Oprah’s Big Give Comes to Denver – The Affirmation Spot for Monday March 10, 2008

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ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

April and I are reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. This is the latest Oprah’s Book Club selection. Oprah and the author Eckhart Tolle are hosting a 10-week online course covering this book. The next session is Monday March 10 at 9:00 eastern, 8:00 central time in the U.S. This week’s session covers chapter 2. You can register for free at Oprah.com



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Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I believe wholeheartedly that I am part of the solution in my life and in my world.”
Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.




oprah.jpgAfter last week’s first episode of Oprah’s Big Give, many critics expressed discomfort with people in need being “used” as part of a competitive reality TV show. Episode 2 continued to prove the critics fears are misplaced. This week people all over Denver benefited from the giving generated by the show. Real people received real help for real needs.

Big Give rolled into the Mile High City and taped the episode under tight secrecy in July, according the The Rocky Mountain News.

The nine remaining contestants had 48 hours to find someone in need in the Denver metro and “give big or go home.” With one giving experience under their belts, the contestants really cut loose to truly demonstrate their passion for and commitment to helping others.

Contestants Stephen Paletta (Contractor), Eric Klein (Model), and Cameron Johnson (self-made millionaire) teamed up to raise over $283,000 for the Denver Childrens’ Home. The donations included a new playground and cash and contractors’ time and materials to remodel the home.

Contestant Kim Prentiss worked with the Denver Broncos to identify Boys and Girls Clubs as her charity for the week. In addition to donating iPods, computers, and other goodies, she secured a football autographed (and delivered) by Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and two of his Bronco teammates. The ball was to be given to one deserving child based on school performance.

Olusegun “Sheg” Aranmolate practiced old-fashion giving by finding individuals in need and handing out money to help them with those needs. He probably made a personal difference in the lives of more people than any other contestant this week.

However, the contestant of the week has to go to TV producer Carlana Stone. Stone found a family in need by talking to people on the street. Her target family included Blair, a 16-year-old girl, struggling with disabilities that made it impossible for her to verbally communicate with others and her older brother Bryce needing financial help for his goal to attend college.  In two days, Stone raised enough money to help the family purchase an electronic device that will allow Blair to speak to her family for the first time and additional money to be used towards helping Bryce go to college.

This week’s big twist came when Oprah asked the contestants to give away the Ford Edge they had been driving. Carlana, herself a paraplegic, had  a car specially equipped. She was able to donate her car to a paraplegic man just leaving the hospital after recovering from his injuries. The man lacked the means to purchase his own car.

Two weeks into the show and hundreds of people already helped by complete strangers on a mission to do good. I suppose the show’s critics can and will continue to attack Big Give. Let them! Real people are receiving real help for real needs. Don’t look now, but Big Give might just change the image of reality TV.

Be peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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Beyond the Survivor China Finale – The Affirmation Spot for Monday December 17, 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“Today I am succeeding in life without compromising my values.”

survivorjpg.gif

Last night was the season finale of America’s favorite reality show – Survivor. I am a passive fan of the show. My wife really enjoys it and so I wind up watching about half the episodes each season with her.

For those of you who are regular viewers, you know all about the final tribal council. Let me catch up those readers who don’t watch the show. The goal of the show is to become the sole survivor and to win $1 million.

On the final show each season, the jury – comprised of the last seven people voted out – has an opportunity to question the final three survivors as to why each deserves the jury’s vote for the million dollars.

Invariably, the subject of deceit and lying comes up. The accepted wisdom of the show is that these characteristics are necessary to advance in the game. Generally, those players who are most adept at duplicity and use it without compunction are contenders to win the show.

The jury is comprised of people victimized by the treachery. Often they are understandably bitter and chastise the finalists for this behavior. The response is always the same. “Hey, it was just ‘game’. It’s not who I really am outside the game.”
Afterall, lying, cheating, stealing, and stabbing in the back are not only the norm in the game, but the only way to have a chance to win.

The Survivor book of wisdom says that honesty, concern for others, and integrity are characteristics that demonstrate weakness and are likely to get you eliminated.

This season, as is often the case, the biggest schemer in the game was awarded the million dollars. At the end of the day, the jury normally recognizes and rewards that person’s behavior. The jury develops A kind of awe of the person’s ability to “play the game”.

The message is clear. It is not that the game should have been conducted more honorably, but that whatever expedient means are necessary to win, are acceptable. Vice becomes virtue.

Of course, ‘the game’ in survivor is only a thinly veiled reference to the game of life we all play every day. The fact that these values are rewarded in a microcosm representing our world is troubling. This is a highly popular show watched by millions of children and young adults.

Is Survivor unwittingly teaching this generation that the fastest way to success is to abandon a positive approach to life and do whatever you must to achieve? Is the take away that as long as I can separate who I really am from what I have to do to win, it’s OK?

The news has recently been filled with information that some of baseball’s most respected icons may have been cheating the system and skewing the record books. This generation’s top hitter (Barry Bonds) and its top pitcher (Roger Clemens) have been implicated in the scandal along with a who’s who list of the games brightest stars. Are we seeing another
version of the same mentality – “I’ll do whatever I must to be on top?”

Are Survivor and the baseball scandal broadcasting a warning to us? I want to shy away from empty moralizing here, but taking the shortcuts or the easy way is always a temptation in life. We’ve gone beyond “me-first” to “me-only” thinking.

However,when this mentality rules in a society that society is risking collapse. No one trusts anyone else and every one hunkers down in a bunker mentality. People become short-sighted and the ability to cooperate lessens.

We need to ask ourselves whether or not this message represents the society we all want to live in.

We are capable of so much more! There is a superior way to achieve in life. We can build our skills, improve our outlook, and work towards our goals. We can learn to work towards goals that benefit me, but don’t tear down your dreams in the process. We can, indeed we must, pursue our dreams without leaving footprints on the backs of our colleagues
and friends.

I’m not advocating a world where there are no winners and no losers or where everything is “fair”. Such a world does not really exist. I’m also not saying Survivor isn’t tantalizing entertainment or pushing the idea that it should be off the air.

What I am suggesting is that we remember something clearly forgotten in Survivor and the baseball scandal. We cannot separate who we truly are from what we are willing to do to win. The real “game” we are here to play is one where we must learn to maximize our own potential without hurting others in the process.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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