Friendship is a beautiful thing, especially in a world where struggles are real and a good friend is a treasure. Advice abounds about the importance of friendships, for example consider this wisdom from Ecclesiastes:
Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Remember the importance of friendships. Reach out to a friend today and tell them: I am your friend. I am here for you. You can depend on me. How can I lift you up? 
In addition, help someone who may not have any friends. Many in our society move into new cities and know no one there. You could be a spark of hope for a newcomer. Whatever you do for others may one day come back for you at a time you need help in a down time. 

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Helping those who are in lesser circumstances such as the poor and the downtrodden has been important to societies for a long time. Thousands of years ago, people were commanded to remember the poor as they harvest the fields. So hear this: 

"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you."

Well, even though the poor do not walk into our fields to get their food these days, the same principle applies. We are encouraged to reflect on our blessings and remember others by helping them directly or by giving to charities and not-for-profits who help those in need.  

Another thing the ancients were told is this: "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore be openhanded toward those who are poor and needy."

Do you have enough food on your table? Reflect on this blessing and share with those who don’t. Hunger is a real problem in our county. Let’s give back from a portion of our blessings. 

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

The Marathon is in Illinois this week, and I wanted to talk with you about races.

Marathons are not like the 100 meter sprint. The sprint is a brief, mad dash to the finish line. A Marathon is a prolonged, high intensity endurance event… like real life.

To succeed, you have to learn, listen to advice, and train your body for endurance. You have to divide the race into segments. You have to be in shape.

Life is like a marathon. It is usually an extended event and includes various seasons in life. Unlike a sprint and like a marathon, life requires Oxygen, and lots of it.  Training, being in shape mentally and physically, and a strong faith are some of the things that help us get through life.

Spend some time today evaluating where you are in this marathon, in this race of life. Invest in yourself, in your thoughts, and in what you fill you mind with. And may you be able to say at the end: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Where are you in life? Do you wish you can do better? Do you wish you can start over, or do you think that your chance in life had passed you by?

NO!! I’m telling you: Stop that thinking!  “It’s never too late to be the person you’ve always wanted to be.”

Many people have made mistakes and failed before they overcame them and started over.

Most of us think Einstein was genius, but he didn’t always show such promise. He did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven. This caused his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped. And although he was expelled from school he overcame his failures and eventually won the Nobel Prize and changed the face of physics.

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there’s always another chance for you. Failure is not falling down but staying down.

If others can do it, so can you. I challenge you to start over today and be the person you’ve always wanted to be, and the person that you can be.

 

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

I had a poster in my college dorm room of the poem “Desiderata” – by Max Ehrmann. It said:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

That poem always sounded too similar to Romans 12 where it says:

“Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Today is our reminder not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Do you wonder whether your children notice your actions, and whether they are influenced by such actions?

I was a young teenager and we were poor. My father cashed his paycheck at the bank, and when returned home, he counted the money. He frowned and asked mom to count it because the amount was incorrect.

My mom counted the money and confirmed that he received an extra $100 liras. I remember my ears perking and hoping we would have extra toys that month.

My father told us he is returning the money to the bank. It would have been really easy to rationalize that we really needed the money. And besides, the bank is a faceless business and they have more money than us. But my father said that the money was not ours.

It has been over 40 years, and I vividly remember that incident. Every time I receive too much change, my father’s actions remind me to make the right decisions.

We are not perfect people, but we are role models. Choose to make your actions good examples to your children.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

A consultant was hired by a supermarket chain to lead a customer service program to build customer loyalty. She challenged everyone to make a difference and create memories for their customers to bring them back.

Johnny, a nineteen year-old bagger with down syndrome, liked what she said but wondered what he could do. After all, he was just a bagger.

Then he had an idea. Every night after work, he thought of a thought for the day. His dad helped him set it up on the computer and print multiple copies. Johnny cut each quote and signed his name on the back.

The next day, he would put a thought in each customer’s bag and say “Thanks for shopping with us”.

A month passed, and the store manager while walking found that Johnny’s line was three times longer than other lines so he called for help, but the customers only wanted to be in Johnny’s line.

The moral of the story: We can all make a difference, no matter who we are. Choose to put your personal signature on the job.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Kindness and civility are two things that are lacking in our society today yet are desperately needed more than ever.

We can’t expect that we would agree with people around us on all things, but it is important to keep our manners, discipline, and civility.

One thing I learned in my life is that kindness and civility are free and rewarding.  Mary Montagu said: “Civility costs nothing, and buys everything.”

It is important that we rebuild an atmosphere of forgiveness and civility in every aspect of our lives.

In his excellent book about Civility, P.M. Forni said “Civility means much more than being nice to one another. It is complex and includes learning how to connect successfully and living well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, and is good for your health.”

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Jeremy Lin mania swept the US this past year. Recently, I read an article titled “Ten lessons Jeremy Lin can teach us before we go to work Monday morning.”

Some of these lessons were:

Believe in yourself when no one else does.

Seize the opportunity when it comes up.

Find the system that works for your style.

People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else.

Stay humble.

Work your buns off.

Jeremy Lin got to start for the Knicks because they had to start him. They had too many injuries.  Lin could have squandered the opportunity and we would have never noticed. But he made the most of it.

You never know when opportunities are going to arise in life. Often, they’re when you least expect them. Make the most of them, and don’t squander them away.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

A wonderful trend of fitness has been sweeping across the nation and it is terrific to see so many people caring about their body, improving their health, and reducing the need for some medication.

Caring enough to invest in your body is an admirable trait, and i applaud you if you have chosen to so. Let me encourage you to go one step further and invest in your mind, in personal growth and development.

What enters your mind determines your level of accomplishment, achievement, and success. And these motivational minutes have been my way of filling your mind with good thoughts to help you thrive and achieve.

Now you have a chance to do so for more than just minute—a whole day: we are pleased to be the title sponsor of Chic-fil-a LEADERCAST on May 10 in Champaign.

We will come together in Champaign for a one day leadership event featuring a live broadcast of prominent speakers such as Jack Welch, Condolezza Rice, and John Maxwell. This is great investment in your mind. Join me for that meeting by registering at at http://culeaders.eventbrite.com/ and using the promotional code “habeeb”.  I hope to see you there.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Data shows that many made a New Year’s resolution for this year, and the same data says that many already broke their resolution.

So I have an idea. How about a resolution you can start anytime, and if you drop the ball, you can re-start it again.

How about a new language? And what if this new language is the language of love and forgiveness? And what if you start by forgiving yourself first?

Every hour, and every day is an opportunity for a second chance. Your creator is eager to give you a second chance, and most people are willing to do the same. Now is the time to forgive yourself for past mistakes.

After you’ve done that, it is time to forgive others. People are valuable. They are more important than things or your resentment. Isn’t it time you forgive them the same way you want to be forgiven? It’s time to turn the page and start speaking in the language of love.

I urge you to make a new resolution to day to learn the language of love and forgiveness.

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AuthorJessica Culbertson

Kindness: Is it too rare these days?

Recently, I went to the Post Office, got out of my car and was walking to the door when I saw an old lady walking slowly to the door. I ran up, beat her to the door and opened it for her. She looked up at me and said: “Thank you very much. Are you a Pastor?”

Wow: I was very happy that she was grateful, and at the same time felt saddened that she thinks I am a Pastor. I wondered if we have gotten to a place in this world where only Pastors show acts of kindness.

Her question and your challenge today is a daily reminder that we must show kindness to people every day all the way. Nothing against Pastors, but we can’t leave acts of kindness just to them. We, too, must live it daily.

Start today. People will notice, and you will help make the world a better place.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

I read an article in Forbes Magazine titled: “Waiting For Something to Happen with Your Company? Hit the Reset Button”.

Ha, what great advice. If it is not working, you might as well do something different: Reset, Reboot, Control-Alt-Delete, Do Something!

The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Why not step back and ask hard questions, and hit the reset button if needed.

The same thing applies to our lives: If things are not well, maybe it’s time to try something different. If you’ve been negative, try being positive. If you’ve been a pessimist, try optimism. If you have a problem with anger, try civility.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

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.

I posted links to the report on my Habeeb Squared page on Facebook. Read the report, try one or more of the exercises, and then return after you have completed them and let me know how it made you happier.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

I read an article that said the United States is a nation in decline, and that it slipped from 10th to 12th place in the annual rankings of World’s Happiest Countries.  That’s the first time America has not placed in the top 10.

That should not be.  It is puzzling that despite how blessed this country is, our misery index is high and our happiness index is low.

Perspective is important, so let’s adjust our perspective by discussing happiness:

Life is not about making others happy.  Life is about sharing your happiness with others, and you can’t share it with others if you don’t have it.

A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you can’t get very far until you change it.

Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.

Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and be quiet.

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design into the present.

So Today is the time to start being happy.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

Gossip. We all hate it. It happens at home, in families, and at work. And it sucks people’s energies.

At BPC, my colleague Patti frequently tells our employees a parenting incident about gossip. One day one of her children came to her and said: “You won’t believe what my brother did.” She stopped him right there and said: “Are you telling me because you are tattling on him, or because you are concerned for his safety?” He paused for a bit and said: “Concerned for his safety.” So she let him proceed and tell her what his brother did.

Relationships at home, work, or with friends are similar to parenting. There is a fine line between gossip and concern. So do as  Patti did: examine your motives and be careful what you say, be careful what you engage yourself in, and be careful what you allow others to tell you. Be a good influence to your children, to your friends, and co-workers.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

In America, we live lives of our own choosing, we worship our own faiths, we speak our minds and communicate on an uncensored internet without living in fear. This July we celebrate our nation’s independence and pay tribute to our armed forces and their families for the great sacrifices for they make in order to protect our freedoms.

This isn’t so for billions of people around the world. Many live in fear, in tyranny, in war, or face religious persecution. I’ve experienced this and I will never take my American liberties for granted. My own parents endured two decades of civil war before they joined me here in America. Upon arrival, they kissed the ground. They have since passed away, but their love and appreciation for America will endure forever

This month, let us reflect on the great gifts we have: of freedom and liberty. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may He bless these United States of America.

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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.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb

A genie came out of the bottle one day and looked at the mouse and said “make a wish”, and the mouse said “I wish I was a cat so I’m not eaten.” Poof! He was a cat.

The genie asked the cat to make a wish, the cat said I wish I was a dog so the dog doesn’t eat me.” Poof! It was a dog.

The dog wished he was a wolf so the wolf doesn’t eat him. Poof! he was a wolf.

And the wolf said he wanted to be a bear. And he became a bear. The bear wished he was a man so the man doesn’t shoot him. And the man wished he had hair. The hairy man wished he had curly hair. And finally the genie had enough and said “stop wishing and start living” Enjoy life.

What about you? Are you continually wishing for something and thinking you won’t have a full life until that happens? Stop wishing and start living. Enjoy life. Go to my HabeebSquare page on Facebook and share what makes you feel alive.

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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.

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AuthorHabeeb Habeeb