Obama Wins: Long Election Ends on a Positive Note – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday November 5, 2008

Today’s Affirmation:

“I believe in the future of humanity. I believe our species’ most prosperous, peaceful, and enlightened times are ahead. I am living my life in a way that turns that belief into reality.” (click the affirmation to hear it)

“Yes we can!” After last night, who can honestly argue? If nothing else, Barack Obama’s rise from unknown to the presidency proves that all is possible in The United States of America.

Whatever your political leanings, last night was a breakthrough night that will be remembered by all Americans for generations. For a large segment of the population, the night was the realization of a seemingly unattainable dream. This is proof again that dreams do not rely on reason, but on our willingness to continue to pursue them.

After more than 20 months and nearly $1 billion spent, the U.S. presidential election came to an historic end last night. Senator Barack Obama who inspired America’s youngest voters and many others in a way not seen in decades, won an overwhelming victory over Senator John McCain.

Current Results

Electoral Results

  • Barack Obama 338 (349 from new outlets projecting Indiana for Obama)
  • John McCain 161

Popular vote

  • Barack Obama 62,531,378 (52%)
  • John McCain 55,446,011 (46%)

Support him or not, Mr. Obama’s victory offers the hope of a new start for The United States. There is a chance to heal old wounds and move forward to something bigger and better for this country. There is a chance to restore American leadership on this planet in the positive way that can move it forward.

It is a moment for celebration for new possibilities. How the President-elect will govern remains to be seen. Clearly, the challenges facing the nation are such that he cannot be granted the kind of blind support George W. Bush’s followers granted the outgoing president.

The country’s needs demand that he really be a president of the people and not simply a new package for the same old top-down control. We have elected him, but the question remains who is Barack Obama?

The expectations and the promise are as high as the challenges.

This election is not about Barack Obama or John McCain. It is about the American people reasserting their will over a bipartisan government that has too often failed to heed the will of the people. It is up to all of us to ensure that is the ultimate outcome.

Last night Mr. Obama began with an inspiring victory speech and Senator McCain gave a generous and gracious concession speech. Mr. McCain’s speech did not douse the social fires intensified by the rhetoric of this campaign, but it was a strong and principled call for the nation to do so. The speech gave the nation a glimpse of the John McCain many Americans from all sides respect.

The two speeches are below. Stay inspired!

Ray

John McCain’s Concession Speech from Phoenix.

Barack Obama’s Victory Speech from Grant Park in Chicago.

Obama Victory Speech (two parts)

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Freeing Your Mind – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 24, 2008

Today’s idea:

“The mark of a moderate person is freedom from his own ideas. Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain, supple like a tree in the wind; she has no destination in view and makes use of anything life happens to bring her way.”

Tao Te Ching, Verse 59

Most of us like to consider ourselves open-minded and fair. We like to think we look at things objectively and tolerantly. The fact is, however, that our life experiences have indoctrinated and biased our views.

Most of us are not, as Lao Tzu suggests, “free from our own ideas.”

The mention of certain words or concepts evokes waves of emotion that have little to do with the concept and a lot to do with the mental baggage we have accumulated. Worse, our views are often formed based on what other people have told us rather than what we ourselves know.

Since awareness is the doorway to understanding; let’s do a little test.

I’m going to list some words. As you read each word, take a moment to listen to your reaction. I’m not saying you should feel one way or the other about any of these words or the concepts they conjure. I’m simply suggesting you become aware of your blind spots and prejudices so that you can release them and truly deal with life in the open and honest way you want to.

Some of these words may cause little reaction within you, while others may cause a strong, visceral reaction. Becoming aware of your reactions is a very empowering way to take back control of your own thinking.

Ready? Read the words one at a time (silently if you like) and pay attention to your reaction.

  • New and Improved
  • Capitalism
  • Communism
  • Sarah Palin
  • Barack Obama
  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Christian
  • Jew
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Immigrant
  • Labor union
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Corporation
  • Old
  • Young
  • Fat
  • Freedom
  • Fear
  • Math
  • Wall Street
  • Science
  • Religion
  • War
  • Peace
  • Terrorism
  • Love
  • Hate
  • Rich
  • Poor
  • Environmentalism
  • Profit

The Greek sage Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The more you examine and pay attention to your auto-reaction to things the better able you are to look at each circumstance with fresh, unconditioned eyes.

The key to freeing your mind is to ask yourself why. Why does this word evoke this emotion? What information is that feeling based on? Where did I get that information? How do I know that information is accurate? It takes a lot of strength to really examine your unconscious assumptions.

You don’t have to use this list. You can make your own list of emotionally charged words and explore your feelings.

The fact is that – for better or worse – words that create unconscious reactions when they are even uttered hold the potential to be used as manipulation. An empowered thinker is able to set aside the initial reaction and explore what is being said beyond the word.

We see this all the time in political campaigns. Labels start getting tossed around. The labels are a kind of psychological warfare because the labelers know people react to those words.

You may find that this approach helps you break free from old programming and allows you to move forward in your life.

Know thyself!

Ray

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Who is the Most Positive Presidential Candidate? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday October 10, 2008

True leadership is more than a combination of experience and charisma. It is the ability to project a positive vision for the future on the consciousness of the people. I am conducting a poll to see who you think is doing the best job of that.

The poll runs now through election day. The purpose of the poll is to determine who you think is the most positive or inspirational candidate running for US President this year.

It does not have to be the person you actually plan to vote for. I’d also welcome comments on the blog to explain why you believe this candidate is the most positive or inspirational.

Click below to cast your vote.

Cast Your Vote Now

Current Results (as of October 15)

John McCain/Republican………15%
Barack Obama/Democrat……..72%
Ralph Nader/Independent………4%
Bob Barr/Libertarian……………..3%
Chuck Baldwin/Constitution……1%
Cynthia McKinney/Green………..3%

Stay inspired!

Ray

The HumanCar® Changes Transportation – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 9, 2008

Today’s affirmation is:

“I believe wholeheartedly that I am part of the solution in my life and in my world.”

“Row, row, row your car gently down the road?” That’s the idea behind The HumanCar®. The vehicle is the brainchild of inventors Charles and Chuck Greenwood. It demonstrates how vision and ingenuity can create things the established order says are not possible.

Their invention comes against the backdrop of the current US presidential campaign where several candidates John McCain (R), Barack Obama (D), Ralph Nader (I), and Bob Barr (L), are championing “Energy Independence” or reform in one form or another.

Of course, we’ve heard this all before. For decades, we’ve been waiting for Detroit and the oil companies to change transportation. Instead, they have resisted, delayed, and claimed that there just are not feasible alternatives. We’ve been listening to that talk in Washington for decades too.

The Greenwoods prove that human innovation still comes from the grassroots! Thankfully, there are start-up companies – like HumanCar – that are not waiting for the fossil fuel monopoly to decide the time for change has come.

I don’t know about you, but the people in the picture seem to be having a good time. Nothing is more inspiring than to see an inventor meld human genius and creativity to develop something imminently useful and necessary.

Not every new car technology is everyone’s cup of tea. This vehicle is definitely for those in shape or wanting to get into shape. HumanCar® runs on a combination of human and electrical power. When the humans get tired of rowing the car runs on an electric motor. According to a recent CNN report, the car reaches speeds of 60 mph (97 Kph). However, some Internet test drivers claim they attained speeds exceeding 80 mph (128 Kph).

The car’s design relies on streetcar racing vehicles that date back to the 1950s. It’s a great multitasking machine allowing you to travel and get your daily workout at the same time. HumanCar® allows you to choose your own body style.

Of course, as with any new technology or idea, there are challenges to overcome. Nonetheless, it is more evidence that innovation is the key to solving our common issues.

Following is a brief YouTube video displaying the car. I believe this video was put out by the company. CNN also ran a recent story on HumanCar®.

These kinds of innovations inspire all of us to think of new ways to better our lives and our world.

Stay inspired!

Ray

The Financial Crisis and What We Can Do About It – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday September 18, 2008

Even in the face of great difficulty we have within us an ability cope, overcome, and succeed.

I’ve written a number of articles recently about going beyond positive thinking and happy thoughts on to empowered thinking. Empowered thinking includes being informed among its three elements. Being informed is about honestly assessing a situation – not candy-coating it – so that you can make sound decisions and take strong actions to deal with it.

We are quickly approaching a moment when being informed means looking honestly at the economic situation we are facing and recognizing that we must engage the other two aspects of empowered thinking – positive thinking and committed action.

The Situation

This evening a Wall Street Journal article declared the current financial crisis the worst since the 1930s. While the signs of trouble have been apparent for a couple of years, such statements can no longer be considered hyperbole against the backdrop of recent events.

  • Share prices plummeting
  • Home prices plummeting
  • The dollar plummeting
  • Companies exchanging debt and bets on debt and counting it as revenue on their balance sheets
  • Financial powerhouses gone in a day.
  • Great American corporations like GM and Ford hanging on for dear life.
  • A government already trillions of dollars in debt and borrowing every day to fight wars around the world acting as though it can bail everybody out.
All of this and our “leaders” still can’t bring themselves to even utter the word “recession”. The two major party presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain – awash in money and influence from Wall Street firms – are trying to “get their messages right” on the economy. They want to put the best face on it or make sure that the other side gets the blame for it.

The bottom line is that the people we elected to protect our interests have not done so. Companies we trusted to be responsible with our savings and our investments have not so either. And, we have all been guilty of thinking that perpetually rising home values and easy credit are a norm.

Let me be clear. Wall Street turned into Las Vegas over the past few years while both parties in Washington turned a blind eye and even poured gas on the fire. Bluntly, Wall Street bet our collective house and lost. Now they are coming to the government (the American taxpayer) and saying, “You have to save us because the whole ship will sink, if you don’t”.

So far the bailout has nearly doubled the stated federal government debt and its not over yet. When the federal government owes money guess who that means really owes it – yep the taxpayers.

Some in Congress are finally responding against the move by the Treasury Department and The Federal Reserve to rescue the financial giants. That is a good, if belated, thing. After all, The US Constitution clearly gives only Congress the power to appropriate government funds. Here we have the executive branch and the central bank overstepping their Constitutional authority. Congress needs to act and act swiftly to stop these actions.

What We Can Do

Being informed allows us to use positive thinking and committed action to create change. There are several things we can do right now and several things we can learn for the future from this situation.

  • Don’t panic – markets are all about human psychology – i.e. “the herd mentality”. In good times, the herd grazes until it is full. In bad times, the herd gets spooked and does things as stupid as running off a cliff. When panic takes over a bad situation becomes a spiraling cycle of negativity. We need to stay calm and carefully consider our moves.
  • Demand Congress assert itself – Congress has the Constitutional authority to appropriate funds – not the executive branch and not The Federal Reserve. Congress has direct responsibility to the people and they need to reassert that Constitutional authority.
  • Demand oversight – we probably thought our government was doing due diligence in overseeing the financial markets. Purely and simply it was not. We need to demand a return to sensible oversight of the markets and not double-talk from politicians beholden to those markets.
  • Reduce or eliminate debt – with markets and credit tightening, it is not going to be a good time to owe people money. We should all do what we can to reduce or eliminate as much debt as possible.
  • Demand justice – people who have been irresponsible and even criminal in bringing about this crisis need to held accountable.
  • Decentralize the economy – this is paramount. The keys to our economic fate lie in too few hands and in hands that do not have the peoples’ best interest at heart. This must change. I’ve had recent dialogue with a number of people promoting a new wave of entrepreneurialism. The idea of independent business ownership has given way to giant box stores and massive government and extra-governmental organizations (i.e. The Federal Reserve) managing the economy. This has taken peoples’ economic destinies out of their hands and given it over to these entities.
  • Control what we can control – we cannot control the macro situation, but we can do everything in our power to make things better as we can affect them. Evaluate your own situation and take positive steps forward towards expecting the best and preparing for the worst.
  • Focus on the best possible outcome – we can align our thoughts with the best possible outcome for ourselves and the nation. We severely underestimate the power of our individual and collective thoughts to alter the reality we receive. If we focus on the best possible outcome that is what we can expect to experience.
We may be in for some stormy seas in the short term. The key is that with empowered thinking – positive thinking, being informed, and taking committed action – we can change course and push towards a better future for us all.
Stay inspired!
Ray

It’s About You – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday September 17, 2008

I did an absolute no no in the blogging world today. I purposely tagged this article with the names of a number of famous people to shamelessly attract you to it. My reason will be clear in a moment.

We are a culture that invests a lot of time and energy on fame and celebrity. We’re obsessed with the latest fashions worn by stars and by stories of their luxurious lifestyles or tragic slips. We are obsessed with sports stars, movie stars, singing stars, and Dancing with the Stars.

We’d never consider missing the big game. In fact, we’ll rearrange our lives to watch it. But spend three hours quietly reflecting on our lives, where we are, and where we’re going? Well, maybe we’ll have time for that next week or next month or when we’re older.

You visited this article in the hopes of finding out some little tidbit about the celebrity you were searching. Instead, I’d like to hold up a mirror and remind you that your life is about you not about them.

There is nothing wrong with diversions. In moderation, they are actually quite normal and healthy. The danger comes when they prevent us from doing the one thing we are here to do.

The truth is you are here to learn about you. You are not here to be a follower; having your thoughts downloaded to you every day by talk radio or becoming a slave to this season’s fashions. As long as you are, you will never be free.

You are here to take the circumstances and abilities you have and make the most of them. You are here to express the uniqueness that no one else living on this planet can. You are here to think for yourself and be yourself.

Here is a challenge. This week spend as much time on you as you do following sports scores, fashion, the music charts, or celebrity gossip. You may just rediscover this amazing person full of potential and ready to take on new dreams.

Fame and celebrity, even for the few lucky enough to catch it, are a fieeting morning mist. You cannot grab it and hold it because the Sun burns it off in the blink of an eye.

You, however, are substantial and worth time and effort you now put into other things.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Sarah Palin’s Moment – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday September 4, 2008

Ok. Let’s set the politics aside for the moment. Many Americans thought and hoped this might be “The Year of the Woman” in American politics. Most people entertaining that possibility envisioned Hillary Clinton as the next President of The United States.

This evening the country was introduced to the woman who still has a shot to wind up in the White House this year.

She is Alaska’s little-known Governor Sarah Palin. This evening Mrs. Palin burst onto the American political scene with a fiery speech full of partisan hooks sure to please the Republican faithful and a fresh style certain to worry political opponents. John McCain’s running mate made a clear statement that she is a force to be reckoned with in this campaign.

Her optimistic tone is inviting and infectious. She displayed an ability to draw the viewer in – agree or not. Her irreverence and humor adds a new dimension to this campaign. Joe Biden will have his hands full in their debate.

Tonight was only a speech. A long campaign lies ahead. It’s impossible to predict at this moment whether Sarah Palin will be the first female Vice-President of the United States or join Geraldine Ferraro as an interesting historical footnote.

As with Barack Obama, Sarah Palin represents the appearance of change. However, we cannot be satisfied with the same old messages being delivered by new messengers. Coca-Cola can change its packaging, but it is still Coca-Cola.

This country, I believe, is thirsting for a change in direction. It has demonstrated a willingness to listen to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. It hopes that their talk of reform and change are more than just talk. Time will tell if they are truly new products or simply a repackaging of the same old products.

Three things are certain. After tonight, Sarah Palin has earned the right to stand on the stage and take her shot alongside Barack Obama. The Year of the Woman in American politics is alive and well. And, the inauguration ceremony in January 2009 is going to be historic – one way or the other.

Stay inspired!

Ray