Chances Are... Posts

January 30, 2017 / / Topics

“Trust me” is one of the most powerful phrases anyone can utter. When someone use those words they are asking for another person to take them at their word—to believe in their promise or proposition. There may not be a more valuable thing in this world than trust. We trust that the money we put in the bank will be there when we go to withdraw it. We trust that our friends have our best interests at heart. And yet, there may be nothing more elusive than trust. Ronald Reagan…

January 23, 2017 / / Topics

Why do crowds go many rows deep outside downtown hotels and cinemas during film festival season? Why do people pay outrageous amounts to see musicians or motivational speakers? One reason might be that we are naturally drawn toward those we consider successful and seek to identify with them. Success is attractive, while the stench of failure repels us. The success industry preys on this through books, videos, and seminars, all promising success in several ‘easy steps’. Some would define success as attaining a prestigious position, living in their dream house,…

January 16, 2017 / / Topics

Thomas Aquinas remarked that there is “within every soul a thirst for happiness and meaning.” Maybe that’s why there is a multitude of books and blogs proposing anywhere from two to 14 steps to finding happiness—from unleashing unpleasant memories to simply not worrying and choosing happiness. Happiness is something we all long to experience. We search for it via success, wealth, power, and relationships. But are those things enough to bring us lasting happiness? The answer, ubiquitously, seems to be no. No one has it all together in the happiness…

January 8, 2017 / / Topics

In the movie Anger Management, Jack Nicholson, who plays a therapist, asks Adam Sandler, a seemingly even-keeled character, a very simple question: “Who are you?” Sandler’s character goes on to describe several things about himself: his personality, his hobbies, his accomplishments, etc. At every turn the therapist slyly looks at him and says that those are things about him, but not “who he is”. Sandler eventually erupts in frustration when no answer seems to satisfy his inquisitor. How many of us would struggle to answer that question? It may seem…

January 1, 2017 / / Topics

Many will approach the New Year with lots of good intentions. There are things about themselves they want to change. It might be physical, perhaps by eating better and exercising more in order to get in shape and live a healthier life. It might be something of a personal or interpersonal nature where there are some habits to break or to develop in order to better function with others. Whatever the case may be, when we sense that things aren’t quite right, we seek change. And if there are people…

December 26, 2016 / / Topics

Even with all the advancements in technology and apparent rise in living standards that promise happiness, there is still an alarming number of people who take their own lives—primarily men in their late 40s and 50s. Youth suicide rates are also of concern. “Hold on,” you say. “I thought this was supposed to be about hope.” So, why such a morbid introduction? The number one reason for people taking their own lives is a lack of hope—not being able to see past their immediate predicament and failing to see why…

December 19, 2016 / / Topics

From beauty pageant contestants to world leaders, it seems there are constant calls for “peace” in the world. When most people think of peace, they think of a world without war or conflict. Certainly that is part and parcel to experiencing peace, but if history has proven anything, it’s that peace can be such a fleeting experience and eludes us. Over the past 3,000 years the world was without war less than 10 percent of the time. We’re becoming numb to the condition of our world. We are under the…

December 12, 2016 / / Topics

No one likes to be an outsider. It’s a terrible feeling being left out of the loop or in the different worlds of “us and them” – especially when we feel more like “them”. We separate people all the time as we distinguish between those who are good or bad, rich or poor, attractive or not so much, and even between those who are racially, morally, or politically acceptable and those who aren’t. Those differences help us determine who’s in and who’s out. Sadly, we learn this hurtful art of…

December 5, 2016 / / Topics

There is probably no time of year where materialism takes its greatest dose of steroids than the final six weeks of the year. Everyone is out to sell their product, making it almost irresistible, and sometimes impossible, for those trying the buy the perfect gift—although one would think the choices might make it easier.   Maybe you’re feeling it—the stranglehold of materialism. It drives you to get the kids and others what they want. It’s why you may have to work those extra hours, or worse yet, go into debt…

November 28, 2016 / / Topics

We are creatures who have been given the gift of desire for which we should be grateful. Without desire, there would be no progress, we would never create or invent anything, we would probably go hungry—the population would probably die off. Peter Kreeft says, “Nature makes no desire in vain.” We know by experience that there are things that correspond to many of our natural desires. C.S. Lewis wrote, “A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such…