Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Serendipity - Not Just By Chance


Serendipity is defined as, “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. Luck is defined as, “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”. Is there such a thing as luck, or is it an extension of what we do every day? Both definitions include the word “chance” which brings into question, are we in control of the occurrences that surround us? Are the results of luck and serendipity related to coincidence? Coincidence is defined as, “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection”. Why do some win raffles and others do not? Why do some appear to be at the right time and place for opportunity and others are not? Why do bad things happen to good people, or why does tragedy befall so many? How is it we meet strangers and there is a mutual connection? How is it we were just thinking about something or someone and an hour later we experience that thing or run into that someone? I cannot begin to count the number of times I have thought of a client, the scheduling of an event, a question I needed to ask, or correspondence I had to create and moments later the phone rings or I receive an email and it is the person or item I was thinking about.

I believe beyond the isolated uncontrolled global events, coincidence is created by the energy and behavior we exude to the world around us. The kinder you are, the more kindness is returned. The more respect you demonstrate the more respect is returned. The less you hang around negative, self-centered people, the less those people enter you life. Coincidence? Consistently you attract the energy and thoughts you project. It is a collection of those positive actions that increase the “chance” for serendipity and the experience of luck in our lives. Notice that “failure” was included in the definition of luck. If you display destructive, dishonest, self-centered, negative behavior the “chance” for failure is increased. It is not coincidental that failure or success occurs as a result of our actions, it is directly related. There is always a causal connection between behavior and occurrence in regard to personal character, performance, relationships and self-respect. It is not by chance as a result of lying you destroy a relationship. It is not by chance if you neglect your health you will become ill. It is not by chance if you procrastinate the quality of your work will diminish. It is not by chance if you are not accountable the chance for genuine happiness is remote. It is not by chance if you are fiscally irresponsible you will have financial difficulties.

As mentioned, there are the unexplainable occurrences and events, but those are rare as compared to the day-to-day cause and effect we create for ourselves. There are common occurrences in the midst of common thought, and the more common thought reflects your core values the more you attract similar core valued people into your life. I share with my audiences that I believe I am supposed to be there with them, and for them, in regard to sharing the “No Excuse!” message. It may be for a few, it may be for many, but it is not chance that I am hired at that time, for that event, at that place. I thoroughly enjoy serendipity, but there is common energy behind every serendipitous moment.

Reflect and celebrate serendipity and the positive experience of luck and coincidence because you are a part of that occurrence. Why not believe that to be true? There is nothing to lose, only tremendous joy believing that you are a part of your own future, and purpose. It is emotionally and physically healthier to believe the life you lead and the positive results that occur are in some way a result of your own efforts. Although tomorrow may bring sorrow, a loss or a tragedy, live with the belief that wonderful things can happen and will happen to you. As you live today create your own serendipity, your own luck and your own coincidence by delivering goodness and demonstrating selflessness to those around you. Each day is a gift, and each day is an opportunity to create what kind of gift you unwrap.

Anger - A Demonstration of Personal Immaturity


The inspiration to explore the emotion of anger stems from my sitting on a United Express flight to Chicago knowing I am going to miss my connection to South Bend, IN because of a delay in Albany, NY. This is not an unusual occurrence with the amount of traveling I do, but the lack of concern and nonchalant attitude by the airline employees has provoked my ire. Upon landing, I can always drive to the University of Notre Dame where I am speaking, but the new logistical arrangements that must be made in regard to my travel and the retrieval of my seminar materials are just an added stress I would prefer not to contend with. How appropriate to evaluate the emotion of anger.

Anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility” Where does that strong feeling stem from? Are the roots of anger similar in all human beings? Is anger a choice, or is it a normal reaction to the descriptive words above? Behind every emotion there is a reason, and those reasons are unique to each of us. We all experience anger, but when it is expressed through abusive behavior a reflection of personal immaturity is needed. A reaction of abusive anger to a situation can easily be attributed to personal insecurities, childhood experiences, and fears attributed to what was, or what might be. However, it is reactive not proactive, and a choice made. If the results are destructive, the emotional reasons behind the anger do not justify the hurt caused to oneself or to others. There are times where anger may appear to be appropriate, but when the dust settles I have never known someone to be proud of his or her angry behavior. It is important to recognize each anger moment destroys a segment of self-respect.

The venting of abusive anger is a display of our own insecurity and immaturity in our ability to patiently handle a situation. Is a lack of patience a precursor to igniting anger? If so, what are you impatient about, the slow driver in front of you, a lack of assertiveness by an employee, the weather, a mistake made by a child, a sense there is no attention being paid to you, or a lack of fulfillment? Accountability in recognizing personal anger, and taking the steps to prevent the emotional fallout from anger is a challenging undertaking. With the success of reducing the onset of anger in our lives comes tremendous personal growth, and a significant reduction in stress and other negative health related symptoms. An increase in heart rate, blood pressure and emotional instability impacts the body and mind in ways that are still not totally understood. Is getting angry over minutia really worth jeopardizing your health? Does creating further complexity in our life and the acquisition of material things reduce the potential for further anger? It is just the opposite, for it creates more stress, more responsibility and greater potential to spark anger as a result of frustration or dissatisfaction.

Over the years I have discovered the simpler my life is the happier I tend to be, because the less I have to be responsible for. As a result, the less I have to be angry about. Six practical steps to reducing anger in your life include: * Recognize what situation is initiating the anger, and analyze the situation rather than immediately reacting to it. * Ask yourself, is the incident you are confronting really worth getting angry about? * If anger does occur, focus on whom the anger is directed toward and ask yourself, will the anger change the person’s behavior, or repair the situation? If not, the anger is a waste of time and energy. * Ask, what will be the result of displaying anger? I have never known anger to result in a more healthy and harmonious environment. It opens wounds, new and old, and creates a defensive mechanism that generates even more harm. * Simplify your life. * Set an example in all you do. Anger diminishes your emotional stability, reputation, and sends a message of unprofessionalism. When you demonstrate calm in the throws of chaos, the reward of personal respect, and the respect expressed to you by others will be the result of your maturity and professionalism.

Friday, August 14, 2020

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