Movies often parlay timeless wisdom into compelling entertainment.
It's been said that everything after Shakespeare is a retelling merely updated for current tastes. Perhaps so - but then again I sure as heck love movies regardless of how many times the story has been burnished. The westerns, the epics, the science fiction and the historical dramas spin tales familiar and fascinating. There is inspiration to be found in the sights and sounds shown on the silver screen. So here, for your enjoyment, is some timeless wisdom compliments of Yoda condensed into three simple instructions;

  • Do or Do Not - There is no Try.
  • Overcome Your Fear.
  • Your World is A Reflection of You

Timeless wisdom compliments of Yoda.

Do or Do Not - There is no Try.

That's what I learned from Yoda.

SFC Jared C. Monti

“He was a real hard-nosed NCO (non-commissioned officer),” said
Staff Sergeant Matthew Wolfanger, who was a member of Monti’s unit.
“He really demanded a lot out of his guys … but in the end we loved him for it because he took us from soldiers who were kinda just going through the motions doing our jobs to guys who were passionate about what we were doing. On 17 September 2009 The President of the United States of America bestowed our nations highest honor - The Congressional Medal of Honor - on SFC Jared C. Monti.
All I can say is I Salute You with the Utmost Respect. The Nations Highest Honor Given Only To Our Very Finest. Nothing else needs to be said.

Learn more about SFC Jared C. Monti - The Medal of Honor Citation


Nothing further needs to be said.

Paul Simon

Want to know how to sell a whole bunch of stuff, get rich while you are sleeping and have lot's of people like you? It's easy. Simon Says
" A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
So tell people it's easy. Buy a house for $199, Get Rich the easy Way, Lose weight, Have the perfect life, Vacation all the time, Do only what you love to do, Work a 4 hour week. You Don't need credit, You Don't need to sell anything. You Deserve it. Just tell everyone what they want to hear - Just tell them it's easy. You can set up a web site, twitter a little and money will roll in while you sleep. Everyone knows it's just a matter of knowing a few inside secrets and having a nice looking message to take to market. You can do this, anyone can. It's easy.
Do you wanna believe it? Do Ya?

Now let me ask you a question - Do you want the people that believe this as employees, friends and trusted associates? I put it to you that you really want the people that say "Tell me it's too hard for me to do." Tell me that only a very few will do it. Tell me that I need to prove that I am one of those few. Tell me that I have to do what others can't or won't. Then challenge me to be one of those. Surround yourself with those few - Be one of those few. It's what we don't want to hear that serves us best in life. It's the hardest things that we learn from. The nastiest tasting medicine that we need to take. The early morning training and late night studies. The calls that others don't make. The tough questions that others don't ask or answer. The things we need to do are those things we know aren't easy. We need to establish the habits and the character that few have. Yes Most People Buy Easy - The Best Know Better. Do the things that others can't or won't.

A Man Hears What He Wants To Hear.

That's what I learned from Paul Simon

John & Jane Doe

I don't like many people and I respect even less. Why? Well I think as human beings we too often whine, whimper, point and blame. When we could be learning and growing. Let's take adversity for example - we all encounter it in varying degrees through this thing we call life. Is any of it really important? I submit Adversity is Irrelevant. But each of us personalizes and ranks our adversity when maybe we should be looking at how we respond to adversity. Or more important we should learn from those that seem to have no adversity. Do we honestly believe that they have no adversity - Duh. There are John & Jane Does all over the world that face cancer, war, poverty and loss of life and limb on a daily basis. These humble souls suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and respond without us even knowing that it occurred. They go about their daily business with a smile and silent determination to succeed regardless of their circumstances.They are the silent warriors - The ones that you never hear whine, whimper and blame. Do they face adversity daily - Of course they do. They face their challenges, regardless of the severity, without us even knowing.

Isn't it how we respond what matters? I put it to you that our adversity is irrelevant. The degree, severity or flavor of it is irrelevant. The truly remarkable souls amongst us appear to have no adversity whatsoever.

It's How We Respond.

That's what I learned from John & Jane Doe.

Ambitious Andy

A young man walked into his Sales managers office full of confidence and ambition. " I want to be the best salesperson in the world" he said. "I want to make a pile of money, be respected as the best and retire before I'm forty. What do I need to know to be the best salesperson you've ever worked with?" The sales manager smiled and sat back in his chair recalling all the thousands of ambitious Andys that had said something similar over the many years he'd been in sales. He loved their drive and raw ambition. But he knew that even though he would give his few tips - chances are they'd be pearls left clamped in an oyster. If he was like most the rookie invariably would not be able to get out of his own way. I'll give you five tips the manager said - there are many others- but here are 5 Tips To Be The Best Salesman Ever.

Now Andy I want you to grade yourself regularly on how well you follow these five tips. I will grade you in my mind as will every one else you encounter. But it is only how honestly you grade yourself that really counts. And so my friend here are the five tips for your quest

To be the Best Salesperson the world has ever known:

1. Be Honest With Yourself - be brutally honest. You are not doing as well as you should. You are not working hard enough, listening to advice and applying it or driving yourself hard enough. If you were you would be getting everything you aim for - there are no excuses - period.

2. Qualify in 30 Seconds - In every encounter you have an opportunity to close in the first 30 seconds. After that you either dig yourself further into a hole or climb in the customers confidence. Learn to Qualify Better than anyone else - Learn to gain confidence in 30 seconds.

3. Create Demand - Anybody can process orders - they are called order takers. True professionals are able to create demand. Demand that comes from your differentiator. People should be coming to you because you have created a distinct differentiator. A clear and compelling value that others lack. People like dealing with the best.

4. Sell the Person not the Product - The greatest sales professionals in the world can sell any product because they sell the person not the product. Sales are made on emotion and rationalized in the mind. Although everyone knows this salespeople still try to sell features & Benefits to the mind instead of touching the persons emotions first and then cementing the decision the prospect made emotionally with logic.

5. If Price is an issue - You Suck. - Yes, I know, we are all concerned with price when we buy or sell anything but if price is the primary issue then it is because you, your relationship, your differentiators and your value are not. If a person is buying on price then it means You suck.

So there they are 5 Simple Tips.

Web 3.0

Everyone is talking about Web 2.0 and how it's revolutionizing business communication. Links, tweets and connections are being shared and everything from the banal to the brilliant is being communicated.These portals undoubtedly increase the number of people you can get in front of quickly. But, just like before these innovations hit the airwaves, what you say when you get in front of them appears to be the critical issue. Is the content valuable and credible or is it just noise? Why and what are we communicating? Every tweet, link, connection and blog entry is telling the world exactly who you are. Your content is being aggregated daily and revealing insights which, over time, build a digital picture book that tells us all who you truly are. Viewers will categorize you by your missives. Are you primarily fluff or focus? Web 3.0 will communicate exactly that. Whether you like it or not Web 3.0 is coming and it will Brand You.

What I learned from Web 2.0

Do you want to entertain, educate, convince or connect? Like minded people are attracted and gravitate into clusters with 2.0. Some with Fluff - Some with Focus. But Web 2.0 is now old hat, we are already Linked in, Face booked, Twittered and following. So What's Next?

Well now comes Web 3.0 which will correlate, categorize and compartmentalize those with whom you communicate. It will sort them and their communications into fluff and focus and will brand them for you. Web 3.0 will filter for you, assign a value based on your content credibility criteria and do it's own little critique. Is this in my fluff or focus category and how does it rank? Mark my words you might want to pay attention now because Web 3.0 will allow everyone to see just who and what you are - what you value and what you believe. How are you being branded and what will you do with this brave new world that instantly affiliates and clusters your likes, interests, amusements and values? The transparency and profiling of each of us provides enormous opportunities to find and filter the communications, content, character and critters that we value and those we don't. It's the ultimate qualifier.

Fluff - Fold or Focus?

Our personal brand has already been filtered into fluff, fold or focus.
That's what I learned from Web 2.0.

The Negotiator

3 Types

What I learned from the Negotiator:

A man climbs up to a rooftop and stands on the ledge. He appears ready to end it all and jump. Three negotiators come up to the roof to talk to him. Each one has a different personality trait. Which are you?

The Convincer:

"You have so much to live for, think of your family. Don't you want to see your daughters wedding or your sons graduation? Think how sad they will be". The Convincer focuses on Features and Benefits.

The Understander:

"I know what it's like, sometimes it doesn't seem worthwhile to carry on. I understand what you're going through. I want to listen and understand what you're thinking. Let's sit down and talk as friends." The Understander is Empathetic.

The Qualifier:

"I'm coming over there to get you. You either jump away from me and end it all - or towards me and we can keep going together. Either way I'm coming over there." The Qualifier wants Responses and Actions.

Although we all have a little of each type within us one tends to take the lead in communications. Identifying your primary trait and the primary trait of those you communicate with is a basic premise of profiling in negotiations, difficult situations, sales and business.

3 Types

That's what I learned from the Negotiator.

Van Gogh

Sell Another Painting.

What I learned from Vincent Van Gogh:

I've learned that there are three people you never win an argument with.
  • Teenagers
  • Women
  • Sales People.
Be Smart - Don't Go There - You Can't Win. With that said, when a Salesperson says that "Sales is more Art than Science", I politely agree and then think of Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh was certainly an artistic genius. He was also a tortured and misunderstood soul. Vincent was anxious, unsettled and unappreciated throughout his life. He was primarily self taught and prodigious in his output creating literally thousands of pieces of art. Thousands of Masterpieces.
Van Gogh and Salespeople are very much alike - tortured, creative, swirling, colorful dervishes and unappreciated geniuses but -

Vincent Van Gogh Sold Only ONE Painting During His Entire Life.

So when a Salesperson tells me sales is more art than science I think of Vincent Van Gogh and politely reply... - "Yes It Is"

But before you feel unappreciated, get depressed, cut your ear off, enter an insane asylum and commit suicide before your prime

Sell Another Painting.

Because it's the Science of ROI that runs a business.

That's what I learned from Van Gogh.

Grim Reaper

No Excuses.

What I learned from The Grim Reaper:

He comes for all of us whether we like it or not.

We can figure somewhere between age 79 and 89 - give or take.
If We're Lucky - Often he stops by when we're not ready.
Morbid? Perhaps. But the fact of the matter is:
He's going to come for you whether you like it or not.

So What Have You Done - What Do You Want To Do?
Then Do It - There Are Really No Excuses.
Nobody Really Cares About Your "Reasons".

After the Reaper visits us people are going to talk about WHO we were & WHAT we did. The only mention of excuses will be whether we had a reputation for giving them. Nobody Cares About Excuses - Period.

"The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions"

No Excuses.

That's what I learned from the Grim Reaper.

Girl Scouts

Create Demand,
Close the Deal,
Results not Reasons.

What I learned from Girl Scouts:

Girl Scouts Sell Cookies.

Whether it's Cookies at my front door or wrapping paper for Christmas
I have always been a sucker for the Girl Scout Cookie pitch, with an important caveat. I always insist they give a real pitch, face to face.
A donation, without a compelling pitch, is never an option I give them.

Business can learn a lot from the Girl Scout pitch - it's Sales 101.
  • Create Demand
  • Close the Deal
  • Results not Reasons
Whoever sells the most cookies gets the glory.

Measurable Results.

Consultants come up with all kinds of fancy theories on how to sell.

The Girl Scouts have got it all figured out.

Create Demand - Close the Deal - Results not Reasons

That's what I learned from the Girl Scouts.


The Greatest Sales Secret.

What i learned from Hypnos:

The Greatest Sales Secret ever was learned in a dank, steamy jungle many years ago - in a land far, far away. Men were fighting and killing each other and a boy was becoming a man. At night fear overcame the mightiest of men and sleep was fitful at best. Guard duty was a responsibility that was bought and sold. The most trusted and reliable men slept little and earned extra money to protect those that needed precious rest. Men need sleep and men need people they can trust.

The greatest sales secret I ever learned is - Become someone that people trust will help them sleep. The Rest of the Sales Tips and Techniques are simply details. The Rest of Business is Simply Details.

In Business there are two things that are sold - Period.

Commodities and Confidence.

You get to choose which you sell.

The Greatest Sales Secret Ever.

That's what I learned from Hypnos.

Vendor Guy

What's 'is Name?

What I learned from Vendor Guy:

The Promotional Products business takes in over 21 Billion Dollars.

Over 50,000 Distributors and Thousands of Suppliers share in it.
Twenty One billion dollars going out to a myriad of personalities,
job descriptions and people and everyone of them is Vendor Guy.

Every Executive, Creative Artist, Sales Professional, Broker, Distributor, Manufacturer or Supplier is a Vendor Guy. Some try to gussy up the description of what they do but essentially every one is selling the same thing. Brands, Promotions, Products, and Exposure.

BUT HERE'S THE RUB - Every One Says Exactly The Same Thing !
  • I am going to get you the best price.
  • I am going to give you the best service.
  • I am going to give you the most creative, imaginative and individually customized promotion for your brand because I care the most about what you want and need. I care the most.

"Just get a price" from Vendor Guy becomes a default during times of belt tightening and then everyone takes that price to those they have established some semblance of a business relationship with to "price check". It's the reality of the internet age, information is easy to get.

Everyone does it and everyone hates it - So what's the answer?
How do you Differentiate - How do you make sure it's YOUR NAME?

Become the person that people consistently come back to after they have done all their checking. Become the person that others know and recommend. That's when you find out what kind of business and what kind of relationships you really have. Everyone is Vendor Guy.

It's what happens next that matters. It's what's next that changes "What's 'is name" to YOUR NAME. Be the one they come to Last.

Be The One they Come Back To.

That's what I learned from Vendor Guy.

Warren Buffett

Get Skin in The Game.

What I learned from Warren Buffett:

Make sure that you Get Skin in The Game.

There's lots of big talkers in business. Lot's of promises. Lot's of People, Companies and Marketing Experts touting their unique capabilities, talents and value propositions. How many of them are willing to put skin in the game? How many will put up or shut up?

Warren Buffett is a veritable encyclopedia of business best practices and his takeaways are plentiful for anyone wanting to learn solid fundamentals. But there is one that trumps them all if you want to find out early whether someone is full of it. Require they put Skin in the Game. Use it as an early Qualifier, filter or just plain old bs indicator. Whether you are selling, buying, hiring or acquiring this one thing separates the talkers from the rest. What are they willing to put up? Can you get them to put the first dollar put in? Ideas, concepts, plans and efforts are a dime a dozen. Reward without Risk is a pipe dream.

Get Skin in the Game.

That's what I learned from Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett - Wikipedia biography

Mr Grizzly

Don't Run

What I learned from Mr Grizzly:

Everyone should visit Alaska before they die. But If you're in Alaska and come upon a Grizzly Bear there are a few Do's and Don'ts.

Don’t Run - Because bears can run faster than humans and if you flee it is a natural signal for the bear to attack. Back up slowly and talk to it. If it charges, there’s a good chance that it will be bluffing. If it’s going to attack, drop to the ground in the fetal position, put your hands behind your head and hope for the best. The chances are, despite their size, the bear is more frightened of you attacking its child or food supply than it is sourcing you out for its next meal.

I love the Alaskan wilderness in all it's pristine glory. It inspires and rejuvenates the soul. 98% of all of the Grizzly Bears in America live in Alaska. Grizzly bears are powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators and these awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals - they demand respect. Getting up close is an awesome and humbling experience.

In business, and especially in sales, we often resort to sports cliches, war stories or predatory wildlife examples to motivate, illustrate or dramatize presentations and the tactic is often overused however I think a lot can be learned from Mr. Grizzly. He is the kind of person you would rather not have to face, the competitor you would prefer was working for you. But he is also the one you should not run from. He can run faster than you and running provides a clear signal for him to attack. Drop to the ground in the fetal position and hope for the best.

Unless you are also a Grizzly.

In Business we can learn a lot from Mr Grizzly. There are some people that demand respect and there are some that should drop to the ground. There are some people that are protecting their loved ones and food supply and there are some that are being sourced for the next meal. Whatever campsite you are in and whichever you are - take the advice of those that know what to do when faced with a Grizzly:

Don't Run

That's what I learned from Mr Grizzly.

Jack Trout

We Don't Know Jack.

What I Learned from Jack Trout:

In one of the best selling business books ever published:
“Positioning - The Battle for your Mind” Jack Trout offered 5 basic principals of the mind to explain the challenges that marketers face in getting their message through. Jack and his coauthor Al Ries state:

  • Minds are Limited
  • Minds Hate Confusion
  • Minds are Insecure
  • Minds Don’t Change
  • Minds Lose Focus

As the famous author Mark Twain said “It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble, It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

Extensive and ongoing research corroborates that human beings tend
to assume they know much more than they actually do. And we tend
to overestimate our ability to guess, or predict, what we don't know.

We have a tendency to seek out facts that support the beliefs we already have, ignore evidence that points the other way, and cling to our opinions, even wrong ones, like drowning men to life preservers. Simon & Garfunkle sang about it, " A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest " and Albert Einstein probably said it best with "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." But we sure try, don’t we? We surround ourselves with comfortable like thinkers, and seek out and associate with those who affirm our preconceptions. Then we tidy it all up with our rationalizations in familiar little boxes that make sense to us.

None of us like the discomfort of cognitive dissonance - whatever the cause – but perhaps that is where real growth and learning begins.

We Don’t Know Jack.

That’s what I learned from Jack Trout.

Learn more about:

Jack Trout

Henry Noll

Work Harder.

What i learned from Henry Noll:

Work Harder.

I wonder what Henry Noll would have thought of todays workers?
The phrase "Work Smarter not Harder" might amuse him as much as it does me. Those who espouse it cast aspersions on the intellect of this noble soul. I humbly rush to Henry's defense. The phrase
"Work Smarter NOT Harder" is built upon a number of premises:
  • Working Harder is onerous.
  • Working Smarter implies intellectual superiority over those that choose to work harder whatever their reasons may be.
  • Working Harder AND Smarter are mutually exclusive.

Why Not Work Harder AND Smarter?

Henry Noll is often lauded as the hardest worker in history. Although Alexei Stakhavov of the Soviet mines has also laid claim to the title while digging 102 tons of coal out of the Ukrainian rock regularly during his six hour shifts. Alexei was held up, by Josef Stalin, as the purest example of the communist work ethic. But our very own Henry Noll, a steel worker who every day lifted and loaded tons of pig iron onto railroad cars is the most documented and studied of workers primarily due to "The Principles of Scientific Management" an academic tome, published in 1911, which documented his accomplishments. Normal laborers at the time were loading 12 tons a day onto the railroad carts and earning 50 cents for their trouble. It was backbreaking work performed during the bitter cold Pennsylvania Winters. During a local railroad construction project management noticed an additional 80,000 tons needed to be moved from the yard and so they offered anyone who could move 45 tons during their shift $1.85 per day compared to the standard 50 cents. Many tried - but they all shunned the offer after a grueling and backbreaking day of failing to meet the mark. Henry Noll did it every day, without exception, amazing everyone, and much to the chagrin of his coworkers, reinforcing what could be done when an indomitable will, and a determined mind meets a strong backbone.

And in his spare time Henry, took his earnings, went out and single handedly built a home for his family across the river at Martins Lane.

A Smart Guy that Henry.
A Tough Guy that Henry.

Henry Noll loaded 45 tons of iron a day while others loaded 12.
Henry earned 1.85 while the others earned 50 cents.

Henry did what others Can't or Won't.

Work Harder.

That's what I learned from Henry Noll.

(My thanks to Richard Donkin, formerly of the Financial Times, whose blog and article on the hardest worker in history inspired this piece.)

Robin Sage

Reject Your Limits

What I learned from Robin Sage.

There is a place in your mind that you can go to test yourself. A place where you can confront your limits. A place where sleep is not an option and finding solutions is the only path considered. It's a road less traveled. This is the place where you seek out the challenges that others reject and align yourself with those who share the passion.
It's a place where hearts and minds go. Let's call it Robin Sage.

You know how you like smart people but hate those that think they're smart? You know how you respect tough guys but hate those that think they're tough? You know how you admire accomplishments but hate the affectations of the accomplished?

There is a place where the Act is separated from the Actor.
Where Limits are Faced and Rejected.
Let's call this place Robin Sage.

We all have limits in our Hearts and Minds
Some Choose to Reject them.

Each of us has a place in our Hearts and Minds where we can go.
A place where we can reject limits - Let's call it Robin Sage.

Reject Your Limits.

That's what I Learned from Robin Sage.

Learn more about Robin Sage:

News Article on Robin Sage

The Best

Measure & Focus.

What I Learned from The Best.

Over half a century of observing, reading about and working with some of the very best humanity has to offer has humbled, frustrated and inspired me. Humbled because of how little I have done compared to them. Frustrated because of the limited time line each of us is given. And Inspired each and every day as I encounter another opportunity to do something with what they taught me. So what did I learn?

What Do The Best Do?
  • The Best Move from Good to Better to Best.
  • The Best "Measure What they Manage"
  • The Best Focus on "Results not Reasons".

Measure themselves against a metric, a standard. Any standard.


Measure themselves against a competitive other, whether it be a person, group or standard.They strive to beat the best.


Measure themselves against their own potential, becoming the best that they can be. They strive for Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)
A Constant and Continuous struggle to Better Themselves.

These are not attempts to improve. The Best don't Try - They Do.
The Best Measure what they Do and Improve upon the standard.

From Colonel Hackworth to Lee Iacocca. From John Doe to John Wooden. From Silent Service with Quiet Professionals to Quarterly Quotas in the Boardrooms of Business. I never tire of learning from those that strive and move from Good to Better and Better to Best.

The Best Measure What they Manage.
The Best Focus on Results not Reasons.

Measure and Focus.

That's what I Learned from the Best

Learn what else the Best Do:

Fortune Article

David Eagleman

Perceptions are Key.

What I learned from David Eagleman.

I have been fortunate to know a few very smart people over the years and although the conversations are always extremely one sided (me asking and them patiently answering clearly inane questions) I relish the opportunity to learn from those blessed with, or driven to acquire, knowledge and insight that I lack. David Eagleman is one such intellect. We are all primates but David has evolved a little more than the rest of us and his works provoke and inspire a thirst to learn more about our thoughts and what makes this thing we call life such a joyous journey. He explores perception, it's role in behavior and the myriad of things that make each of us do what we do. It's fascinating.

Human beings learn to repeat behaviors that lead to maximize rewards primarily because of the effects of dopamine. That's a simple statement but one that is enormous in its scope and relationship to why we do what we do and especially why we repeat behavior over a long period of time. Why do our best intentions often not translate into lifelong habit changes? Why do we do what we habitually do? Why is our perception so ingrained and how can we change it? Davids work taught me a little more about this than most and I am truly grateful.

Perceptions are Key to Life itself.

A pretty simple statement with a whole lot of science behind it. Perceptions dictate our lives but what dictates perceptions? That is the question that David Eagleman has helped me put into a nice tidy little box that this primate can comprehend. Davids work helps me formulate answers to that question that make sense. Answers that make me more productive, focused and understanding of why I do what I do and, hopefully, helps me understand a little why others do what they do.

Perceptions are Key to Life itself.

That's what I learned from David Eagleman.

Learn more about David Eagleman.

Brain Time - From the Edge.

Wikepedia bio of David Eagleman

Walter Cronkite

That's the Way It Was.

What I learned from Walter Cronkite.

The most trusted man in America died at the age of 92.
Married for 65 years he was with his wife until her death.
With Mister Cronkite that was just the way it was.

Walter announced the assassination of President Kennedy, live on national TV, with power, grace and all the characteristics of a consummate professional. You could see the intestinal fortitude working within him as he bit his lip, removed his glasses to wipe away a tear, sucked it up and carried on doing his job while all the world paused - paralyzed into stunned silence. Galvanized by Grief.

He did his job without bias. Without the need to color the news with ego, opinion or agenda. Walter Cronkite was a professionals professional. Walter reported the news just the way it was.

The Most Trusted Man in America.

All of us could learn a lesson or two from Walter.

That's the Way it Was.

That's what I learned from Walter Cronkite.

Learn more about Walter Cronkite

Wikipedia entry on Walter Cronkite


I'm Listening

What I learned from Twitter:

There's a lot of people out there that want to communicate.

With content that stimulates.
With other people that "Get it."
Some call it sharing, some call it chit chat.
Some sell and some canvas.
Some is banal and some is brilliant.

The net's thrown wide and the water is deep.
And there are all kinds of fish in the sea.
But what it all boils down to is pretty simple.
It's not about sharing or selling, Inspiration or Insight.
It's not brand new - it's as old as time itself.

Each person is saying, in their own unique way,
I need to communicate with someone who understands.
Someone who "Gets it"
Someone who Listens to my content.

It's not so much the nature of the content shared,
As much as the cerebral connections the content aligns.

It's all about Listening.

That's what I learned from Twitter.

The Great Santini

Don't be me.

What I learned from the Great Santini:

From Wikipedia - "The Great Santini is a 1979 film which tells the story of a highly successful Marine officer whose success as a military aviator contrasts with his shortcomings as a husband and father. The film also explores the high price of heroism and self sacrifice on the man's soul and interpersonal relationships."

There is an enormous amount to be said for what we learn in the military and even more from war. Discipline - Altruism - Sacrifice - Responsibility - Loyalty - Honor and a profound sense of Duty. I shall always be in the debt of those I served with and learned from. Many of those men were fire breathing replicas of The Great Santini.

As a father & business person those traits are invaluable. But how do we add to them? How do we ensure that they alone do not define us?

By recognizing that each of our strengths are also our weaknesses. Our Armor is also our Achilles heel. This conundrum presents a welcome challenge - one that I embrace gratefully - to combine both sides of the Tao. Both sides of the Brain. To win the hearts and minds of those we care about we all need to recognize that what some perceive as our strengths others see as a weakness. One mans discipline is another mans rigidity. One mans creativity is another mans lack of focus. One mans empathy and understanding is another mans softness. One mans proven best practice is another mans unwillingness to try new things - and so the list goes on.

I respect the Great Santini - I know the Great Santini - parts of me will always be the Great Santini. He serves as a remarkable visual aid and shows me what each of us - especially those who served in the military can become - if we aren't careful. Thank you Sir - may I have another?

Don't Be Me.

That's what I learned from the Great Santini.

Jay Chalmers

Let's Take
A Walk.

What I learned from Jay Chalmers:

Jay Chalmers chairs a Vistage Group made up of Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, CEO's, Presidents and Leaders of companies in San Diego, California. He gets to talk to lads and lassies that have achieved something noteworthy - They've built companies, helped pay mortgages and put food on the table of thousands of employees.

His job is to connect these people with timely, stimulating and productive business concepts and offer himself as counsel. Challenging counsel for people that have every reason to be pretty full of themselves. You think tempremental teenagers, slick salespeople and sedentary secretaries are difficult? Wake up people - that's kindergarten compared to this crowd.

Up until they meet Jay these people have done pretty well without having him on the bus. As the wise man said " I love learning- I just don't like to be taught". We all want to learn - kind of...

Jay Chalmers frequently brings up a little habit I have:

Whenever I need to have a focused "gut level" talk with an associate or employee my modus operandi is "Let's take a Walk". We walk outside around the building or down the street, have a chat and, hopefully, clarity and understanding occurs.

Jay Chalmers does his own "Lets take a Walk" very effectively and he doesn't even need to leave his seat. Some people respond, some don't, but they certainly get clarity. He questions, connects concepts and stimulates action items. Jay gets to the heart of the matter insightfully and honestly - there is no agenda other than "let's explore possible solutions together". Jay is a solution seeking kind of guy.

What's the purpose of the "Let's take a Walk" that Jay ribs me about? Honest, Open, Straightforward and often Brutal Communication. It's a "What are you trying to accomplish?" combined with a "I'm a resource - here's some tools - now it's up to you to take action" kind of talk. Always followed with the unspoken reminder and subtle challenge of - I will be interested to see what actions you take.

Jay Chalmers is the kind of guy I respect - You know why? Because "Let's take a Walk" gets harder the more accomplished and successful a person is. There's more stuff going on in the background - more variables - more options - more personal best practices and less qualified people to give counsel to these people. If the insight is not high value and focused it can quickly become the equivalent of giving change to the guy with the "Will Work for Food" sign around his neck. A charitable donation, or good deed for the day given to someone who drinks it and says thank you but that's about it.

"Let's take a Walk" doesn't work very well if there is not a connection and you're not respected - It's merely a voice mail never returned.

So why do I respect Jay? Because as you get further along in this thing we call life you notice that the majority of people tune in to the old "a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" message. The sycophants, lemmings and agenda driven cater their responses to what you want to hear. It's rare that you find altruistic objectivity - it's rare that you hear unvarnished versions of the truth accompanied with credible counsel.

The trick is to find a few good men (and women) that give you that very brutal honesty and take a walk with them on a regular basis. Easier said than done - there are so very few that, respectfully, measure up to the standard. When we're brutally honest with ourselves there's not a lot of people we truly like and even less that we respect.

Lot's of people leave voice mails - very few are worth returning.
Take a walk with Jay Chalmers - his voice mail is worth returning.

Let's Take a Walk

That's what I learned from Jay Chalmers

Reach Jay through Vistage International

Tough Guys

Are you a
Tough Guy?

What I learned about Tough Guys:

Are you a Tough Guy?

I have known a lot of tough guys over the years. Guys that think they are tough, guys that actually are tough and everything in between. From soldiers to salesmen. From sycophants to sissies. From wise guys to whiners. From personalities to politicians and boys to men. Each made their case and staked their claim. What is a tough guy? What is it that makes a guy tough? War - Work - Wisdom - Wealth?

Is it instilling Fear? - The guy that would put your head in a vice?

Is it the Warrior? - The guy that fights and survives the horrors of war?

Is it Success - The guy that sells better and piles up the money?

Or is it the Worker - The guy that grinds it out day in and day out.

What is the tough guy all about - Fear, Strength, Success, Work?

I have known them all, worked with them all and to some degree been them all - You know what a tough guy really is? A little bit of all of them and yet none of them. The real tough guy lives by a simple code. He determines that code himself, follows it and makes no excuses. The real tough guy protects and provides for those he loves - PERIOD.

The REAL Tough Guy is a Responsible, Respected FATHER.

All the rest is merely practice.

Be a good father.

Be a REAL tough guy.

That's what I learned from tough guys.

Chad Nelley

Are you Awake?

What I learned from Chad Nelley:

hypervigilance /(hi″per-vij´ĭ-lans) abnormally increased arousal, responsiveness to stimuli, and scanning of the environment for threats.

It was 3am in Las Vegas. We were sharing a room at a trade show and the night was pitch black and silent - Chad was asleep. Across the room I noticed his eyes flicker open in the darkness with a slight stir.

"Hey Chad - How are you doing ? " I spoke and he took a moment to respond, you could tell he was startled "Uh .. Ok i guess". - You could say, and sometime later he admitted, that it freaked him out a bit.

Chad and I worked together and often at work I would lock him in the building at night to continue working and open up in the morning to wake him from the couch in his office - " I get my best work done while the masses sleep" he would say. Now that was something I liked and respected - working while others rest is an old school principle that very few embrace - This young whippersnapper was a bit of old school.

Chad Nelley is a pretty conscientious guy - he takes personal accountability for things that don't work out and does what it takes to fix them - whatever it takes, however long it takes. Chad's not your nine to five kind of guy. I frequently noticed the time stamps on his emails - 1am - 11:50pm, 2am, 4am the kind of times most people are tucked away and flying the friendly skies with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

There are some traits, some things, that people do just because that's the way they are. But a few people develop habits, traits and behaviors, that differentiate them from the rest, with a singular discipline of consistently Doing what others Won't - When others won't. It's those people that interest me. The ones that consciously do what others can't or won't and then discipline themselves to make it a habit.

Chad Nelley is one of those who does what others can't or won't. I don't think a creepy, out of the darkness "Are you awake?" would freak him out today - it's no longer a question - it's now more of a work ethic understanding from one man to another - a kind of secret handshake.

Some people choose to ridicule the extreme. Some people choose to rationalize their own safe and balanced middle road and some loudly proclaim that those who work and walk the road less traveled, while others sleep are absurd, intellectually challenged, idiots. Who cares.

From those of us that choose that rocky, winding, uphill, path strewn with obstacles and ogres - I extend the secret handshake and say - "Welcome to the club".

Welcome to the club Chad.

"There will be sleeping enough in the grave" - Benjamin Franklin.

Are you Awake?

That's what I learned from Chad Nelley.

Chad Nelley - Linked In Profile

Jack Nicholson

You Can't
Handle the

What I learned from Jack Nicholson:

You Can't Handle the Truth.
We all think we are unique - We Are...
But then so is everyone else.
Are you different? - I don't think so.

In Japan they say "ki chigai" and most people think it means "crazy".
Those people are wrong - Ki chigai literally means "A Different Mind".

Do you have a Different Mind?

Do you make an indelible impression - for better or worse?
Are you so extreme in your passions that you seem possessed?
Will I remember you for extremes - in words, actions and character?

Are you a maniac? - You Should Be. What are you holding out for? You get to be here only once. Stop with your excuses - your reasons - your weaknesses - your crap that even you don't believe - Be Honest.

"You are right Mister Bond. That is just what I am, a maniac. All the greatest men are maniacs, they are possessed by a mania which drives them forwards to their goal. The greatest scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders - all maniacs." Dr No.

Jack Nicholson is a maniac - He is Ki chigai " a different mind".

Jack is someone you certainly remember.
He sure beats the plain vanilla crap that most people we meet spew up. Jack's memorable.

Jack gives that little bit more that we ALL remember - He's a maniac.
The truth that you can't handle is " We need more maniacs like Jack." We remember the maniacs - We're not going to remember you!

You Can't Handle the Truth.

And so we rationalize why we live our lives in the plain vanilla crap.

And then we Die.

You Can't Handle the Truth.

That's what I learned from Jack Nicholson.

Guy Kawasaki

We all need
A Whuppin

What I learned from Guy Kawasaki:

There are four guys, the same age as me, that really make me sick.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners Lee and Guy Kawasaki.


Well I've sold a few things here and there, maybe influenced a couple of people along the way and perhaps I postponed a trip to hell by trying, as best I could, to be a good father - but these four guys:

  • Built the most Successful company in the world,
  • Created the Coolest company in the world,
  • Can credibly claim to have Invented the Internet,
  • Changed the World

Give me a break - As thought leaders and action takers they took me out back to the woodshed and gave me one hell of an ass whuppin.

I went to see Guy recently - figuring we all need a whuppin, of one kind or another, every now and then -and he surely didn't disappoint.

Guy Kawasaki was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984 and is noted for bringing the concept of evangelism to the high-tech business world. The Kawasaki blog "How to Change the World" is 88th most popular globally.

It's not what the guy says so much - It's what he triggers inside us. Neurons fire at breathtaking pace, synapses spark into life and make connections and mental pygmies tap dance across the dormant areas of our frontal cortex. The lobotomy and mindset of doing the same things and expecting different results is challenged.

His talk focused on Social Media - Linked In, Twitter and how companies can leverage the medium. But the feeling I got from the questions asked was people were trying to cram old methodology into a new medium. The crowd was following a thought leader.

Guy Kawasaki is a maverick - always has been - and he has learned to play crowds like a master - I couldn't help but wonder if any others in attendance were experiencing the cognitive dissonance I was?

I respect his innovative, mental vigor enormously and was saddened as discussions gravitated around "Ive got to use Linked in" or " We need to be sending out tweats on Twitter". What did I come away with?

There is a new paradigm in play. There is a new product in play.

The product, folks, is... PEOPLE.

For years I have been noticing this shift as it develops momentum. Like some snowball gathering speed and mass as it careens down the mountainside - heading straight for each of us.

The Past, Present and Future paradigms, as I see them are:


Here's my Product
Here's how it benefits you
Here's how you use it
Here's my price ($)


Ask Questions / Discover Pain Points
Align Yourself & Your Products as the Solution
Here's my product
Here's my price ($)


Identify Commonalities
Links & Connections
Philosophies & Interests
Wants & Needs
Goals & Affiliations
"You're on the team"
Here's how you stay on the team (Continued 2 Way Interaction)
Here's my price ($)

We all need a Whuppin...

That's what I learned from Guy Kawasaki

Learn more about Guy Kawasaki:

Guys Blog
Guy Kawasaki Wikipedia
Guy Kawasaki Website

Isaac Newton

on the
of Giants.

What I learned from Sir Isaac Newton:

There is no such thing as a self made man.

There are delusional men who believe they are self made.

If you were to take a poll and ask who were the smartest three people of all time? Isaac Newton would be on every list. There is no argument. And what did Sir Isaac Newton say regarding his insights and wisdom?

"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Sir Isaac Newton - February 5, 1676

Each of us is a product of our influences whether we recognize it or not. People who influence us and how circumstance has influenced us.

As we fervently add to our lives experiences and associations these influences either reaffirm our beliefs and certainties or causes us to question them. If there is one thing I know for certain it is that there are, and will always be, giants that each us should and can learn from - There are no self made men.

Now more than any other time in history there is an opportunity to learn immediately from others and see a little further. Networks of individuals are available, instant information retrieval and a veritable plethora of data stands ready for the intellectually thirsty, waiting to be mined. The only requirement is a fervent desire to learn and stand upon the shoulders of giants. The only requirement or entry fee as it were - is a humble acceptance of the premise that there are no self made men. The foundation for each of us to grow and learn is based upon:

When you think you know - you don't.

When you think you're good - you're not.

Learn from others and you will see further.

That's what I learned from the smartest man ever - Sir Isaac Newton.

Quiet Professionals

Do what
Can't or

What I learned from Quiet Professionals:

They work quietly beside you today and in conflicts far away.

Within each burns a fire that drives them to do what others can't or won't. Their work goes on unseen, unspoken and unrecognized. Because of them our children will live and sleep better and yet they will never know who ... Others will receive the credit, benefits and accolades for the accomplishments of the Quiet Professionals.

Because that's the way they want it. Because that's the way they roll.

When our flag unfurls and her values are threatened they defend her with a focused fire forged from somewhere deep within. A fire that burns into their very souls. The sights and sounds of liberty bring tears to their eyes every time. Hard exteriors protect an idealists heart.

They share a code - a mental mindset that carries obligation, responsibility, duty and loyalty beyond the furthest reaches of comprehension and they believe in it to their very core.

"If I'm not on time - it means I'm not coming"

"No-one gets left behind"

"You are only as strong as your weakest link"

"Mission first"

"The most powerful weapon you possess is your mind"

"Your mindset will defeat anything and anyone - including yourself"

During times of conflict and challenge we ask them to sacrifice and secure the comforts and freedoms that we cherish so much. We ask them to do what needs to be done. We ask them to be accountable. They embrace responsibility without reservation. Warriors one and all.

Each Memorial day we take a moment and recognize them along with all those that serve. We salute and honor their sacrifice - We should salute and honor them every day of our lives.

They do what others can't or won't.

And they deserve more.

They deserve each of us to follow their example.

To Believe in something bigger than ourselves and

Do what others can't or won't.

That's what I learned from Quiet Professionals.

John Wooden


What I learned from John Wooden:

Win with Character.
The guy is about to celebrate his 99th birthday-his legacy is assured.
John Wooden won in this thing called life - and he did it with character.

I met John Wooden once - he signed his book for me - it meant a lot.

As a man you don't get to be better than this guy and yet you would never know by talking to him. A class act, humble, grounded and focused on service. Altruistic to the core and he won.

Competitive men know how important that is to our existence - it's integral to what we are. Competition and winning and doing what it takes to feel that adrenaline surge is often rationalized by the lesser who take shortcuts. In these days of performance enhancement and price cutting - commoditization often wins over character.

John doesn't cut corners - he has character.
And John Wooden WON - He won, time after time.

He won trophies and the respect of temperamental athletes that took time to "get it". He stayed solidly aligned to what he believed and suffered the slings and arrows of those who advocated easier paths and short cuts. John Wooden understood that winning was the goal and there is a right way to do it. A way that people will remember long after the trophies tarnish and the winning dollars are spent.

Winning is important - Winning with character is more important.

Nowadays we are besieged by the transaction mentality. Everything is a commodity to those that focus on the transaction and winning also becomes somewhat of a transaction.

But the man who racked up more wins than any other recognized that it is so much more. John knows that how we win is critical to who we are - but you know what I love about him more than anything else? John didn't use how we do it as an excuse not to win. You see thats what the weak ones do - they excuse not winning as if you can do half the job and still die in peace.

Wrong - So you have strong character but you use it as an excuse not to perform to the best of your abilities? As an excuse not to win?

Well my dear that is hardly strong character is it? John Wooden is much stronger than even his admirers give him credit - myself included.

He recognized and drummed into his charges eternal truths and lifelong lessons that linger.

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful." - John Wooden

Win with Character.

That's what I learned from John Wooden

Learn more about John Wooden:

Warriors don't whine

John Wooden - Wikipedia

John Wooden site

Willy Loman


What I learned from Willy Loman:

Willy is ashamed: He's not selling things like he used to. He hears people laughing behind his back. He's disgraced that he can't pay an insurance bill because his wife had to repair their refrigerator.

He tries to hide his anxieties — and his hurts — with jokes and bluster, but his wife, Linda, has noticed that he's had a lot of driving accidents. One day, she goes into the basement, and finds a little rubber hose leading from a gas pipe.

"Willy Loman never made a lot of money," Linda tells her sons amid all this. "His name was never in the papers. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid!"

Willy Loman - Death of a Salesman

I never really intended to make Sales a career - just kind of fell into it and then before I knew it salespeople were paying attention to me and they said "Hey why don't you manage them?" and then I really had to learn what I was doing. Salespeople can spot bullshit a mile away so either you had better be solid to an extreme or have better bullshit than all of them. I figured there are too many of them to try to be better at it so the averages would work better if I went the solid route. I never looked back after that...

Willy didn't make that choice and things kind of caught up with the poor guy. He figured a smile, a story and a good shoeshine will take care of things and it does for a while. You can make a real good living with a strong work ethic, a smile, some great banter and drive - But then things kind of creep up on you and you'd better have something solid when the wolves come calling.

The wolves of age, responsibilities, expectations and circumstance will bite through your polished exterior into your very soul unless you have something solid to fend them off.

I love Willy - See him every day. In airports, at offices, in overheard conversations and snippets of stories told to lighten things up and create rapport with an endless stream of prospects.

Everyone is a prospect for something aren't they - Willy Loman I understand you. I love you for who you are - but you make me sad.

I sold like Willy and then realized I didn't want to be Willy.

So what did I learn from this Sales Life?

Solid Beats Bullshit.

That's what I learned from Willy Loman.

Shun Fujimoto


What I learned from Shun Fujimoto:


Montreal Olympics 1976

As Shun Fujimoto completed the floor exercise in the mens competition with a final tumbling run he felt a strange sensation in his right knee but continued anyway.

His kneecap was broken. He had shattered it early in the routine.

Shun was focused more on what his team needed than the discomfort he felt. The Japanese team were all intent on upsetting the heavily favored Soviet team and his performance would go a long way to determining the nations fate in the Olympics. It was for every member of the team a matter of honor to distinguish themselves against such a mighty opponent. The nation, indeed the world was watching them.
Shun decided to tell no one of the "twinge" he felt - not even his coach.

On the pommel horse he strode up purposefully, mounted and miraculously performed like a champion. He scored a remarkable 9.5 out of 10 to keep the team in contention. Honor was intact.

But then came the Rings. The final event of the day.

The rings that would require him hurling his body into the air in a twisting triple somersault dismount. His performance was poetic. Soaring from the rings eight feet in the crisp air and into the glaring lights he curled and climbed. Strength and beauty in perpetual motion driving toward the earth he spiked his shattered limb into the floor in perfect symmetry.

His dismount nailed into the ground, standing as tall as a flag post, strong and solid,with only the slightest shadow of movement.

The pain sliced through him like a knife. His eyes glistened with tears yet held the stoic thousand yard stare of a seasoned soldier. His teeth clenched tight and his arms raised high in the time honored salute to the crowd. The man stood tall and erect. The man Focused.

His score was the highest in his career, ever, a 9.7.

As Shun Fujimoto staggered away and collapsed in the arms of his coach the full extent of what he had done set in. His broken kneecap was shattered and the ligaments in his leg destroyed.

The doctor said "How he managed to do somersaults and twists and land without collapsing in screams is beyond my comprehension."

Shun Focused.

His teammates were inspired.

They needed a 9.5 to overtake the Soviets.

They scored a 9.9 and won the Gold.

Shun Fujimoto


That's what I learned from Shun.

Click here to watch his performance.

47 Ronin

The Way of
the Warrior.

"Out of the Night that covers me
Black as the
pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be

my unconquerable soul"

What I learned from the 47 Ronin:


Bushido is a Japanese term, literally meaning the Way of the Warrior, a code of life and death for the Samurai. It is an ethical code of conduct that transcends time, circumstance and the self.

It is the Way of the Warrior.

Born and raised with Bushido code, a true warrior is always alert, on guard and ready to do battle. A Bushido warrior is prepared to give his life at a moments notice. He will enter the fiercest fighting, eager for glory regardless of circumstance and danger. He sees battles, adversity and challenges as opportunities to live and die by the code.

To understand the essence of Bushido - Click here

We teach our children the practical and pragmatic skills to survive and thrive in a material world.
We educate them in the hallowed halls of academia with teachers, tomes and technology.
We advocate or refute the merits of varied religious faiths.
We influence them with guidance or abdicate and allow other influences to guide them.
We try to do what we feel is best to prepare them to succeed.

But how many of us tell the tales of illogical romantic ideals that inspire us to be more than ourselves? How many weave tapestries that teach our children to respect and revere the code of warriors who serve without question and put themselves in harms way for us?

Some view the warrior code, with its focus on duty, honor and loyalty as an anachronism. They deride the words and phrases as propaganda that appeals only to the immature and unenlightened.

I say to them - God save me from mature enlightenment if that is true.

As an old soldier, and even older father, Bushido is a code that I have tried to pass on to my daughter. Aikido training reinforced the importance of honor, loyalty and the seven virtues.
Bushido and the code became a Rosetta stone in her development and education. Aikido continues the evolution of the ancient code which holds as a central tenant the concept of "ending the fight".

Aikido harmonized her spirit and true warrior stories influenced and entertained her. Stories of sacrifice, honor and loyalty. Stories of duty and selflessness. Stories of serving to become more than yourself and better than yourself. Stories that romanticized and reinforced the importance of living by a code. It was no surprise to me when she announced that her favorite Disney movie was "Mulan".

"True victory
is victory
over yourself"

The stories of the 47 Ronin of Ako, the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae and the 600 men of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava portray vivid examples of the Bushido code at its most honorable. Sadly the code today is no longer valued as it was and indeed is often ridiculed in favor of self interests. Intellectuals disparage it, materialists chastise it and most decry it as romanticizing violence at its worst and ridiculous lemming like behavior at the very least.

Bushido is an altruistic ideal that the self serving intellect may never comprehend. We all choose a path in life - some choose a code.

The 47 Ronin of Ako.

In the 47 Ronin story, the leader of the 47 Ronin - Oishi Kuranosuke is quoted as saying:

"Some people live all their lives without knowing which path is right. They're buffeted by this wind or that and never really know where they're going. That's largely the fate of the commoners - those who have no choice over their destiny. For those of us born as samurai, life is something else.
We know the path of duty and we follow it
without question".

To read the story of the 47 Ronin - Click here.

The 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.

As 300 Spartans stood against seven thousand invaders, their leader Leonadis was heard to say:

"When you go home
Tell them of us and say

For their tomorrow

We gave our today."

read the story of the 300 Spartans - Click here.

The 600 Light Brigade of Balaclava.

In his epic poem "The Charge of t
he Light Brigade" Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:

"When can their glory fade
Oh the wild charge they made
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they mad
Honor the Light Brigade
Noble six hundred."

To read the complete poem - Click here

To read the story of the Charge of the Light Brigade - Click here.

Those who Serve Today.

Whether they say "Semper Fidelis" or "De Oppresso Liber" those who serve today share the same code.

"I am the unknown soldier
And maybe I died in vain.
But if I were alive
and my country called
I'd do it all over again."

Bushido, at its essence, is a path of service.

That service could as well be to faith, family, teaching, healing or protecting others.
Once the service becomes more important than you -then perhaps it has also become Bushido.

Live by a code bigger than yourself

A code more important than your self interest.

That's what I learned from the 47 Ronin.

To Learn more about Bushido - Click here

To Learn more about the 47 Ronin of Ako - Click here

To Learn more about Aikido - Click here