The Will to Succeed

Posted by admin on Oct 31st, 2014
Oct 31

“The Talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well, without a thought of fame” – Henry W. Longfellow Before you can set the wheels in motion to save money, pay down your debt, plan for a hassle-free early retirement, you must delve into the very basis of what makes you tick, what makes you unique. You must understand what you ultimately have to do to be successful – in finance, business and personal life.  You must comprehend that people are not born into failure. The majority of individuals are endowed with all the tools needed to achieve success. It matters not if one is born into mansion or log cabin. The ability to achieve personal success in all endeavours, including financial independence and self worth, is locked into one’s psyche at birth. What is needed are keys to unlock potential and opportunity.  People must learn to recognize the keys. Steadily and conscientiously you can change your life from one of existing from pay-to-pay, one of worrying relentlessly,  to one of financial security and well-being.  You must understand that everyone has emotional baggage that hampers their progress. You begin to collect this baggage at birth and the load gets heavier as the years roll by.  That baggage causes you to falter, to show insecurity, to hesitate. You can shed your baggage, leave it on some obscure platform with no return address or you can carry it on your back forever.  I was born unlucky    I was born not to succeed” is not a valid excuse as the world embraces the 21st century. Opportunity asks little of you but recognition, imagination and hard work.  Everyone is born the child of opportunity. Opportunity recognizes neither poverty nor wealth. It lives quietly, waiting for the chance to knock.  It expects you to answer the door and to know what to do when it presents itself. The path to financial security, personal freedom and well-being is steeper today than ever before. Although this path presents a challenge, it is not impossible to climb. Certainly, there are boulders and blind spots that you must conquer. But, there are also well defined steps and rare opportunities that give extra leverage – keys  to those who know how to recognize and use them. To succeed you must secure ground, hold fast and push hard. You must begin with small steps through rough ground and over high hurdles.  Some people refuse to expand their horizons and potential through opportunity. They never climb that path, or answer the door. They wait furtively for their money train to arrive, praying that it will pull into their station with the next lottery ticket purchased.  They are convinced that financial security will be found at the end of a rainbow, with the scratch of a ticket, at the bottom of a money pit. They don’t realize that there are very few quick routes to finding wealth and well-being.  Before you begin your journey, remember that wealth does not bring automatic happiness. Both are companions to success. When talking about success Lady Mary Wortley Montague said. “Be alive. Be patient, Work Hard. Watch opportunities. Be rigidly honest. Hope for the best.  You don’t know what you are capable of achieving until you really try. Financial security and happiness are within your grasp. Success does not automatically mean being placed at the top of the heap. Success is, as Longfellow states, doing something well, without a thought to fame. When something is done well, self-respect and self-worth follow. Self-respect and self-worth lead to security in all things. It is easy to blame others for your failure to achieve. It is hard for some to take control, to take the first steps. No matter how long the road, map your own destiny my friends. Miles fall away as confidence in oneself comes to the fore. Give yourself the respect of saying “I tried and I succeeded.”  Control circumstances by steering them in positive and fruitful directions. Gird yourself with ten weapons for success. They are easily memorized. You must recognize that possessing is not a sign of security; that the acquisition of things does not result in a satisfactory end result; that you can live with less. Possessions do not make the man You must be willing to give up a little to achieve a lot. You must be comfortable in your skin. You are an individual with your own set of circumstances, strengths and weaknesses. Your opportunities will be unique unto yourself. You must be conscientious and honest about saving money, even if it begins with nickels and dimes. You must believe in your ability to succeed, not matter the circumstances under which you presently live. You must always be focused on the future you have mapped for yourself. Never expect a pot of gold at the end of the path. Always keep your eye on the next hill, the next challenge. You must be willing to roll with the punches, to make the best of often disguised opportunities. You must be alert to recognizing opportunities and potential in seemingly benign situations. You must persuade all those around you that they too can achieve financial security, success, well being, happiness and security by following your lead.

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On Being Canadian

Posted by Pat Mestern on Sep 12th, 2014
Sep 12

On Being Canadian

I am not a hyphenated-Canadian. Although I have Mayflower Puritan and Iroquoian blood running through my veins and can claim ancestry that includes Scottish, Irish and Italian roots I am not an American-Canadian, a Scots-Canadian, an Irish-Canadian or an Italian-Canadian. I am a CANADIAN.

When Grandmother arrived in Wellington County from Italy, in 1885, she was told by her parents that she was in “Canada now and must embrace the culture”. Although her parents spoke Italian to each other, she was urged by them to speak English, to read Canadian history, to learn about her new country. Although hubby was born in South Africa to German and Irish parents, he is not a South African-Canadian, a German-Canadian or an Irish-Canadian. He is a CANADIAN . When he immigrated to Canada, he chose to become a Canadian citizen because he realized that Canada was a very special country, and he wanted to be part of it. His citizenship paper is one of the most precious possessions he has.

The essence of being Canadian has nothing to do with religion or politics. For the most part Canadians are not a gun toting society. We are not usually zealotistic individuals. We believe in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. We believe in equality of the sexes. We exercise moderation is everything we do. We are slow to anger but watch out if we’re threatened. We’ve proven our worth many times when pushed to the wall.

Personally, being Canadian means I give back what, and when, I can. I try to broker peace not wage war. I try to be kind, courteous and polite to others. I respect all the traditional Canadian symbols – sing “Oh Canada” at every opportunity and fly the Canadian flag. Being Canadian means that I celebrate my various cultural ties happily and freely. But, at the end of the day, I stand as a Canadian.

As a Canadian I am free to practice any religion I choose. But, I know that regardless my faith, strong religious views have no place in governing or ultimately shaping our nation. Canada has been down that rocky road and learned a hard lesson. As Grandmother Mattaini used to say, and I quote directly – Long ago true Canadians found out that state and religion, as bedfellows, needed to be confined to the hog pen. H og-pen governing has no place in a great nation ”.

There’s no doubt that Canada has always been a multi-cultural country. Like the United States, Canada had to rely on – and due to a declining birthrate still has to depend on – immigrants to people its vast lands. During the past four hundred years, immigrants built a vibrant country. In particular, during the late 19 th , and early 20 th century period, immigrants accepted the immense challenge and spread across the nation, populating the rugged north, the vast prairies and the western mountains. Within a Canadian context, each group celebrated their own culture in their own unique way knowing they had the freedom to do so. They also knew full-well that by choosing Canada as their new home, they also accepted, and adopted, responsibilities and allegiances to their chosen country. One of the most important responsibilities was that the country known as Canada came first when loyalty and allegiances were forefront issues.

Being an immigrant has never been a smooth process. Often stubborn prejudices, silly beliefs and name-calling makes life miserable for those that come from different cultures. Grandmother went through her fair share of stupidity on the part of some bigoted people. So did dad, a first-generation Canadian – and so did I, simply because we had an Italian surname. But, we – all three generations – learned quickly to overcome, and ultimately laugh at, such narrow-minded behavior. One elderly Irish gentleman who amassed a small fortune during his lifetime told me that deflecting insults was the fabric by which he developed a very tolerant attitude which allowed him to succeed in business.

Today’s open-door – call it an ambivalent – policy that allows duel citizenship, duel loyalties, English as a second language, as opposed to striving to make it the first language – is commendable. But, the old adage that it is difficult to give loyalty to two masters, to serve both equally holds true. Multi-cultural tasking becomes multi-cultural muddle. Those who choose Canada as their new home must also choose to be Canadian in the truest sense of the word. It is absolutely impossible to live with two sets of rules, two ideologies, and two allegiances.

Unfortunately, during the past twenty-five years, some groups/people – have slipped through, or avoided, the loyalty-to-Canada circle. No longer do they heed the call to embrace and experience the vastness, beauty, solitudes, and peoples that make our nation so special. No longer do they see the need to integrate into the main – perhaps traditional is a better word – Canadian environment. Most now prefer to congregate in familiar, almost segregated if I may be so bold as to state, cultural enclaves in larger cities. More often they do experience the same prejudices, the same problems, the same intolerance that they left behind simply because they still surround themselves with it in their separate “communities”.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Canada today, remember that you are a resident in one of the safest, freest and best countries in the world. Act accordingly. Celebrate and remember your culture, but BE CANADIAN first, and always.

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What’s it like to be a writer?

Posted by Pat Mestern on Mar 26th, 2014
Mar 26

I’m always asked what’s it like to be a writer. How do I handle all the publicity, all the fans, any negative reviews, positive reviews.  The answer(s) are quite simple. 

What’s it like to be a writer? I don’t write for a living, thank goodness. If I did, I’d starve to death in a dirty sleeping bag under a bridge somewhere.  I write for the love of putting words to paper, of telling a story that has been fermenting in my mind for months – years and needs to be told. I lead a somewhat normal life, as normal as one can be when one gets on a writing bender. On the other hand, there are days, weeks or even months when the well runs dry and I get bored.  That’s when I turn to travel and lifestyle writing . . .

 How do I handle all the publicity?  What publicity?  As I’m not one of CanLit’s family of the chosen twenty, getting publicity for my books is an ongoing struggle, for my publishers and for myself.  I write well.  I have books in the personal libraries of the President of the U.S. of A, and of Canada’s Governor General yet, my name is not exactly a household word.  By the way, I wouldn’t want to be one of those twenty chosen individuals. I’d find living in a fishbowl a difficult job.

How do I handle my fans?   I love them to bits.  I love to hear from people who have actually read my books, who have questions about the characters, who can hardly wait for the next work of fiction to be published.  Bring ’em on!   But, not by the busload please.  I’ve had that happen – fun and games.  Thanks to great neighbours I was able to come up with cookies, iced tea and a couple of gardens to tour.

What about those negative reviews?   I’ve not ever had a negative review.  I did have one group of Amish, or was it Mennonite, people took a dislike to “Anna, A Child of the Poor House” and “Rachael’s Legacy”.  One of their deacons said that the books were “sinful” and subsequently both books – all copies circulating in the community as a matter of fact were burned. Burned! Can you believe that in this day and age.  I’ve no idea why the burning of the books. I don’t write smut or bodice rippers.  I don’t have excessive violence or any sex (I close doors) in my works.  Appaently, the womenfolk were well into the stories and thoroughly enjoying them before one of the men – a deacon in one of the churches browsed the books and decreed that they be turned into firewood.  The other side of the coin is that “Rachael’s Legacy” is listed as a source for biographical information by a Mennonite group in Iowa. So you never know what’s coming down the tubes, surprises are the spice of life!

How about the positive reviews?  I love them.  I’d love to have more.  If any of my dedicated readers, and those who’ve just found my books, would like to post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or even Chapter/Indigo or – any website that accepts reviews, please feel free to do so.  And, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

If you have any difficulty getting any of titles, espcially “Magdalena’s Song” or “No Choice But Freedom”  please contact Ingalls Publishing Group, my U.S. publisher.  If I’ve got that link wrong, just google Ingalls Publishing Group.  At the moment, both titles “Clara” and “Anna, A Child of the Poor House” are out of print.  They may be republished soon.  They should be available through interlibrary loan. For the time being, I’d suggest Magdalena’s Song,  No Choice But Freedom and my favourite Granite.  Have a great read.