Our speaker today was Bill Durkin, a motivational speaker and author of Strive to Survive Today.  Bill talked about how people fail to thrive in today’s world, despite having an incredible range of advantages that previous generations couldn’t dream of.  He cited a lack of positivity as the principle cause. 


As we all know, the news emphasizes the negative – if it bleeds, it leads.  This leads to a generally negative viewpoint of society – especially now that news has expanded from two thirty minute shows to a 24/7 onslaught.  Bill challenged us to find the good in each situation, regardless how bleak the circumstances.  For example, to counter the never ending negative political ads on television, we should try to discover the genuine good both candidates have done in their lives. 


We should also seek out opportunities to help others ourselves.  Bill told us that the satisfaction people get from volunteering at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, or through service organizations like Rotary (Service Above Self!).  As we do this, we need to be willing to commit to the cause or group and be energetic in our work.  A seemingly simple way to serve others is to just listen. We do need to be aware of how we listen, though.  We don’t want to listen as many people do – in order for us to respond.  We need to genuinely hear what the person says.  That comes through in conversations and will lead to a better exchange. 


To help ourselves, we need to be aware of and guard against negative self-talk.  Bill talked about how so many people tend to focus on the mistakes they make and the shortcomings they have and fail to notice the genuine achievements they make.  In an attempt to be humble, we tend to ‘aw shucks, anyone coulda dunnit’ many of the things we do that, to be honest, most people really couldn’t do.  Instead, we should acknowledge the skills that make us unique and realize that what we accomplish really is remarkable.