Most of us have both commitments and obligations.
What’s the difference? A commitment is something YOU do for yourself. An obligation is something OTHERS put upon you.
When you get married, you agree to be committed to your spouse. You will do what you need to do to make the relationship work, and build a life. You accept any obligations that your spouse puts upon you, because you want to be committed to that person. For example, one spouse may elect to stay home with the children, while the other spouse goes to work to support the family. Each spouse accepts the obligations of those roles, because they want to be committed to the family.
In religion, a church may put obligations upon you. But, if you choose to be committed to the faith, you accept the obligations.
If your parents, children or other family members need something from you, or need you to be available to serve their needs, those are obligations. If you are committed to the relationship with that person, you accept those. If your commitment to the relationship wanes, those obligations become burdensome.
When we retire, it’s best to retire with no prejudices, pretenses or burdensome obligations. With no prejudices, you might tend to try something, or do something, that never occurred to you to try or do before. Or, you may not have had time or opportunity when you were working to try or do those things. With no pretenses, you can be yourself. Very often, working people have to pretend to be someone or like some things to please bosses. Any obligations you have in retirement should not be burdensome, if you can help it. It should depend on how committed you want to be to those obligations.
We all need to periodically take a look at our lives, how we spend our time and with whom we spend our time. Are the things we do more chore than pleasure? Are the people we spend time with good or bad influences on you? Though it’s nearly impossible to eliminate every chore, or like every person we see, we can choose our commitments most of the time. Don’t be afraid to say “No,” if doing something, or being with someone, will not necessarily be good for you. At the same time, don’t be hurt when you hear “No,” if you try to obligate another person.
One should not fear commitment, but neither should one commit to everything. One should choose commitments wisely, lest we increase our burdensome obligations.
Once one commits, he must follow through, unless relieving himself of the commitment is in his best interest. Not every (pick one: marriage, relationship, activity) is worth staying with if it does not work for you. If you give something, you must WANT to give it, lest it becomes a burden.
Burdensome obligations become clutter in our lives when there is not the commitment to back them up.
We all certainly make commitments we regret. We stay with them for as long as we have to, because we are dependable people. That’s why it’s adviseable to analyze our relationships and activities periodically, and try to eliminate the ones that clutter our lives as best we can.
If you are looking to re-prioritize your life with a commitment you want to make, visit It may or may not be for you. If it is, go for it. If not, pass it by. Other commitments in your life that have become obligations that may not be so easily relieved. Remember that one commitment can eventually be replaced by a better one, if you are willing to look at your life, and at other things, periodically.
Choose your commitments wisely, or they may become burdensome obligations.


Nike owns the trademark on “Just Do It,” but it is also part of “The Oz Principle,” as explained in the book by the same name.
Not only should you “Do It,” but beforehand you should “See It, Own It and Solve It,” as authors Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman explain.
They base their findings on the characters in “The Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum, made into a 1939 movie that is still shown to audiences decades hence. Basically, the characters journeyed to see the wizard in the great land of Oz to get the things they needed for a fuller, happier life. It turns out, they could have gotten what they wanted all along, through their own efforts.
“The Oz Principle” preaches that you have what you need to get what you want in most cases. But YOU are accountable for getting it. You are not a victim. It’s not someone else’s fault. You just must always ask, “what can I do to get the results I want.”
Empowerment is a great thing. We’d all like to work with entities in which the person you are talking to can get you what you need, and has the authority to make things better for you. Too often, though, we run up against entities in which the voice on the phone, or the person behind the desk, can’t fix things himself, whether he might like to. If the person doesn’t care, kicking the problem to someone else is a perfect out. He can claim that it isn’t his job. If he’d like to help you, one would want him to take the risk of helping you, even if it isn’t his job.
We must also look at our own lives. Some of us have been dealt serious blows, particularly in the last few years. Some of what’s been done to us is not our fault. Still, we must own our own destinies. No one is going to give us a life. What we thought was “safe,” has proved otherwise. We must take control of us and, in turn, hold ourselves accountable for our outcomes.
Gotten laid off, downsized or reorganized out of a good situation? Not only does it happen, but it will probably happen a lot more often in the future. When it happens to us, we cannot be the victim of our employer’s (pick one: greed, bankruptcy, declining market share, merger). WE have the ability to turn our lives around. But, here’s the key: we have to be willing to look outside our comfort zones for something that will give us the opportunity to control our destinies.
That isn’t to say things are not going to happen. We can’t control natural or even corporate disasters. We can’t control the marketplace. We can’t control what someone else does that could hurt us. But we can control how we deal with the situation.
So when your comfort zone is upended, it can’t be that comfortable anymore. Wishing for it to be the way it was won’t make that happen. Only we can make the change that we need, to get the results we want.
When your comfortable chair wears out, you may never find one exactly like it again. But, you have to sit. So, you have to shop around to find a chair that may be different from the one that wore out, but that you can, at least eventually, find comfortable.
Sometimes, chair shopping is easy. Sometimes, it may not be. But comfort zones wear out and new comfort zones are required. If your comfort zone has worn out, visit You may find something totally different, but you won’t know how comfortable the chair is unless you sit in it.
We all must see our problems, own them, solve them and do what it takes to get the results we want. No wizard is out there to hand us what we need. We have to create it or find it. Circumstances will hit us, but we have to decide how we are going to deal with them.
We have to be OUR wizards. We may have to travel down different yellow brick roads to create a life, but it has to be our doing. We have to account for it. We have to do it, even if it scares us.


Trust must be earned. It can’t be ordered.
Therefore, trust is valuable.
If you’ve earned the trust of others, they will do what you want them to, and they expect you to have their backs.
As you earn trust, don’t lose it. It could cost you dearly.
Rory Vaden, a self-discipline strategist and speaker, as well as co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, lists seven ways to lose trust. They are: be selfish, be protective (of your turf), be ungrateful, be self-centered, be passive-aggressive, be negative and be incongruent.
Vaden talked about these trust busters in a Sept. 8, 2013, column in the Tennessean newspaper of Nashville.
People generally trust positive, upbeat people. Sure, we all occasionally meet phonies who fein a positive attitude, but turn out to be snakes in the grass. But most of us can spot those folks easily, before too much trust has been established. We react differently to those who are genuninely positive.
People who are genuinely positive, even under difficult circumstances, also tend not to be selfish. They tend to be grateful for anything anyone does for them. They tend to think of others first, and that generally separates them from the phonies.
They tend to be private people, but not secretive. They tend not to protect their own turf at any cost. They tend to do what they say and say what they mean all the time. They would not even think about being devious, unless it’s all in fun, as in surprising one’s spouse on a birthday.
Sometimes it’s difficult to trust, especially when someone you’d trusted violates the trust. In that case, don’t presume EVERYONE will violate your trust, and give the person who has violated trust sufficent time to earn it back. Many marriages that could have been saved dissolve because one spouse’s trust was violated, and the other spouse is never given a chance to earn it back. The rule here might be that one violation of trust is not insurmountable. Trust can be earned back. Multiple violations of trust may do you in.
In marriage, not only is it virtuous to be trustworthy with your spouse, but more convenient. It has to be really difficult keeping a false story straight every time, day in and day out. Eventually, if you try to do that, you’ll slip up and get caught. If you are trustworthy, period, your spouse always knows everything, and everything he or she knows about you is true.
One’s trust should be given with care, but still given. Never trusting anyone will lead a person to a pretty miserable life. It’s OK to trust. It’s also OK to, as former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once put it, to verify, if there is any question.
You’ve heard that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes, we have good things come into our lives, yet we don’t trust that they are true, or they will do what they say they will do.
If you are looking to improve your life, visit You can trust that everything you read, hear and see there is true.
Trusting, and being trustworthy will also improve your life. Trust is valuable to give and valuable to receive. Do both with care.


Confidence is a choice.
Sure, results can encourage confidence and failings can discourage it, but whether or not you are confident in any situation is entirely in your hands.
Gregg Steinberg, author of “Full Throttle” and professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University, used golfer Jason Dufner as his example of choosing to be confident. His choice led Dufner to victory in the PGA Championship in August 2013. Steinberg’s column appeared in the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville Sept. 1, 2013.
Not everyone finds the choice to be confident easy. Many go into job interviews, tests, and other stressful situations in which one’s performance is evaluated without confidence. Not all of those situations will turn out the way one wants, but if one is confident, failure won’t matter. Next time, or the time after that etc., you will succeed.
People like to be around confident people. As we discussed last week, Andy Andrews, in his book, “The Noticer,” described success as having people WANT to be around you. Confidence will help you persuade people to want to be around you.
Confidence is a shield against the word, “No.” If you don’t fear “No,” you know you are confident. When you don’t fear “No,” you can collect as many of them as are out there and just toss them aside. You have to collect “No’s” to find the “Yeses.”
Are you choosing to be confident yet? If not, Steinberg suggests that you have a planned statement you can say to yourself, or someone else, to inspire your confidence. “I choose to be confident,” is one that Steinberg suggests. Or, “I will not fear No,” “I will win,” are a couple of others.
Steinberg also suggests that you recall a time when you were very confident before delving into your currents stressful situation. Perhaps you were confident you would win when you played on a first-place athletic team. Steinberg suggests that as you think of a time in which you were very confident, write down why you felt that way and carry it with you. As you feel your confidence sliding, take a look at that.
The idea of writing things down is almost universal advice. After all, it’s not money that we all want, it’s success. You encourage success by writing down the things you would do when you are successful – either for yourself or for someone else. Confidence encourages us to help others that need us, and that attitude will encourage our own success.
It’s best not to confuse confidence with arrogance. The choice to be confident is helpful. The choice to be arrogant is not. Confident people are humble. Arrogant people are egotistical. Confident people give to others. Arrogant people take from others.
Remember that situations can inspire confidence, but cannot create it. We must create it ourselves. When we create it ourselves, we display confidence in any situation, and circumstances will be meaningless.
If you have created your own confidence, and are looking for a vehicle in which to apply it, visit Check out how people have overcome circumstances to never fear the word, “No,” for they know something many others do not know.
So be confident, be accountable and create a world that until now, you’ve only dreamed of. Write down today what that world would look like, and carry it with you. It will help keep you on your confident path.



“The best is yet to come and babe, won’t it be fine.” (from the song by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, recorded by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett).

Jones — just Jones, no Mr. – is an old man who thrives on helping people see that the future is always bright – no matter one’s current circumstance.
Jones is the lead character in Andy Andrews’ book, “The Noticer,” which professional golfer Nancy Lopez called the greatest book she’s ever read.
Jones has a gift for noticing things, he says. He also has a gift for showing up in people’s lives to give them perspective on a problem – at the exact time they need it.
He is spiritual, yet practical. But mostly, he is ALWAYS optimistic that everyone will have a great future, no matter his age, or current troubles.
We probably all have a Jones character in our lives. It might be a friend, family member coworker, colleague or someone we’d just met. We may not even be able to identify that person off the top of our heads – but he or she is there. All we have to do is listen to him, and follow his advice.
We’ve all heard the saying that when God closes a door, he opens a window. We just have to recognize where the window is and go through it.
The last five years or so have been difficult for lots of people. There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about what caused it, who’s to blame and what magic bullet is going to make things right again.
We are starting to see things get better, but too many people are still down. They may feel it to be the worst time in their lives. But as Andrews’ character points out, what seems to be the worst time in your life may lead you to the best time of your life. The secret to success, according to Jones: have people want to be around you.
Not a “people” person? Become one. No one has to undergo a radical personality change, but just try to see yourself from others’ perspective. What would THEY change about you, if they could, as Jones puts it.
Don’t know a lot of people? Start with the ones you do know. Make sure THEY want to be around you. Depending on how well you know them, you might ask them what they would change about you, if they could. Once you get the people you know to want to be around you, then you can work on those you don’t yet know. Believe it or not, it takes some effort to have people want to be around you.
Got people around you who are always negative, always saying, “Woe is me?” You might have to change the people around you, to paraphrase a popular adage, if the people already around you won’t change.
Be fun, but be good. Do the right thing, even when no one is looking. You see, good people don’t have to act, or put on a show. They are good to the core, naturally.
You don’t have to be a social butterfly. But be a good inviter. Invite people to coffee, lunch, dinner or whatever.
As you do this, you might, if you don’t have something already, have something to show them when you invite them. It needs to be something of which they can choose to partake – or not. Good inviters take no for an answer. If you don’t have something to show, visit You might find the best thing you’ve never heard of. And, you might want to show it to the world.
You also may find your Jones – or at least some perspective on your life that you’d not seen yet. Regardless, just know, as Jones says in Andrews’ book, that the past is not what you should focus on. The present may not be pleasant, but, no matter your age, the best is yet to come.