Focus on Manatee: Do we have a peaceful mindset?

December 24, 2012 

It's that time of year where we go through our daily routine, whether we are at work, a restaurant, an event, and say to friends, family and even strangers "Happy Holidays." This is a gesture of goodwill that is not always conveyed throughout the year. Why?

I believe that the holidays are a time of reflection, a sigh of relief that we survived the rigors of life for another year as well as a time to realize the importance of family, friends and our community. It's truly a peaceful time in our society where expressions of joy and laughter are more common.

So how can we maintain a peaceful attitude year-round? Let's first look at the definition of peace: a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom of disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind. Wow, peace is a very powerful word. In my opinion, it's perhaps one of the most powerful words in the dictionary.

The true question is: can we be successful at home, work, or even serving our community effectively if we are not at peace? Can we be an effective leader, caring parent or successful employee if we are not at peace? I don't believe we can. However, can we live up to a peaceful mindset on a daily basis? Really? That's a tough question. Can we maintain our temper when someone cuts us off on the road, criticizes us at work or in a public forum, when someone offends our child, parents, etc.?

How do we shrug off hatred, selfishness and vengeance?

As many of you know, I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I am a county government employee and a community servant. My recommendation for us to sustain a peaceful mindset is to consistently focus on it daily. Talking to people face to face is always a great way to create and maintain peace, instead of constantly e-mailing, texting or tweeting.

Listening is another vital way to get to a peaceful mindset, because listening can definitely get to the root of a disturbed mindset. Remember, the human body has two ears and one mouth for a very good reason. Putting yourself in the other person's shoes would definitely give you a different perspective.

When we encounter a moment of personality conflict; I believe that we need to stop, think and reflect before we react. The reaction we convey will always have consequences, either good or bad. Have you ever reacted quickly in a harsh manner and it affected a relationship for many years? Years that you will never get back, all because of a few harsh words? What if you had approached that situation in a peaceful manner?

We have seven days left in our calendar year, and I want to challenge all of us to reflect throughout those days the quality, peaceful relationships that we have as well as the dysfunctional relationships that maintain a hurt feeling in the heart, a strain on our business endeavors, or just tear down our bodies due to stress and anxiety.

After the seven days, let's all work hard daily to mend those relationships for the good of us as individuals and the community as a whole. This will not be an easy task, so daily reflection is essential, and I promise you that if this becomes our No. 1 focus, then we will no doubt have one of our most successful years ever.

Finally, I want to take the time to wish you all Happy Holidays and a blessed 2013. Peace be with all of you!

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be reached at or 941-729-9177, ext. 222.

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