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change the world

Please Remain Calm

Who would have ever thought changing health insurance companies would cause such a stressful day?  Apparently, my naiveté was responsible for yesterday’s tiring experience. Upon attempting to get a prescription refilled for the first time on our new insurance, I was told I had no prescription benefits. Well, since we have a fairly nice, shiny new policy, I did the only thing I could.  I got mad.  I didn’t take out my anger on the pharmacy tech (who apologized profusely over what was going on).  No, I prepared myself to let the health insurance customer service agent truly have it.  I dialed the number, and many frustrating automated prompts later, I was warmly treated to


Here I was in line at the pharmacy window and this new company, who had so gladly accepted my first premium payment, did not even have the decency to put me on hold? My anger level had increased from a simmer to a boil.  I came home and sat at my desk, dialed again, and finally was placed in the queue.  The next escalation of my frustration came when the robotic voice said my hold time was likely to be “in excess of 60 minutes.” Now, I had left simmering and boiling, and had moved straight to explosive!  Especially since the hold music I was forced to listen to only had two songs, both of which could only be described as terrible elevator music.

I tried to get some work done in the meantime.  I tried to settle down.  But, the longer they made me wait, the greater my headache grew.  It was around the three hour mark in my hold-time journey that something snapped in me.  All of the sudden, my thoughts were not on how rudely I was being treated, but on how rough of a day the customer service reps were having.  The job of these representatives is to listen to people complain all day long, and here they were with a hold time that they had no control over.  Imagine the screaming and yelling that had been directed at them all day long.

My attitude changed.

And, when, at the three hour and twenty-three minute mark, Trevor answered the phone, I was no longer angry.  I even tried to empathize with him by asking him if he was surviving this tough day.  His answer, “You’re the first person to ask.  I’m hanging in there, but thanks for asking.”  He fixed my problem, and the pharmacy was able to process the refill (for free due to my new benefits, I might add).  Just before I hung up, he wished me a good day, and I know I heard a smile on the other end of the line.  Maybe it was a smile that helped Trevor survive the rest of the day.  I pulled my emotions back in line, and instead of ruining someone else’s day, I made his day better.

What would the world look like if making someone else’s day brighter was our daily goal?

The World Doesn’t Owe Me

You may already know that my wife and I own our own travel agency that specializes in Disney Destinations called Off to Neverland Travel.  Disney released a new special today, and inevitably, some clients’ reservations are excluded from the new rates due to the terms and conditions.  This happens every time a special is released, and yet every time this occurs we get phone calls demanding that we call Disney and make them fix the blackout dates to match a particular client’s reservation.

First of all, you don’t demand anything from the Mouse.  Disney sets their specials up to fill rooms that wouldn’t otherwise be filled.  They aren’t being generous to the general population…they are trying to make more money.  That’s what a good business does.

Second, and much more importantly, when did our sense of entitlement grow so out of control that we blow our tops at every little issue in life?  Maybe it is the spirit of individualism in America that is somewhat to blame.  Maybe it is our upbringing.  One thing is for sure, though…we have decided that our interests outweigh everyone else’s no matter the situation.

Let’s be honest here.  If the world “owed” anyone, it would be me.  After all, I have to live life in a body without arms and with shortened legs.  Most people reading this post do not have near the reason to feel shortchanged like I do.  If I chose to, I could adopt an attitude of entitlement, and no one could really blame me, right?

No one owes me anything! I have a fantastic live with an amazing wife, two beautiful daughters, and a God who loves me unconditionally.  I am not entitled to anything other than the grace of God that he offers freely to me.  I have no need for anything else.  My joy comes from Him, and being free of that demanding spirit allows me to live a truly happy life.

So, next time you feel like you deserve more than life has given you, take time to realize you can be spared from what you truly deserve through the grace and mercy of God.  And that is the only way to truly be free.

Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

Ok, so I’m almost embarassed to admit that I’m just now picking up on the TV show, “Heroes.”  We bought seasons 1 & 2 and we’re DVR’ing (is that a word?) the 3rd season.  Many friends had recommended the show, and after finding a YouTube version of the 1st episode, I was hooked.  (I even got Joni to watch it, and she’s hooked, too!)

The show has become on of the most talked about TV shows of all time.  The writing is superb, and the story itself is so compelling.  We’ve finally finished season 1, and it is not uncommon for us to block a couple of hours to watch multiple episodes in a row.  It’s that good.  But that got me thinking…why is it that good?

We watched the “Making of Heroes” on the final disc last night, and I got my answer.  The show’s creator, Tim Kring, said that the show is so popular because it is based on everyday people becoming more.  Living a life with a true purpose.  These normal people discover they have super-human powers, and have to choose how to use them.    

We all strive for a life with purpose and meaning, and none of us have “super-human” powers.  Our lives can, though, have a meaning.  We can make a difference in the world.  In one of my talks, “The Smile Experiment” (which is great for schools, by the way), I show people how simply smiling at a stranger can really change that person’s day.  And, how, if you change one person’s day, then you’ve touched all of the people they encounter that day as well.  A smile is contagious and it passes on from person to person.

We can all make a difference in our world by simply taking interest in other people.  You can save the world just by changing one life at a time. 

Now, I better not hear a WORD about seasons 2 and 3…we just left Hiro in the middle of an ancient medieval battle.  Once Hannah goes back down for a nap, I’ve got to find out what happened to Sylar!  (Wow…this show is addictive.)