Little Lessons

We All Need a Break

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 31, 2018 5:01:00 AM


SunsetBeach

“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” – Benjamin Franklin

One of my favorite memories from childhood is the time we spent at Hampton Beach each summer. My father’s cousin let us use their house for one week each August. A house on Ocean Boulevard – directly across the street from the beach.

Our days would revolve around the tides. Low tides meant running for what seemed like miles to get to the water. As the tide rolled in, we’d retreat and retreat, eventually abandoning the beach to watch the waves crash against the wall from the safety of the sidewalk.

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Topics: reflection, strength, rest, challenge, vacation

Your Time of Day

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 12, 2017 5:00:00 AM

beach_sunset.jpg


I love mornings. Waking up right before the dawn. Listening to the sounds of the world awakening. Hearing the songbirds announce the first moments of light.

I ease into my daily rituals. A quick check of email. Look over my latest writing project. Roll the kinks out of my legs. Pick out a route for that morning’s run.

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Topics: goals, hard work, motivation, running, strength

Stronger Than You Think

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 18, 2016 9:30:00 AM

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” - Joseph Campbell

Even the optimists and positivists admit that sometimes, life is tough. That’s okay – because you’re tough too.

You’ll be tested. There will be times when your body, your mind and your spirit may fail. Moments when you don’t meet the mark. Feelings of defeat and despair replace your optimism.

Those moments will pass. You’ll regain the energy needed to overcome the challenges in front of you. You’ll find the force necessary to recover and start anew. The energy and the force lie within, waiting to be rediscovered.

You will triumph.

You’re stronger than you think.
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Topics: strength, success

Taking Care of You

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 1, 2016 5:00:00 AM

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Topics: strength, success, improvement, hard work

Questioning Fear

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 4, 2015 4:00:00 AM

"Of all the passions, fear weakens judgment most." - Jean-Francois-Paul de Gondi

questioning fearFear is often misunderstood, and is thought of only in extremes. People with no fear may be described as courageous or foolhardy. Those who admit to being afraid are called cautious or cowards.

In many cases, fear is the best response to a situation. We feel some apprehension before trying something new, especially if there’s risk involved. That’s good, as we’ll be more aware of potential dangers, and be cautious as we move forward. Yet we do move forward.

The challenge arises when fear paralyzes us. Our minds are seized with anxiety, and we can’t move – figuratively and literally. The potential dangers appear overwhelming, the risks too great, and the rewards minimal. We look for whatever we perceive is the safest route.

Before starting down the “safe” route, we should question our motives. Are we basing our decision on what is prudent, or what is easy? Is the threat real, or only perceived? Are we avoiding injury, or avoiding discomfort?

Difficult questions, and our heightened emotions may confuse the situation. Unlike facts, there’s no absolute “right” or “wrong”. We may reach out to others for opinions and suggestions, but the final decision is personal.

However, the questions - and our answers - will bring strength, resolve and acceptance.

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Topics: strength, fear

Life Is Wonderful; Just Not Always Easy

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 16, 2015 5:00:00 AM

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Topics: strength, dreams, inspiration

The Act is the Reward

Posted by Mark Fallon

Oct 2, 2015 1:00:00 AM

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Topics: strength, personal relationships, love

The Loud Silent Voice

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 31, 2015 5:30:00 AM

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Topics: strength, change

What is Courage?

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 10, 2015 5:30:00 AM

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

silver_starAfter hearing an explosion, the soldier looked up to see the vehicle – carrying two of his comrades – in flames. Without thinking of his own safety, he races through enemy machinegun fire to the burning truck, and sees that one man is trapped inside. Reaching into the flames, he can feel his own skin burning. Ignoring the pain, the soldier pulls his buddy from the wreckage, administers first aid, saving his life.

This story isn’t a scene from a Hollywood movie, but is what actually happened in the hills of Afghanistan in September 2006. Staff Sergeant (SSG) Jude Voss risked his life to save Sergeant First Class Greg Stube. For his actions, SSG Voss received the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor.

Similar stories of battlefield courage have occurred throughout history. Most of us will never have the opportunity to display physical courage like SSG Voss. Even in wartime, most soldiers won’t face this situation.

Without these experiences, how do we know if we’ll be courageous if the moment arrives? What makes people like SSG Voss act like he did? What is courage?

Dictionary.com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear”. The “without fear” qualifier isn’t correct. Many brave people have been afraid, but took action anyway. They just didn’t let their fear stop them. A better definition is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., despite fear”.

Understanding and appreciating the consequences of your actions separates courage from recklessness. A drunk starting a bar brawl isn’t courageous. A woman who dives into a submerged plane to rescue her daughter is.

A display of courage doesn’t have to be physical. It could be taking action despite the possible consequences to your relationships, your career, or your reputation. And those are the situations most of us will face in our lives.

The consequences must be significant and real. If a company launches a new product in an untested market, then management is taking a risk. But even if the product fails, most of the executives will still lead comfortable lives.

It’s different when a mid-level manager makes a decision to defend one of her employees, in the face of pressure from her boss to fire the person. Choosing to go against her senior manager could mean a loss of a pay raise, being passed over for promotion, or perhaps losing her job. Taking the correct action despite these risks is what makes the manager courageous.

We develop the ability to be courageous by being courageous. No, that isn’t a circular argument. It’s a reflection of how we improve our ability to do anything. You become a better writer through writing. You become a better runner by running. And you become a more courageous person by performing courageous acts.

It’s okay to start small, with actions that may be unnoticed by others. Maybe you offer a dissenting opinion at your manager’s staff meeting. Perhaps you speak up when someone else makes a racist comment. Or, you tell a friend with a drinking problem that they need to get help.

We may even suffer defeats when we try to do the right thing. Your manager may berate you in front of your co-workers. People may mock you for being “politically correct”. You may lose a friend who thinks their alcohol consumption isn’t your problem.

These setbacks shouldn’t deter you in your efforts. As Theodore Roosevelt said, the credit belongs to the one who “errs and comes short again and again.” The true failure comes from not trying, from not taking action – despite your fears.

These examples don’t require the same level of courage as pulling someone from a burning truck. But, they do require courage. And it’s by building on these small actions that we’re able to grow as a person. If we can’t take these small steps, then we’ll probably fail when faced with bigger challenges.

We may never have to risk our life for another. We may never have to risk our career by going against senior management. But we’ll probably be faced with challenges that will require some measure of courage. Take steps today to make sure you're ready for that moment.

 

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Topics: strength, inspiration

Helping the Helpers

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 3, 2015 5:30:00 AM

“True compassion means not only feeling another's pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” – Daniel Goleman

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Topics: strength, hard work