The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

£161 million and counting…

Last week, a British couple won £161,653,000.00 in the Euromillions lottery making them Britain’s biggest ever winners. After about a week of deliberations and deep thought, they decided to go public with their win as they didn’t want to lie to their friends and family. Bad move! Just yesterday the media reported that the couple have gone into hiding to escape the avalanche of ‘begging letters’ which have since been pouring in.

When it was announced that a single ticket had won that amount, Mo Cushla and I discussed what we would do if we won. Never mind the miniscule detail that we hadn’t actually purchased a ticket so were not even remotely in with a real chance of winning!

Undeterred, we apportioned, distributed, gave away, invested, set up trust funds, paid off debts and the children’s private school fees, travelled the world, bought a bigger house, changed our cars, reapportioned, redistributed and still had loads of money left which we decided would be put in some deposit account and live off the interest. In all of the plotting and planning the spending of our millions of pounds we hadn’t actually won, one thing we both agreed  and were unequivocally convinced about was that we wouldn’t go public with our win.

How do you announce to the world that you are suddenly £166,000,000.00 richer and not expect to have people hound you for some of it? As sure as night follows day, you can expect to have a few hundred letters from people making their case as to why they, too, should be beneficiaries of your overnight windfall. After all, they reckon they are only asking for an infinitesimal part of your very large winnings.

Much as I had dreamed and fantasized about being in possession of the Weirs winning ticket, I am thankful I am not in their shoes now. What a complete tragedy to have all that money but very little freedom to enjoy it in the way they deem fit! Sad indeed! I feel really sorry for them.

However their experience further cements our resolve not to go public in the event that we find ourselves coming into a large sum of money. In the meantime, I hope things settle down for them soon so they can begin to enjoy all the possibilities that their winnings can open up for them.

What would you do if you won lots of money? Go public? Keep it quiet?

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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I’m thankful …

…That last Sunday marked 46 years of my parents’ marriage. Theirs is truly one made in heaven. They share a closeness that is so rare in today’s highly divorce-prone society. Even when they disagree, you still get the feeling that they are on the same page. Growing up observing their relationship gave me a vivid picture of what I could aspire to and I’m glad that my marriage so closely mirrors theirs.

…For my very active and verbally expressive sons. When I hear of children their age who are suffering from ill-health, starvation, poverty etc, I realise that it could so easily have been them. Even though I’m sorely driven to gag them sometimes, I am grateful that all their limbs work, that their senses are intact, that they have a voice and know how to use it and that they can articulate themselves and express their opinion.

…For the special man God caused me to cross paths with 8 years ago and who remains the love of my life, my best friend and lover. He loves me too much to let me be content with mediocrity, he challenges and encourages me while patiently giving me room to grow and become all that I can be. He exasperates and frustrates me no end sometimes but the good far outweighs the bad so I really can’t complain.

…For friends, old and new, too numerous to mention by name, who love me ‘despite and still’. They try to be there for me ‘through sick and sin’ encouraging and cheering me on, accepting me for who I am, warts and all.

…For blogging as it has ushered me into a whole new world of writing and opened up countless possibilities. Amongst other things, it’s helped me to become a part of a wonderful support group of like-minded writers. They critique my work with the empathy of people in the same boat and offer advice that is helping me become a much better writer.

…For sisters, biological and social, who love me and whom I love dearly, with whom I can be silly without fear of being judged and laugh hysterically as we reminisce about our growing up years. We could be sitting across from each other in a crowded room but still manage to communicate with just a look.

…For God’s grace and mercy which are renewed in my life each and every morning.

…For life, for love, for friendship and for laughter.

What are you thankful for?

Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.

Crippling Criticism or Constructive Capacitation

According to Dictionary.com, criticism is;

1. the act of passing judgement as to the merits of anything.

2. the act of passing severe judgement; censure; fault-finding.

3. the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.

Whenever I hear the word, even though the frontal lobe of my brain understands there is also a positive side to it, I can’t stop myself from thinking it is so negative. So every time I use the word, I tend to prefix it with ‘constructive’. It takes the edge off for me.

Depending on who is giving it and how criticism is given, the feeling it leaves you with can range from catastrophic and crippling to cheerful and confident. Criticism possesses the innate ability to spur you on to do better or to throw in the towel and give up altogether.

As much as I appreciate that, like it says in the third definition of the word above, criticism is necessary for progress, I am loath to receive it for fear of hearing something I don’t like. I would be a lot more forthcoming in seeking it were the feedback guaranteed to be positive but that is wishful thinking really.

I was thinking today that it would be extremely myopic of me to let my aversion to criticism get the better of me. I will not improve my craft by being a coward and shying away from feedback that is not necessarily palatable but needful to make me a better craftsman. It is a necessary evil and with a positive attitude, I can turn it around in my favour. Besides the only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing and I don’t want to do that. I want to do something that counts.

When I get criticised, at first I tend to focus on the critic and how they meant to harm me by saying what they said. I think of how little regard they place on my person or my work to have uttered their opinion so callously and with little consideration for my feelings. However when I do take a moment to actually hear what they are saying, regardless of the delivery, I have to admit, albeit grudgingly,  that there may be some truth to their words.

There is a famous saying that goes “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”. I know it doesn’t apply in every situation but it certainly does with criticism and how you handle it. It may seem hurtful, spiteful, inconsiderate and rude. The critic may truly not have had any good intentions towards you but all that matters very little. What matters is how we react to it. If we let it, the criticism may cripple us into inactivity or capacitate and enable us to get better at whatever it is we are seeking to accomplish.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th US president, captured this sentiment succinctly when he said;

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

You can’t stop doing what you do best simply because someone has a contrary opinion. Turn criticism around into a compliment. Think of the pioneers in your field of expertise and how much criticism they received. Study how they used it as a stepping stone to reaching their goal. If you are doing something worth criticising, chances are you are probably on the right track.

What are your thoughts? Please share.

Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.

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