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Rippliness

Ripples #1,009: The Small Things!

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Ripples #1,009: The Small Things!
Sep 24, 2018

PEBBLE
If you feel like life is passing you by…try throwing yourself into the small things and repeating to yourself: This is where I start.
-Rob Bell, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

BOULDER
The question you should be asking is, “Can I do one small thing tomorrow to make things a little bit better?” And the answer is almost always yes.
-Dan Pink, shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

PONDER

I just wrapped up the final trip of my fall orientation tour and headed back home to catch my breath and rest up a bit as I prepare for some upcoming conference keynote addresses sprinkled around the midwest. The challenge is that the new home we are just moving into isn’t quite ready for relaxation. While most of the renovations the house needed are winding down, there is still quite a bit of cleaning and unpacking and settling in that needs to be done. Upon arriving home, I was too tired and too overwhelmed to even know where to begin.

Luckily, my partner had a better vision of both the finish line and the path to get there. We began with a few small tasks that would have an ongoing impact on our spirits and motivation: getting the music system set up so we could keep on jamming while we were cleaning, and getting the floors cleaned so we wouldn’t see dirt and dust every where we looked. Soon we were making steady progress, and even the breaks were productive as we talked through where to put things, what size rugs we should look for, etc. We still have a ways to go, but our many small efforts are really paying off.

I’ve spent the last few weeks reminding new students that the biggest impact on their grades are their small, daily decisions about preparing for, attending, and participating in class, and the biggest impact on their health are the small, daily decisions about what they eat/drink, how much they move, and how much they sleep. The more overwhelmed you are, the more likely you’ll benefit from identifying the smaller actions that can serve you well.

So…what small things might lead you towards bigger success this week?

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. Have I told you lately just how much joy it brings me to have such a fun and engaged group of upbeat people spending a minute with me each Monday? #uRock… Read More!

Ripples #1,000: A Thousand Ripples!

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Ripples #1,000: A Thousand Ripples!
July 16, 2018

PEBBLE
Maybe our favorite quotes say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.
-John Green, shared by Lorene in North Royalton, Ohio

BOULDER
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.
-Albus Dumbledore (JK Rowling), shared by Rachel in Stevensville, MI

PONDER
On January 15, 1999, I sent an email to 75 people who had agreed to help me experiment with a brief weekly email containing a couple of quotes and something to ponder. We decided to call it “Ripples” to remind us all of the ongoing impact that even our smallest actions have. Here we are, 1,000 Mondays later! This 1,000th issue of Ripples is being sent out to 31,511 subscribers, with a few thousand more reading it online.

From the very first issue, the inspirational quotes included in each issue have been submitted by all of you. And while I’m honored to curate each issue and craft this “ponder” section, I’ve always thought of Ripples as ours. I’ve always appreciated the steady stream of kind messages that remind me that so many of you enjoy receiving Ripples as much as I’ve enjoyed assembling them.

I would like to celebrate this milestone by unleashing 1,000 ripples of compassion and kindness this week, and we’ve created a couple of fun treats to share with everyone who participates. Are you in? Please watch this 90-second video to learn more.

Whether you’ve just joined us, or been part of Team Ripples for years, I want you to know I’m really proud to have reached this milestone, and incredibly honored that so many readers are with us to celebrate. Thank you for extending the reach of these tiny splashes of inspiration!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. In addition to the 1,000 acts of kindness, we’re also hoping to gather 1,000 Smiles. We’ve assembled them in a single photo album in our Team Ripples Facebook Group. Please join us there, and add your smiling self holding a sign of encouragement or gratitude.… Read More!

Ripples #884: Treasury Within.

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Ripples #884: Treasury Within.
May 2, 2016

PEBBLE
Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.
-Grenville Kleiser, shared by Nora in Beverly Hills, MI

BOULDER
Everything we do in life goes into the treasury of the heart. The ideas with which we fill our hearts determine the way we live our lives. Those are the things we draw on in those moments when we need to reach down deep inside ourselves for character, courage, endurance and hope. That’s why what we read, what we see and what we do from day to day counts so much in life.
–Joan Chittister, shared by Kathy in Kennewick, WA

PONDER
Last week’s issue reminded us about the ripply nature of kind actions towards others, so this week I thought we could explore the benefits of inner-rippling. Here comes some bad news and some good news…. The BAD news is that the yucky stuff we inevitably encounter can sometimes linger stubbornly in our thoughts and feelings because our brains are wired to warn us and protect us from danger. The GOOD news is that there is increasing evidence that we are also wired to appreciate the good stuff: celebrating, savoring, and gratituding* are innate abilities that we can cultivate to improve our relationships, our work effectiveness, and our happiness.**

That doesn’t mean we have to force ourselves to always “think happy thoughts” or ignore the inevitable grief and frustration that accompany a full life. It *does* mean that each time we consciously choose to embrace and act on positive thoughts and emotions, we strengthen our ability to enjoy life AND to be more effective during challenges.

Each internal positive ripple you initiate contributes to the treasury within, which in turns helps every single soul you encounter. Splish, Splash, Rapple, Ripple!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
*P.S. Yes, I realize that “gratituding” is not actually a word….yet!
**P.P.S. If you’d like to learn more about research I mentioned, this week’s blog post from Eric Barker is a quick and worthy read: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2016/05/way-to-improve

 … Read More!

Ripples #883: Little Choices!

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Ripples #883: Little Choices!
Apr 25, 2016

PEBBLE
The little choices of daily life determine our destiny.
-Mary Dixon Thayer, shared by Al in Marinette, WI

BOULDER
Some people say, “What is the sense of our small effort?” They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.
-Dorothy Day, shared by by Lora in Kennebunk, ME

PONDER
It is tempting to revel in the grand gestures and big moments in our work and in our lives. I admit that sometimes standing on a huge stage in front of a massive audience can cause a surge of energy, and I’ve been known to feel extra proud of those social media posts that received outsized responses.

On my best days, however, I measure the success of my efforts in the smaller, quieter moments: providing encouraging words to someone who is facing big changes in their life, or learning that an unexpected tangent during a talk generated ongoing and useful insights. And while I’m genuinely excited that this message you’re reading right now zooms out to lots and lots of people every Monday, there is a calm and humble joy that settles over me when I hear about a specific issue that helped a single person refresh their outlook or persist through difficulty.

It makes sense to me that we celebrate the marquee events like graduations and retirements and promotions that signal an increase in responsibility and/or opportunity. If you’re getting ready to celebrate one of them: CONGRATS! Just remember to keep in mind that in between the massive milestones and big parties, there are countless ordinary opportunities for gradual progress that will help you and those around maximize the potential of your day and your life. Enjoy the big moments, enjoy the little choices, and enjoy today!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Oh the irony: as I assemble this issue of Ripples about focusing on small moments over big events, I realize this will zoom in your direction on April 25th, the 19th anniversary of my first day of full-time self employment as a leadership trainer and keynote speaker. Way back in 1997, I had no idea of the possibilities that existed for me…and these weekly splashes of inspiration hadn’t even been conceived. I didn’t know I was going to have this much fun in my work, and I never conceived of having this many people along for the ride. I’ll stick to this week’s theme by thanking you for each Monday that you choose to open your heart and mind to Ripples, and each time you choose to extend the Ripples by passing them along to others. Namaste.… Read More!

Ripples #805: The Warmth of Kindness!

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[10/27/2014] Ripples #805: The Warmth of Kindness!

PEBBLE
Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver.
-Barbara De Angelis, shared by Jane in Minneapolis, MN

BOULDER
Kindness, not unlike a flamethrower applied to an igloo, can melt the walls we’ve built around our hearts; and often just as dramatically. Being kind feeds the souls of all involved.
-written and shared by Bonnie Jean Starr in Richmond, VA

PONDER
I feel confident that the idea of spreading kindness is already baked into the souls of all of our Ripples readers; for me these quotes provide a useful reminder that kindness not only benefits the person you’re extending it to. IT IMPACTS YOU, TOO!

As the days are increasingly crispy and as the nights get down right chilly, we can keep ourselves and those around us warm with smiles and waves and small favors. Keep your eye out this week for an extra opportunity to warm someone’s soul with an unexpected kindness. Pretty please?

Peace,
Paul
(((The Ripples Guy)))
p.s. One really useful way you can unleash kindness is by submitting fresh quotes for potential use in our Ripples newsletter. It takes dozens of submissions to find two really good quotes that match each other. We rely on the kindness of Ripplers to keep our pond stocked with fresh inspiration! You can either click the SUBMIT QUOTES button at the bottom of this email OR simply reply to this email and be sure to include your name & location!
http://theripplesguy.com/submit-quote/… Read More!

Ripples #773: Throwing Back.

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Ripples #773:  Throwing Back.
For our tribe of busy people who believe in
unleashing Ripples of compassion & kindness: uRock!
17 Mar 2014

PEBBLE:
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life
with a catchers mitt on both hands.
You need to be able to throw something back.
-Maya Angelou, shared by Courtney in San Luis Obispo, CA

BOULDER:
Since you cannot do good to all,
you are to pay special attention
to those who, by the accidents of time,
or place, or circumstances,
are brought into closer connection with you.
-Augustine of Hippo, shared by Ryan in La Crosse, WI

PONDER:
I know you know this, but let’s review:
Life can be awesome, and life can be awful.

No matter how many years you’ve been on this planet, chances are you’ve had lots of good days and more than a few bad days.  And while no one else has experienced your unique combination of awesome and awful, it is essential to remember that every single person on this planet has their own mix of good and bad.  This is true for each soul you encounter: your closest family, friends, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues as well as the folks you encounter occasionally and even the complete strangers that you’ll cross paths with only once.

I believe the single most powerful thing you can do to improve the world is to consistently keep your eyes and ears open for small opportunities to help the people you encounter in your daily life.  A warm smile, a quick favor, even a dallop of extra patience with someone who is “in your way” can be invaluable to someone who is struggling. Your calm presence in someone’s chaotic life can be a godsend, and here is the bonus:  It doesn’t just help them, IT HELPS YOU TOO!  I know you’ve experienced that feeling of joy that arises when you’re able to lend a hand, and I’m guessing you’ve recognized opportunities to “pay it forward” because others have been there for you in the past.

I’m not here on this planet to TEACH you about the value of creating ripples; I’m just here to remind you that your help is far more precious and valuable than you often realize.  Do yourself and others a favor and throw something back today.

Peace,
Paul
P.S. I’ll be offline this week, so I’ll respond to messages next week!… Read More!

Ripples #769: Living in Hope.

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Ripples #769: Living in Hope.
For our tribe of busy people who believe in
unleashing Ripples of compassion & kindness: uRock!
17 Feb 2014

PEBBLE:
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
-Nelson Mandela, shared by Julie in Amman, Jordan

BOULDER:
The very least you can do in your life
is figure out what you hope for.
And the most you can do
is live inside that hope.
Not admire it from a distance,
but live right in it,
under its roof.
-Barbara Kingsolver, shared by Amy in Charlotte, NC

PONDER:
Whether you’ve just recently joined our happy team of Ripplers or you’ve been receiving these messages for years, you’ve likely figured out that sometimes we focus on savoring the good stuff, and other times it is all about enduring the not-so-good stuff.  Hope is one of the essential ingredients for making it through difficult periods in work, school, and life; I often say in presentations that WITH hope we can endure all kinds of extraordinary challenges, but WITHOUT hope even the smaller challenges can seem overwhelming.

If life is challenging right now, see if you can find even an eensy-weensy kernel of hope to hang on for just one more day.  If life is going pretty swell, look around for someone else who is struggling.  Your warm smile, kind word, or quick favor may be the kernel that they need to keep going.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples v10.07: Little Things!

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Ripples v10.07: Little Things!
Feb 18, 2008: a free weekly splash to 17,946 subscribers
from Paul & The Ripples Project

____________________PEBBLE ____________________

It has long been an axiom of mine that
the little things are infinitely more important.
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, submitted by Sabrina R., Prescott AZ

____________________BOULDER ____________________

Everyone is trying
to accomplish something big,
not realizing that life
is made up
of little things.
-Frank Clark., submitted by Brett B., Madison WI

____________________PONDER ____________________

Every LITTLE THING counts, so right after you read this I want you to choose one little action that would help a friend, stranger, co-worker, classmate, or yourself and do it: offer a few minutes of your time, hold the door, smile, forgive someone, be more kind or more patient than necessary, etc. Do it, and notice just how big a difference that little thing makes.

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples v9.23: Small Steps!

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Ripples v9.23: Small Steps!
6/4/07: a free weekly splash from Paul & The Ripples Project

____________________PEBBLE ____________________

I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they are great and noble.
-Helen Keller, submitted by Sarah Z., Fond du Lac WI

____________________BOULDER ____________________

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts the soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame a goal.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true.
One life can make the difference,
You see it’s up to you.
-adapted from a poem attributed to Cindy O’Connor, submitted by Linda K.,

____________________PONDER ____________________

I have just wrapped up a simultaneously invigorating and exhausting weekend at NACURH 2007, a conference best described by Zachary from Oklahoma State who wrote in his Facebook profile that he is pooping rainbows because “NACURH is the happiest place in the world.”

Enthusiastic college residence hall leaders from all over the U.S. and Canada gathered at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the conference theme was “One Small Step” which is pretty close to our ripply idea that small actions have big potential. I wonder what would happen if all of us decided this week to take one SMALL STEP to do some unexpected nice thing for someone else without explanation, without acknowledgement, without expecting anything in return. Let’s find out, shall we?

On your mark, get set, STEP!

Peace,
Paul… Read More!

Ripples v9.14: Kindness!

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Ripples v9.14: Kindness!
4/2/07: a free splash from Paul & The Ripples Project

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PEBBLE =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
-Confucius, submitted by Linda H., Pewaukee WI

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= BOULDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Do a deed of simple kindness;
Though its end you may not see,
It may reach, like widening ripples,
Down a long eternity.
-Jospeh Norris, submitted by Melissa M., Indianapolis, IN

=o=o=o=o=o=o=o= PONDER =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o

Our pebble this week focuses on kindness we receive while the boulder is about the kindness we bring to others. I want the ponder to serve as a quick reminder that one of the keys to happiness in life is ample doses of both. So GIVE kind and RECEIVE kind and all will be well.

Peace & Kindness to you,
Paul… Read More!

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