Monthly Archives: June 2015

Advice on Advice


Dear Jack ~ Success leave clues.  Success is not accidental.  Habitual, calculated and determined actions, over time, create success.  The compound effect creates success.  You create success.

When seeking counsel it’s wise to seek knowledge from others that have arrived.  You will often be given unsolicited advice, but pay that no mind, and blaze your own trail.  Wisdom from others can no doubt be helpful but be careful whose advice you take.  Guidance spewn from the valley is only worth so much but intellect from the mountain top is priceless.

Remember who you are and whose you are.  Monday morning quarterbacks sit the bench.  You need to be the playmaker. Seek guidance and counsel from those that have attained what you are after, listen attentively, and never look back.



Intestinal Fortitude Required

U. S. Federal Prison Leavenworth, KS


“You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them.”

– Ray Bradbury


Dear Jack ~ I sat in a Leavenworth County courthouse several years ago (yes, THE Leavenworth County, where the Federal Penitentiary is, the one where Michael Vick, Machine Gun Kelly and countless other hardened criminals have served time) in utter shock. Summoned for jury duty I figured I was being questioned for a trial involving a burglary at the Tyson Chicken plant (subject for another post and, yes, a true story involving me) but that wasn’t the case.  In front of me sat a 17 yr. old youngster on trial for breaking into an elderly woman’s home, hitting her over the head with a frying pan, and raping her. Yes, that happened. While the crime was clearly disturbing what was even more so, was I was staring at a child. 17 years old. What off ramp did he take that I didn’t?  How did HE end up here?

And so began my quest to understand the human psyche and how we make the choices we make.  Turns out this young man’s defense was he didn’t intend to do what he did.  True or false?  Guess what? Doesn’t matter.  He did it and his life will never be the same.

We are constantly trying to either avoid pain or gain pleasure.  That’s it.  At it’s simplest form all decisions are made based on those two premises; both short term and long term.  And often our desire to avoid pain will go above and beyond the pursuit of pleasure.  Or at least it should.

When we understand the wiring of our brain it can help us to make informed, deliberate decisions and we are not subject to the barage of media and society.  Learn from others and their actions.  Make your choices intentional and with fervor.  Carry them out swiftly, with enthusiasm, and the world is your oyster.

The Only Way Out Is Through


Dear Jack ~ The buffalo is an amazing creature.  In the rolling Flint Hills of Kansas storms form quickly. Cattle join together, birds form a flock and sheep look for their Shepard; but they all run East from the storms and impending weather.  What makes the buffalo unique, both in our home state and others, is it senses the barometric pressure change, looks a storm in the eye, and barrels it’s way through.  It knows that the intermediate pain will pail in comparison to the alternative.

This is how we must approach life.  Instead of rolling with, we must bury our heads and plow through. The human psyche is motivated by one of two things; either to avoid pain or gain pleasure. Think about it.  It’s the former that we must tackle head on.

When things seem tough, the obstacles insurmountable and we are overwhelmed beyond our wildest dreams, tuck your head in, eye your obstacle and charge your way in.

The only way out is through.


Journey To Inner Space


Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is the power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom.

– Victor Frankl

Dear Jack ~ Our society rejects pause.  The world you live in is moving faster by the second.  Short term is the new long term, fast is the new slow and the day is now measured in fractions of nanoseconds.  I implore you to slow down.

It has been said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  So is true of our time.  You have but very few real choices in life but your response to others and the world around you should be at the top of that list.

Victor Frankl survived the Holocaust.  Not because he was the fittest, most optimistic or had inside connections, but because he chose to rule over his thoughts.  He chose not only to survive but to THRIVE.

Sharpen Your Slingshot


Dear Jack ~ You’ve got to know that you know there is nothing you can’t overcome.  Reflect on the story of David and his rise to victory with his tiny frame, a slingshot, and 5 small smooth stones.  He declared that day he would feed his foe’s head to the birds of the air.

He did.

You will do the same.

There will be times in life when the problems in front of you seem insurmountable.  Sickness, doubt, depression will come; but know they are temporary.  They did not come to stay.  Deep down, you’ve got to know that you know.

Just like David you will face trials and tribulations that tower over you.  I’ve found in my life when faced with a problem, there is nothing that deep reflection, constructive rumination and a thoughtful plan can’t overcome.  Sometimes the most daunting circumstances can be “chunked down” into bite size pieces digestable by the strongest of human spirits you possess.

In the words of the great Ronald Reagan, IT CAN BE DONE.


As a Man Thinketh


Dear Jack ~ Take time to think deeper.  The subtle art of pondering has been lost in today’s hustle and bustle mentality.  I encourage you to spend alone time, with pen and paper.  You need not move mountains but sometimes slowing down and thinking out loud can be tremendously beneficial.  Perhaps it’s quite time in the morning or after the house is asleep… whatever it is do it consistently, with enthusiasm and with an insatiable curiosity.

Research suggests that simply writing down your goals, aspirations, and wishes can increase their likelihood of success by as much as 70%.  That’s pretty powerful.  Be in the top 1%.  Write it down.  The kinesthetic nature of putting pen to paper takes tactility to another level.

Farmers used to carry small index notebooks to keep a careful eye over their crops and monitor planting.  We can learn from these men and women of the land.  The human brain can only store a finite amount of information but cataloguing and indexing your ideas can create a mental filing cabinet from which some of your best and brightest ideas may take root.  Make your thinking cap a permanent wardrobe fixture and the sky’s the limit.

Dirty Jobs


“We’re churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expecatation of what is means to go to work.”

– Mike Rowe

Dear Jack ~ Mike has it right.  Get up and get to work.  Motion creates emotion.  Watch the show Dirty Jobs.  It follows the host, Mike Rowe, around as he explores this country searching for the men and women that aren’t afraid to get dirty.  The blue collar laborer is a dying breed.  What a shame.

Jobs aren’t always going to be fun.  They’re a mean to an ends.  Don’t be the guy that walks by a “help wanted” sign on the way to the unemployment office.  Get off your duff and create one.  Most jobs I’ve ever have had been created.  I started as a temp and made a position.  I suggest you do the same thing.  Opportunity is created and earned.

That being said, do something your passionate about.  I suggest you focus on the other big “P”; purpose.  Do something that adds value and has purpose.  If you help enough other people be successful; it comes full circle.  You want to become a trusted advisor to your friends and family.

My grandfather said the messure of a succesful day is the amount of dirt under your fingernails come bed time.  Get up.  Add value.  Get to work.


Live Life In Your Own Hula Hoop


Dear Jack ~ mind your Ps and Qs.  I never really understood the meaning of that phrase until I got a litlte older.  I did a little digging and the Oxford English Dictionary devotes a whole entry to Ps and Qs, adding a few more senses to the above-mentioned.  As well as being mindful of them, you can be on your Ps and Qs, meaning be on your best behaviour, or (in the USA) on your toes; something can be P and Q, if it is of the highest quality; and one’s Ps and Qs can be the alphabet.

I’m a simpleton and, as it was once described to me, minding my Ps and Qs means living life within my own hula hoop.  I like that.  In life’s daily drama, there are things in your control and plenty outside of your control; focus on the former and what’s within your circle of influence and you have the antitode to stress.  In all reality the only thing we can control is our reaction to life’s circumstances, situations, and dealings.

Anything outside of your hula hoop is idle time, consumes intellectual horsepower and is just plain usless.  It’s pretty easy to get caught up in other people’s business and their affairs; it’s natural, but just remember that your job is to take care of you, ensure you are on the straight n’ narrow and your compass points north.


Be On Time If You Can’t Be There Early


Dear Jack ~ The bad news is time flies.  The good news is your the pilot.  As of this writing there are 186,504 books on time management.  What follows is the world simplest and most impactful method of time management.  I’ll save you countless hours and, in the interest of this topic, sum it up for you.

Be on time.  People lose years off their life by being late and mavericks honor their commitments.  There are countless strategies on effective management of time and managing your day but none will yield you the results like being punctual.  For years I’ve made it a practice of showing up early to appointments and at the very least mentally preparing for a few minutes ahead of time.  I believe that little extra time has yield me exponential results over the years.

Remember either you run the day, or the day runs you.



My Hut’s On Fire


Dear Jack ~ what follows is a true story.  Several years ago a shipwrecked gentlemen found himself alone washed up on a small island in the South Pacific.  Not trained in the art of survival he was surely doomed as he had not the skills to equip him for this daunting plight.  He foraged for food, attempted to create fire, and occupy his mind while awaiting his fate.  He scavenged for branches and leaves to build a small shelter to protect him for the frosty night air and countless potential predators.

After a few weeks, with his bony face sunken in and in complete despair, he through his hands in the air asking “why me?”  As his stomach panged, he entered the wooded landscape in attempt to find microgreens or small edibles and when he returned, the small hut he constructed of palm branches and fig leafs, was engulfed in an inferno the likes of which he had never seen before.  How is this possible he asked?  He threw himself on the beach, the taste of saltwater in his cheeks and sand in his gums.  After some time, he looked up and saw a Coast Guard boat.  As the vessel beached and the Captain approached the man hugged him and clenched him in his arms.  “How on earth did you ever find me?,” muttered the man.  “I followed the smoke.”

What’s my point?  You know my point.  It’s in times of complete despair when things seem hopeless, the grind is painful and the heat is turned up that we grow and thrive.  We all go through seasons of pruning; it’s how we react that creates achievers.