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Date: Sun, 7 Nov 2004 10:28:58 EST
Subject: Essays on Excellence # 440

Good Morning Freedom Fighters and Truth Seekers,

President Bush stated on Wednesday that tax reform is one of his key objectives for the coming year.  The National Retail Sales Tax (FairTax) is the best alternative, in my judgement.  I have personnally been working on this for 11 years.  We need your help.  To become more familiar with this system, please visit:

The implementation of this system will produce the greatest economic boom with the greatest job development of anything in U.S. history. 

Is Politics the Way?
by Professor Walter E. Williams

Black politicians and the civil rights establishment take it as an act of faith that progress for black people requires racial politics and government programs. How about examining this vision with a few simple, common-sense questions?

Whether you're black, white or polka dot, in order to take advantage of opportunities, you must be prepared. A large part of that preparation is to get a decent K-12 education. In order for children to do well in school, there are some minimum requirements that must be met. Someone must make them do their homework, see to it that they get a good night's rest, fix a breakfast, and make sure they get to school on time and obey school authorities. This is not rocket science, but here's my question. Can those requirements be satisfied by a president, congressman or mayor?

If those requirements aren't met, there's little hope that a child will get the academic preparation necessary to take advantage of opportunities. Spending more money on education cannot replace poor parenting. If it could, black academic achievement would be much higher than it is.

Numerous studies show that children raised in stable two-parent households do far better than those raised in single-parent households. They are less likely to have out-of-wedlock births, less likely to engage in criminal behavior and more likely to complete high school. Historically, black families have been relatively stable. From 1880 to 1960, the proportion of black children raised in two-parent families held steady at around 70 percent; in 1925 Harlem, it was 85 percent. Today, only 38 percent of black children are raised in two-parent families. In 1940, black illegitimacy was 16 percent; today, it's 70 percent. Stable two-parent families are vital for a child's development. The solution to the problem of unstable families won't be found in the political arena. There's nothing a president, congressman or mayor can do.

In many black neighborhoods, businessmen must install bars and roll-down gates for their storefronts, hire security guards and pay high insurance rates. Security precautions add significantly to the cost of business, and who do you think pays these extra costs? The businessman pays in the form of a lower return, and his customers pay in the form of higher prices and less convenience.

A tiny percentage of the black community is allowed to impose high costs on its overwhelmingly law-abiding residents. Criminals, vandals and thugs have turned once economically viable shopping areas into economic wastelands. Ensuring public safety is a job of politicians, and they fail miserably. The police, courts and jails allow thugs to prey on the black community with near impunity.

Solutions to the most serious problems that black Americans face will not be found in the political arena. Otherwise, the problems would have been long solved with the civil rights legislation, litigation and the more than $8 trillion spent on poverty programs since 1965. Or the problems would have been solved by the two terms of President Clinton, whom some blacks have called the first black president.

Perhaps the biggest roadblock to finding solutions is the widely held vision of the problem black people face, namely racial discrimination. That vision calls for civil rights strategies. The truth of the matter is that the black civil rights struggle is over and it's won. At one time, black Americans did not enjoy the constitutional protections enjoyed by others. Today, there are no constitutional protections not enjoyed by blacks. That's not to say that every vestige of discrimination has been eliminated. It is to say that the devastating problems facing a large proportion of the black community are not civil rights problems and the solution won't be found in the political arena.

©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Put a Little Z.I.P. Into Your Relationships!
by Chris Widener

Hi there, Chris Widener here. Jim has some great stuff this week and I wanted to give you a good way to remember some of the basics of what he talked about with an acronym I have used to keep my mind on three important elements of relationships in my own life. It is the acronym Z.I.P. Here are some thoughts on how to put a little Z.I.P. into your relationships!

Through the years I have spent hundreds of hours working with people in their relationships: Marriages, friendships, working relationships and social relationships. Through it all I have seen some wonderful things and some terrible things. It truly is the good, the bad and the ugly!

But I have been able to find three core elements of successful relationships. These are things that, when done over time, begin to create for you the kinds of relationships that you truly desire. They are the kinds of relationships you have always dreamed of.

The key to remembering these three items is the acronym Z.I.P. Z.I.P. stands for three things you can do - and begin to do immediately - to improve any and all of your relationships. They are:

Put some Zest into your relationships.
Cultivate more Intimacy in your relationships.
Develop a Purpose in your relationships.

Let's take a closer look at each of these three:

Put some Zest into your relationships.

By Zest, I primarily mean fun. Relationships were meant to be fun! We wouldn't have been made with the capacity to have fun if relationships weren't supposed to have a little zest in them!

Think about it: Don't you usually start out most healthy relationships with a lot of fun times? Whether it is going out to dinner or a ballgame, or spending time playing a game or even just a lively talk, you usually have fun as a major part of the relationship. Fun is some of the glue that bonds the relationship.

However, as life goes on, specifically in a marriage, but potentially in all relationships really, the fun starts to go by the wayside. More and more it is about getting the job done, whatever the job may be.

To restore the relationship, to put a little zip into it, we need to reintroduce the idea of "zest."

What about you? Have you lost the zest? What can you do to get it back? Think of a specific relationship you have: What were the fun things you did at the beginning of the relationship that acted as the glue that bonded you together? Now, commit to doing those again and see if your relationship doesn't begin to soar again! If you can, develop new fun things to do together so you can both start an adventure of fun together!

Cultivate more Intimacy in your relationships.

First a couple of clarifications: One, I don't just mean intimacy in the common term of sexual intimacy. I mean for all intents and purposes, taking your relationship to a deeper level. Second, I don't mean that you have to start doing group hugs with your workmates or having revelation sessions where the tissue flows freely.

What I do mean is that every relationship that is mutually satisfying has a level of depth to it that provides meaning. This is really what the search is for in our relationships--meaning.

Remember when you first started your relationship, whether with your spouse or friend. All of that time was spent opening up, telling who you are, where you were from, and about your likes and dislikes. There was a deep sense of satisfaction with the relationship - that is why it continued. You liked who they were and you enjoyed being known by them.

But then something happens. We get to a certain level and the pursuit of depth ends. We stop sharing feeling, likes and dislikes. We stop sharing joys and dreams and fears. Instead, we settle into routines. The daily grind takes over and we stop knowing one another and we simply exist together. Now don't get me wrong, every time you get together doesn't have to be deep. Remember, I am the one who advocates in the previous paragraphs just having plain old fun sometimes. But there is a need for regular times of intimate connection where we go deeper with others.

This is particularly hard for many of the male species like myself, but it is not only possible but healthy and needed! If we want to have the kinds of relationships we were made to have, we have to open ourselves up to having others know us and for us to know others.

True meaningful relationships come when we are loved and accepted for whom we are at our core, not simply for acting in such a way in our relationships to keep the other person in it.

Think about the relationships you would like to see improvement in. Take some time in the coming weeks and months to spend time just talking and getting to a deeper level in your relationship. Specifically, let the other person deeper into your world. You can't force the other person to be more intimate and you certainly can't say, "Let's get together and have an intimate conversation," because that would be too contrived. But you can make a decision for yourself that you will let others into your world. Perhaps this will be the catalyst for them doing the same.

You can guard yourself from intimacy, but then you won't go much deeper and you will feel a longing in your heart for more, or you can begin the deepening process and see your relationships change for the better.

Develop a Purpose in your relationships.

The most meaningful relationships we have are those that are held together by a common purpose and vision for what the relationship can accomplish, not only for those involved but also for a greater good.

Let's face it, when people have a common purpose they feel like they are part of a team and they feel bound together in that relationship. Even when people may be disappointed in the people they are in relationship with, if they have a purpose, such as raising children, they are much more likely to stick it out. Purpose creates bonds.

So what happens if we are proactively involved in seeking out a common purpose with those we want a relationship with or those with whom we already have a relationship, but would like to see it go to a deeper level? Well, it gets better and stronger.

Think about your strongest relationships. Aren't they centered around at least one area of purpose or a common goal?

What about a relationship that has cooled? Think back and see if perhaps you used to have a common purpose but it has gone by the wayside.

And what of your desire to see a relationship grow? Take some time to begin to cultivate a common purpose. Sit down with that person and tell them that you would like to have some common goals, some purposes that you can pursue together. As you develop these, you will see your relationship strengthen in ways you never imagined!

Let's recap: You want your relationships to show a little "zip"? Then put a little Z.I.P. in them:

Put some Zest into your relationships.
Cultivate more Intimacy in your relationships.
Develop a Purpose in your relationships.

Questions for Reflection

Q. What do you think about the distinction between love and like? How can you love everyone, even if you may not like them? Do you feel like you love others? How so?

Q. Are you a person who is characterized by serving others? How? What would others say about you in regard to this question?

Q. How are your communication skills? Do they hurt or hinder your ability to develop and maintain positive relationships? In what area do you need to grow most?

Q. Would you describe yourself as a person of patience? Or do you lose it with people? What things really make you lose your patience? What can you do to change that?

Q. Are you having fun in your relationships? How? What can you do to cultivate more fun?

Action Points

1. Think of a person you interact with regularly who you neither like nor love. Now, this week, make every effort to love that person by treating him or her right and honorably, no matter how they act.

2. Make it a goal to serve one or two people each day selflessly without expecting anything in return. Just do something for them that they would appreciate.

3. Think about one area of your communication skills that needs improvement. Now, each day this week, work on it. If it is listening for example, tell yourself as you go through the day, "Don't speak yet. Listen. Really listen." Only after you have disciplined yourself to grow in this way should you then speak.

4. Think of a relationship that used to be more fun. It may be with a spouse or a friend but you just haven't done anything fun lately. Now, plan something fun for this week and Do It! Get out and enjoy that other person!

Consider the Consequences
by Brian Tracy

Long Time Perspective
Here is an important point to remember: All intelligent people are afraid of something. It is normal and natural to be concerned about your physical, emotional and financial well-being. The courageous person is not a person who is unafraid. As Mark Twain once said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear not absence of fear.”

Think About Your Future
Successful people have a clear future orientation. They think five, ten and twenty years out into the future. They analyze their choices and behaviors in the present to make sure that they are consistent with the long-term future that they desire.
In your work, having a clear idea of what is really important to you in the long-term makes it much easier for you to make better decisions about your priorities in the short-term.

Determine The Consequences
By definition, something that is important has long-term potential consequences. Something that is unimportant has few or no long-term potential consequences. Before starting on anything, you should always ask yourself, "What are the potential consequences of doing or not doing this task?"
The clearer you are about your future intentions, the greater influence that clarity will have on what you do in the moment. With a clear long-term vision, you are much more capable of evaluating an activity in the present and to assure that it is consistent with where you truly want to end up.

Make It A Top Priority
If there is a task or activity with large potential positive consequences, make it a top priority and get started on it immediately. If there is something that can have large potential negative consequences if it is not done quickly and well, that becomes a top priority as well. Whatever your frog is, resolve to gulp it down first thing.

Keep Motivated

Motivation requires motive. The greater the positive potential impact that an action or behavior of yours can have on your life, once you define it clearly, the more motivated you will be to overcome procrastination and get it done quickly.

Action Exercises

The mark of the superior thinker is his or her ability to accurately predict the consequences of doing or not doing something. The potential consequences of any task or activity are the key determinants of how important it really is to you and to your company. This way of evaluating the significance of a task is how you determine what your next frog really is.


by Zig Ziglar

A fascinating article in the December 1995, issue of Sky
Magazine tells what happened to American swimmer Tim McKee.
The event took place in the 1972 Olympics in Munich when
Olympic swimming timing had just "converted from
stopwatches to the use of electronic touch pads." At that
time stopwatches were "still sliced no finer than a
hundredth of a second," but the just-installed electronic
touch pads could measure the distance to the thousandths of
a second. McKee had tied for first place with Gunnar
Larsson of Sweden to the hundredth of a second, according
to the stopwatch, but lost by two thousandths of a second,
according to the electronic touch pad. To make the matter
even worse, at the meet in Los Angeles in 1984, gold medals
were awarded to both swimmers who had tied to the hundredth
of a second.

I'm certain the disappointment was intense for Tim McKee,
but in life we have many disappointments. Those who go on
to greater things dwell on the disappointments briefly and
then move on. I hope Tim realized that his entire life was
still in front of him and whether he won or lost the gold
medal he would always have his innate ability, drive,
character, determination, love, commitment, responsibility,
and all of the other things that help make him successful
in life.

I hope you decide to make your disappointments a
springboard on your journey to the top. Don't let the
mistakes and disappointments of the past direct and control
your future.

William Prouty, CLU RHU CBC CEC MBA PhD
CEO and Founder
Champions For Life Foundation
PO Box 989, Sun City, CA 92586-0989
909-301-0605  Phone
909-301-0606  FAX

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