The greatest giftJohn D. Svirskymotivation, advice, self-awareness Thank you for reading my articles over the past several years. I hope that they have been stimulating, informative, and provocative. Thank you to all who have E-mailed or called me. I truly appreciate your comments. While we are in the midst of the Holiday Season, most of us are searching for the perfect gift for our loved ones, clients, and friends. I have found that the most important gift I give is the one I give to myself: self-awareness. I have heard all the teachings that say it is better to give than to receive. The first and greatest gift that any of us can experience is to take the time to get to know ourselves. We all find different ways to do this-some involve quiet time, no distractions, and being all alone. Most of us are driven, goal-oriented people who rarely take the time to see how far we have come. It is easy for us to look at how far we have to go, but it has been extremely rewarding for me to detail my thanks for what I have already accomplished, the knowledge that I have acquired, and how I have implemented these teachings into my daily life. What is my motivating factor? Am I doing it to please my parents? Am I doing it to prove to myself, or others, that I am worthy? I often find myself taking actions because I want to, for myself. That is my motivation for writing this article, because I want to. Knowing ourselves and what motivates us beyond having to pay the bills and meet our obligations will change our respective lives. I know what it is doing for my life. I look forward to starting the New Year motivated by self-growth, unfoldment, and a love and respect for myself. From there, I can share what I have with others. I can not only be the best Mortgage Broker, but I can be the best in all I do. That is why one of the Ten Commandments says to love your neighbor as you love yourself. With the close of this year and millennium, my wish is for everybody to discard the mental baggage that has held them back, forgive all who have harmed them (real or imagined), and forgive themselves. May the love we share emit from within and radiate to all. I received the following from a friend via E-mail, and I would like to leave it as my last thoughts to you for 1999. Top 15 things God won't ask: 1. God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation. 2. God won't ask the square footage of your house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into it. 3. God won't ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of those clothes helped those less fortunate. 4. God won't ask about your social status, but will ask what kind of class you displayed. 5. God won't ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life. 6. God won't ask what your highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character to obtain it. 7. God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for your family and loved ones. 8. God won't ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others. 9. God won't ask what your job title was, but will ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability. 10. God won't ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others. 11. God won't ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend. 12. God won't ask what you did to protect your rights, but will ask what you did to protect the rights of others. 13. God won't ask you what neighborhood you lived in, but will ask how you treated your neighbors. 14. God won't ask about the color of your skin, but will ask about the content of your character. 15. God won't ask how many times your deeds matched your words, but will ask how many times it didn't.