In light of the untimely, young death of one of America’s prominent athletes, Kobe Bryant, it is important for all of us to realize the necessity of being positive in mind, body, and personal goals.  We are not guaranteed any set amount of time on this Earth, but we do have the amazing capability of choosing our own paths.  It is often difficult, and even at times stressful, but the choice is given again to us each and every new day.

Super Tips for a Positive Lifestyle

1. When facing a problem, focus on the solution. Refuse to allow your mind to think of difficulties and on negative results that might arise during this test. That’s what it is… a test.

2. Acknowledge problems and difficulties, but face them with courage and a positive attitude.

3. Smile often when in the company of people. They will like you more and you will feel happier, but your smile needs to be sincere, not mechanical. Try to be friendly and kind. This would help you smile naturally and sincerely.

4. Look around you, and you will always find something that can bring a smile to your face. For a time forget everything that is bothering you and smile.

5  Let go!  You waste a lot of time energy when you attach yourself to the past, also to habits that are not useful, and wishing things and people were different. What has happened cannot be undone, so why waste your time and energy over it? It is better and wiser to go on.  Constantly work on this.

6. You need to learn to detach yourself from what is disturbing, bothering, or hurting you in your life.  This is often the greatest of challenges!

7. Don’t be afraid to show courage, self-esteem, and assertiveness. At the same time, be kind and tolerant toward people.

8.  Exercise your body regularly. You may take a good walk a few times a week, swim, go to the gym or engage in any kind of sport you want. DO IT!

9.  Strive to be POSITIVE AND OPTIMISTIC.  Instead of wallowing in fears and worries and criticizing others, find out how to improve your life, solve your problems and be more happy, not in the future, but right now.

10. Choose happiness and focus on happiness, because what you focus on… GROWS!

There are moments of sadness in life, and there is failure and there are obstacles. Acknowledge them, but do not dwell on them. Look at them as lessons, and strive to find ways to overcome them.

11. Don’t be afraid of the new and unfamiliar, get out of your comfort zone and do things you have not done before. You can do small things, like tasting a different kind of food, meeting new people, going for walks or going to hear lectures on a topic that is new to you.

12. Resist to the temptation to procrastinate and postpone for tomorrow or to an indefinite date, what you can do today.  This is not new.

13.  Always ask yourself, how can I improve, how can I do better at what I am doing, and how can I improve my life?

Remember, if you want to live a positive lifestyle you need to take control of your life. You need to be proactive with your life, not passive. Do not just daydream and wish things were different. Do not wait for a better and happier day.

We are only promised today! Live it well.

You’re in the Driver’s Seat of Life

 LIFE in itself is such a positive!  What an amazing “gift” that often is taken for granted. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong in your life, a positive thinker thinks about what can go right.

A positive thinker is going to look for the good in things. That’s just who they are. That means they will always try to find something positive about every situation and what they are supposed to learn from it. However, everyone can learn to become a positive person.

When you give off positive energy, you infect others with that positive energy and that they will return that energy to you. It is basically the belief that what you put out will come back to you. You are helpful, happy, and kind and they will be as well.

A positive thinker is going to be able to stay upbeat in any situation; they do not dwell on the negative. They accept ithe challenge/ test as given and then move on. Done!

Positive thinking can be used in every aspect of life, from the little things to major things. It can be used to help you get through trying times. You can also use it to just make your average day go a little better.

Positive thinking involves being able to turn off the negative thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.

You will start to do everything in a more positive way, including how you treat others. This will not go unnoticed. Your interaction with others plays a large part in your life.

Positive thinking will allow you to believe that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. You will be able to set goals and reach them because you will believe that you can do it. You can!

Positive thinking is very influential. It is going to start to shape everyone and everything around you. You are going to see the great power it has almost immediately. The power of positive thinking is not subtle.

You have to make an effort to let positive thinking start turning all your thoughts and ideas into positive thoughts and ideas. It is up to you to start pushing the negativity out of your head and let positive thoughts guide you.

When you start to find your thoughts, drifting to the negative… it is your responsibility to make an effort to make them positive instead.

The power of positive thinking is that it will shape your life. It is so contagious that it will affect the world around you. You will start to see positive thinking everywhere you go.

The true power of Positive thinking is that it allows you to live life to its fullest potential and for all that it has to offer without letting negativity bring you down.

A positive mind anticipates: happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every
situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. That’s a win: win right there.

When the attitude is positive, we entertain pleasant feelings and constructive images and see in our mind’s eye what we really want to happen.

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances
will change accordingly.  It may take some time for the changes to take place, but
eventually they do.

When you expect success and say “I can,” you fill yourself with confidence and joy.

Fill your mind with light, hope and feelings of strength, and soon your life will reflect
these qualities.

When you choose the best possible action, it makes it that much easier to choose the best positive meanings to the given situations stemming from the best possible actions that were chosen.

Don’t think of positive thoughts as  an avoidance technique or even worse, a gimmick; think of them as a symptom of good living.  LIVE ON!

bloggeraward_sky 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, 2019


Sometimes, we feel manipulated by people we know and/or love. When this occurs we experience a great deal of stress and anxiety, both of which can make us ill and out of sorts.
When this occurs we need to step back and view it NOT subjectively, but rather objectively. View the entity that is doing the manipulating.

In research, it is indicted that a manipulative personality is, essentially, an aggressive personality. Now, there are also people who are overtly aggressive! Those are the people that we’re afraid of or intimidated by and their personalities are “overt.” Right there in your face. Then there is the covert personality that is aggressive in an underhanded way. Most manipulative people are the covert type.

That personality type is most often self-centered. They’re often narcissistic. They’re self-involved and they lack empathy for other people. So it’s all about what I want… and what I can get other people to do for me. It rarely is about what can be done FOR other people.They tend to use other people and they do that in a number of ways.

They’re dishonest. Or, they’re deceptive about issues. They tell half-truths or they don’t tell the whole truth. It’s also a feature of many personality disorders: borderline, avoidant – the avoidant person tries to get other people to do their work, because they will avoid others – the dependent personality – that plays the victim and wants everybody to take care of them – histrionic personality, anti-social – passive-aggressive has a big component there – and type A “angry personalities” and “addictive personalities.”

People that are addicted to drugs/ alcohol almost always blame all their problems on other people. “Angry” personalities they are they way the are because of something in their past. In the end, this type of behavior is so self-destructive. This is a pattern that runs deep with manipulation. Many of these people don’t care about relationships, sadly. They just care about getting what they want out of people. Often, they end up alone.

Guilt-tripping. One of the things that a covert-aggressive person knows well is that other types of people have very different consciences than they do. So, all a manipulator has to do is to suggest to the conscientious person that they don’t care enough, or kind of imply that they’re being selfish, and that person immediately is going to start feeling bad. So that’s an “in” that they can use to push people around and get them to do what they want.

Turn that around and a conscientious person might try, until they’re blue in the face, to get a manipulator, or any other aggressive type personality, to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, to acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, and it’s absolutely to no avail, because these people don’t think that way. It’s all about them. It’s not about others. They don’t have empathy!

Shaming is another form of manipulation. Sometimes the use of subtle sarcasm and put-downs is used as a means of increasing fear and self-doubt in others. The stuff teachers say! I heard this from kids all the time – about the things that teachers say/said to them to shame them. Covert-aggressive people use this tactic to make other people feel inadequate, or unworthy, and therefore, to defer to them. It puts them in a one-up position.

Vilifying the victim. This tactic is frequently used in conjunction with the attacker playing the victim role. The aggressor uses the tactic to make it look like he’s only responding, or defending himself, against aggression on the part of the victim. It actually enables the aggressor to better put the victim on the defense.

Another thing they do is, they play the servant role. Covert-aggressives use this tactic to cloak their self-serving agenda in the guise of service…you know, to a more noble cause. You do just the opposite of what you’re really doing. National politics all over again. Most of our public servants get rich while they’re in office. So what does that tell you?

What causes people to become manipulative? Where does it come from? Mostly it comes from anxiety. People anticipate catastrophic losses in some cases. So, in an effort to control their own environment, and stay safe, and meet their own needs, they try to get other people to give them what they think they can’t get for themselves.

There are many of us who have had terrible experiences as children/ young adults… who do not resort to manipulation as adults. Perhaps, this is the realization that this isn’t the right way to go about things or treat other people.

It is never too late to stop manipulating and realize we can count on our own resourcefulness and God- given strengths.


When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that?   Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good… or
  • Initiate something good


Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.


People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.


It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled road… the second option, at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.



All of us face some test of… defying the odds and overcoming personal challenges, at some point in our lives. Whether it’s overcoming current or past abuse, financial and/or emotional tests, drug and alcohol addiction or any number of other things; if/when we defy the odds…we win! Often, I write about how blessed I feel, that in spite of my background…I am relatively unscathed. When I think about it further, I know that it was also positive action on my part.

When we overcome statistical odds in our own lives and come out better on the other side…we are winners in our own right. No one chooses to be on the receiving end of a painful test or challenge. Similarly, no one gets to choose their birth parents, sex, skin color, or even nationality. The mere fact that we arrive on this Earth as humans, at all …is somewhat of a statistical miracle. We arrive from the fertilization of a single sperm finding a single egg. That’s defying the odds right there in our own birth.

In this great country of the United States, we DO get to choose other things that we often take for granted; freedom of speech and freedom of religion are just two. We saw it in action during this past campaign and will see it in 2020… Again.  In addition, we have the freedom to leave our own negative choices and pasts behind us, at any time. We have the freedom to pursue an education, and take it to the highest level, similar to our presidents, and therefore secure good employment. We have the freedom to help others and give generously of ourselves to make America a better place for all. That follows that we can be a country of givers and not takers. This applies to all of us. It appears we are off to a start in that direction… again… or maybe for the first time.

We also have the freedom to stop whining about what we don’t have, can’t do, or don’t like… and make our own changes. The current or next administration is not going to pay our rent/mortgage, lower gas/food prices, and cure all the other issues facing our country. Let’s do it for ourselves and become a Nation of “Givers” beyond compare. And I’m not referring to handouts and freebies from local organizations and governments. Do not expect to take unless you sincerely believe in Paying Forward when your own personal challenge has ended.

When I thought of the slogan “Time for a Change” …again… it means that we all have to change in some personal area; this is not a slogan for any administration alone!  

Defy the odds, overcome your own challenges and become better with each day. In America, all things are possible.



It started in my early years… most likely in grade school.  Often, I was told I was “too nice.” Perhaps, it was because I went home to conditions that were the farthest thing from “nice” and “normal.” Even teachers would tell me that I was “too nice!”  I was the one who would pick the worst player… first… for the kickball team.  I wanted to be sure they knew that they wouldn’t be left standing there at the end of choosing.  I was also the student who volunteered to stay after and clean the boards.  The truth was that I would do anything not to go home.

Years later in my teaching career, both on high school and in college levels, I was told the same thing.  ” Ms B… you’re too nice.”  I got this on Annual Teaching Reviews and from the students themselves.  Nope,  I saw it as caring, love, and guidance. In the end, they all did as well.

     Here’s what I absolutely know about being “too nice,” in my adult years. There is what others might say about being “too nice,” but then there is my view…as always.

 People will see you as weak

They might take advantage of you. This first point is no shock. This is generally the rap against being too quick to put your own needs aside in favor of the needs of others and many, point out this danger.

 I say:You can never be too nice to others.  Do it without thinking.

 You forget to be nice to yourself

This is also a problem with being “too nice,” some might say/feel.   It is often cited by experts in regard to entrepreneurship as a problem.  Being responsive is great for your business, but take your focus on meeting others’ needs too far and …  you’ll end up with no time left over to work on your own priorities or the longer-term issues that are essential to your company. 

 I say:  Find the balance in life.  It is not You vs. Them, but rather…  You and Them!

 You attract the wrong kind of people

Kindness may be a prerequisite for healthy and meaningful relationships, but also an inability to set boundaries. Being excessively nice… “You will start to attract needy, whiny, overly emotional, demanding/controlling people,” say many experts. Again, I disagree.

I say:  You might be the only bright light in those peoples’ days and actually improve immeasurably the quality of their lives and therefore improve everyone’s day. Keep on! 

Folks might distrust you

Let’s face it, genuinely nice people aren’t rare, but especially in some corners of the business and professional world, they’re hardly in the majority either. This sad fact means that if you are truly nice, you’re liable to be occasionally misunderstood and even viewed with suspicion.  People might believe that you have an ulterior motive in mind,  otherwise, why would you be doing all these special things?   Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch,  there can’t be,  such a thing as “too nice”  and for no reason.”  Really?

I say: Prove them wrong!  Whether it’s in life, business, and relationships…  always be “too nice.”  Everyone benefits!

If someone is too nice to people, they start expecting unreasonable amount of niceness from others as well. This always leads to the nice ones thinking others are being mean to them or taking them for granted.  I read this in articles and it always makes me smile.

My guess is that some people cannot handle this and when they talk about how they’re nice to everyone while others take them for granted, they tend to sound very entitled.  (Maybe their niceness isn’t genuine.)

I say: It doesn’t matter if people are nice back to you.  What matters is that you are nice to them.  Expect nothing in return.

       How do you strike a balance between compassion and kindness, and being “too nice”?

Compassion and kindness are wonderful traits for people to have, but some times they are done for the wrong reason.  One should never show either  trait to: impress, gain respect, or to “show others up.”  This applies to home, work, and any other public ventures.  As of late, we have seen this in Politics and it hasn’t boded well with the masses.

I say: Always strive to be “nice” and compassion and kindness will follow!

But here’s a warning:  Never assume that someone is insecure, weak, or showing off if they are “too nice. ”  Sometimes, they just are that… nice!

School: Is So Much More Than Books

It’s Back to School time all across the U.S. I worry about the “kids” more today than ever before. Over my years within the classroom, I witnessed the students experimenting and trying new things at a younger and younger age. As my teaching discipline was high school English…it is fair to say over many years I “taught it all” and “taught all of them” and because of that saw teenagers in a natural light… away from home and with peers.

Many of them are still “children” inside, but with pressures from Society and friends, they try to come across as adults… both in their words and actions. I was lucky enough to be one of the trusted “real” adults that the students sought out for advice and guidance. It is fair to say that I offered it freely.

It is clear to me that although adults like to say and think that things were the same “when we were your age” ... it’s not even close to the same. We had issues and concerns, yes, but not the drama (their word not mine) which is clearly a part of the modern teens’ culture.

A parent, teacher, or guardian who is not aware that frequent drinking, readily available drugs, and early, early, early sex are the NORM with high schoolers (and even younger) and not the exception… are fooling themselves and at the same time doing a dis-service to their teen.  Kids, even the good ones, test the boundaries. Do not be naive.

Over the years, I taught in three different states in different parts of the country. I taught in the suburbs and I taught inner-city. There were times the students were well-off financially and there were times that almost all of them qualified for free-lunch. They were all skin colors, many different nationalities and yet … every one of them was the same.

Here’s the universal sameness :

Children/teens need and expect boundaries! Children/ teens need and hope for guidanceChildren/teens need consequences … when they violate those boundaries!
Children/teens need positive role models …not buddies!
Children/ teens need you to actively ask them the hard questions and then not believe the easy answers…   because it’s easier for you!
Children/teens are not adults…t hey just pretend that they are! BUT children and teens do ALL the things adults do and… they are still not ready.
They still have so much to learn in school… and in life.

May we all take a more active role in young lives, everywhere;
they are our legacy.


CHALLENGE vs. CHANGE … ever notice it’s just a few letters? Huh!

Some CHALLENGES become difficult to overcome, especially when the odds are stacked against us. Going against all odds, is something we’re capable of doing.  However, to overcome challenges you need to have that never quit attitude in your own life and psyche. If you develop it… you’ll overcome quite a bit.  I am sure of it.

Motivate yourself. Say, YES I CAN.

The challenge should bring out the best of you in this situation.  Slow it down, think that process though… completely. Develop that confidence by saying there’s no way you’re going to fail at this. If you develop that mindset, you’ll get it done.

Stay calm and cool headed when you’re facing serious troubles and problems in personal life as well as on the job. You have to collect yourself and calm down. You can’t panic your way through it.  Take a deep breath, relax, and slow down. Think things through calmly.  Then, and only then, move forward.

Let failure fuel you in a positive way.  Most people will avoid any challenge because they’re scared of failing.  Running from a challenge(s) IS failing!   Everyone fails at times. It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts.  It’s how many times you get up in life that matters. You’ve heard that, right?  Believe it!  If you fail the first, second, or third time, don’t give up.  Pick yourself up and learn from why you’ve failed. Move on in a positive direction.

Simplify the problem or challenge you’re facing. Break it down into steps; then work your way to the top of it. You have to work from the bottom up. Work through each step of the process of overcoming this particular challenge. However, it all starts by breaking it  into steps. As you get through each step, you develop more confidence that you can get it done…  you will.

Maintain being positive and confident. Overcoming a challenge, you have to believe you can really do it. You have to find out all the ways you can overcome it and put it to full use and effort. People overcome all kinds of challenges everyday. I believe that challenges aren’t nearly as hard as presented… most the time.  It’s our own mental limitation(s) that’s the difficult part. When you get into the mind frame of doing it… mentally,  then you’ll actually be able to do it. Get strong!

Think the best, not the worst, possible outcome. What can really be the worst thing that happens if you don’t overcome this challenge? Do you lose something extremely valuable? Are you afraid you’ll be mocked?  Are you afraid of being labeled a failure? The most successful people have been labeled these things at one point or another.  How do you think they overcome challenges in their life?  They’ve been through the process of not doing it before.  BUT… instead of staying defeated, they used these parts of their own lives to become who (what) they are today.

Learn from watching sports… especially Pro Sports.  Sports are a great way to watch, learn, and understand how to overcome challenges. We, as viewers, get to see in these pressure situations… then watch as the team overcomes the challenges.  Sports for us, are a way to experience and witness that anything is possible. Yes, anything is possible!

We are given this opportunity each and every day to not only accept challenges in LIFE, but to rise and succeed as we deal with them.  LIVE BOLDLY!