Unity in Diversity as Applied to Families

by Steve Martin Relationships
Some of us may be familiar with the concept of unity in diversity, but may have never considered what that would look like as applied to families.  In a nutshell, the concept of unity in diversity involves unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation. All this leads to more growth, learning, and working together.  This concept has been applied to many areas of learning academically. Practical Application to Families I'd like to take a more practical approach to what this concept may ...
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Three Essential Factors in Change

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
In this article on three essential factors in change we will be discussing willingness, capability, and motivation in general and how they relate to and affect change.  Here's a brief summary of these factors: Willingness- Willingness involves making an honest effort to change and grow and springs from knowing or seeing the need for change as well as respect for your own conscience. Seeing the need for change and positive growth and improvement involves an openness on the part of an individual ...
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Genuine Friends, Being Brothers, and Soul Sisters 2

by Steve Martin Relationships
We are going to focus on being brothers and soul sisters in this second article on genuine friends, being brothers, and soul sisters.  Years ago I was discussing with a community youth leader the difference between having a brother and being a brother.  Anyone can have a brother, but actually BEING a brother is a choice and altogether different concept. Being a Brother... Here are a few characteristics of being a brother: A proverb states, "A brother is born for adversity."  Therefore, a ...
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Genuine Friends, Being Brothers, and Soul Sisters 1

by Steve Martin Relationships
Since it seems difficult at times to define and find genuine friends, be brothers, and soul sisters; we need to ask ourselves the some basic questions, like: "What are genuine friends?"  "What is the difference between having a brother and being a brother?"  "What are soul sisters?" What Does It Mean to Be a True Friend? To me a true friend has a sincere and caring approach that is revealed in multiple positive qualities: Patience- Whenever we have the opportunity in our lives to be a ...
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Whatever Happened to the Skill of Listening?

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
Have you ever asked yourself, "Whatever happened to the skill of listening?"  Have you ever been in a conversation and, after talking, wonder if you have been heard?   The Importance of Listening The skill of listening is an intrical part of many areas of our lives.  Learning how to listen upholds good friendships, is part of the foundation of fulfilling marriages, aids success in jobs and businesses, and is part of many everyday experiences and transactions.   Important Elements of Listening Focusing- To start with ...
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Flies, Directed Desire, and Running to Win

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
So what do flies, having directed desire, and running a race to win have in common? There are very few insects that illustrate "raw desire" better than the common house fly. Annoyingly so, a house fly seems to have no fear or even good sense when it comes to pursuing what it so desires in the moment.  What we can learn from this tiny and annoying pest? The lesson is the value of raw desire to motivate us in persevering ...
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What Can We Learn From Ants?

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
So what can we learn from ants? There are actually many lessons that we can learn when we study ants.  Here are a few of them: Individually they can learn, but collectively in a colony they are much more intelligent.  Together they have the same size brain as a single human.  Maybe you have heard the acronym for TEAM is Together Everyone Accomplishes More or Together Everyone Achieves More?  Ants are great examples of how they use teamwork with many other qualities. Ants ...
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The Patient Bamboo

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
The Growth of a Chinese Bamboo Tree I've chosen to name this brief article, "The Patient Bamboo" because of the growth cycle of the Chinese Bamboo.  Here are some of the basic phases of the growth of the Chinese Bamboo: Plant the seed-Until the seed is planted and gets the nutrients it will not grow.   The seed sits in the ground for 5 years and may not seem to grow at all. In a six week period it will grow 90 feet. Questions from ...
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Eye of the Storm and the Harmony of Opposites

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Nonharmonious Interactions in Nature Two similar examples in nature of nonharmonious interactions are a cyclone and a thunderstorm.  A cyclone is large air mass that rotates around low pressure centers. It usually has spiraling inward winds that rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere of the earth.  Thunderstorms are created by cold fronts, warm fronts, stationary fronts, and occluded fronts.  All four fronts are basically in simplest terms a nonharmonious interaction between two opposite forces.  Opposites ...
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PAV the Way for Your Business 3

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
Visualization-the Third Stage Because of a lack of vision, businesses can go under and/or be unsuccessful.  Vision happens in three ways.  Past, present, and future.  Over the years, I've come across businesses with varying degrees of vision.  Some can't learn from their past mistakes, others do not have a clear sense of where they are going in the present, and still others are so stuck in the present that they are caught by surprise when the markets they are part of ...
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PAV the Way for Your Business 2

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
In the previous article on PAV the Way for Your Business we described and briefly explained the preparation stage of action in a business.  In this article we will continue explaining some important factors in the administration stage of a business.   Business Adminstration Factors Business administration is a whole subject in and of itself, but here are a couple of brief general factors to aid in staying on track in the day to day life of an operating business.   Organization and ...
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PAV the Way for Your Business

by Steve Martin Business, Finance
Freedom and Responsibility For those of us who live in countries which allow us the opportunity to make income through business opportunities, we need to be reminded daily that with this freedom we have been given responsibilities.  I like to use the acronym PAV to summarize the basic responsibilities of many businesses in relationship to time and "life stages of a business."  PAV stands for preparation, administration, and visualization.  Preparation Before starting a business, there is usually a preparation stage that needs to ...
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When the Real World Collides with the Ideal World

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
The Ideal Self and the Real Self Taken One Step Further In order to understand what to do when the Real World collides with the Ideal World, we first must go back to our definitions of the Real Self and the Ideal Self. Psychologist Carl Rogers said the Real Self is who you are in actuality and the Ideal Self is how you see yourself.  The real world, therefore, is how the world around you actually is and the ideal world is ...
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Controlling Your State

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Controlling your state is an important practice to learn since the world is constantly changing around us and there are no shortage of challenges we face.  When we say we are controlling our state, we are referring to our frame of mind including our repeated thoughts, consequental attitudes, words, and resulting behaviors. Awareness is the First Step To begin, we need to be aware of what our repeated thoughts or meditations are.  Are your repeated thoughts true?  Do they reflect the character ...
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Honey Bees and Teamwork

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
Lessons from the Bees and Wasps We can learn a lot from honey bees and wasps about community and teamwork.  Here are a few short takeaways: Each colony faithfully fulfills specific roles to reach a common goal.  A social wasp has a distinct "caste system" as does the social honeybee.  The queen is fertile and lays eggs.  Drones are fertile males which are born to mate with the queen.  Workers are the infertile females which do the work around the nest and defend ...
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The Three P's of Efficiency

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
What is Efficiency? Before we discuss the three P's of efficiency, we need to clarify our definition of efficiency.  Efficiency is the most conservative use of our most important resources to accomplish specific results. For me, this is mostly the best use of the three resources of energy, money, and time. A Great Example of Effeciency Spiders are great examples of efficiency in practice.  They waste very little energy to reach their end goal of catching prey in their web so that they ...
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The Two Dualisms of Kindness

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
The Lost Art of Kindness To me, kindness is a lost art because it is often not taught, made aware to us, and misunderstood.  Consequently, it is then underpracticed or malpracticed.  Kindness basically comes in two forms as well as two steps.   The Initial Two Steps Simply put, the first step is thought and the second step is action.  Although this may seem simple, many people sometimes practice one step and not the other.  In other words, thoughts without action are much ...
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What Does Thoroughness Look Like?

by Steve Martin Self Improvement
An Example of Thoroughness:  The Alligator So what does thoroughness look like?  Alligators are great examples of thoroughness in how they watch over their eggs after the incubation period.  The female alligator will watch over the nest and when they are ready to hatch and help remove debris from the nest.  The female alligator may also help by breaking the shells with her mouth as the baby alligators are hatching. What Does Thoroughness Look Like As a Process? A thorough process begins with understanding ...
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The Shrewdness of the Serpent

by Steve Martin Relationships, Self Improvement
For as long as we have known, the shrewdness of the serpent or snake has been admired because of its wily and crafty ways.  Tales have been told and lessons taught in regard to some of the positive characteristics we can learn from these animals.  Here's a quick breakdown of some of these characteristics: The snake sheds its skin on average two to four times a year.  Young snakes that are growing may shed every couple weeks.  The snake sheds its skin ...
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What are Dancing Monkeys?

by Steve Martin Relationships
The Story of the Dancing Monkeys An Old Fable by Aesop Aesop was an ancient Greek storyteller who had a fair amount of fables called, "Aesop's fables."  There was an old fable told by the famed Aesop called "The Dancing Monkeys."  In this fable a Prince trains his monkeys to dance and dresses them in masks and robes.  These monkeys put on quite a show and receive much applause for their acting from the Prince's courtiers until a courtier throws a handful ...
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