Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Empty Heads

“An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.”

Eric Hoffer

I just finished re-reading Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” which I first read over thirty years ago. If you want to better understand cults it’s a great source of wisdom.

Eric Hoffer was known as the “longshoreman philosopher,” a high school graduate who unloaded ships at night and got his advanced education by reading his way through the San Francisco library by day. He was also known to not suffer fools gladly, so I wasn’t surprised to come upon the above quote—perhaps a bit prickly and mostly true.

The election season here in America is a vivid reminder of how much “rubbish” is available should we allow it to populate that space between our ears. It seems that a necessary twenty-first century awareness and skill set is the need to filter this torrent of communication for truth, for context and for utility.

It’s my hope that “An Extraordinary Minute” always meets a higher standard for you.

With love and respect,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life is Simple, Not Easy

“Choosing to live an extraordinary life is simple. This does not, however, mean that it is easy.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life”
by Robert White

Radio interviewers I’ve spoken with who have actually read my book often choose this quote to focus on in their interviews. It gives me the opportunity to remind the listeners that “Living an Extraordinary Life” is definitely not the first to address the science of human achievement. Giants in the field like Napoleon Hill and Brian Tracy have, while using different approaches and examples, revealed straight-forward advice on how to create success.

The question is whether the student of success is willing to “do the work” of completing their past, learning to tell the truth about current reality and then truly creating a future of their own choosing.

With love and respect,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's the Quality of Your Relationships? Communications? Promises?

"We talk about the quality of product and service. What about the quality of our relationships and the quality of our communications and the quality of our promises to each other?"
Max Depree

I’m a big fan of the books by Max Depree, former CEO of Herman Miller Inc, and especially of “The Art of Leadership.”

He has that rare ability to capture and communicate eternal truths in a simple, powerful way.

In our seminars and in my own life I repeatedly see demonstrations of the vital importance of the quality of our relationships. Long time readers also know that our promises to each other, our agreements, are a major determinate of quality relationships. My article on “Agreements” is in the Archive. Check it out!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great Fun (for any age)

“You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.”
Dave Barry

We’ve been fairly serious for weeks with these messages so it’s time for a break.

If you want to impart some serious meaning to this...have at it.

With love and respect,


Monday, October 6, 2008

Our (Almost) Sacred Identity

So here’s the story as I heard it:

A “guy” is walking down the street in Sag Harbor, New York with his thirteen year old daughter. They’ve just spent a wonderful day together and, as had been their custom for many years, were on their way to get ice cream as completion for the ideal father—daughter experience.

The “guy” is very happy to have had this special time with his daughter and he absent-mindedly begins singing aloud. She promptly grabs his arm and in an urgent whisper says “Daddy be quiet! You’re embarrassing me!” (remember, she’s thirteen)

So far, the story sounds typical and could have happened to any parent, right? It has certainly happened to me. My daughters even bought me a bumper sticker that read “I embarrass my children.” And no, I did not put it on my car.

But “the guy” in this story was multi-platinum album selling singer Billy Joel.

We all understand the teenager’s response. But, what about her Father’s? Did he understand with a smile and become quiet? Did he sing louder “just for fun?” Or did he react badly given his fame and pride in his ability to sing?

We all carefully construct an identity that serves our needs – especially our need for social approval. One value of doing this is that we don’t need to repeatedly ask ourselves who we are. We have our identity. Events and circumstances in my life a few years ago combined to give the identity I had carefully constructed some serious shocks. It was not fun … and it turned out to be an incredibly valuable learning experience for me. You already know the drill: I discovered that essentially I was not the identity I had adopted and that it had been limiting my full self-expression and full participation in my own life.

Transformational leader Werner Erhard once said to me that “the only purpose of the mind is to insure the survival of the ego, the identity.” My observation is that whenever we step outside that identity, no matter how pleasurable it might temporarily be, the mind begins to work full time to return us to safety, to the identity it is comfortable being. Absent a transformational shift our tendency is to stay within a narrow range of human experience. Yet, it seems to me that the “bonus years” are those lived outside that niche, outside of “normal,” out in, dare I say it, extraordinary territory.

Oh ….. to complete the story …... unfortunately, Billy Joel chose the react and do damage to the relationship choice. It took him some reflection and coaching plus a year of his life to make it right with this most important person in his life.

What identity are you protecting? What are the prices and rewards of holding on to it?

Just thought I’d ask.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Are You "Lights On?"

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

This is another one of those “WOW” quotes from Ms. Kubler-Ross.

I am blessed to have directly and indirectly participated with over one million people who have chosen to search for, reveal and amplify the power of that “light from within.” I’ve often said that for me, one of my greatest work related pleasures is to be in a seminar room when that light gets ignited.

Are your lights on?

(and if they are not or if they’re even just dimmed a bit, let’s talk about you and the benefits of attending our seminars!)

With love and respect,


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