A Christmas Message (Christmas History 24)

Windows into History

robin (source: bbc.co.uk)

Mary Virginia Terhune was a prolific writer of women’s fiction, under the pen name Marion Harland.  She had a remarkably writing career, spanning over 70 years, with her first articles published during her teenage years in the 1840, and her final novel published in her 90s, in 1919.  In her 1867 novel The Christmas Holly, she began with an introduction that summed up her feelings about the Christmas season, and is a message that is still relevant today.

On a Christmas Eve, many years ago… when I was young, unreasonable and rebellious, I took a long, lonely walk into the country. The afternoon suited my temper, and both were gloomy. Low heavens of clouded steel that yet seemed, now and then, to shiver with the still, biting air, and with each shudder, to let down a few wandering flakes of snow; a bleak landscape of commons, blasted…

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Belt Packs Running Train Causes Accident

Transportation Safety Board probing ‘remote controlled’ train in Edmonton derailment

Transportation minister sending special observer to site of Dec. 8 derailment

Canada’s transport minister is sending a special ministerial observer to the scene of the CP Rail derailment and hazardous goods spill northeast of Edmonton amid concerns surrounding the company’s use of “remote control” technology to move trains.

The move came after CBC News reported earlier today that the Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether a remote control unit used to move a CP train contributed to the derailment and hazardous liquid spill last week near Edmonton.

CP Rail crews at Scotford Yard, northeast of the city, were standing on the ground using a “belt pack” to remotely operate the train a week ago Tuesday. Four cars derailed, tipping one and spilling 98,860 litres of styrene, a chemical used in plastics.

Remote control technology — along with crews using the belt packs to operate locomotives while on the ground or while riding — has been approved for use in Canada since the late 1980s. Railways, including CP and CN, use it widely, though almost exclusively inside rail yards to quickly shift cars back and forth as yard crews assemble trains.

However, CBC News has learned that this past year CP told its main union that it will be expanding use of this technology on main tracks in seven areas: Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Welland, Ont., Lethbridge, Alta., Regina and Bredenbury in central Saskatchewan.

The move is part of a cost-cutting effort to replace locomotive engineers with “road service” employees, union officials at the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference were told.

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What Successful People Do

Affirmations Successful People Repeat Every Single Day


1. “I can’t do everything today, but I can take one small step.”

You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something.

2. “I will do what no one else is willing to do.”

Often the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.

3. “I will face a fear.”

The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown (at least, it is for me).

Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as we think. Plus, it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You get that “I can’t believe I just did that!” rush, a thrill you may not have experienced for a long time.

4. “I will appreciate someone unappreciated.”

Some jobs require more effort than skill. Delivering packages, bagging groceries, checking out customers — the tasks themselves are relatively easy. The difference is in the effort.

So do more than say a reflexive “thanks” to someone who does a thankless job. Smile. Make eye contact. Exchange a kind word.

5. “I will listen 10 times more than I speak.”

I used to talk a lot. I thought I was insightful and clever and witty and, well, I thought I was a real hoot. Occasionally, very occasionally, I might even have been one of those things.

Most of the time I was not.

6. “I will not care what other people think.”

Most of the time, we should worry about what other people think–but not if it stands in the way of living the lives we really want to live.

7. “I will answer the question that wasn’t asked.”

Sometimes people are hesitant. Sometimes they’re insecure. Sometimes they’re shy. Whatever the reason, sometimes people will ask a different question than the one they really want you to answer.

8. “I will be OK with less than perfect.”

Yes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Yes, perfection is the only acceptable outcome. Unfortunately, no product or service is ever perfect, and no project or initiative is perfectly planned. In fact, the quest for perfection can often be your worst enemy.

Work hard, do great work, do your best, and let it go. Your customers and colleagues will tell you what needs to be improved, and that means you’ll get to make improvements that actually matter to people.

9. “I will try to do better.”

We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we could have done better. Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, step in, or be supportive.

Successful people don’t expect to be perfect, but they do think they can always be better.

10. “The one thing I can always do is outwork them.”

Like Jimmy Spithill, skipper of America’s Cup-winning Oracle Team USA, said, “Rarely have I seen a situation where doing less than the other guy is a good strategy.”

You may not be as experienced, as well funded, as well connected, as talented, but you can always outthink, out hustle, and outwork everyone else. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland–everyone talks about the extra mile, but few people go there.

11. “I will stop and smell my roses.”

You have big plans and big goals. And you’re never satisfied, because satisfaction breeds complacency.

Unfortunately, most of the time that means you’re unhappy, because you think more about what you have not achieved, have not done, and do not have. (Of course, the key is to instead do things that make you happy more often.)

Take a moment and think about what you do have, both professionally and especially personally.

No, this is not only Steve Jobs. See the whole story