teaching and writing on Judaism. The following is a summary of the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) sermon that I gave this past Wednesday night.

The purpose of the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) is moral introspection: What kind of person am I, and what kind of person can I become? So, every year, Jews meditate on the issue of becoming a better person.
But how many of us do become better people the next year?  This question has bothered me for many years, and I have decided to finally address it. Why is it so hard to become a better person?

I have -- unfortunately -- come up with 13 reasons.

1. Most people don't particularly want to be good.
The biggest obstacle to people becoming better is that you have to really want to be a good person in order to be a better person, and most people would rather be other things. People devote far more effort to being happy (not knowing that goodness leads to increased happiness), successful, smart, attractive and healthy, to cite the most prominent examples.

2. Confusion exists about what goodness is.
Goodness is about character -- integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.
Not everyone agrees.
For thousands of years, more than a few religious individuals have regarded goodness as being more about sexual behavior and religious piety than about character and the decent treatment of others. And while sexual behavior and religious piety are important, they are not as important as simply acting decently toward other human beings. That is what God wants most (see Micah 6:8, for example) and what we should want most.
At the other end of the spectrum, to modern progressives, goodness is all too often about having the correct political positions, not about character development.

3. Goodness is not about intentions.
Very few people have bad intentions. Even many people who commit real evil -- such as true-believing Nazis, Communists, and Islamists -- have good intentions. But as an ancient Jewish dictum put it, "It is not the thought that counts but the action." Good intentions alone produce good people about as often as good intentions alone produce good surgeons.

4. We don't learn how to be good.
Even if you want to be a good person, where is the instruction manual? Where are the teachers, the coaches and the schools? People spend years studying how to be good at everything -- from sports to medicine to plumbing -- except how to be good people.

5. We think too highly of ourselves.
Self-esteem frequently runs counter to goodness. Raising children with self-esteem sounds great, but when unearned -- which it usually is -- it leads to bad results. In fact, it is people who do not have particularly high self-esteem, people who feel that they constantly have to prove their worth, who are more likely to act good. And it is violent criminals who have the highest self-esteem -- 'I am better than others and can therefore do whatever I want.'

6. We think we will be taken advantage of.
Many parents have told me that they fear raising their children to be "too" good, lest they be taken advantage of.
People confuse goodness with weakness. It is weak people, not good people (goodness demands strength), who are taken advantage of.
Yes, bad people take advantage of others. This is why it is so important that good people surround themselves with good people. They allow us to be good and they make us better.

7. There are few personal models.
It is very difficult to grow into a good person without good models -- whether a parent, a sibling, a friend, a clergyman, or even good characters in literature and film. That is why it is so important for all adults to try to be good models -- not necessarily friends -- to all young people.

8. We don't believe that there are rewards for being good.
In general, people do things well if they believe they will eventually be rewarded. That's the major reason people work hard. But many people don't believe that goodness is rewarded.
In fact, however, there are rewards:
-- Good people have far more inner peace.
-- You will trust other people. The cheater never trusts anyone because he thinks that everyone is like him -- out to cheat everyone. Not being able to trust is not a pleasant way to go through life.
-- People will like -- and even more importantly, respect -- you more, just as you like and respect good people more.
-- You will make more friends. And life is incomparably better with good friends.
-- And finally, God will reward you in the afterlife. It isn't fashionable in our hyper-sophisticated and secular age to speak of the afterlife, let alone about ultimate reward and punishment. But if there is a just God, there is ultimate justice.

9. We have to battle our nature.
To be a good person, most of us have to battle our nature. Among many other things, we are naturally preoccupied with ourselves. Yet, to be good, we have to constantly think about others and how we are treating them.
For many people, there is an additional battle they have to wage -- with their natural tendency to be angry. One prevalent example is the angry mother or father who poisons his/her children against the other parent after a divorce, thereby often irreparably damaging both the children and the other parent.

10. "I'm a victim."
I suspect that more people than ever before, in our society and in many others, walk around thinking of themselves as victims. Victimhood status is actually cultivated.
Now, the truth is that most people are victims. Very few of us have been entirely fairly treated by life. The problem, however, is that people who see themselves primarily as victims will rarely do any good, and many will do evil: "I've been mistreated by others," the thinking goes, "so I don't owe anybody anything."

11. Few people were raised to be good people.
Parents raise children to be good students, good athletes, to have high self-esteem and with myriad other goals. But few parents put character first. For decades, I have asked parents whether they would be angrier at their teenager for smoking cigarettes or for cheating on tests. You can guess the overwhelming response.

12. In our formative years, the least impressive are rewarded.
In our high-school years, which kids seem to be the most rewarded? The ones with the best character? The kindest? Of course not.
During some of our most formative years, we see the best-looking, the most athletic and the coolest kids get the rewards. We see unimpressive guys getting the prettiest girls, and the prettiest girls getting the most attention -- irrespective of their character. And the kids in cliques seem to have the most fun.
Little do we know that these traits won't be rewarded forever. But it leaves a lasting impression.

13. We have psychological blocks.
As if the first dozen obstacles were not enough, there is an additional one that seems insurmountable for many individuals -- psychological issues.

But the operative word here is "seems." Even those with psychological problems (and who doesn't have at least one or two?) can and must try to be better people. And the way to begin doing so is purely behavioral: Act better toward others even before you solve your psychological problems. Otherwise, you will never be a better person, since those problems may never disappear. And here's the good news: The better you act, the better your chances of also improving yourself psychologically.

The sad irony is that while goodness is the thing that everyone wants most from everyone else, few people want it most for themselves.
Readers interested in obtaining the recording of the sermon I gave on this subject should call 800-225-8584.

Power User
Posts: 42449

« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 08:31:40 AM »

Identifying Your Life’s Mission
by Sara Yoheved Rigler
This Rosh Hashanah, electrify your life with purpose.

After six months of working for the company, it’s time for your evaluation. You walk into the boardroom, where three designer-suit-clad personnel managers are sitting behind a mahogany desk. The one on the left scans your file, looks up at you accusingly, and says, “I see here that you did not report for work at 9 am one time during this entire period.”

The woman in the middle shakes her head and remarks, “This is a Fortune 500 Company. Instead of a jacket and tie, you report for work wearing jeans.”

The man on the right stares at the papers in his hand and says grimly, “Our surveillance cameras show that you spend less than 10% of your working hours at your desk. The rest of the time you’re walking around the building.”

The first evaluator shoots the question: “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Yes," you reply with confidence, "I was hired as the night watchman.”

Rosh Hashanah is a time of evaluation. But to accurately assess your performance this year, you have to know your job description. Judaism asserts that every soul comes into this world charged with a unique, positive purpose.

According to the great 16th century Kabalistic master known as the Arizal, no one has ever or will ever come into this world with the exact same mission as yours. The light you are meant to shine into the world is yours alone, as individual as your fingerprint, as personal as your voiceprint.

Your mission can be interpersonal, such as counseling couples with troubled marriages, or scholarly, such as researching ancient Chinese culture, or an expression of your talent, such as painting landscapes or playing the violin. It can be concrete, such as establishing a home for Alzheimer’s patients, or abstract, such as manifesting in the world the Divine attribute of truth or patience. It can be on a large scale, such as inaugurating the recycling system in your city, or on a small scale, such as caring for your handicapped child with joy. You may have two, or at most, three different missions, which can be consecutive (after finishing one job you start another) or simultaneous. Yet, even if there are 500 marriage counselors in your city, your particular approach and way of helping people is unique. Not one of us can be replaced—ever.

Related Article: 20 Questions for the New Year

Identifying Your Mission

Imagine you are an undercover agent sent into Iran. You’ve had years of training, have two vital contacts in Tehran, and are equipped with the latest hi-tech spy gadgetry. Only one thing is lacking: You have no idea what your mission is.

Many of us go through life like that: We follow the route laid out by society: going to college, finding a job, getting married, raising a family, but with no clear sense of the unique mission entrusted to us. We are pulled in many different directions, feeling compromised in what we do and guilty for what we don’t do. Identifying our mission is, according to Rabbi Aryeh Nivin, the first step in leading a life of vibrancy and joy. “When you intersect with your life’s purpose,” he explains, “you feel excitement.”

Knowing your personal mission is essential preparation for Rosh Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah God apportions to each of us life, health, livelihood, and everything else. What is your plan for how you propose to use the life God gives you? The CEO is not going to dole out a million-dollar budget to an employee who doesn’t have a carefully worked out proposal.

We are used to praying for life, health, and livelihood as ends in themselves. In the Divine accounting, however, life, health, and livelihood are simply the tools – the hi-tech spy gadgetry – that will enable you to accomplish your mission.

Rabbi Nivin offers two methods for discovering your mission:

Ask yourself (and write down): What were the five or ten most pleasurable moments in my life?
Ask yourself: If I inherited a billion dollars and had six hours a day of discretionary time, what would I do with the time and money?
When answering the first question, eliminate the universal transcendent moments, such as witnessing the beauty of nature or listening to music. Your mission, of course, may have to do with nature or music, but on a much more individual level than the high all people feel when they see the Grand Canyon. Although your mission may require hard work or genuine sacrifice, when you are engaged in your life’s mission you experience, as Rabbi Nivin puts it, “This feels so good that I could do it all day long.”

When I did the first exercise, these are the answers I came up with:

When someone in my Johannesburg audience came up after I spoke and told my son, “Your mother’s words changed my life.”
When someone tells me, “Your book changed my life.”
When reading the comments to my articles, I see, “This was exactly what I needed to read today.” When I see that the reader’s way of thinking or acting is impacted by what I wrote.
When someone passing through Israel (often on the way to India) comes to talk to me about Judaism, and two or five or ten years later I find out that they stayed in Jerusalem, starting learning Torah, and are observing the mitzvot.
When my children mention that they talked to God about something bothering them and I realize that their relationship with God is strong.
The common theme that emerged for me was that my mission is: “To inspire people, through writing and speaking, to move forward in their spiritual/personal development and relationship with God.” That’s what excites and energizes me. That’s why, to my friends’ amazement, when I am lecture touring, I can speak in five different cities in five days, waking up at dawn every day to make an early flight and giving a three-hour workshop twice a day, and, at 63 years old, never feel tired. Knowing my mission is like installing an energy pack in my life.

Barbara Silverstein is a wife, mother, and hospice nurse. When talking to me recently about her “life’s mission,” she shrugged. Although her personal and professional lives are fraught with difficulties, she soldiers on with dedication and integrity. I asked her what she would do if she had loads of money and six hours a day of discretionary time. Barbara thought for a few minutes, then replied with passion: “I would set up a Jewish outreach center for the elderly. In my work with the terminally ill, I’m always facing men or women who are about to lose their spouse and they say to me, ‘I don’t know what I’ll do about the funeral. I don’t have a rabbi.’ They want a spiritual connection with their Jewish roots, but they’re clueless about how to do it.” The more that Barbara talked, the more fervent she became.

“So that’s your mission,” I told her, “to establish a Jewish outreach center for the elderly. That’s real pioneering work. No one else has done it.”

“Are you kidding?” Barbara replied. “Between my family and my work, I don’t have time for anything else.”

Remembering Rabbi Nivin’s advice, I suggested: “Take a half hour twice a week, and sit down with a pen and paper, and just start brainstorming. Write down whatever comes to your mind, what the first steps would be, and what you want it to look like in the end. And ask the Almighty for help in making it happen. He can give you whatever He deems you should have. And then see if the opportunity to take the next step emerges.”

Two weeks later, Barbara phoned me, brimming with excitement. “This has really gotten my imagination going,” she effused. “Everything I’ve learned throughout my life is coming in handy with this plan. I don’t know if it’ll ever amount to anything, but just thinking about it is like an electrical charge in my whole day. My husband and kids ask me why I’m smiling so much.”

The Creator has outfitted you with a unique set of aptitudes, talents, and interests perfectly suited to what you are charged with accomplishing. By following your inclinations and abilities, you may already have found your mission. Sometimes your mission is deposited in your lap, such as the birth of a special needs child. The National Tay-Sachs Association, for example, was founded by the parents of children suffering from Tay-Sachs; the parents’ daunting challenge metamorphosed into their life’s mission.

If your mission is not yet clear to you, take a half hour between now and Rosh Hashanah and reflect on, “What do I really want to do with my life?” Perhaps you work full time developing software for Microsoft, but you’ve always felt a tug to write a book about internet addiction. Perhaps your greatest pleasure is tending your vegetable garden in suburban Detroit, but you’ve always dreamed of living on an agricultural settlement in Israel. Such inner urges may be whisperings from God, the secret message from Headquarters disclosing your true mission.

Guilt, Respect, Validation

Clarity about your mission dissipates guilt for all the worthy endeavors you’re NOT engaged in. Once you realize that you’re in this world to develop a new healing modality for autism, you won’t feel guilty that you’re not volunteering for the local soup kitchen or marching on the U.N. to protest anti-Israel discrimination.

Once I identified my mission, I stopped feeling guilty that I really don’t like to cook for myriads of Shabbat guests. I also understood why I love writing for and its spiritually upwardly mobile readers, while I resigned from writing for a women’s magazine that features how to fold napkins and sculpt vegetables.

The concept of each person having an individual life’s mission is a key to respecting other people. Otherwise, you may feel that what’s important to you should be important to everyone. You’re an environmental activist? You may blame your sister for being oblivious to the environment without appreciating that her mission is to fight Holocaust denial. You belong to a group that feeds the homeless? You may find it reprehensible that that other group is apparently heedless to the homeless and spends all their time in pro-Israel activism on campus. Being able to say, “This is my mission and that is theirs,” is the gateway to true tolerance and respect.

Knowing your individual mission validates your life and releases you from the pernicious habit of comparing yourself to others. Jonah Salk’s mark on the world may seem as deep as a crater while your taking care of your handicapped brother may seem like a fingernail impression, but from a spiritual perspective the light you are shining into the world is unique and is exactly the light you came here to radiate.

One more point: Fulfilling your individual life’s mission does not exempt you from your global missions, such as supporting your family or raising your children. Starting an outreach center for the elderly may have to wait until your children are grown. Writing that book on internet addiction may have to be tucked into your few spare hours after your full-time job. Don’t worry. The God who assigned you your mission will make sure you have everything you need—including time now or later—to fulfill it.

So when the shofar sounds this Rosh Hashanah and you stand for your annual evaluation, be prepared to declare, “This is my job, and I’m working on it.”

This article can also be read at:
Power User
Posts: 245

« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 09:33:24 AM »

Every year since 2006 or so, I've skipped the tradition of throwing up a New Year's Resolution that I'll soon forget, and instead, I've focused on creating THREE WORDS that sum up all that I would like to focus on for the coming year. This method works well for several people, and over the years, we've had many people write out blog posts that describe their Three Words and how they use the model to improve themselves and/or their business in the coming year. It's that time again.

I don't unveil my own personal Three Words until January 1, but I'll tell you about how it works by going through my 2011 words. My words were:

* Reinvest * Package * Flow

The words are meant to help me see the way I'd like to view my world, the lens I choose to use. So, with "reinvest," my intent was to talk about reinvesting my effort on fitness and financial goals, as well as some of my community commitments. My effort to "package" was to make sure people better understood what I was selling and that they understood how to use it. My "flow" goal was to make sure that I worked on eliminating distractions and cutting out all the various clutter points of my personal and professional life.

I can see from a review of the year where things went well and where things didn't. I can see where I didn't focus on my three words and then I can sometimes see where I did it better. Interestingly, the last two months of 2011 were where I invested the most effort in accomplishing the desires behind those three words. So, though my year at large wasn't very well guided by those three words, they saw me into the efforts that will make 2012 really great for me.


People rush into telling me their three words, but if you're going to do this in a meaningful way, the goal is that you think long and hard about what these words will mean for you, how you can sum up an entire PERSPECTIVE into these words, and how you can use them as guideposts for your actions in the coming year.

Last year, as with this year, I invited people just like you, Rachel , to write in and share your Three Words. Here's just a very small sampling:

Dimitri - Move, Grow Share.

Susan - Focus, Grow Connect.

Amruta - Ask, Do, Share.

Eric - Adapt, Support, Teach.

David - Remarkable, Share, Understand.

C.C. - Create, Inspire, Teach

Beth - Challenge, Empower, Collaborate

Lisa - Passion, Balance, Give Back.

You can see where they're headed with these. I didn't pick them because they're the best or the worst of the examples. And there are maybe another 100 or so people you can learn from here: . But maybe that will get you going.


Thereafter, here's what I'm going to do to slot my Three Words into my actions for any given week or day. Here's the whole larger layout, in order of hierarchy.

Three Words - those words that guide my principles and direction.

Monthly Challenge - I'm going to push myself to one, two, or three challenges a month, wherein which I'll tackle something important that matches with those challenges. I know, for instance, that Jacqueline and I will be doing a month of yoga starting January 1. So, every single day in January, no matter what else I'll do, I'll do yoga daily. Come February, I probably will switch to another challenge, and again, one per every three words.

Daily Recipes- With that in mind, then I know how to align my days by putting together "daily recipes." So now, if I have a fitness goal, a development goal, and a business goal, I'll slot this into each day with this recipe action. For January, I know that I'll be doing yoga daily. That'll be listed into my fitness recipe slots for daily consideration. I'll have my business goals broken down to recipes, so I won't have to wonder, "How will I add value today?" It'll just be there. See how that works?

So, you go from 3 Words, to a Monthly Challenge that hopefully is your 3 Words in action, and from that into Daily Recipes, which are your way to keep those goals top of mind.

My One Reveal

One word of my Three Words will be "practice." And by that, I mean to honor this sentiment: "the practice is the reward." It's something that Jacqueline and I are working on a lot in our personal lives and in our relationship. It spreads beyond that into my business and personal goals as well. The methods above? They are ideal for maintaining a practice-based mindset. As Jacqueline and I were talking about those monthly challenges, she pointed out that it's a lot easier to commit to a month at a time of practice and that it's easier to see the rewards of that, than it is to try and remind yourself of your 3 words all year long. I don't disagree at all.
-- From Chris Brogan's newsletter

My three words are Sanctuary, Presentation, Connect
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