MKMMA (Pete Gragnano) — Week 24 — Commencement

When I was younger I always looked forward to the last day of school, as it meant summer vacation had arrived — more play time; going to the beach, etc. 

I think it was when I was a college senior that I felt mixed emotions about graduation.  Now thinking about it, I feel that there were two reasons for this change of heart.

First, I played college hockey.  To this day I can still remember sitting in the locker room after our last game of the season.  Our team captain, a senior like me, was going around to everyone; wishing the returning players good luck in the future and hugging his fellow seniors.  I recalled the good times we had together, the team comraderie, the wise cracks (one I will always remember is one of my friends who did not play much saying “put me in coach, I have fresh legs” as he sat on the bench).

The second reason, looking back, is that I was a little hesitant to enter, as one of my professors used to say, “the real world”.  As a student, I had grown accustomed to the “comfort zone” of school.  While I had worked since I was 12 with various jobs, school was always there and was an integral part of my life.  Now it would be “full time” work, and there was an uncertainty in this.

However, like the vast majority of graduates, I was able to adapt.

Now we come to the end of our MKMMA class and once again I have mixed emotions; this time of a different sort.

I have developed the “good habit” of structuring my Sundays around the webcast and the course; I have read the writings of my fellow MKMMA members and have been enlightened and inspired by their feelings and compassion.  Og, Haanel, Wooden and Emerson have left an indelible mark on my soul.  None of this will be forgotten.  Applied knowledge is power.

In contrast to the trepidation that I think many of us had (myself included) when we went out on our own into the “real world”, this time there is no hesitation; no fear of the unknown.  Our “coaches” (Mark, Davene, Trish) have prepared us well.

We are all ready to take the Hero’s Journey armed with the tools that we have learned. 

To paraphrase my teammate’s quote: “Put me in the game of life coach, I have fresh legs”.

 

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MKMMA (Pete Gragnano) — Week 23 — The Revelation

After our most recent webinar, something clicked for me.

When we discussing the Law of Least Effort : Acceptance, something inside me (subby) was telling me that I have heard this before.  But for the life of me, I could not remember where.

Up until this course, I had never heard of Chopra or the Law of Least Effort, yet the voice inside of me said you have heard this advice, but in a different format.

Then, in walking in my upstairs hallway, it hit me — hanging on the wall was the following quote from a gentleman known as St. Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

Bingo.  Acceptance.  St. Francis.

The pieces of the puzzle came together.

St. Francis asks for help in acceptance; The Law of Least Effort: Acceptance takes it a step further in saying that you do not need help to accept something, just take it as it is because that is the will and design of God.

Combine this with the other two components of the Law of Least Effort (Responsibility and Defenselessness) and you have the recipe for a stress-free life.

However, as we have been instructed numerous times in this course, we must take action (as it was aptly stated “you can’t eat a recipe”).

With Chopra and St. Francis as my guides, it’s time to start cooking.

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MKMMA(Pete Gragnano) — Week 22A — The Hearings

Over the past two weeks I had the opportunity to speak before the Maryland State Legislature regarding proposed legislation that would negatively impact my business, as well as that of my fellow retailers in the state.

As one who is not particularly fond of  legislators (I had a prior negative experience years ago and my subby throws up its salesman defense whenever I encounter them), I must say that this visit reinforced that bad memory.

The topic of discussion before the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means Committees where I spoke were the Governor’s proposed 2015 budget (a $38 billion budget that had a $385 million shortfall; hence the hearings dealt with where do we find the money).

The item that generated the most discussion and political bickering dealt with the State reducing its contribution to the State employee pension fund by $100 million (As background, several years ago when the state had revenue shortfalls due to the recession , they made a deal with the state workers — take some pay concessions and we will make it up to you in later years; this $100 million is part of the makeup money).  Alas, a broken promise, as they did the same thing in 2013 and are now proposing an identical cut.  If only they understood the principle of compound interest.

The next hot item was a reduction in tuition grants to college students (about $21 million).  As one community college aptly stated — “the tuition structure for the community college system is based upon an equal sharing of the tuition by the state, county and student.  The counties currently provide 33%, the state 21%, and the student pays the remaining 46%”.  Alas, broken promise number two, as not only are they failing to meet their required share, but are looking to reduce it even more.  Is this a coincidence?

Finally we get to my topic, a reduction in lottery commissions, which would have saved $7.3 million.   In 2013 the state raised the commissions on the sale of instant and electronic lottery tickets to offset the expected loss of income to its retailers due to the opening of several casinos.  In  2014, they proposed  a further increase in commissions to compensate us for the opening of another casino.  The proposed budget would have taken the commission rate back to 2012;  broken promise number three.  Do we see a pattern emerging ?

The moral of the story — unlike my fellow MKMMA classmates, politicians do not “always keep their promises”.

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