For many years I've subscribed to a small motivational monthly booklet Bits and Pieces(111 E. Wacker Dr. Ste 500 Chicago, IL 60601). I've found inspiring and wise notes in it as well as amusing stories. Here are a few from the November issue.

Francis Cardinal Spellman said that when you say "yes," say it quickly. But, always take half an hour to say "no," so you can understand the other person's side. 

Joseph Telushkin tells a story in his Uncommon Sense  about a 19th century Jewish folktale regarding a man who spread slanderous stories about a rabbi and then regretted doing it. He asked forgiveness and how he could make it up. The rabbi told him to take a feather pillow and rip it up letting the wind take the feathers. The man did and and reported back. The rabbi then said, "Now gather up all the feathers." The man said "But, that's impossible. The wind has blown them everywhere." The rabbi said "Nor can your words be brought back any more then you can recover the feathers."

People carry guilt and frustration around because they are obsessed with "If only." They spend their time in the past, agonizing over what has happened. The solution is to eliminate those two words and substitute the words "Next time." Instead say to yourself, "next time, I'm going to speak up …Next time, I'm going to study for the exam…" When you substitute the habit of saying "next time" in place of "if only" you move from the past to the present and the future.

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