Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I'm learning to oil paint!

I have a new blog about the experience. I hope you'll visit and leave a comment. If you are a painter, leave a critique an some tips.
I have to say that this has been the most fun I have ever had with a new hobby.
I hope one day to speak about this whole experience.
You can check out my blog here:

See you there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Growing my speaking business

So, everybody knows about Teach a Man to Fish, but I also present the following:

  • Tell Your Story. You make a difference in this world. You change the world just by living the life you live. You need to share your story with the rest of us.
  • You Must Be Joking. Learn to tell jokes. See what a difference it will make in your life. Smart people are funny.
  • And Then The Customer Said.. I believe that businesses loose millions of dollars because of simple mistakes that are made in dealing with customers. We can change all that.
  • The Language Revolution. Learn a second language. It will change your life. Different languages are having an impact on our lives more and more each day.

So, my message remains the same: Change yourself; Change the world!!

Here's a joke:

Two children are in a doctor's waiting room, and one of them is crying."Why are you crying?"asked the other child."I'm here for a blood test, and they're going to cut my finger."When he heard this, the other child started to cry."Why are you crying?""I'm here for a urine test."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Dan was the bravest guy I knew. Being around Dan was like living in an Indiana Jones movie. Dan was all go, go go! He scanned the horizon, and then made a bee-line for his destination.

Crossing the street with Dan was a harrowing experience. If Dan wanted to be on the other side of the street, he simply charged out into traffic and headed for the other side. That used to scare the daylights out of me.

Then one day Dan started complaining of headaches. It was suggested to him that he ought to see an eye doctor. He did, and it was determined that Dan needed eyeglasses. That would fix his headaches.

A week later Dan received the call that the glasses were ready and he could return to the doctor’s office to pick them up.
I went with him that day. We took a taxi downtown. As we crossed the street to the doctor’s office, once again, Dan charged across the traffic as if life meant nothing to him. Maybe it wasn’t that. Maybe he had a super charged faith that the traffic would make way for him and that life itself would always cooperate for his benefit. Whatever it was, we made it safely across the street to the doctor’s office.
I waited for Dan to have the eyeglasses fitted.
Nice looking glasses.

As we left the doctor’s office we headed for the street. We were about to cross when Dan grabbed me by the shoulder.
“Look out! Be careful! Look at those cars coming!”
Dan’s perspective had changed.

Such a simple thing. New glasses. But although it sounds funny, and although I am telling this story as a humorous anecdote, the difference in Dan’s perspective changed his behavior completely.

The way we face challenges, the future, relationships, and everything else, is mostly influenced by our perspective.
If we’re brave, or timid, or excited or let down, maybe it’s because we don’t have all the facts yet.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes a new perspective can change everything, and sometimes can even save our life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Choose easy


It’s a horrible feeling. Usually we feel that the stress of panic is being thrust upon us. Something or someone else is causing our panic. But how much of panic is a matter of our own choice?

I remember starting a new job that was very challenging. There were computer screens everywhere and a steady stream of information that I was supposed to be reviewing and analyzing. It was all very intimidating.

I was being trained by a young man who was very good at the job, and very relaxed and funny. The complicated nature of the job didn’t seem to faze him at all. He seemed like a genius as he juggled the telephones, barked technical jargon and moved quickly from computer to computer.

I wanted to be able to do the job and make it seem as important as this other guy did. I wanted to seem to be in control of all that technology. I wanted to make a good impression on my employer, so I was always on the edge of my seat, trying to be as busy as I could be.

So there I was, frantically writing, scanning the data, reviewing procedures. Then the phones started ringing and I needed to convey correct data and information to the counterparties on the other end. Soon I was the center of mass confusion. I was floundering. I needed help.

It was then that I heard laughter from the man who was supposed to be training me.

“Why are you making this so hard?”

I turned on my trainer with anger. I felt like I was righteous in my efforts to do everything right.

“Why aren’t you telling me what to do? Why aren’t you helping me?”

“Okay, I’ll give you a hint. Choose easy.”

Choose easy? What the heck does that mean?

“Yes, choose easy! You’re trying to make this too hard! Who are you trying to impress?”

Choose easy. Sounds too simple. How do I choose easy?

“Just stop and think about what exactly it is that you’re trying to accomplish, and choose the easiest path to your goal.”

I was stunned.

“What do you have to gain by choosing the hardest path to your goal?”

I’ve frequently asked myself that question many times in the years since that panicky day. Do I try too hard to make things appear difficult so that I will appear to be hard working and capable?

Choose Easy.

It’s more productive.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Deep End: Catastrophic Prize

Sometimes you just need someone to explain the joke.
It's like calling "time out".
There's no shame in this. Especially if the payoff is understanding a really great joke.

Somebody explain this to me.

The Deep End: Catastrophic Prize

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Experience the pellet gun.

You can’t really know something unless you have firsthand experience with it. I’ve had this conversation with people hundreds of times.

Can you know much about anything without firsthand experience?

I’m not sure I’ve been convinced one way or the other by any of the arguments I’ve heard.

On the one hand, I recently listened to a man go on and on about how horrible it would be to live in New York City. He admitted that he had never even visited New York City, yet he was sure that it would be a horrible place to live. I knew that his point of view was invalid, no matter how he had obtained his information. He couldn’t know much about New York if he hadn’t been there.

On the other hand, I’ve never been to Spain, but I feel I know it’s a wonderful place, because I want to go there, and I’ve studied and learned as much about Spain as I can.

One of the best illustrations of this argument came many years ago from a particularly dim witted young man who worked in the warehouse of the company where I was employed. This young man believed without question that we cannot know anything with absolute certainty without firsthand experience. He was ready to defend this position to the death. There was no way he could be persuaded to consider the possibility that there might be another point of view on the matter.

The argument in the warehouse became heated. Some of the guys there felt that someone could have a pretty good opinion about something without firsthand experience. But the dim witted young man was unmoved. You can’t know ANYTHING without firsthand, actual knowledge.

The following Monday, as we all returned to work. I noticed that the angry young man who had argued so passionately about experience, was walking with a limp. I had to know his story.

“I was at a get-together with my family over the weekend. One of my nephews was playing with a pellet gun. He asked me how much it hurt to be shot with a pellet gun. I was going to tell him that it really hurts a lot, when it occurred to me that I really didn’t know. I didn’t have any firsthand experience with being shot by a pellet gun. So I pumped up the gun and shot myself in the thigh.”

Now, I guess I have to say that I don’t really know what it feels like to shoot myself in the leg with a pellet gun. I don’t have that firsthand experience. But I’m pretty sure that it hurts a lot, and that it would probably leave a nasty mark and cause me to limp for a few days. And now I can say that my knowledge has been increased by seeing someone else experience a pellet gun shot to the thigh.

Maybe that’s the key. We share our experiences with others, and learn from the experiences of others. In this way we develop a shared knowledge, even if it isn’t firsthand, pellet gun knowledge. But sometimes that kind of knowledge isn’t really necessary.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

When we struggle.

This past year has been a tough one for me. I’ll admit it.

Most of the hard things that have happened to me would probably seem like good things to other people.

My daughter got married. My son is studying abroad.

I know these are wonderful events, and I am truly grateful for them. But it was still hard to see my kids leave home and begin new lives.

Some of the hard things that have happened have just been bad.

I’ve been worried about losing my job. I was told that the position would be eliminated. It was off and on again several times. There have been some really horrible days when I wondered if I would be able to provide for my family much longer.

Mixed in with all this, my house was severely damaged in a wind storm in December. We’ve been struggling with our Insurance provided to agree upon proper repairs.

So there have been great moments of happiness, and horrible moments of worry and despair.

I’ve been amazed each time I’ve been lifted from my despair by someone I least expected to be thinking of me. Something as simple as telling me that they know that I’ve been struggling and that they are thinking of me. Sometimes someone has actually reached out with a useable idea, or even come to my house to physically help me work on a problem. I now know that I’ve misjudged many people in my life.

Forgiveness brings about personal progress. When we convince ourselves that we are alone, and that everyone else is against us, we stifle our own progress. None of us can truly be happy alone. We reach our happiest peaks, and our most delicious successes, through and with the cooperation of others.

Surviving hard times makes happy and successful times that much better. Hard times also help us see the way toward success more clearly. But this clarity is only available to us if we are honest about the reasons for our suffering, and if we’re willing to let them go.

That’s why we talk about all this, that’s why we share.