INTRODUCTION

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Introduction

In days past, people sat around the kitchen table and talked. Laughter was shared between husband and wife, and wisdom was passed from grandparent to child. The stories that were told were the glue that bonded hearts and held families and friends together.

With all that humans have gained with technology, computers and television, we have lost something special to humanity. It is time to once again share our stories, heart to heart.

Patty Hansen

Everyone has a story. No matter what we do for a living, how much we have in our bank account or what the color of our skin is, we have a story. Each one of us has a story, whether it is visible to the eye or it is locked inside of us. We are encouraged to believe that our past, our circumstances, both physical and emotional, and our experiences are our story. Our mental picture of our life’s story encompasses what we perceive to be true about ourselves and our possibilities.

The life one is born into is not necessarily our destiny. All of us have the power to rewrite our story, to recast the drama of our lives and to redirect the actions of the main character, ourselves. The outcomes of our lives are determined mainly by our responses to each event. Do we choose to be hero or victim in our lives’ dramas?

Good stories, like the best mentors in our lives, are door openers. They are unique experiences containing insights tied to emotional triggers that get our attention and stay in our memories. These stories can free us from being bound to decisions of the past and open us to understanding ourselves and the opportunities that are there before us. A really good story allows us to recognize the choices that are open to us and see new alternatives we might never have seen before. It can give us permission to try (or at least consider trying) a new path.

Many of the people you will meet in these pages provide a model to follow of unconditional acts of kindness and love, of great courage and foresight, of belief when cynicism would be the norm, a sense of hope in what the world has to offer, and the inspiration to seek it for ourselves.

Some of the stories you will refer to again and again because the message is one of comfort and encouragement. Other stories will inspire you to share them with your family, friends and colleagues.

How to Read This Book

We have had the tremendous opportunity to receive feedback from readers all over the world. Some have shared with us that they get the most value if they read our books from cover to cover. Others focus in depth on a particular chapter that interests them. Most people tell us that they find it works best to read one or two stories at a time, and really savor the feelings and lessons that the stories evoke. Our advice is to take your time and really let each story effect you at a deep level. Ask yourself how you could apply the lessons learned to your own life. Engage each story as if it mattered, as if it could make a real difference in your life.

Compiling these stories has taken a lot of work, but we feel we have selected 101 gems. We hope you will love these stories as we have loved them. May they bring you tears, laughter, insight, healing and empowerment.

We hope that we can in a small way contribute to your life by bringing you these models of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to guide you on your journey. We wish for you that, in the pages of this book there is a story that holds the key to doors that need opening in your life.

Jack Canfield , Mark Victor Hansen,

Hanoch McCarty and Meladee McCarty

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