was 9:15 on Thursday evening when our flight landed at the Royal Jordanian Airport near Amman, Jordan. As
we departed the airplane, tensions were high, we were very nervous and didn’t know exactly what to expect.
I had traveled to this part of the country several times as a member of the United States Air Force assigned to Central
Command in Tampa, Florida, but this was my first trip traveling commercially through airports with my family.
I was now a member of a Foreign Military Sales Team assigned to the American Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
My wife, Charlotte, remembered
the smell of my clothes when I would return from my trips to this part of the world. The closer we came
to the terminal entrance the stronger that smell became. The smell brought back memories of previous trips
that were not so pleasant. When we stepped into the terminal the first thing we encountered was people
sleeping everywhere, in every corner and down both sides of the walkway. Exhausted from the thirty-six
hour trip with three small children, Charlotte looked at me and immediately said, “I’m going home, book me a flight
now I’m taking the kids and leaving here.” She felt the same as I had every time I visited
this part of the world. The tension in the air was extremely heavy. Almost everyone
in the terminal looked angry and upset.
As we entered the customs area we were met by my counterpart from the American Embassy.
He was there to assist us in getting from the airport to downtown Amman, where we were to stay. He
was excited to see us, as he should have been, because I was his replacement! He and his family were scheduled
to depart in two days to return to the United States. He asked if we wanted to stay at the Intercontinental
Hotel across from the American Embassy or go to our house which had been prepared for our arrival. He said
it was recommended that we go to the hotel, but we chose to go to the house. I talked Charlotte into staying
the weekend and promised, if she still wanted to return to the United States on Monday, I would make the arrangements and
send her and the boys back home. She agreed, and off to Amman we went.
When we drove up to the front of the house, Charlotte looked at me
and said, “I think I’ll stay for a while.” The house was beautiful. It
was very large with an iron gate opening to a marble walkway leading up to the front door. The entire place
was enclosed by an eight foot brick wall with iron fencing on top. It was magnificent, to say the least.
It had over 3,600 square feet of living space with maid’s quarters downstairs and a sun porch that was gorgeous.
It was furnished with new cherry furniture and a tremendous master suite called a safe-haven. This
safe-haven had a bullet proof door and steel shutters that rolled down over the windows for protection. This
began an experience we would never forget, and one that would shape the remainder of our lives.
I was told early in my career that “God
gave me two ends, one to think with and one to sit on, and my success in life would be determined by which one I used the
most.” While I found this statement to be quite humorous, it made me think about the reality of its
meaning; we all have choices in life and the decisions we make will determine where we go.
is important. The decision to get married, join the United States Air Force, move to Florida, and go back
to school all proved to be vitally important to my future and the future of my family. However, the
small decisions such as where to attend church, what automobile to purchase, what neighborhood to live in, what books to read,
what movies to watch, who to create relationships with, or what clothes to wear also have long-term effects. Therefore,
every decision becomes important to our future.
the book, The Three Spanish Philosophers, by Jose Ferrater Mora, we’re reminded by Jose Ortega y Gasset
that we human beings are the only creatures on the planet that are born with the ability to choose. All
the other creatures are born and guided by what we know as instinct, of which they are unaware, and do not have the capacity
to question or change. For example, bears hibernate in the winter, salmon swim up-stream, and geese fly
south. But you and I, as human creatures, are given the power to create our own future and success.
We do exactly that every day of our lives. We put into place actions and ideas that will determine
the shape and form of our future.
For some these actions and ideas lead to great achievements and rewards. They end life
as Zig Ziglar says, “With most of the things money will buy and all the things money won’t buy.”
But for others, it tends to lead to a kind of humdrum life, with a lot of ups and downs, never really grabbing success
and hanging on to it. The actions and ideas for many lead them to a life of frustration and problems.
They spend their lives in the bottom layers of society, broke, busted, disgusted, angry, frustrated, and many even
die an early death all because of choices they have made.
John Maxwell says, “We are a sum total of all the choices we’ve made in the past.” I
know for myself, I can look back over my life and clearly see that if I had made different choices my life could and probably
would be very different today. When Charlotte and I decided to join the Air Force we thought it would be
only four years and we would return to our home town. It actually turned out to be 21 years and the launching
pad for our life purpose. With each assignment we received a deeper understanding of life principles.
It is hard to imagine when we are making
decisions, that things we think are so insignificant can have such a profound effect on our future. It
is like sailing a ship across the ocean. If you make a one degree turn the second day out of the docks,
no one notices, but a week or two later you will discover that you are way off course and much is required to correct your
direction. However, we can’t cry over spilled milk can we? It does not matter
where we are now. Each of us must start making better choices today. We must judge every
decision we make on how it could possibly affect our future.
be successful in life today you must be a good communicator. Success in marriage is directly related to
the communication skills of the married couple. Success in the workplace is no exception. Even
the meaning-driven company, with its focus on maximizing the potential of every one of their employees, will fail if good
communication is not practiced. Your personal success will rise and fall in direct proportion to your communication
skills with those around you. Too many take communication skills for granted, yet taking the time
to improve your communication skills will greatly help you in achieving your goals and reaching your destiny in life.
We have learned a great deal about communication in the past twenty or thirty years, but most people still do not realize
the power of communication and how it can propel you into your destiny. I have learned valuable principles
by reading studies and listening to men and women who have documented evidence on the power of communication.
I’ve put into practice principles that allow me to do more than I ever dreamed possible by knowing how to communicate
the right message to others and to myself.
We now know from many studies, by some of the great educational institutions around the world, that communication is
not just words. Research shows that when two people meet and communicate, what actually influences one
or the other to change the way they feel or act is more than mere words.
communication, we find that words represent only 7% of what actually influences someone to change how they feel or act toward
something. As a marketer, trainer, and salesperson, I always thought if I could find the right words to
say, I could influence someone to buy my product or idea. I quickly learned it takes more than words.
Greater than words are our voice qualities. Voice qualities represent 38% of what actually influences
someone to change the way they feel or act. What are voice qualities? Voice qualities
include tone, timber, volume, or speed with which we speak. This is really nothing new because we have
known for years that it’s not what you say as much as it is how you say it.
However, the thing
that most influences a person to change the way they feel or act is physiology, or how we use our physical body.
Most of us would say body-language. Physiology represents 55% of what actually influences someone
to change. What do I mean by physiology? Facial expressions, muscular tension, gestures, and posture are
part of physiology.
Have you ever made a statement to someone and they responded, “Sure,” but at the same
time they rolled their eyes and their voice went from low to high? What were they communicating to you?
That it will never happen. Why? Their words were right but their voice and physiology
didn’t match. Behavioral scientists say that our communication must be congruent if it is to
be believable. Congruent means all three, our words, voice, and physiology must match. When
they all agree, you hold the power to influence others to change the way they feel and act.
The greatest resource on earth for you to achieve your goals
is other people. Therefore, it’s important to realize that your actions, feelings and moods will
determine the actions, feelings and moods of others. It’s your attitude that will tell others what
you expect in return. For example, if you have a positive, cheerful and expectant attitude you are saying
to everyone around you that you expect the best in your dealings with the world.
After serving 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, working with pilots and around aircraft,
I believe the example John Maxwell gives in his book, The Winning Attitude, is a perfect example of the most important
thing that directs our lives and builds rapport with others. He explains that an airplane has many instruments
that tell a pilot how the plane is operating, as well as the location and altitude. The instrument relied
on greatly is called an “Attitude” indicator. This device indicates the position of the airplane
in relation to the horizon. If the plane has a nose high attitude, the plane is climbing upward.
If the nose is below the horizon, it is a low attitude meaning the craft is falling or descending. He
says, “Even aircraft are driven by using attitude. Attitude living is like attitude flying, it indicates
our performance and direction.”
We all want good results from life, in our home, in our work, and in all our contacts with other people.
The most important single factor that guarantees good results, day in and day out, month after month, year after year,
is a healthy attitude! “Attitude IS everything.”
John Maxwell goes on to give some great definitions of attitude. He says attitude is:
§ The “advance
man” of our true selves.
It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
§ It is an outward look based on past experiences.
§ It is a thing that
draws people to us or repels them.
It is the Librarian of our past, the Speaker of our present, the Prophet of our future.
Attitude is really a mental focus on the outside world based
on past experiences. We expect certain things, and we tend to live out our expectations. Others
are going to give us what we expect. Please understand that our attitude is something we can control.
We can establish our attitude each morning when we wake-up. Actually, most people do just that,
whether they realize it or not, and the whole world reflects back to them the attitude they present. It’s
our attitude toward life that determines life’s attitude toward us.
Some say it is a cause and effect principle. Everything we say or do
will cause a corresponding effect. That is why you and I determine the quality of our own lives.
We get back what we give out.
"When I was the Vice President of the Sumiton Christian Quarterback Club Donny donated 25 of the "Winning
with Pride" books for the football team to read. I read this book as well. It is well written and straight to the point
of how to think positive and be successful in life. I highly recommend this book to any professional adult that wants to understand
the core of what it takes to be successful in life. Furthermore, it is a must read for any teenager that is 15 years or older.
This book is packed full of wisdom and insight without all the fluff!" Martin Taylor