Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Extraordinary Leadership and Vision

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Approaching the year-end is a time when many people pause and reflect on what they have already accomplished (highly recommended by this scribe); then look at what they want to create in the new year.

The leadership lesson de Saint-Exupery teaches above certainly applies to when motivating a team or a family or a work unit. My suggestion is to also apply it to our inner dialogue as we look at what is possible for us in 2010 and into a more distant future.

Go big or go home.

Your thoughts about vision...or anything else...can be memorialized here.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Progress or Direction?



“The direction of the mind is more important than its progress.”

Joseph Joubert

I’m continually amazed by the ability we humans seem to possess in extravagant abundance for negatively judging ourselves and our “progress.”

The great teachers in my life have repeatedly counseled that a truly productive exercise is to take a few quiet moments to list our “wins,” our achievements for the year and then:

Accept that you were the source of all that has happened and all that will happen.

Truly, if your direction is positive, you’re already a winner.

As always, your responses are welcome.

With love and respect,
Robert

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wisdom from Kahil Gibran

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”

Kahil Gibran

Approaching the holiday season seems to bring into sharp focus those important people no longer present in our lives, our failures or our hurt feelings. There are many legitimate motivations for feeling sorrow.

It is helpful to remember this brilliant poet and teacher’s counsel and realize that by fully experiencing our sorrow and putting it in the context of something valuable, we can get stronger and more effective.

Your thoughts are welcome, in fact solicited.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What to Say and How to Say It




"The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem of what to say and how to say it.”

Edward R. Murrow

Long time readers know that occasionally I’m struck by the elegant simplicity of a quote and quite simply have nothing of real value to add to it.

This is one of those times.

Your communications are welcome

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Falling, Falling, Falling

"The bad news is you're falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there's no ground."

Chogyam Trungpa



It certainly seems to be a time of “falling through the air” for many people. The more challenging notion is that “there’s no ground.”

The gurus constantly teach us that the only “reality” we experience is the one we make up. It’s not an easy concept to grasp—especially for we in the developed world holding our apparent fascination with “things.”

My personal habit is that when I feel stuck or judgmental or confused, to pause and reflect on what reality I am creating and how I can take responsibility for creating it. Only then can I exercise the liberating power of choice—knowing that I chose all of what I am describing as reality and since I chose it, I can choose something more effective.

As always, your thoughts are welcome!

With love and respect,

Robert

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "Thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.

~E.P. Powell

So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.

~Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

~John Fitzgerald Kennedy


First a thank you for mentor Tom Hill for sourcing these wonderful quotes!

I am grateful to so many and for so much in my life. In this context—to the Extraordinary Minute folks around the world—I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be in relationship and contribute in my small way to you. Your responses and expressions of interest in my speaking, writing and training work fill me with joy and satisfaction.

Wherever you are in the world, it is always a good time to express thanks for all of our blessings. Most of all for the blessing, the gift, that you are to yourself, your family, friends and colleagues, and to the greater community.

With love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Are You Worth?

“in doubt a man of worth will trust to his own wisdom"

J. R. R. Tolkien

The giant assumption here is that we – man or woman – really experience our own worth. My personal experience is of denying my worth for many years; then fleetingly “owning it;” then becoming comfortable with my own value, the gift I represent in the world, most of the time.

For many of us, it seems to be an uneven process to simply “get” our unique, totally complete value in the world. The journey, whether it be short or long, is definitely worth some planning, commitment and, when those moments of aha come along, a lot of celebration.

Please let us know your thoughts about the journey.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Internet Fun

“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life."

Andrew Brown

“Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet, and they won’t bother you for weeks.”

Unattributed

“ Geting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”

Mitchell Kapor


These Extraordinary Minutes have been so serious lately that I thought we should just aim some pointless fun at the medium we use to communicate.

Got a favorite quip about the “net” or e mail or ??? Let us in on the joke by commenting below.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Commitment!


“Then where does your intention come from? Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose.”

Benjamin Disraeli


“Commitment” is the last, and I believe the most important, of my “Eight Power Principles” home study program. (Available, of course, at http://www.ExtraordinaryBook.com)

When one makes the kind of commitment the former British Prime Minister is referring to here, any other real or perceived weakness can be overcome.

Please share your commitment examples!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"If you do not enjoy what you do to make a living, you are a slave in a golden cage and the best you can hope for is to work enough to buy your freedom and then hope that you have some life left to live."

Jonathan Manske


It’s always great fun and an honor for me to highlight the work of local (that is, Colorado) talent and Jonathan Manske has great insight. His little book, “The Law of Attraction Made Simple” is thoughtful and useful for anyone looking to clear, as he describes it, their “head trash” that might be in the way of accomplishment.

My executive coaching work and our seminars have taught me that some people must change jobs to experience joy and satisfaction from their work. However, the majority discover that by getting clear about their purpose and vision, then shifting their attitudes about the opportunity where they are, their current job suddenly becomes rewarding.

My assertion above is grounded in my experience. What’s yours?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Problems or Opportunities?



“We are constantly faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”

John Gardner

A fond memory is meeting John Gardner and sharing lunch with him on the patio of the Snowmass Club in beautiful Snowmass Village, Colorado. He’s a great teacher about leadership and life—and has authored several thoughtful books.

Personal, business and governmental...Today’s problems can seem insurmountable. Of course, they represent the potential for breakdown or breakthrough. It’s all about mindset, language and action. We do have choice and it’s our most powerful asset.

There’s enough about the problems in the media. What are some opportunities you’ve identified and are exploring solutions to? Let all of us know by commenting below.

Robert

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Tough to be Kind

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Philo

Isn’t this timeless wisdom surprisingly tough advice to follow?

Loving kindness seems to be the central theme to the Dalai Lama’s life and teachings. Being in his presence is to have a direct experience of the power of kindness.

For me, “Mr. Critical,” it’s a challenge to remember and practice greater empathy toward and with others. Turning off my judgment machine and just “being with” people produces better relationships and a better experience of life—perhaps I should do it more often? (a little sarcasm there!)

Your thoughts, as always, are welcome so comment!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Want to Own Your Own Business?

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

from a student in an entrepreneur class


I recently attended the Entrepreneurial Thought and Action seminar at Babson College. It’s a brilliant program targeted to a wide range of budding entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. I recommend it highly and you can find out more at http://innovationassociates.com

Our times seem to call for a radical departure from “business as usual.” More creativity, more innovation and more accomplishment—not less. On the personal front, it will require clarity on what you really want, a decision on what you’re willing to give up to get what you want and a willingness to experiment with various ideas and structures. We – as a nation and as a society
need entrepreneurial thought and action.

What’s your “big idea...or three” and what’s your commitment to having it become real?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“Depressed? Of course we’re all depressed. We’ve been so quickly, violently, and irreconcilably plucked from nature, from physical labor, from kinship and village mentality, from every natural and primordial antidepressant. The further society “progresses,” the grander the scale of imbalance. Just as fluoride is put in water to prevent dental cavities, we’ll soon find government mandating Prozac in our water to prevent mental cavities.”

M. Robin D’Antan


Well......Mr. D’Antan seems to have said what he said very clearly and any attempt to interpret or comment seems designed for failure! Given that, here goes …….

What I observe in my work with senior executives and feedback during or after my public speaking appearances mirrors the concern expressed above. Pharmaceuticals – legal and not so legal – are often the unfortunate choice for “feeling better.”

Perhaps many of us need to dig some potatoes, really sit down and talk with our families and friends and take a long hike. What’s your way to handle life’s ups and downs? Let us know through your comment.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life Just Is

“When you boil it down, life is made up of our minute-to-minute experiences. And once we begin to become more aware, at some point we discover a fundamental truth: life is not positive or negative, it just is.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life”
by Robert White


As always, I resist the temptation to comment on my own writing. You, of course, are not bound by any such rule so please respond.

With love and respect,

Robert

Come Play With Us in Denver !!!

If you’re in Colorado the evening of October 1st please join us for Epic Spirit—a fast paced group board game based on Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey.” Get details and register at: http://herosjourney.eventbrite.com/?ref=ebtn

Dr. Arturo Bencosme will be our “coach” …. He’s brilliant, charming and engaging. I’ve played the game, had fun and learned a lot about myself and others. Bring a friend or make some new ones!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Truth



“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,” but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’”

Kahil Gibran

Attendees at our seminars and readers of my book, “Living an Extraordinary Life” know that I take a pretty hard look at the right-wrong game. It’s a major destroyer of relationships and a pox on creating community. One of the big contributors to playing the right-wrong game is when we believe we have found “the truth.”

One benefit of aging is a certain wisdom is possible—not promised, just possible. I am less and less persuaded by “the truth” and more and more convinced that there are many truths;.
What’s your point of view on this important communication tool?

With love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Walking the Talk


"Well done is better than well said."

Benjamin Franklin


Long time readers know of my affection for Ben Franklin, his life and his work. While I am greatly tempted to make a political comment here, I’ll generalize instead.

It seems to me that we live in a kind of celebrity culture where being well-spoken can temporarily blind us to what is actually being proposed and “done.” With the constant flow of information we are assailed with minute-by-minute, our critical thinking and decision making skills are needed more than ever.

I’d appreciate knowing your experience and thoughts in this key domain.

With love and respect,

Robert

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ahhh ... The Judgment Machine

“Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.”

Dandemis


Of course, I want this to apply to others and not to me!

Need I say more?

Examples wanted and you can share them through the "comment" link.

You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Living for a Good Purpose



“No pleasure philosophy, no sensuality, no place nor power, no material success can for a moment give such inner satisfaction as the sense of living for good purposes, for maintenance of integrity, for the preservation of self-approval.”

Minot Simons


I write this relaxing in the beautiful Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, Tokyo. Last night in a conversation with a Japanese friend she was lamenting what she described as a Japanese trait of determining ones identity based on the approval of others. After some thought, I shared that I believe this tendency is not exclusively Japanese.

My leadership seminars stress the central role of purpose in our lives and how an awareness of purpose and an ability to articulate it to others increases our effectiveness. I’m reminded by the late Reverend Simons that it is directly related to our sense of satisfaction with our lives.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are You Ready to Learn?

"Personally, I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught."

Winston Churchill

Ahhhh Sir Winnie, your wit and wisdom always seem to touch me at the heart level …. and your words often make me a bit uncomfortable with their inherent truth.

I know it’s my ego, my identity as a “know-it-all” that gets in the way; yet that bit of self knowledge doesn’t seem adequate to disappear my resistance to “being taught.”

These times of rapidly accelerating changes in families, careers and the economy call for constant learning, for constant re-invention. What’s your take on why we sometimes resist being taught? True confessions (and hopefully some insight) can be shared by commenting. I look forward to the dialogue!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wisdom from Duane Elgin



“To live more voluntarily is to live more deliberately, intentionally and purposefully -- in short, it is to live more consciously. We cannot be deliberate when we are distracted from life. We cannot be intentional when we are not paying attention. We cannot be purposeful when we are not being present.”

Duane Elgin

I was going to write this myself but Duane Elgin beat me to it. (my attempt at some jealousy disguised as humor)

I believe this quote is from his 1981 book “Voluntary Simplicity : toward a way of life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich” Great title, great book and great quote.

The argument here seems to support prayer and meditation as tools for creating an extraordinary experience of life. I agree. Do you? Let us know with your comments!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Seven Deadly Sins


"The seven deadly sins are wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle."

Gandhi

Growing up in an all Catholic neighborhood makes me wary about “sin.” However, ignoring Gandhi-ji’s wisdom seems perilous also.

It occurs to me that you can read his words ten times and get ten insights. Perhaps that’s enough for now – just read them several times and draw your own conclusions!

And ….. share with all of us. I look forward to interacting with your thoughts and feelings.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hooked on Happiness?


“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

Chuang-Tzu (350 B.C.)

It’s always challenging to comment on these “Zen like” sayings which respond well to exploration in a five day or five year retreat setting.

I find myself on the other side of many motivational and self-help experts who counsel millions on how to be happy. My sense is that happiness is too transitory to actively create and in that context, I resonate with Chuang-Tzu.

I do believe we can set up our lives such that feelings of joy and satisfaction are more likely to occur. Happiness seems more random and therefore, while not something we can manufacture, something we can fully celebrate …. another welcome miracle in our lives.

What about you? Are you “hooked on happiness” as a goal or ????? Please share with all of us your thoughts and perhaps your strategies.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Living "On Hold"

“Technology is changing our lives. It cannot and will not change what is fundamental to the human condition. It will never change the way we are, or how we feel. The more technology we create, the more we seem confused, side-tracked with what we are conned into believing will improve our lives in the future. Always the future. Anything to get us off thinking about who we are right now, and how we might make our relationships more rewarding and loving. Too many times, all of that is put on hold.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life”by Robert White

As is my custom, commenting on what I’ve written seems self-indulgent.

I am, as always, interested in your thoughts and you are encouraged to share them with all of us via the comment link below.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To Love or Not to Love?

“A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.”

Joseph Joubert

My personal experience plus observation of thousands of participants in our seminars informs me that while it’s somewhat easy to assert that we desire to be compassionate and kind, often that compassion is conditional. One of those “conditions” is pointed to in this powerful message from Mr. Joubert: we use our judgments of others to justify withholding kindness.

Now perhaps you’re “pure as the wind driven snow” (one of my Mother’s favorite expressions when she doubted my veracity!), and kindness is always available to you with every person in your life. If so, perhaps you should be writing these missives instead of me!

I sometimes struggle to get past negative judgments about people in my life so that I can be fully present to them and to extend to them the compassion and kindness I want from them.

I’m sure you have some great stories...Be sure to share them with us.

With love and respect,

Robert

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Winning and Losing .... or Losing and Winning


"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."

Muhammad Ali

There’s a lot of defeat “out there” ... failures in business, in relationships, with investments and retirement plans, government programs that don’t deliver on their promises ... lots of opportunities to develop defeatist attitudes and behaviors.

As I hammer home relentlessly in my book, “Living an Extraordinary Life,” we all have choices on how we respond to circumstances. While we often can’t control the event, we have total control over our response to it—that’s the essence of being personally responsible for our lives.
No one, least of all your humble correspondent, says it will be easy. And, of course, it is a choice and by choosing, we gain personal power.

So how are you doing with any defeat in your life? What are you learning? Let us all share in your learning by adding a comment.

With love and respect,

Robert

P. S. On July 18th and 19th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida I’ll be presenting with other innovative speakers and consultants, health & wealth experts, top athletes, and trainers—all focused on building what is called the success-mindset. This is where one begins to breakthrough fear, take risks, to begin finding & living your passion. Your price is only $149 and just insert RW01 as a Registration Code!! Check it out, it is definitely an event worth attending.

After the event, you will not be the same person as when you walked in. Your accomplishments and lifestyle will move to the next level. Personal growth is an investment, so this is something I wanted to share with you. You can visit their website at www.healthandwealthannex.com for details or call 1877-HW ANNEX to register.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security, will deserve neither and lose both."

Benjamin Franklin

Old Ben’s wisdom seems appropriate for our times, methinks!
As always, I’m interested in your thoughts as we make decisions about the size and scope of government that will surely change our experience of our lives, our children’s and their children’s.........for years to come.

Let all of us know what you think.

With love and respect,

Robert

Friday, June 26, 2009

Intriquing Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YVuWBnlMxg

Long time friend and graduate of one of our Tokyo seminars years ago, Anthony Willoughby, was recently captured on video at TedX in Japan. I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.



Robert

What Do We Value?

“Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.”

Erma Bombeck


Been to the supermarket recently? Joined me in the guilty pleasure of reading the tabloid headlines recently? (If you either bought the magazine or believed the headlines, call me. I’ll help you get the counseling you need!)

Perhaps every society has worried that its culture was declining; however, our current reality seems truly scary. Many surveys of American teens report that “being famous” or “getting on TV” is either at the top or near it when asked what their goals are.

Have many of us have been lousy examples or just failed to teach our young people about true heroism? I mentioned in response to a recent comment on my blog (http://extraordinaryseminar.blogspot.com/) that due to being in a full leg cast for several summers as a teen, I read almost every book in the local library’s biography section. As a result, I can tell you more than you want to know about famous black biologist George Washington Carver’s peanut research.

More importantly, I gained a deep appreciation and respect for people who were truly extraordinary and the prices they paid for their accomplishments.

I’d love to hear how you feel about my observation that we seem to be rushing headlong into valuing the wrong things. Am I on to something here? Please respond on the blog so I can share your wisdom—and my reply—with all of my extraordinary readers!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are You Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places?

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Rumi



My personal journey of growth and discovery plus my experience in hundreds of seminars and with thousands of people informs me that most people—beginning with me—are somewhat hard wired to look outside ourselves for answers.

My business mind reminds me that this is the marketing force behind our sales results. After all, when people do look “outside” they often turn to companies like Extraordinary People for answers. My strategy in founding Lifespring, ARC International and now Extraordinary People has been the same: allow people to think that we have “the answers,” get them engaged in our work and then enroll them into the reality that the only valid and valuable answers come from within.

A profound process is to follow this Sufi poet’s counsel and do the necessary and sometimes painful work of self discovery; to identify and clear those “barriers within yourself” preventing you from full self expression; to cease seeking for love and move yourself to a place where you can simply allow it to flow.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unlimited Gifts vs. Limiting Beliefs

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Confucius

“It is no failure to fall short of all you might dream. The failure is to fall short of dreaming all that you might realize.”

Dee Hock


It’s a “two for one” Extraordinary Minute!

Long time readers know that I’ve previously used the quote from Dee Hock (founding CEO of Visa). When I found the Confucian quote, it seemed appropriate to use both of them—kind of two sides of the same coin.

My work with many thousands of people in Lifespring, ARC International and now Extraordinary People has taught me much and left me wondering about even more.
One of those questions is “why do otherwise extraordinary people with unlimited gifts limit themselves in terms of vision and commitment?”

I know of the power and role of limiting beliefs and there seems to be much more “in our way.” If you have some thoughts on this subject, I’d love to hear them.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Trust Yourself

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

Golda Meir



I must confess to not knowing a lot about former Israeli Prime Minister Meir. My impression of her—mainly from news reports—is one of great strength, sensitivity and clarity as she served her fledgling nation during times of crisis after crisis.

In this quote and in many of her other writings, she speaks a positive, future oriented language seemingly untied from her people’s tragic history.

Pretty good model for living an extraordinary life, methinks!

With love and respect,

Robert
________________________________________
Lunch with Robert events are scheduled for Denver, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Please join me for great conversation and connections. Details at:
http://www.LunchWithRobert.com

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fighting Gravity All The Way Down

“Being in resistance to 'what is' – fighting gravity all the way down – is what makes life brutally demanding. Life is naturally much easier than we make it. Trees grow, flowers bloom, birds fly, sloths don't seem to do a hell of a lot, and I assume that platypuses do platypussy things – all without resistance to “what is.” All species are designed to live that way: without resistance. Except humans. We complicate things and make life hard for ourselves by resisting life as it is. We try to change things over which we have no control. We want gravity to be different, for the immutable rules that govern our existence to somehow be suspended for us.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life” by Robert White



What can I say other than...buy a signed copy of the book at

http://www.ExtraordinaryBook.com

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wooo ... this is DEEP!

“Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self's actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward.”

Viktor Frankl



It seems to me that commenting on Frankl’s powerful prose can only diminish its impact.

I suggest you read it again...Reflect, and read it again.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How Ya Doin?

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

George Orwell


I’m motivated here to use very short words!

We seem to live in a time of “cuttlefish...ink” with our presumptive leaders in business and politics vying with one another for the title of “Chief Confuser.”
While replacing them and that style of communicating is a good long term aim, perhaps we should just focus on ourselves and those in our immediate area of influence. I’m working constantly on positive, honest, authentic and effective communication.

How am I doing?

More importantly, how are you doing?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Deeper Emotional Connection to Life

“My mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of a large collection of facts.

If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.”


Charles Darwin



Roger Fransecky is a friend, former employee and currently heads up a successful senior executive coaching and consulting company. His monthly newsletter often includes a favorite piece of poetry which serves as a reminder that there’s a broader, deeper world out there available to me.

(You can learn more about Roger’s work and subscribe to his free newsletter at: www.apogeeceo.com)

One of my life intentions is to become more heart-centered and clearly poetry and music contribute to moving me toward that. You might want to consider finding a favorite poet (or three), listen to more music and regularly visit art museums and shows. I predict you’ll be surprised on how good it feels.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Religion Reminds Us to Love

“In choosing your god, you choose your way of looking at the universe. There are plenty of Gods. Choose yours. The god you worship is the god you deserve."

Joseph Campbell



Of course, with a nod to my friend David and perhaps other readers, perhaps Mr. Campbell includes worshiping no God? I suppose that introducing anything about religion into this dialogue is high risk...but then I teach taking risks as a tool for living an extraordinary life so here goes!

Long-time friend, mentor and business partner Dr. Mark Albion recently shared that recent events in his life “shows me how lost we are right now as a people, and how much we need something to grab on to, to believe in, to help us get centered when we have lost our way. So, what's the role of religion?

“Religion helps us reconnect with the unseen order of things. Religion should help us feel better, for when we feel better, we do good. Any ‘good’ religion should speak across time to everyone, no matter your world view. The best religion? Kindness. Religion reminds us to love.”

Mark’s words caused me to reflect and reconsider some decisions I’d made about religion. How about you?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Are Your Priorities?

“...we continue to spend fortunes on an stupefying array of distractions supposedly designed to make us happier than Liz Taylor at a wedding: Cosmetics that contain everything from the placenta of unborn goats to a pound of pig fat mixed with volcanic ash and “19 secret ingredients from the rain forest”; diet products to remove mountains of blubber gained by stuffing ourselves because we are so damn miserable, and miserable because we are so horribly fat; cosmetic surgery in every place from facial to other cheeks; mind-numbing cruises to paradise; luxury boats that never leave their luxury marinas; hard drugs; soft drugs; alcohol; anti-depressants; uppers; downers; frenetic gambling to hit the big time; jewelry that is too expensive to wear; image marriages destined to last all of six months; mink-lined designer toilet seats; lottery tickets; tobacco products we know w! ill kill us; and billions of tons of electronic and plastic and toxic junk that add nothing to our lives and create only clutter, pollution and landfill.”

from “Living an Extraordinary Life” by Robert White


As always, I don’t comment on quotes from my book. While I’m capable of being self-indulgent, I don’t do so consciously!

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Do YOU Have To Say?

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

Barbara Kingsolver



It could be argued that too many people are saying too many words given the proliferation of pundits and “experts” in the media, politicians at all levels and the guys on the barstool at your favorite watering hole.

I’ll argue the opposite. More of us average folks need to become more clear about what we need to communicate to be our authentic selves...and DO IT.

How’s that for a Wednesday challenge?

Robert

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Connecting with Principle--A Great Decision Making Tool

“I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread.”

Thomas Jefferson



I’ve shared previously that in selecting these quotes for “An Extraordinary Minute” I’m confronted with the reality that many of them are from “dead white guys.” Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’ve worked to broaden my offering to include more diversity of gender, age, ethnicity and faith.

Here in America we have embarked on changes in economic, social and governance policy that are truly massive in scope and impact. It truly boggles the mind.
My counsel when “boggled” ... reconnect with timeless principles, pay attention to your “common sense” and observe the lessons of history.

Jefferson might be on to something here.

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trust or Be Wary: It's a Choice

"From a pragmatic point of view, the difference between living against a background of foreigness (an indifferent Universe) and one of intimacy (a benevolent Universe) means the difference between a general habit of wariness and one of trust."

William James, “Pluralistic Universe”


These words deserve careful examination and reflection. Wouldn’t you rather live a life of trust rather than one of wariness? When I speak with friends recently, there is an acknowledgement that we increasingly live in a world where we must be “on guard,” turning up and preparing our senses for the next relationship or business deal or investment to go wrong.

For me, all of this argues for consciously choosing our environment—work, friends, politics, even family—carefully. All too often we fall into an unconscious series of choices about who and what is in our personal environment that put a positive, trusting energetic state at risk; we make choices that serve to gradually erode our trust and increase our anxiety and stress.

Isn’t it time for Spring cleaning?

With love and respect,

Robert

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Having and Being a Friend

“A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.”

Charles Kingsley



Well said Mr. Kingsley!

I have friends and a former wife who meet that description so I am blessed!

It also occurs to me that we must water what we want to grow. This argues for some regular maintenance work on our friendships. That phone call for no reason, that greeting card with a personal note and, perhaps most importantly, carving out time to just be together in celebration, in furtherance of our friendship.

Having great friends begins with being one.

Robert

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Go Big or Go Home!

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.



In these celebrity culture days, when so many people are celebrated and famous for being famous, it’s easy to forget that all of us make a difference, all of us contribute.

A toxic and insidious form of self-talk is when we, in any way, diminish our work and worth in the world.

My recommendation: go big or go home!

Brag a little! Through yourself a party! Give yourself an award!

Have I used enough exclamation points? Got it?

Be extraordinary! It’s a choice you can make.

Robert

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Believe in Yourself

“Acquire the courage to believe in yourself. Many of the things that you have been taught were at one time the radical ideas of individuals who had the courage to believe what their own hearts and minds told them was true, rather than accept the common beliefs of their day.”

Chin Ning Chu



This is another one of those quotes that “says it all” and leaves me mute.

That may be welcome news to some of my readers.

If you want to learn more about Chin-Ning Chu’s powerful philosophy of life you can do so from one my favorite books, “Thick Face, Black Heart.” It’s available on Amazon.com and from other outlets.

So......what does your heart and mind tell you that is true for you?

Be extraordinary!

Robert

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gratitide!

“True masters report that the key to success is an "attitude of gratitude." Being grateful for what we have, rather than focusing on what we lack, is the key to well being and abundant living.”

Paul Schnabel



While I’ve not done the research, I believe the most common theme in three years of these Extraordinary Minutes is “Gratitude.”

Amazing, wonderful...even EXTRAORDINARY things happen when we pause to be grateful. Plus it just plain feels so good to see what happens when you express appreciation to the people in your life.

A useful tool I’ve been using to remind me of the power of gratitude is the on-line SendOutCards service. I notice that because I’m paying a small monthly fee (whether I use the service or not!), I am sending more snail mail cards acknowledging people and thanking them for their many contributions to my life. I then “get my money’s worth” and positively impact the important people in my life: family, friends and clients. If you’d like more information, just hit reply and I’ll introduce you to Karen Saunders, my Send Out Cards person.

I’m grateful to you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings on a regular basis...so thank you!

Be extraordinary!

Robert

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"About the process of growing up......What follows is tragic. We stop risking for fear of making mistakes, fear of not fitting in, fear of being embarrassed or humiliated by saying the 'wrong' thing. Our instinctive joy and boundless enthusiasm are replaced by playing it safe and looking good. Our spontaneity deserts us, and with it much of our natural creativity. Predictability replaces passion. We learn to reveal very little of who we really are and what we really feel. We sell the richness of our passionate birthright for the security of this burdensome thing called our ‘image’. It weighs us down like a suit of medieval armor, restricting our every move, sapping our vitality and aliveness. We wander through life on automatic pilot, controlled by the need to live up to the false image that we invented."

From "Living an Extraordinary Life”
by Robert White



As is my custom, I don’t comment on my own quotes. It would be, at best redundant and at worst, self-indulgent.

We’ve added an excerpt from the book to its revised website. You can learn more and even purchase a signed copy for yourself or someone special at:

http://www.ExtraordinaryBook.com

Be extraordinary!

Robert

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Being "Run by Approval" .... another Choice

“I should love to satisfy all, if I possibly can; but in trying to satisfy all, I may be able to satisfy none. I have, therefore, arrived at the conclusion that the best course is to satisfy one’s own conscience and leave the world to form its own judgment, favorable or otherwise.”

Mohandas K. Gandhi



Regular readers know that your faithful scribe has numerous faults. Some I’m aware of and share; some I’m aware of and keep secret; and some I’m mostly unconscious about. (those of you familiar with the Johari Window are chuckling now) My former wives, of course, are expert in my faults and would gladly educate you much more completely than I ever could.

One strength I will claim is that though I do enjoy approval from others, I’ve mostly lived my life consistent with my own conscience. Of course, this has often led to disapproval from family, friends and the greater population!

A quality I notice from some of our Extraordinary Living Seminar participants (learn more at http://www.ExtraordinarySeminar.com)

is that there is a direct correlation between those who structure their lives and especially their important decisions so as to please others......and those who are experiencing a much less than extraordinary life.

Go Gandhi ji !!!

Robert

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are You a Doorstop or Making Music?

“Every single one of us can do things no one else can do—can love things no one else can love. We are like violins. We can be used for doorstops, or we can make music. You know what to do.”

Barbara Sher


Don’t you just love it when a communication is so complete there’s nothing else to say but “Thank You?”

Thank you Barbara Sher!

Robert

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Possibly Unpopular and Timeless Principles

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”


William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962)



An Extraordinary Minute is apolitical – plus my commitment is that they be read in one minute or less – so my comment here is brief:

We face many choices in the days and months ahead, individually and collectively. My suggestion is to filter our decision making through proven principles of accomplishment and the lessons of history.

A foundation pillar of my work for the past 40 years is personal responsibility. I do my best to not fall prey to the “victim culture” all too common in modern society and to “own my life.” You might be well served to join me in this effort.

Robert

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Will You Choose to Live Your Life?

A video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old.

The contest was Titled "u @ 50".

This video won second place. When they showed it , everyone in the
room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.

So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Where Do You Stand?


“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”


Thomas Jefferson


Many years ago a mentor of mine gave a popular speech in which, when talking about the value of total commitment, he said “on this rock I stand and world, you will adjust to me.”

Pretty bold and somewhat catchy don’t you think?

As a young man learning some important life lessons I was impressed. Later I went to Japan on a consulting engagement for three months that turned into twelve years—thus I still do not offer seminars on planning—and the client organization was headed by a CEO who had been with me at that great speech and liberally quoted from it.

As I got to know the organization better, it became clear that while the speechmaking was grand, the execution was a lot less than 100%. When I questioned one of the Vice Presidents about this disparity and specifically the “on this rock I stand” line often quoted, he replied in describing his boss, “His rock has wheels.”

Our personal power and effectiveness is to a large degree determined by our awareness of our principles, our taking of personal responsibility for having them show up in our lives and our ability to fully communicate them to others.

Robert

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ahhhh .... The Mystery is Solved

If you are wondering where the post announcing my upcoming appearance on The Jean Chatzky Show on Oprah & Friends Radio on XM 156 has gone, here's the deal:

I've been in communication with a friend who pointed out that my prior communication had the unintended side effect of suggesting Oprah Winfrey has built her wealth on carefully crafted legal papers. This sloppy and inaccurate communication dismisses years of hard work by Ms. Winfrey, countless millions given to charity and a global platform that has at its base, empowering each of us to be our best.

I am an enthusiastic admirer of Oprah's work in the world and to suggest anything less was a misstep that I sincerely regret - that being said I do look forward to have you listen in to Jean's show on Jan 21st to hear about finding your best self when it comes to finances.

If you've got a comment or three about Robert's inappropriate communication and apology or want to share about your own experience in this domain, I'd love to hear from you. Just hit the comment link below!

Robert

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Denial, Self-deception and Rationalization

“All human beings have an innate propensity for denial, self-deception and rationalization. Some of us are at war with this dangerous proclivity, and some of us are trying to get a PhD.”

Douglas Bell



My friend Doug Bell has been a successful entrepreneur and has lived a lifelong personal development commitment. Recently I’ve noticed that he has been slowly but surely moving from student to teacher and sharing his life lessons with others. Fortunately, I’m included as both a friend and as an eager learner.

I like this quote from Doug a lot, especially the distinction indicated that we have a choice. We have the opportunity, even the obligation, to examine our current reality with more rigor and insight. What is really true about our “Self” … note the capital “S” … what’s really true about our family, our work, our community and our institutions? Is our life journey leading toward more awareness, more compassion, more positive action? Or, as another friend colorfully says, are we “engaged in a headlong dash toward Hell?”

Personal growth guru Byron Katie’s famous “Four Questions” (useful when looking at an issue in our lives) begins with “Is it true?” As we confront and move through the increasing changes in our lives, we’ll have the opportunity to ask “what’s true” and, when that discovery process is complete, make infinitely better choices.

Robert

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Peace

“May you live, eat, work, sleep in peace;
Walk, run, garden in peace;
Speak, listen, breathe in peace.
Decide: ‘I choose peace from now on.’


Miles Kierson


Perhaps like you I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who communicate during the holiday season with positive wishes for the New Year. I received this one from friend and management consulting guru Miles Kierson and since it resonated so strongly with my deepest aspirations, I thought I’d share it with you.

Peace is an elusive state for many of us. It is hoped for, strived for and challenging to create on a consistent basis. My little joke – and not a joke – is that if you want to find the biggest population density of angry people, join a peace organization in Boulder, Colorado.

Peace, it seem to me, must begin with each of us. It comes from eliminating those attitudes, beliefs and actions that lead us away from peace and toward celebrating those events, people, thoughts and environments that help bring out of us our best, our most peaceful state.

With sincere wishes for peace in your life and for our world in 2009,

Robert

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