With Patrick Mosher
Between the three of us, our war cry was, "D for Diploma."
Aspiring to get a D in a class sounds like a distorted way to describe a path to Outstanding. I suppose the path to Outstanding isn't always straight or predictable.
During my Chemical Engineering curriculum, I didn't like any of my Physics classes. I was smart but I just couldn't grasp or visualize the concepts of applied calculus. Physics 251 was my last Physics requirement. Professor Klontz. In class, I understood each English word spoken, but when the Professor put them in sentences, the meaning was entirely lost on me. Oh yea, throw in a few Greek symbols and my head spun. In the evenings, I pored over the textbook, reading each chapter four or five times. Not much help. I studied for tests and quizzes, grasping for just one concept to save me.
The final exam came around. Me and two classmates were in the exact same predicament. 25%. That's all each of us...
I went to an all-boys college prep high school. We were to assume leadership roles in government and industry. I'm proud of my education at this fine institution.
In my sophomore year, I took Civics taught by our football coach, Mr. Balaban. It was an afternoon class, right after lunch. I sat on the right side, about a third of the way back. That way, I could lean my head against the wall. It was an easy "A" class. Not a shining beacon of my education … except for one short impactful lesson. I guess it was related to civics and good citizenship. I can see his massive form as he delivered this character-building sentence:
"Men, it's better to be Outstanding than Standing Out."
Have you ever felt like you were just left standing there?
I thought of all the times I was the last one picked for teams on the playground. There I was, Standing Out. I thought of the parties in high school that I wasn't...
To prepare for an annual medical checkup, I needed to get a blood draw. I went down to the local clinic and got in line to check in -- 2 people ahead of me. The little waiting room was crowded with people.
A young man, wearing the local university's colors, burst through the door. Clearly in a hurry. Clearly agitated when he saw the line. When the person at the desk completed her check-in, he jumps past the three of us and DEMANDS the receptionist check him in.
"I'm sorry sir, but you'll have to wait in line."
Protected by the thick glass, she looks relieved. The interaction creates a stir in the waiting room as people peak over their books and magazines to gawk at the scene.
"Check me in … NOW!"
"I'm sorry sir, but your appointment isn't for another 30 minutes. You'll have to wait."
Frustrated and with a few profanities, he steps away from the desk and turns to walk away, past me.
This is THE moment. What would you...
What was the first one word that stopped you in your tracks?
With a loud NO, you learned to freeze and stop what you were doing. And it didn't take you long to invoke NO when you didn't want that spinach mush forced into your mouth!
You learned early that a single word has POWER.
There are other little words that are both subtle and powerful. I call these JOINER WORDS.
Let's start with, THEN.
If you took a logic or computer programming class, you learned the power of IF-THEN statements. They are statements of causality. If the conditions of phrase A are fulfilled and true, THEN phrase B can also be true.
"If you clean your room, THEN you can go outside and play."
"If you meet all the performance objectives, THEN you can get promoted."
"If you really love me, THEN…."
THEN is so powerful, you can drop it completely and merely imply its existence:
"If you jump off the cliff, [THEN] I'll reward you handsomely."
Did you sit down at your desk today and feel like you've experienced this same day before? Seems like life repeats itself over and over and over again. Groundhog Day!
Experience Life as Extraordinary!
The definition of Wisdom is the soundness of act or decision based on knowledge, experience and good judgment. To live wisely, then, means to deepen our life experiences. Sure, we can travel all over the world and have amazing experiences, but most of the time, we have the opportunity to experience our everyday life as extra-ordinary.
When I was in college, earning my chemical engineering degree, I was required to take a physical education elective. For most of us engineers, we thought it was an opportunity to take a break from calculus, organic chemistry and physics. Many of my friends took volleyball and martial arts. I decided to take … Ballet I.
As you might imagine, when I walked into Day 1, I quickly discovered, I was the only guy in the...
Imagine the sound of a HUGE motor of your garbage truck, roaring in right front of you. Try to imitate it's sound. Go ahead, do it out loud. You stop in front of the house and load up their garbage, wondering, 'what treasures are they throwing away?' With just a twitch of your finger, you push the button and all that stuff mashes into mush. Power, Baby! And you get a whiff and wrinkle your nose. Smell it? You hit the gas and rev up that engine as you go to the next house. Put on the brakes to slow down and stop this massive machine. As you hit the brakes, they squeal with a high-pitch that makes you wince. Can you make that sound?
If you followed along, you just entered the world of a 5 year-old, playing with his garbage truck. It's a sensorial experience!
When I was a kid, we collected and played for hours with our Matchbox cars. Matchbox cars came in little boxes that actually look like matchboxes. ...
Growing up in Cincinnati, my family drove south for our summer vacations. Kentucky has many amazing state parks and wooded resorts. I fondly remember Cumberland Falls, Greenbo Lake, Carter Caves and Gwinn Island.
My favorite was Natural Bridge State Park.
I loved hiking to the Natural Bridge. It was both cool and scary. I remember walking to it and looking over an edge. YEOW! A long way down.
My Wisdom Story from Natural Bridge State Park, though, was in the gift shop. My Dad was a credit manager at a large retailer. Day after day, he saw people devastated by extending way beyond their means which made him pretty tight with his cash. At a very young age, I knew how much money was set aside for my Christmas gifts. I knew to ask for something within my gift budget.
So there we were in the gift shop and my Dad tells me, 'you can buy one thing in the gift shop.' WOWEE! What a surprise and it wasn't...
Stop signing your letters and emails with 'Best'!
Why? Reserve "Best" for exactly that …. your Best.
I'm working with Bo Eason, Storytelling Expert, Former NFL All Star, Broadway Playwright and Motivation Speaker. He works with people to be their Best. Working with him has made the word, Best, nearly sacred for me. Let's explore!
The definition of Best is 'the most excellent, outstanding or desirable.'
Best isn't just a high bar. It's the HIGHEST bar!
When you signed off your letter or email with 'Best,' did you go into your whole being, gather up all your best thoughts and best intentions? Thought about how you can best serve that person's life mission? And then write that word, 'Best'?
Oh, and what about using Best as an apology. That really grinds me. Someone hands you their work and say, "I did my Best." When you hear...
During our Ireland Wisdom Council this past September, we visited a Climate Change exhibit. At the end of our tour, four college students at the customer service desk were ready to answer any questions we had. As a Dad and Granddad, I naturally took the opportunity to ask them what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.
The first three eagerly responded with aspirations of changing the world through social policy, animal welfare and natural resource conservation. When I got to the fourth young man, he looked down at the desk and in a low voice said, "I'm majoring in robotics. I guess I'm going to take jobs away from a lot of people."
My heart sank. Not because of his chosen profession, but because how he FELT about his chosen profession.
Perfect time to share some wisdom. Here's what I told him ….
Imagine four cavemen huddled around the fire after a long hard day of hunting and hauling big rocks for their home structure. One...
Ever felt like an underdog? Does that mountain you need to climb look … HUGE!
I've had those feelings since …. forever. I'm the youngest of four. I didn't grow up in a normal family. (Did any of us?) My parents had an uncanny way of expecting excellence, but without speaking a word. No overt pressure. Their primary force du jour was Silent Disapproval. My siblings were all excellent at their chosen tracks. My oldest brother is an intellectual genius. My sister, an extraordinary professional artist. My other older brother, a financial guru. I felt a constant pressure to excel.
When we played cards, I would lose. When we played the game Risk, I would lose. When we played Monopoly, I would lose. When we wrestled on the floor in the living room, I would always get pinned.
Silent Disapproval and Relentless Comparison with Continual Defeats.
I've talked this over with my...