Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mistakes are opportunities

This is a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. He was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from an experience with his mother that occurred when he was about two years old. He had been trying to remove a bottle of milk from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor—a veritable sea of milk!

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture, or punishing him, she said, "Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?"

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, "You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel, or a mop. Which do you prefer?" He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, "You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let's go out in the back yard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it." The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson!

This renowned scientist then remarked that it was at that moment that he knew he didn't need to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even if the experiment "doesn't work," we usually learn something valuable from it.

Story re-written

Story re-written

Once upon a time, there was a software engineer who used to develop programs on his Pentium machine, sitting under a tree on the banks of a river. He used to earn his bread by selling those programs in the Sunday market.

One day, while he was working, his machine tumbled off the table and fell in the river.

Encouraged by the Panchatantra story of his childhood (the woodcutter and the axe), he started praying to the River Goddess.

The River Goddess wanted to test him and so appeared only after one month of rigorous prayers. The engineer told her that he had lost his computer in the river.

As usual, the Goddess wanted to test his honesty.

She showed him a match box and asked, "Is this your computer?" Disappointed by the Goddess' lack of computer awareness, the engineer replied, "No."

She next showed him a pocket-sized calculator and asked if that was his.

Annoyed, the engineer said "No, not at all!!"

Finally, she came up with his own Pentium machine and asked if it was his.

The engineer, left with no option, sighed and said "Yes."

The River Goddess was happy with his honesty.

She was about to give him all three items, but before she could make the offer, the engineer asked her, "Don't you know that you're supposed to show me some better computers before bringing up my own?"

The River Goddess, angered at this, replied, "I know that, you stupid donkey!

The first two things I showed you were the Trillennium and the Billennium, the latest computers from IBM!".

So saying, she disappeared with the Pentium!!

Moral: If you're not up-to-date with technology trends, it's better keep your mouth shut and let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

A Lesson Learnt From My Six Year Old

On Saturday mornings, my family and I stay in bed just a little bit longer. My two boys crawl into bed with my husband and I and we usually watch music videos all together cuddled up in bed.

A song came on called "If this was your last day" which I found intriguing and thought it posed an interesting question too, so I turned to my husband and asked him what he would do if it was his last day.

He thought for a while and then said that he would probably lie in bed all day just as we were doing right now, surrounded by all his favorite people, just savoring the time together.

I turned to my eight year old and asked him what he would do and he said that he would go to Canada's Wonderland and go on all the rides.

I then focused my attention on my six year old and posed the same question. He looked at me intently and asked "Is this my last day to live?", I said "yup".

He then answered the question quite matter of factly and said "I would go to the hospital".

Of course my husband and I thought his answer was genuinely funny, smart and pure (we are biased of course). However, I have been thinking about it for a few days now and I realize that my six year old has it all figured out.
He naturally thinks outside of the box, he does not accept a situation and assume a scenario just because it is posed to him.

In his mind, there was no reason why it should be his last day and he was going to find a way to ensure that it was not.

In a flash of a second, he realized that he has the capacity to ensure that it wouldn't be his last day and not only that, but he was going to take the requisite responsibility and the necessary action to ensure that it wasn't.

My son taught me that if you want to live then find a way to do it, don't give up, don't settle and don't just accept things for what they seem to be.

Don't assume and accept a situation just because it is presented to you as such. Rather make that situation your own, take responsibility for it and then decide to change it, my six year old did.

Now I know that I am his mother, but is this not the smartest six year old kid in the entire world?

Nicolle Kopping-Pavars
Nicolle Kopping-Pavars is a collaborative lawyer dedicated to using inspiration and motivation while guiding families through difficult transitions. You can view her website at:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Intelligent Beggar - How to behave like a fool

Mullah Nasrudin (the central figure in almost all tales of the Sufi tradition) had already become a sort of attraction at the main market in the town.

 Whenever he went there to beg, people would show him a large coin and a small one: Nasrudin always chose the small one.

A generous man who was tired of seeing everyone laugh at Nasrudin, explained to him:

“When people offer you two coins, choose the larger one. Then you will have more money, and people will not think you a fool.”

“You are surely right”, replied Nasrudin.
“But if I always chose the larger coin, people would stop offering me money, in order to prove that I am a greater fool than they are.
“And then I would no longer receive enough for my food.
“There is nothing wrong with appearing to be a fool, if what you are doing is in fact intelligent.”

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Story of fruit...

In the desert, fruit was scarce. God called one of his prophets and said: - Each person may only eat one fruit a day.

The custom was obeyed for many generations, and the ecology of the place was preserved. Since the remaining fruit supplied seeds, other trees appeared. Soon, the entire region was turned into fertile soil, which was the envy of other towns.

But the people continued to eat one fruit a day – they remained faithful to what the ancient prophet of their forefathers had told them. However they never allowed the inhabitants of other villages to take advantage of the abundant harvest with which they were rewarded each year.

The result was that fruit rotted on the ground.

God called a new prophet and said:
- Let them eat as much fruit as they like. And ask them to share the abundance with their neighbors.

The prophet came to the town with the new message. But he was stoned – for by now the custom was ingrained in the hearts and minds of each of the inhabitants.

With time, the younger villagers began to question the barbaric old custom.

But, since the tradition of the elders was unbending, they decided to abandon the religion. Thus, they could eat as much fruit as they wished, and give the rest to those in need of food.

The only people who remained faithful to the local church, were those who considered themselves saints. But in truth they were unable to see how the world changes, and recognize how one must change with it.

Boiled Frog

Several experiment shows that a frog placed in a container along with water from its pond, it will remain alive while you heat the water.  The frog does not react to the gradual increase of temperature and only dies when the water boils.

On the other hand, if a frog is thrown into that same container when the water is already boiling, it will immediately jump out.  It will be a little singed, but alive!

Sometimes we can be like the boiled frogs.  We do not notice the change of temperature (Changes of environment)

We think everything is good, or that whatever is evil will pass, it’s just a matter of time.

We are about to die, but we are floating, stable and apathetic as the water warms up every minute.

We are dying, fat and happy, without having noticed the changes around us.

Friday, April 13, 2012


"How are you feeling?" asked my friendly neurosurgeon Dr. Alex Gol as I lay in my hospital bed in the rehab hospital at 3:30 P.M. after a torturous day in therapy. I could not yet utter a single word after sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the age of 19. So I nodded as if to say, "OK." Dr. Gol then calmly replied, "That's nice," and quickly left the room with a smile.

As he was leaving I thought to myself, "Dr. peaceful." I tried to reposition myself in my bed as the door closed behind him in order to get more comfortable, but something was not "right" in the hospital hallway as I heard a great commotion coming from there. (True, I could not yet speak; however, nothing was wrong with my hearing and there was plenty of screaming coming from the hall.) I wondered, "What was the problem?"

I soon found out the cause of the chaos: it was sweet, serene and calm Dr. Gol who was causing it.


The nurses had never seen Dr. Gol act like that. In fact, they had never heard him raise his voice. They quickly got me out of bed and put me in my wheelchair until 9 P.M.

I was miserable. I wanted to get back into my comfortable bed - well, it was not so comfortable but it was much less uncomfortable than my wheelchair or any kind of chair, for that matter.

As I said, after therapy was over at 3 P.M. I wanted to get straight back in bed; however, throughout the following weeks and months the nurses did not want to face "the wrath of Dr. Gol." Therefore, after therapy I remained in my wheelchair in my room until I went to sleep. Being in the wheelchair for so long was agonizing!

I hated Dr. Gol after that eventful day when he asked me that seemingly simple question while I was trying to relax in bed. However, years later I loved him as I realized Dr. Gol was only doing what was in my best interest.

When I returned to college after being out for so long, my professors, after learning what had happened to me and realizing that I could no longer read as quickly as before I was hurt, were more than happy to say, "Mike, it's ok. Just read what you can and we'll test you on that material." However, one professor did not say that. Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson, a sociology professor, said, "Mike, I understand you have difficulty reading. I've had many students with many visual problems. For those students, I refer them to "Recording for the Blind." They have access to many textbooks on cassettes. Here's the phone number..."

I "hated" that statement as I wanted to take the "easy way out." (My feelings of "hate" were very similar to those I had for Dr. Gol on that eventful afternoon in the hospital.) However, I have since learned that the "easy way" is quite often the "wrong way."

Sometimes everyone needs a "push." Even I, recently, had to be reminded to push myself as I had gotten "lazy" at the gym. However, a "stranger" reminded me to use my right hand. Even though it was difficult, I thanked him for the reminder.

I have learned that the difficult things in life are often the sweet things in life. One cannot experience "beauty" without experiencing "bitterness." Remember, "push" yourself to "get through the thorns of the rose bush, to experience the beautiful flower of the rose."

Every time I think of some difficult thing in life, I close my eyes, see Dr. Gol, and smile.

Michael Segal

Shot in the head during a robbery, Michael Jordan Segal defied all odds by first surviving and then returning to college. He then earned two degrees with honors, married his high school sweetheart, Sharon, and became a father to their daughter Shawn. Mike is a social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and an author (currently he has two book projects he's working on: an autobiography and an anthology of his short stories). He also is a popular inspirational speaker sharing his recipe for recovery, happiness, and success. Please visit his site at:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Story of encouragement

Many years ago a young lady who was attending a seminar shared an interesting story with me. Apparently she and two or three of her girlfriends went and tried out for a place in a stage play. She got the starring role while her girlfriends were not even picked for the supporting cast. Opening night she said she was really excited but afterwards became very disappointed when her girlfriends never came out and supported her. She was explaining the situation to an elderly friend of her fathers named Hap. He wrote her a letter and she gave me a copy with her permission to share it with others. Read it carefully and think.

Dear Ann,

Once upon a time there was a fellow by the name of Al Capp who wrote a comic strip called "L'll Abner." Many years ago he had some characters in his strip who lived in a town near Dogpatch. They were the town bums, the n'er do wells, the failures whose whole aim in life was to pass judgement on others. Their criticism and ridicule became so vehement that in time the rest of the people in the town became acutely conscious of it. "The boys down at the stable," as they were called because that's where they spent most of their time, soon set the social standards of the town. Nobody could do anything without their sanction.

Because they lived within the structure of their crummy little world, they would laugh and point their fingers at anyone and everyone who tried to be better than they were. As a result the people feared the ridicule of the boys down at the stable so much that they stopped trying. Soon everybody became bums and the town died.

In every social structure, Ann, whether it be family, town, county or state, there are "The boys down at the stable." They are the jealous ones. They are too scared to try something different. They show their ignorance by laughing at those who do. Learn to recognize them Ann, for what they are. Don't let them hurt you. It takes a certain amount of toughness to succeed. One has to rise above those who would tear you down so that they can laugh and say, "I told you so!"

There are too many of us who love you and want you to make it. I could put myself at the top of the list. You aren't going to fall flat on your face as they would have you. You are going to do a superb job. Remember this show is only a small step in the direction of greater things you will do, many of which are beyond your wildest dreams. All you have to do is want to. One of the things I like about you best is that you always give it hell for try.

The show will be a success because of you and others like you who try. There are only winners in the cast. The losers are gathered down at the stable laughing and hoping for your failure. If we could dig down deep inside them, I'm sure we'd find they want to win also, but are too scared to try, and they attempt to cover up their own failures as human beings by laughing at others. In a sense I'm sorry for them. Their guilt must make them very unhappy people.

Much love,