I Just Don’t Fit In

Joanne and I have a tradition of watching the 1994 movie Little Women while we put up our Christmas tree and decorations.  Jo (Winona Ryder), the main character, is a creative, energetic young woman who is finding it difficult to do the normal things in that town and culture.  Fortunately, she has an insightful and understanding mother (Susan Sarandon). After having just rejected a marriage proposal from her long time boyfriend, Jo verbalizes her exasperation with herself.  “There is something wrong with me.  I’ll never fit in anywhere.”  To which her mother gently replies, “You have so many extraordinary gifts.  How could … Read More

What sculptor are you using?

Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. -Henry David Thoreau In today’s environment it’s critical to control our thoughts – they are indeed leading you and creating the person you are becoming.

Work Six Weeks A Year – that’s all

Is getting more “stuff” always a reasonable goal? Henry David Thoreau spent the better part of his life writing about man’s attempt to find truth and meaning through simplified living.  At some point he discovered he could live within the harmony and beauty of nature with a clear conscience and only work six weeks a year to support his lifestyle. Henry found it difficult to find a teaching job that matched his style so he worked briefly in his father’s pencil factory.  At age 28, Thoreau built a small house on Waldon Pond and began to devote his time to … Read More

Are you living the life you imagined?

I keep coming back to some of the simple wisdom from Thoreau. In recent years we’ve heard a lot about “The Law of Attraction” and “The Secret.” They sound pretty much like Thoreau’s thought here from years ago. And before that we had the Biblical principle – “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Unlock your best ideas – here’s how…

Dan, I feel like I’ve lost my creativity. My work has sucked all the juices out of me. Do you have any ideas on how to get the creative juices flowing again? I can’t even sit down and think of my hobbies. What if I can’t think of anything I would “love” to do? Tips to unlock your creativity  You need to “sit” longer. Get away from your normal routine. Go for a long walk, exercise more Take an art (woodworking, sculpture, gardening) class Put yourself around people who are high performers. Henry Ford once said he didn’t want executives … Read More

Please “beat” me

I recently had the opportunity to meet (Apple) Dan Miller, an Amish neighbor of my Dad.  He told me that years ago Dad had complained to him that his apple trees looked beautiful but weren’t producing any apples.  Known far and wide for his apples, (Apple) Dan told my Dad to go home, grab a hammer and give his trees a severe beating around the trunk.  He said they needed to have something wake them up – that life had been too easy and they needed a challenge to come alive.  While this seemed counter to the careful fertilizing, watering … Read More

Poverty or Simplicity?

The current “recession” or economic downturn has prompted many people to enjoy a healthier, greener, ecologically responsible, and simpler lifestyle.  So what is the difference between poverty and simplicity? If I’m angry that I can’t afford a new Ferrari I may feel that I’ve been doomed to poverty.  However, if I enjoy the classic lines and character of a 20-year old sports car that I can easily afford, then it appears I have chosen simplicity.  If I “can’t afford” to eat at Ruth’s Chris I may begrudge the government’s tax and economic policies.  If Joanne and I invite some friends … Read More

Sell Baby Sell

Here is a note I received for my podcast this week: Dan, I have been in sales since the late 80s, but never considered myself a salesman. It was the career that chose me when I needed a job.  I’m tired. My self-esteem is probably at an all-time low. I have been relegated to again looking for sales positions that pay what I need to sustain my current lifestyle. I feel I am truly living Henry David Thoreau’s quote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”. When you say you don’t want to be in “sales” you imply … Read More

Are you too old for this….

I often have people tell me they think they are “too old” to: learn another language, go back to school, rebuild broken relationships, follow their passions, start a business – and the list goes on and on.  Have you ever used that excuse for not doing something worthwhile? Here’s a site where you can plug in any age and see some notable things done by others that same age. Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age:   You’re Not Too Old Just go here, put in your age and prepare to be encouraged – you can do more … Read More

“Sitting” for ideas — here’s how

Henry Ford once said he didn’t want executives who had to work all the time.  He insisted that those who were always in a flurry of activity at their desks were not being the most productive.  He wanted people who would clear their desks, prop their feet up and dream some fresh dreams.  His philosophy was that only he who has the luxury of time can originate a creative thought. Wow!  When’s the last time your boss told you to quit working and do more dreaming?  Unfortunately, our culture glamorizes being under time pressure.  Having too much to do with … Read More