In his book “The Winning Attitude”, John Maxwell states “It’s hard to soar with eagles when you have to live with turkeys”.  Our surroundings control our soaring.

It’s true- we easily change to fit our environment. But the last of human freedoms is the freedom to choose our own attitude no matter what the circumstances. Our attitudes are determined by our thinking and by the people we surround ourselves with. Remember: Turkey-thinking + turkey-talk = turkey-walk. BUT eagle-thinking + eagle-talk lets you soar like an eagle.

Especially in these challenging economic times, we must choose to soar like an eagle in thinking, in our words, and in our outlook on the world. Choose to be around winners who influence their surroundings with their positive behavior.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

The world is a stage, and people watch the way we behave. Everyone of our actions is seen by others: by employees, our friends, and most importantly: our children see it.

The Golden rule says to “treat everyone like you want to be treated,” yet it seems that many people have a double standard.

Adults: we are an example to those around us, especially our children. Remember, when our children hear us say bad things behind people’s backs, they start seeing our hypocrisy and unkindness. Then we wonder where our children picked up bad habits.

Resolve today to be the same person in front and behind people’s backs. Resolve to be the same at work, at home,a t church, and in your social circles. Resolve to be the best example of kindness to your children.

And to the young peolple hearing this, resolve today to be kinder at school. Be an encourager and use your words to help your classmates, not hurt them.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

There was once a contractor who built homes in a small town somewhere in Europe. He built most of the homes for the people who lived in the village and was a gifted carpenter. Unfortunately, he was never able to afford a home of his own.

One day, the wealthiest man in town came to the contractor and asked him to build a house. He said, “I want you to build the finest house you are capable of, and I want you to spare no expense. I am going on a journey and when I return I hope that the house will be completed.”

The contractor agreed to the job and was about to begin when a thought struck him: “This wealthy man already has a few houses. I do not have my own. I will use inferior material, cut a few corners and do a quick job on the house, make it look real nice, and charge him the full amount. That way I can pocket the leftover money and finally afford to build my own house.”

So that’s what he did. When the rich man returned he went to view the house and was impressed. It looked beautiful from a distance. The wealthy man turned to the crooked contractor and said, “The house looks wonderful I am so glad that you spared no expense, for I intend to give this home to a dear friend who deserves a house like this one.” With that, he handed the keys over to the contractor and said, “Here is your new home, my friend.”

The contractor graciously received the keys to his new home, but his heart sank as he realized what he had done. What kind of effort and quality of workmanship and materials would the man have put into the home if he had known it would be the place where he and his family would be living?

The moral of the story: Work with integrity, not only when their eyes are upon you, but even when they are not watching. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you are serving the lord, not men, for you know that the lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does. (Ephesians 6:7)

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

One organ in our bodies is very powerful and can be used for good or bad. It is our tongue. And it can be a cutting sword or an encourager. M any people received horrid and harsh words, and in return they live their life wreaking havoc on others with their. That does not have to be.

Each one of us can choose to control our tongue and use it for building up instead of tearing down. If you are a supervisor, spouse, or a parent, your job is to help people succeed. This unlocks their potential and helps them blossom. I recommend one terrific book about Encouragement‐ “Silver Boxes” by Florence Littauer. Read it and change your life.
Choose to be an encourager today. 

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

In the 1980s song called “From A Distance”  Bette Middler sings these words:

From a distance, the world looks blue and green

And the snow capped mountains white

From a distance the ocean meets the stream

And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance, we all have enough and no one is in need

And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease

No hungry mouths to feed

From a Distance, we are instruments marching in a common band

Playing songs of hope and peace

They’re the songs of every man

God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching us from a distance

I encourage you to listen to this song, think of this message, and be an instrument of hope.

Will you be an instrument with me, playing songs of hope and peace? God is watching us. Will you be an instrument for the good of humanity?

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

January is a month when people remember Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. One of his great quotes is “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?”

This was not said by someone who had all the riches in the world, or by someone who had all his rights and privileges. It was said by a courageous man at a time of civil unrest and division. Instead of being constrained by his own situation, Rev King chose to help humanity in the moment.

So life’s most persistent question for you today is: “What are you doing for others?” and more importantly, “are you waiting for things to be perfect for you before you choose to do something for others?”

Choose not to wait. Choose today to help someone in need, a neighbor, a coworker, a classmate. Choose to allow goodness and mercy to rule all your actions.

I urge you to do it today.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Recently, there’s been dialogue about who built a business, the government or people. One side says the government, and another side says the citizen built it. So who is right?

The dialogue reminds me of Deuteronomy chapter 8 and the words of Moses to the people before they entered the promised land. He said:

“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD. Otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud. You may say to yourself, “MY power and the strength of MY hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is HE who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant.

America has been blessed beyond measure, and I came to the land of milk and honey, and just cannot forget Moses’ warning. As Thanksgiving draws near, let’s take a moment to bow our heads and give thanks for all HE has given us.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Brad is a friend of mine who spent two decades serving in the Air Force Special Forces, and the FBI. He’s a neat guy, and every time we talk I am amazed by the wisdom we can apply in civilian lives.

He told me how he was once training members of a country’s ruling family who wanted to be in their country’s special forces (because it was cool to be in special ops). He found himself repeatedly saying: “Will you do Hard”, meaning there were easy (but incorrect) ways to do things, and hard (but correct ways) to do them and stay alive.

The application? We humans often do things the easy but wrong way and avoid doing things the right way if that means going the hard route.

So the question is: “Will YOU do Hard?” Will you be a good example to others? Will you preserve your beliefs and integrity even if it means taking the road less travelled? Will you help preserve our standards and lift up our community and our country to a higher place?

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Ever wonder whether you are a good example to others? Are you consistent in what you say and do? The saying goes: “your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you say”… which means others look at our actions, not just at what we say.

Francis Bacon said:

“It’s not what we eat, but what we digest, that makes us strong;

not what we gain, but what we save, that makes us rich;

not what we read, but what we remember, that makes us learned; and

not what we profess, but what we practice, that gives us integrity.”

He also said: “He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.

As we live life, let’s be consistent with our words and actions. Words are meaningless without the actions to support them, and beautiful when they match our actions.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Do you wonder if you can make a difference by yourself? Do you wish you were in a higher position in order to be influential?

Really, a promotion does not necessarily make you a leader nor does it make you influential. It simply gives you a title. You can be a boss with absolutely no influence. Yet on the other hand, you can lead without ever having an official title.

Consider Sam, a young Illini basketball fan. During “Dance Cam” game breaks, Sam puts on blue glasses and a upside down popcorn container over his head. Sam dances and gets the crowd to roar. Young kid, BIG influence. So much influence that the Orange Crush invited him to lead their whole section in dancing, and they ALL wore inverted popcorn boxes on their heads. All of the Orange Crush are now following this one kid.

What a difference one person can make, especially when joined by others!

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

We all encounter Obstacles in life. For some, they can be a roadblock that stops them. Yet we all know people who faced tremendous obstacles and overcame.

There are many writings about obstacles, and they all point to the same conclusion: YES you CAN overcome the obstacles you face in life.

Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards and will bluff you if you let them. If they see you are afraid of them, they will spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye and face them, they can melt out of sight.

We worry about facing mountains, but nobody trips over them. It is the small pebbles that cause us to stumble. If you pass the pebbles, you will have crossed the mountain.

And Norman Vincent Peale said: “Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they don’t have half the strength you think they have.”

So don’t wait. Be brave and face your obstacles like a hero. Yes you can overcome!

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

A supervisor once told an employee during a review that his attitude needed improvement. The employee said: “Give me a raise and I will improve my attitude.” The supervisor replied: “Improve your attitude and prove to me that you deserve the raise.”

Which comes first, the attitude or the raise? Definitely, the attitude improvement comes first.

We’ve all heard the saying “Bloom where you’re planted.” Are you blooming in your current situation?

Changing your perspective allows you to do a good job in the midst of bad situations. Think of it as working for your family and for the Lord. This helps you build a great reputation for doing the right thing, and sooner or later, you will find success in life and in the workplace.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

People take some things for granted. It all depends where you came from. This summer had been very hot and dry. Drought affected the corn and soybeans. It had not rained for a long time, and my friends Dan and Brenda’s crops were scorched.

After a horribly long dry spell with no rain, it started raining at 1 AM. Dan and Brenda got up, went to their porch and watched it rain for one hour till 2 AM. To us, no rain meant brown lawns. To them, it was life and their livelihood. What we take for granted (that is, rain), they don’t.

What else do you take for granted? Your loved ones? God’s blessings? Our freedoms? Perspective is everything. I urge you to stop today and adjust your perspective.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Regardless of what faith one professes, we can all learn from events and celebrations happening around us. Easter is this month and I thought I’d ask: Do you really know the true meaning of Easter? We all enjoy colored eggs, time with family, and that’s all wonderful. But we must also take time to reflect on the true meaning of this celebration.

Good Friday and Easter are a celebration of sacrifice, of grace given by the Creator to ALL humanity. It is about forgiveness and reconciliation.

This poses one of the most important questions in our life: If the Creator extended forgiveness and grace to ALL humans, why are we holding onto our grudges and hurts. Would WE be willing to forgive ourselves AND forgive others?

If it helps, think about times when YOU have been forgiven by someone else for something you have done. It is always great when WE live in harmony with one another even across our differences.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Good friends are wonderful treasures. Friends lift us up when we are down and help us overcome major hurdles in our lives.

Consider Helen Keller, who was the first deafblind to earn a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through Helen’s isolation of a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom.

Anne was a true friend to Helen, and Helen said: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

Are you that true friend to someone? Who are they? Are you rekindling their spirit and singing the words of their song back to them during their time of need? I hope you are. If not, reach out to them today. Maybe one day, someone will do the same for you.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know WHY it makes you happy?

A recent study showed that performing certain tasks can absolutely increase happiness, and gratitude appears to be a key ingredient.

People were asked to write and then deliver a letter of gratitude in person to someone who had been especially kind to them but had never been properly thanked. Other participants were asked to write down three things that went well each day and their causes every night for one week. Others were asked to use one of their top strengths in a new and different way every day for one week.

These three exercises increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms. Showing gratitude and using our strengths in new ways: That sounds like fun to me.

AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Times are bad, the economy stinks, the nation is hurting, the world is at war… we hear bad news everywhere, and many people are depressed.

So is this new? No, but it may be new to us. Looking back, we find many periods in history when times were tough. In fact, many people in the world have faced harsh times all their life, yet they continue to live and make the best out of their circumstances. How we deal with adversity is important. It isn’t what happens to us. It’s what we do with what happens to us.

But we are human, and we have many fears: fear of the unknown, fear of calamity, of worst case scenarios, fear of impending doom, of violence, and many other fears. In his book “Fearless”, Max Lucado said: “Feed your fears and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will starve.”

Choose to stop feeding your fears and start feeding your faith. Choose to smile and trust in a higher power. Choose to be happy no matter what.

AuthorKristin Williamson