Thursday, June 28, 2012

Singin' From a Cell Phone

Am in Charleston, SC having a great time. Was in a an Irish pub last night and two young guys were the entertainment; one guy on the guitar and the other was singing. The kid on the guitar was doing ok but the kid singing was looking at the lyrics on an iPhone he held in his hand. We've all seen people sing with the lyrics on paper in their hands. It hit me later that this was an up-to-date version of the old habit but there was something slack about it; like he was too lazy to learn the lyrics. I realize that part of my reaction is birthdate-related as I recently heard a doctor call it. But, if you have a cell phone in your hand for every little thing you do there's a significant part of the population--mine--who won't take you seriously.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Does Breaking a Mirror Mean?

For thousands of years humans have used the concept of signs as a way to perceive life issues. Finding a four-leaf clover is a sign of coming good luck just as much as breaking a mirror is a sign of 7 years of bad luck. I always wondered what would happen if you broke a mirror while bending over to pick up a four-leaf clover.

In Caddyshack, when a golfball sticks on a crow's beak Danny the Caddy says, “Maybe that’s good luck.” Ty (played by Chevy Chase) says, “Yeah, in Haiti.”

We frame these happenings as good or bad based on personal or societal habits, superstitions or spiritual beliefs.

Here’s the cool part: We get to choose.

No matter what society says, we get to choose whether a sign is good or bad, positive or negative, hopeful or depressing.

In the last 24 hours I’ve had a number of issues pop up that I could take either way. I hate to say it but my normal take on them is not positive. But, today I’m going the other way. I’m going to look at them as opportunities to take a positive, hopeful view of life and let them make me stronger instead of weaker.

What signs have you seen today? What’s your call, up or down?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fireworks In Your Head

If you’re lucky you have something in your life that, when it happens, feels like fireworks going off in your head.

You could be with a certain person, engaging in a specific activity, or involved a specific situation. When it happens, BOOM!, fireworks.

Those three issues, by the way: Specific activities or situations, or certain people, are the things that make humans feel happiness.

If you will schedule encountering those people, engaging in those activities or putting yourself in those situations you will be happier.

So, what does it for you?

Fireworks In Your Head

If you’re lucky you have something in your life that, when it happens, feels like fireworks going off in your head.

You could be with a certain person, engaging in a specific activity, or involved a specific situation. When it happens, BOOM!, fireworks.

Those three issues, by the way: Specific activities or situations, or certain people, are the things that make humans feel happiness.

If you will schedule encountering those people, engaging in those activities or putting yourself in those situations you will be happier.

So, what does it for you?

Monday, June 25, 2012

From Smart to Not

Santa Clara, CA county officials have pulled $30 million from a project to fund a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers. The officials said they believed the money should be spent on teachers.

A Memphis woman roughed up her landlord using “correction officer” tactics when the landlord approached her for rent. Chelsea Harris was arrested after she sat on her landlord’s head.

Y’all, I can’t make this stuff up.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Yesterday was my last seminar for the season. I’m on vacation now for about 6 weeks. I friend of mine used to call it Vacamacation. I love that!

A bunch of the time will be spent working on other projects but I’m planning on being about as worthless as a person can be for a few days before I get started on the other stuff.

The problem, though, is that I’ve found that when I slow down it’s difficult to get back up to speed after time off. It happens after summer vacations and after the holidays.

I’ll promise myself that I’ll jump right back into projects and seminars with the same wide-open energy I have in the middle of the seasons, but it never works that way. It’ll take me two weeks to get back up to speed.

The trade-off is to keep working a little bit on a variety of things, but then it never feels like you’re really on vacamacation.

Knowing your work style helps keep you at the height of productivity. Here’s what works for me: Be worthless for a few days and then keep my hand in with new and ongoing projects during week while I blow it out on long weekends during the vacamacation period.

What works for you?

PS….and a vacamacation is supposed to be just that…down time…don’t turn it into another job…try to have some fun.

Have a great weekend…see you Monday….even on vacamacation I’ll still see you every workday…it’s a way for me to keep up with all of it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

$10 On Lucky 19

Recently, at a roulette table at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas the number 19 came up seven times in a row!

Putting $10 on 19 and letting it ride through the whole seven turns would have won over $600, 000, 000, 000…$600 Billion Dollars.

When something like that happens tons of folks think, “That could happen to me!”

No…it won’t. In fact, if you go to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or any city that has legalized gambling the probability that you will win is low. As someone once said to me, “They couldn’t build those humongous hotels and casinos if the public won most of the time.”

Here’s a different way of looking at the issue: If you took the same $10 and went to and bought a book about success, motivation or how to work smarter and read it the experience would be more likely to have a positive effect on your life than putting the $10 on 19.

If you’re gambling, gamble on yourself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year...Summer Solstice. All the days start getting shorter after this.

What if someone came to you every morning and said, "Your life is shorter as of today. You have X days left." How would you act, how would you use each day if you knew that?

The reality and challenge is that you do know that...don't you?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your Own Hole In the Wall

Like many older people my mother easily remembers events from the distant past but can't remember what she had for lunch. Recently, I mentioned a friend's name to her and she said, "Years ago his mother showed the best example of initiative I've ever seen."

It seems that the woman wanted her kitchen remodeled and her husband was procrastinating getting started.

So, she found a sledgehammer and KNOCKED A 4-FOOT HOLE IN THE KITCHEN WALL. When her husband got home that evening she let him stare at the hole for a few moments and then asked, "Think you can get started now?"

Ya gotta love that!

What walls do you need to knock a hole in?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back From the Wild

Camping last Friday night was…an adventure.

The sky above Kerr Lake was full of stars, the campfire and music was great, the marshmallows were sticky and the lake was beautiful when I awoke on Saturday morning.

However, there was a period of confusion and discomfort on Friday afternoon. The folks I camped with have done this many times so each went about their tasks of setting up with the smooth sense of confidence created by habit.

I stood around and tried not to get in the way and watched what they were doing. If we go again I’ll be able to contribute more to the effort.

Any time we attempt a new task, meet a new person or are placed in a new situation there will be a period of adjustment. The feeling during the getting-used-to-it period can range from a little confusing to extremely painful.

If you know the range of feeling is coming you can be ready for it which, hopefully, means you’ll be more observant and learn more because you aren’t caught up in the feeling.

I don’t know if I’ll beg anyone to go camping anytime soon—my definition of roughing it is waiting 20 minutes for room service and not having a TV remote—but I liked it and will go again if asked. And I’ll be ready to be better at it.

Uh, wait a minute……is that a tick?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Into the Wild

Going camping tonight.

I'll jump out of a plane in a skinny minute, but my idea of roughing it is having to wait 20 for room service or getting up to change the channel on a television.

And it isn't that I'm scared of the animals, mind peeing outdoors (actually, that's one of the attractions) or can't get cell phone service where we'll be.

The issue is that I won't be in control of most of the time.

If you aren't in control of a situation there are two things you need to do:

First, do some simple planning. I'm taking about 12 gallons of Off!, a flyswatter and a baseball bat (depending on the size of the critters) and enough beer to solve the hydration problem.

Second, relax and simply flow with the situation. Nothing lasts forever, so sooner or later it will end and you can make a decision about what effect the experience will have on your life.

Some folks can't get out of their comfort zone long enough to find out if there is another zone they'd like to add to their lives.

Wish me luck. I'm not going to Outer Scratchyourbuttistan, but I won't be at a Marriott. If I make it back from the wilderness I'll report on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Get a Hat, Get a Life

Had Chinese food last night and ended up with a handful of fortune cookies.

The first one read, "Use your abilities at this time to stay focused on your goal. You will succeed."

I'm thinking, "Sweet, here I am on the road to success!"

The second one said, "A bold and dashing adventure is in you future within the year."

Yeah! No stopping me now!

The third one was, "You should be able to undertake and complete anything you desire."


The final one read, "Try a new hat for a change of looks."

Well, it was good while it lasted.

The great thing about life is that WE get to determine which message we believe and want to follow.

Now, what type of hat do you think I'd look good in?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Where Do You Put Roach Motels?

I’ve been seeing some roaches here at the The Cottage and so I bought some of the little, plastic roach motels.

I asked a friend where I should put them and she said, “Put them where you see roaches.”

Now, I consider myself reasonably bright (yes, there’ll be some disagreement from some of the people I’ve known in my life)…but, I kinda figured that you had to put the motels somewhere special…like at roach central, wherever that is.

Nope, just put’em where you see roaches.

Sometimes in life we make things waaaay more difficult than they have to be.

Look around…what situation in life are you making harder than it has to be?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

An Austrian crematorium burned to the ground while trying to cremate a 440-pound woman. It seems her unusual amount of body fat (the phrase used by The Week Magazine) caused the oven to overheat; it exploded and the fire quickly raged out of control.

Considering my love of Coronas, Krispy Kremes and red meat whoever gets the job of toasting me better have insurance.

PS… “If God hadn’t wanted us to eat cows He shouldn’t have made them so slow.” Kathleen Madigan, comedian

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Is All About Peanuts

I love the giant, roasted, salted-in-the-shell peanuts. If you sit me down on my deck with a bowl of them and a cold beverage or two…or three…I’ll spend a few hours shelling, eating and throwing shells over my shoulder into the backyard.

Last night, while SETting (that would be Shelling, Eating, Throwing) I had a life lesson pop up for me.

One of life’s frustrations is struggling with an especially difficult peanut and just as you get it open your hand jerks with the effort and the nut falls out and onto the ground…I’m well-aware of the “5-second rule” but I usually am not going to pick it up, blow off the dirt and eat it…unless it’s the last one.

And it hit me that life is like my peanut experience. If you’re going to make an effort to get something out of life—to open the peanut—there are going to be times when it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped.

So, do you say, “Well, that’s it for me. No more peanuts,” or do you simply reach into the bowl get another peanut and try again?

Here’s a cool thought: How many peanuts do you lose in a session? If you open and drop 90% it may not be worth the effort. But for most of us, it’s more like things work out 90% of the time. That’s a great percentage, I’d take a 90% win rate to Las Vegas anytime!

In life, what’s your dropped peanut rate? No one wins 100% of the time. What rate are you willing to consider an overall win?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Put That Away

You don't have to live in an environment that looks like the TV show Hoarders to have clutter negatively affect your life. A cluttered car, home, office or desk slows our thinking, causes stress and can keep you from getting many of the things done that would lead to a better life.

Too much "stuff" collects in our lives because we don't put it away. And, it often literally takes only a few seconds to put something in its place.

Look around. Don't take a lot of time to decide, but find one thing that needs to be put away or thrown away.

Do it now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Yo-Yo Day

Today is National Yo-Yo kidding!

My nickname in college was Yoyo. A fraternity brother who was two years older was also Mike Collins and had a nickname that was more than a little gross. Guys started calling me "Little _______" because of the Mike Collins connection.

I decided that I certainly was not going to go through four years of college with a gross nickname so I had to invent one of my own. I loved yoyos so I bought a Duncan Imperial and started playing with it everywhere I went, including the dining room at the fraternity house.

Needless to say, the seniors were not happy.

About two weeks after I began my campaign I went out to the fraternity house and there was a note on the door, "Yoyo, your dad called." The name had stuck. Now, there are folks I went to college with who do not have a clue what my name is but they know Yoyo.

The two great things I learned about the whole process were that they proved to me you don't have to settle for what other people want to stick you with...and you can create your future if you have the courage to try.

PS...maybe I should have tried for the nickname, Master of the Universe!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cup Empty, Meeting Over

If you want to a laugh and have that “I’ve been there” feeling go to

Monday, June 4, 2012

Heart, Focus and Feet

This past weekend marked the beginning of freedom for tens of thousands of high school students….it was graduation weekend.

I’m willing to bet at least half the speakers at graduation ceremonies mentioned “follow your heart” somewhere in their remarks.

Following your heart is a wonderfully optimistic strategy. I’ve followed it and I’m sure many of you have, too.

What speakers DON’T usually add is, “and what follows behind your heart should be your feet,” the work it will take to make your heart’s desire come true.

However, I’m willing to bet that around 25 percent of speakers used the phrase “hard work” in their speeches so they were moving in the right direction, at least.

If you are truly following your heart the work doesn’t usually seem like work so most of it won’t be hard; and what is hard will not usually seem like drudgery, which is what work seems like for 20-70 percent of the workforce according to various studies.

So, to our graduates: Follow your heart, focus, and follow up with you feet. Good luck in your journey.

Now, get out of bed and clean up your room.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Leave Early Today

You’re gonna love this one!

Today is National Leave the Office Early Day. It’s also Say Something Nice Day.

No kidding. If you don’t believe me go online to “Chase’s Calendar of Events.” This site is the best supposit…mmm….repository…for all the special days, weeks and months.

So, here’s my suggestion: Leave early and as you walk out the door look over your shoulder at your co-workers and say, “You know, I’ve enjoyed this week with y’all.”

If you’re from the North please feel free to use y’all, it’s friendlier and nicer than you’uns.

Have a great weekend. See y’all on Monday.