Short Stories.

Sometimes all we need is a short story.

The Starfish ~ (Making a Difference)

The Soldier ~ (It's worth it)

The Fisherman ~ (Success)

The Samurai ~ (Self Control)

The Two Wolves ~ (Good & Evil)

The Monks ~ (Let it Go)

The CEO ~ (Ambition)

The Philosopher ~ (Drive & Desire)

The Owl ~ (Wisdom & Action)

The Alien ~ (Learning)

The Salesman ~ (Advice)

The Eagle ~ (Leadership)

The Parrot ~ (Attention)

The Lesson ~ (Adversity)

The Starfish.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss.

A small girl was walking along the beach upon which thousands of starfish had washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish she would pick one up and throw it back into the ocean. All of the adults on the beach watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said "Why are you doing this? Look ~ There are thousands of starfish. You can't save them all or begin to make a difference.

The little girl was crushed and her eyes began to fill with tears.

But then after a few moments ~ She stooped down and picked up another starfish and gently held it in her hand. Then, with all her might, she hurled it as far as she could into ocean and said to the man.

"Well I made a difference with that one."

Top Down.

" I hate intellectuals. They are from the top down. I am from the bottom up." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright.

It's a funny thing about the old top down concept. The great coach, leader or intellectual we feel has all the answers. The shiny marble we place on top. If he is really good ~ If he does his job well enough ~ There should come a time when we don't need him. If he does really well we should be able to take him away and the structure still stands.

The very best build strong foundations from the bottom up.

The Soldier.

"It's not so much our friends help that helps us, as the confidence of their help." ~ Epicurus.

During the war a soldier watched in horror as his lifelong friend fell under gunfire. All the soldiers had to retreat. The soldier went to ask permission from his lieutenant to go and fetch his friend from the no-mans-land. The lieutenant gave permission, but added: "It is hardly worth it. ~ Your friend is probably dead and you may die too."

This soldier didn't care about the warnings and miraculously he reached his friend, lifted him to his shoulders, and stumbled back.

He was wounded horribly in the process. The lieutenant came over, noticed the friend was dead and said ~ "I'm sorry for your friend."

"But I told you it wasn't worth it. Your friend is dead and now you are also seriously wounded." ~ "I have to disagree with you. ~ It was worth it", the soldier answered. "What do you mean?" the lieutenant replied.

"It was worth it", the soldier repeated again. ~ "When I got to my friend, he was still alive and he said... ~ "I knew you'd never leave me."


"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Best Excuse Ever.

"Genetic predisposition is not destiny." ~ Kranzler.

It's the best excuse human beings ever came up with. I guess the fact that it's often true helps. We use it to explain behavior, illness, addiction, traits, likelihood of success, and even the color of...Whatever. Nature versus Nurture. Genetics. DNA. Heredity and components beyond our control play a large part in determining the appearance, attributes, health and likelihood of whatever in our lives.


Forgive me for oversimplifying a very complex topic. The greatest scientists the world has ever produced can't agree on this one.
Nature versus Nurture. But hey ~ what the heck. I'm gonna give it a shot. It's not my fault. It's the way I am. Simple. It's in my genes.

There are some things we can't control and some we can. But often we fall back on "That's the way I am" or a similar phrase as an excuse to not be something more. Predisposition is not destiny. As human beings we have a lot to say in our choices and our destiny.

Here's a thought ~ Genes have epigenetic markers that serve as a volume control and adjust the intensity of how a gene expresses itself, and over time, the environment, our lifestyle and yes ~ even the decisions we make can alter these markers. Genes determine a lot ~ An awful lot. ~ But Genetic Predisposition Is Not Destiny.

Beginner's Mind.

"In the beginners mind there are many possibilities. In the experts mind there are few." ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

It's a simple concept. But boy is it hard to master. We try to teach, coach, help, support and even counsel and in so doing we believe that... Well ~ We have expectations. Maybe that's part of the problem ~ part of our frustration. People don't do what we recommend and we wonder why - or worse we come up with a conclusion - an answer.

Bruce Lee probably said it best:

"In order to learn we must first empty our own cup". Yet we get frustrated because other people have not emptied their cups to take in the advice or insight we offer ~ But we haven't emptied our own cup.

Wow this stuff is certainly a vicious circle.


"A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough." ~ Christian Nestell Bovee.

Most people would agree that determination is a key ingredient to success but is it the most important contributor? Does Determination Alone Work? How about intelligence, talent, circumstance and plain old luck - Where do they rank? Do we need a combination of factors and attributes to fall into place to be successful in any endeavor?
I guess it depends on who you ask.

Ask 'Rudy' and you get one answer - Ask a lottery winner and you get another. Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred answers from working hard to being smart. From having connections to character, ambition to ability, and talent to tenacity. However the common denominator on everyones list will undoubtedly be determination. How do we measure our determination? How do we know whether we really have it or just think we do? We measure it against the ~ "Black Dog".

The black dog is the name Winston Churchill gave to the depression that would often overcome him. The feeling of worthlessness, futility and apathy that he, and many great men from Lincoln to Kafka battled during their lives. I believe it's how we respond to this despondancy, apathy, inertia, and paralyzing introspective quagmire that determines our success in life. It's what we do when we question whether any endeavor is worth the effort to continue. It's whether we pet, embrace and accept this black dog or whether we choose to fight through the darkness he represents. This is what determines the depth of our determination. This is what ultimately determines our success.

Some black dogs are puppies ~ Distractions, embryonic ennui ,that lead us down the path of least resistance. And some are hounds from hell ~ deep depressions that drag us into despondancy and despair.

When the black dog comes to attack our dreams ~ intelligence can debate him, talent could delay him, connections might care, but there's only one thing that ultimately drives him away ~ Our Determination.

Retargeting and Change.

"Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results." ~ Albert Einstein.

98% of all website visitors leave without a conversion. They visit but don't buy or take a measurable action. So we retarget them.

Behavioral retargeting is a primary tactic used in digital commerce ~ It's also a strong indicator of what we do in sales, business, politics, social interactions and life. It's a method whereby we qualify, advertise to, associate, befriend and surround ourselves with people who share common denominators. In politics they call it "appealing to the base." We try to convert those who have identified an interest in the stuff, traits or opinions we have. We go after people that are like us. That way we become effective at getting more of what we have already got.

Retargeting the 98% who have expressed an interest is the most effective way to get more of what we've already got. In business it's smart and economically sound profiling. It just makes sense.

In personal growth though it's stagnation. In life it's death. Most of what we do, who we know, and how we behave is redundant. We keep going back to what we already know. Addressing that with which we agree. We try to convert the ideas we are already comfortable with into action. All 100% of them. We measure success and congratulate ourselves.
  • 2% take action (Yay ~ we've already got them).
  • 98% don't (so we keep going after them).
But what about the gazillion percent who've never expressed interest? The ideas, concepts and people that we've disqualified or are not comfortable with? What about the ones who never came to our site? The ones who've never stepped on our court. The different interests.

Could that be where real change resides?

Every Day ~ A Veteran.

Less than one half of one percent serve in the military.

The remaining 99 1/2 percent calls them ~ Veterans.
What does it mean? What are the values and value of a veteran?

Balance Is Codswallop.

"Live every day as if it were your last and then some day you'll be right." ~ H.H. "Breaker" Morant.

Ok get ready for this one. ~ "Life balance is a load of old codswallop".
It's foisted upon us by well intentioned psychiatrists, consultants and wellness experts. I say balderdash. Let me ask you a question. When you've read about people who made a difference in this world ~ Mandela, Churchill, Ghandi, Jobs, Keller, Edison, Newton or anyone else ~ How many of them emphasised "Life Balance" as the key to a satisfying life? Yes they had demons and oftentimes self serving drivers that made life difficult for friends, family and associates who got too close to the fire. But they did something that made a difference. Their lives made a difference. Go Ahead Make A Difference ~ Give Everything In Life All You've Got. ~ Life Balance Is Codswallop.

Vicarious Learning.

"Anyone who stops learning is old." ~ Henry Ford.

Some say we stop vicarious learning and switch to vicarious living once we reach a certain point in our lives. Perhaps we do ~ But maybe not.

Vicarious learning is a type of learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating novel behavior executed by others. It's example learning in it's simplest form. Do we reach a point in adulthood when we stop learning like this because we now know stuff?

Recently my daughter came home, to visit for a day, from her career at Apple headquarters. I asked her "What's it like now Steve doesn't show up in the cafeteria?" Her response was a remarkable affirmation of the power of vicarious learning. As she dove into the culture, creativity and learning opportunities that she gained from coworkers, mentors and associates the enthusiasm and excitement she displayed was enormously infectious. I felt myself learning from her. Learning about enthusiasm, listening, absorption and excitement. I experienced and felt the twin joys of both vicarious learning and vicarious living.

Whether it be through our children, friends, associates or those we admire from afar we need to turn vicarious learning into personal action in order for it to be more than just entertainment. We need to incorporate it into our own behavior. Otherwise it's just another TV show that gets turned on and off. If life is really just like a light switch perhaps vicarious learning is the ultimate power source. A source we can turn on and off at will regardless of what we think we already know.

It's Simple.

"Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."
~ Grandma Moses.



The Change Monster.

" Compelling reason will never convince blinding emotion."
~ Richard Bach.

There's a monster that follows each of us. No ~ It's not the cookie monster (although he also follows us everywhere nowadays). This one is a two headed monster. An ever present ogre that rears his twin noggins when confronted with the challenge to change. He's present in all of us and so we are pretty familiar with his likes, dislikes, opinions and beliefs. We call him "Emotion" and "Ego" and boy is he entrenched. Think you can convince people to change with reason? Good Luck. Logic is a loser. Intellect is for idiots. The "right" thing is sometimes subjective and open to debate. When we think we're reasoning we're often rationalizing. So what moves us to change?
The Two Headed Monster ~ Emotion and Ego.

Give him a cookie and who knows...