Archive for the ‘Abraham Lincoln’ Category

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” Abraham Lincoln, Speech in Peoria, Illinois, 1854.

“Mr. Lincoln retained through life all the friends he ever had, and he made the wrath of his enemies to praise him. This was not by cunning or intrigue in the low acceptations of the term, but by far-seeing reason and discernment.” Leonard Swett, Attorney

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 There are underlying rules that govern how life works. They may not always be readily apparent, but still they work. Yet to some of us, the fundamental rules of life often seem like a mystery. Like when the grandson asked Grandpa,

Grandpa

“How soon will I be old enough to do as I please?”

“I don’t know,” replied Grandpa. “Nobody has ever lived that long.”

A Slip but Not a Fall

After a loss to Stephen Douglas in the senatorial election of 1858, Lincoln slipped on a patch of ice in front of his house. His legs went out from under him, but he put out his arms as he fell, and caught himself before his body hit the ground.

“It was a slip but not a fall,” he muttered. His face was lost in thought and he repeated, “a slip but not a fall.”

“A slip but not a fall.”

To Lincoln, it was an omen that his loss in the senatorial election did not end his chance to be nominated for president. Lincoln saw that his chances were still strong to win the Republican nomination for president. It helped that his fame had spread like wildfire after the publication  of transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in national newspapers.

Mastering Disaster

In Abraham Lincoln’s world, virtually any obstacle was viewed as a stepping stone, or a lesson, to prepare him for the great things that he expected to happen in the future. If we view our own lives, like Lincoln did, as having meaning and purpose, then we too can frame all of our experiences (negative or positive) so that they always appear to be beneficial to us.

As Alberto Villoldo (The Four Insights) said,

“History is not what actually happened, but how you choose to remember it –that is, how it lives within you.”

Dealing With the Worry Monster

I am someone who sometimes (almost always) worries too much. For example, one

The worry monster

day the exterminator was coming to kill some ants in a rental house I own, at 10:30 AM. I couldn’t be there as I had a job as a substitute teacher that day, so I worried that the tenant would not be there when the exterminator arrived and I’d be charged for a visit.

I also worried that, if the tenant were there, the exterminator would overcharge me because I’m not there to supervise him. I worried about this all morning as I was teaching. And what  did all this worrying accomplished? Not much, except my stomach hurt because I’d been worrying so much.

If I look at the big picture, I would ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”

1) The exterminator arrives and the tenant is not there, so the exterminator comes back next week.

2) The exterminator charges a little more than usual, but he’s been there before so I know the standard rate. He can’t deviate too much from that.

At the end of the day, the worst that happens is I lose a few bucks and the ants get killed next week. No big deal. It’s not worth getting a stomach ache over. Everything will still get done. The world will not stop spinning.

I took a deep breath.

The long range goal for my rental houses is to hold onto them another 10 years, and then sell them to fund my retirement. As long as I have paying tenants living in the rental houses, the planets are lined up. Everything else, including exterminating ants or even a late rent payment, is just a minor detail.

I start to feel better when I think about it that way.

Patience Keeps the Worry Monster at Bay

Picasso

Pablo Picasso famously said,

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Yet, to be a “Master of Disaster,” sometimes it’s better to exercise patience, and to let things unfold at their own pace.

 

 

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

June 5, 2018. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Amazon Link

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Always Say “Yes”

Always Say “Yes”

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

 

“The way for a man to rise, is to improve himself in every way he can.” Abraham Lincoln

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Say “‘yes,’ because you never know what an opportunity, no wonder how odd, might bring. ‘No’ closes doors. ‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” William Shatner, Shatner Rules

________

Always say “yes” to every opportunity, regardless of how preposterous it may seem. Saying “yes’ always leads to new connections and adventures. New doors fly open. New people are met. New ideas are discovered.

Abe says “Yes”

I believe there were two early incidents in Lincoln’s early life, where he said “yes” to

Lincoln as Lawyer

opportunity that set the course for his life. These decisions enabled him to learn to adapt to the vicissitudes of life and to fearlessly push the envelope of his comfort zone.

1) At the age of 19, Lincoln said “yes,” when asked to take a raft full of goods down the Mississippi to be sold in New Orleans. This was the first and longest trip that Lincoln had ever taken. From his experience operating the boat through obstacles, selling merchandise, and fighting off thieves, he developed a strong sense of self-reliance (Herndon and Weik, Life of Lincoln).

2) Lincoln said “yes” when presented with the opportunity to study law. In learning to defend clients in court, he developed the mental strength, to match the physical skills that he possessed.

“Yes” to Peace Corps

I said ‘yes’ in 1985, and became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. I quickly learned to adapt to change, especially the first time I felt army ants crawling up my pajama legs. Honduras had its ups and downs. I embraced my teaching job with passion, loved my students, and my experience working in Honduras opened up doors for me later for even more interesting work in other Latin American countries. It even inspired me to write my first book.

“Yes” to Marriage

As an older college student, I said “yes’ to a summer internship at an agricultural research station in central Mexico. At 37 years old, I thought I was the kind of guy who would never get married. I was nervous around women. I thought my ears were too big. But one day, I asked a Mexican secretary for some directions. I mustered up the courage to introduce myself, I said, “Hi. I’m Terry Sprouse and these are my ears.” Unlike me, she was an exceptional conversationalist. A year later, we both said “yes” to matrimony, and embarked on a thrilling adventure together.

“Yes” to Toastmasters

Saying ‘yes’ to join Toastmasters super charged my aspirations to be a writer and speaker. I have published 5 books, each one based on speeches that I gave at Toastmasters meetings and the invaluable feedback that I received from fellow Toastmasters.

Captain Kirk Connects the Dots

To quote William Shatner, the venerable Captain of the Starship Enterprise,

 I nearly always say “yes.”

“Yes” makes the dots in your life appear. And if you’re willing and open, you can

William Shatner

connect these dots. You don’t know where these dots are going to lead, and if you don’t invest yourself fully, the dots don’t won’t connect. The lines you make with these dots always lead to interesting places. (Shatner Rules, 2011.)

Phoenix or Bust

Just a few weeks ago, my wife wanted to go to Phoenix to hear the Mexican female band, Flans. The performance was

scheduled for Saturday at 8:00 pm. I generally don’t like sprawling cities like Phoenix, much less at night. Phoenix is congested, polluted and crime infested, just like in the movie Blade Runner, at least in my own caffeinated mind. I felt queasy about going to Phoenix.

“I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, to go with you to the concert,.” I said to Angy.

“That’s great, O self-inflated one. Bring ear plugs and steel-tipped shoes, because I’ll be doing a lot of screaming and jumping up and down,” she said.

“And I will be the one sitting, quiet as a mouse, next to you, emitting positive

Foreboding Phoenix

vibrations,” I said.

Even though it was outside my comfort zone, I went. And guess what? My ears are still ringing.

Yet, I met some extremely interesting people, I never ever would have met otherwise. I even met an old Peace Corps friend, and most importantly my wife was happier than a tornado in a toupee factory.

I said “yes,” and the dots connected.

Is it just me, or is someone’s phone ringing?

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

June 5, 2018. “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis. Scottsdale Senior Community Center,1700 North Granite Reef Road, Meeting Room 7, Scottsdale, AZ, 6:30 pm.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Amazon Link

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

 

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

“Self-deprecating humor came naturally to Lincoln. Once, after being called ‘two-faced’ by another politician, he responded, ‘If I had two faces, why would I be wearing this one?’ ” Francis B. Carpenter, portrait painter of Lincoln.

Did I ever tell you the joke the Chicago newsboys had on me? Replying negatively, he related: A short time before my nomination I was at Chicago attending a lawsuit. A photographer of that city asked me to sit for a picture, and I did so. This coarse, rough hair of mine was in a particularly bad tousle at the time, and the picture presented me in all its fright.

  After my nomination, this being about the only picture of me there was, copies were struck to show those who had never seen me how I looked. The newsboys carried them around to sell, and had for their cry, “Here’s yer Old Abe; he’ll look better when he gets his hair combed.” Story told by Lincoln to Albert P. Chandler, Assistant Secretary of War.

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Acknowledge Your Flaws

Can you remember the last time someone made fun of you because of some physical characteristic that you had? None of us are immune. Aren’t we all too tall, too short, too fat, foo skinny, too young, or too old?

This type of comment seems funny to the critic, but it can sting the recipient.

Here is Lincoln’s two-step response for this type of criticism.

Step 1) Look deep inside yourself and acknowledge the fact that, yes, you do have certain physical characteristics that make you distinct. Maybe not as distinct as Quasimodo, but it’s something that catches the eye.

Step 2) Use self-deprecating humor to deflect criticism.

There is great power in looking inside of ourselves, acknowledging who we really are, and in making fun of ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln had a target on his back because he had two unique traits.

1) He was very tall and extremely thin. He stood six foot four inches tall and weighed only 170 pounds.

2) His face was so homely that it could frighten and intimidate others.

Yet, despite being called string bean, scarecrow and gorilla, Lincoln was bullet proof from this type of criticism because he was better and funnier at criticizing himself than were his adversaries.

A Story to Break the Ice

Lincoln was invited to speak to a conference of newspaper editors in Chicago, some of whom were his fiercest critics. To break the ice he told this story:

One day I was riding along a mountain trail on my horse.

From the other direction came a woman on her horse. She stopped her horse and looked at me.

“I do believe you are the ugliest man I have ever seen,” she said.

‘That may be true, madam, but there’s not much I can do about it,” I replied.

“No, perhaps not, but you might at least stay home.”

The audience of editors laughed with Lincoln instead of at him. Lincoln’s goal was not just to respond to criticism, but to show that he was a big enough man to laugh at himself, and in the process, disarm his critics and often win their friendship.

“Do I not destroy my enemies by making them my friends?” Lincoln once observed.

Responding to Frenemies

Recently, two so-called “friends” of mine made fun of me for being too skinny.

“Terry you looked like a broom wearing glasses,” said one person.

I LOOK LIKE WHO???

I LOOK LIKE WHO?

“Terry it’s so windy today, I’d better tie a sting to you before you fly away,” said the second one. Apparently no ‘funny’ criticism is too ancient to use.

Okay, I get it. I’m skinny. I used to be defensive about it, but over time I have come to see these comments as an opportunity to convert “frenemies” into friends, and I developed this reply,

“In my defense, my doctor told me that I weigh the exact right amount for someone this awesome.”

Another time, I was a substitute teacher at a school when one student said to another student,

“I’m working with the old guy.”

After glancing around the room and finding no one older looking than myself, I thought,

“He must be talking about me!”

The remark caught me off guard, but it also motivated to come up with a Lincoln-esque response. After some internet research, my new response to ‘old guy’ comments is,

“There is still no cure for the common birthday,” to quote John Glenn.

A Complete Inventory of My Flaws

Some other flaws that I proudly possess, beyond being rail thin, are: my industrial sized ears; I drink a lot of iced tea (I go through iced tea faster than most women go through cotton balls); one of my eyes looks slightly larger than the other (great to give someone the “evil eye” or to impersonate Jack Elam); and, my hair is disappearing faster than a toupee in a hurricane. My only hope for fame may be a possible spot at Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum.

When we acknowledge our flaws in humorous ways, it makes it easier for others to relate to us. It indicates that we have a light heart and a humorous outlook on life, and we become someone that other people like to be around. It’s like changing the friendship ‘stop light’ from red to green.

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

Feb. 10, 2018, International Speech Contest. Pen To Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

April 14, 2018. “Publish or Perish.” Pen to Podium Toastmasters. Hardesty Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. Tucson, AZ, 9:00 am.

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesPrescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Places in the Heart

Always Say “Yes”

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Associaton of Lincoln Presenters Convention

 

“The name of the man had come to stand for what he was. In the ‘cave of the winds’ where he saw history in the making he was far more a listener than a talker. The high adventure of great poets, inventors, explorers, facing the unknown and the unknowable, was in his face and breath.” Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln

“In traveling on the circuit, he was in the habit of rising earlier than his brothers of the bar. On such occasions he was wont to sit by the fire, having uncovered the coals, and muse, and ponder, and soliloquized, inspired no doubt by that strange psychological influence which is so poetically described by Poe in ‘The Raven.’ ” Lawrence Weldon, lawyer

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Testing Our Thoughts in Solitude

Lincoln was smart, but many of his peers had vastly more formal education and political experience than he. Lincoln’s success was a product of being better prepared than anyone else. He prepared himself by spending time in the “cave of the winds,” pondering the elusive questions of life.

Lincoln’s time in deep reflection allowed him to sort out the priorities of his life. He could move the chess pieces in the calm of these peaceful moments, before he had to do it in real life. Each move could be precisely calculated, leaving nothing to chance.

My Cave of the Winds

In my case, I like to go for a long bike ride early Sunday mornings, while most people are still in bed and the traffic is light. At the halfway point of my ride, I stop at Harold Bell Wright Park and I jot down ideas that pop into my head, ideas that answer puzzling questions I am wrestling with about my writing, about my speeches or about perplexing issues that I have in my life. I believe that separating myself from the familiar confines of my house, combined the accelerated blood flow to my brain from pedaling my bike, allow fresh ideas to enter my thoughts.

Harold Bell Wright Park

After I write down my ideas, I walk around the shady park. I imagine that I am in a sort of paradise, as I drink in the beauty and solitude, and even more ideas flow into the old noodle. For me, my bike rides are my “cave of the winds.”

I also get guidance for my life is in the neighborhood walks with my dog, Blackie. Other times I get creative thoughts from walking around a park or even walking around my own back yard. I occasionally take a section of a book that needs tweaking, to a local coffee shop where I sit in a quiet place, like Lincoln before the fireplace, to muse, ponder, and hatch fresh ideas.

Flashes of Inner Guidance

Occasionally, an idea will flash into my brain, like a pure and unfiltered message directly from my subconscious or intuition or spirit. I treat these messages, or “gleams of light’ as Emerson says, as pure wisdom and I attempt to act upon as rapidly as possible. If I ignore it, I may miss a great opportunity. If I follow it, endless new doors of opportunity can open up to me.

For example, after I had written my first book about Abraham Lincoln, I was searching the internet for organizations where I could give a speech about my book. I came across “The Association of Lincoln Presenters.” A perfect fit! They had a convention scheduled for April. Unfortunately it was already March, and they had their speakers lined up.

A thought popped into my brain, “contact the organizer.” In response to this prompt, I sent a note to the convention organizer,

I have written a new book on Abraham Lincoln entitled, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” I think it is a perfect fit for the convention. I know you have speakers lined up, but if one of your speakers has to back out, I would be happy to come, at a moment’s notice.

The convention organizer responded,

We really don’t need any speakers at this point.

That was it. Short, sweet and seemingly offering no hope.

Illinois Ho!

Then, shortly before the convention, the organizer sent me another note:

Good morning; this is Abe Clymer host of the Lincoln convention in Vandalia. I have had a cancellation of one of my speakers for the convention. If you are interested please call me at area code 618-514-xxxx. I can probably allow you a 30 min. time slot at our symposium.    Honestly, Abe Clymer

Wow! I was on fire with anticipation! The convention offered no honorarium, but allowed me to sell my books at the hotel. I felt this was the opportunity that I could not pass up.

Abe and I in fromt of the Illinois State House

My son, Jason, and I jumped into the car and propelled ourselves toward Vandalia, Illinois, thoughts of adventure dancing in our minds. I made my speech at the exact State House of Representatives where Lincoln served as a state representative. Jason filmed my presentation and we sold a book to almost everyone who attended the convention. Afterwards, I posted video clips of my presentation on my blog.

That presentation gave a boost to my fledgling speaking career. It established my credibility and opened doors for other organizations to schedule me to speak. It put me on the proverbial map.

All because I followed that flash of inner guidance.

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Places in the Heart

Always Say “Yes”

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

“Mr. Lincoln possessed extraordinary empathy – the gift or curse of putting himself in the place of another, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.” Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals.

“Lincoln listened with the same energy that sparked his interest in books.” Charles B. Strozier, Lincoln’s Quest for Union: Public and Private Meanings.

“Lincoln’s favorite attitude when listening – and he was a good listener – was to lean forward and clasp his left knee with both hands.” Benjamin Perley Poore, journalist, author.

 “Each visitor was greeted with an encouraging nod and smile…. the President listening with the most respectful and patient attention.” Francis Fisher Browne, journalist.

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Abraham Lincoln’s listening skills were tied to his empathy for others. To be like Lincoln, we listen attentively to others and have compassion for their burdens. We cannot connect with people or care about them unless we are tuned to their wavelength.

MacGyver and Sons

My two sons are 19 and 22 years old. I speak to them as one adult to another, though it still seems strange to me. I still think of them as babies. I used to read them bedtime stories and change their diapers. My wife and I shared all the baby duties, but I drew the line at breast-feeding.

Now, if I want to be a constructive part of their lives, I have to listen to them. I do things with them that they like to do. I often assist them when they work on their cars. I also help them to cut through the bureaucratic red tape of life.

I represent a quirky MacGyver-type figure to my boys. They come to me for help to solve problems, or to tap into my extensive bank of knowledge (based on years of miscalculations and outright blunders).

I often just stroll into the boys’ rooms, sit on a bed, and chitchat with them about their daily activities – things like movies, or work, or their school (junior college), but sometimes they will open up to me about a concern they may have that I can help them with.

The key is to put myself in casual situations with my boys. This way, the communication channels are always open between us and our relationship continues to grow.

Fast and Furious in the Driveway

For example, my older son has always had an independent streak, He’s a rebel without a clue. Now, at 22 years old, he still lives at home but he, not surprisingly, doesn’t like to obey the rules. Specifically, when his car is blocked in the driveway, he drives on the front yard to extricate himself. He also rarely washes dishes and his room is messy. He has crossed the fine line between being “independent” and being “lazy.”

Each person in my family has a car, so we often have four cars in the drive way. It’s common for one of our cars to be blocked in. The problem is that my wife and I put plastic under the decorative rocks in the front yard. Driving cars on the front yard breaks the plastic, allowing weeds to grow.

My blood boiled when I saw him drive on the decorative rocks a few days ago. My first inclination was to shout, “Do not ever drive on the rocks again!” but that would only light his fuse.

Later in the day, with my affable personality firmly in place, I went into my son’s bedroom. He was playing video games. I sat on his bed. I could tell he was in a relaxed mood. After a few casual remarks, he said,

“Pop, when I’m in a hurry to go places and it feels frustrating to have my car blocked in the driveway. That’s why I drive on the front yard.”

“Instead of driving across the front yard,” I said, “you could:

1) Get the key and move the car behind you;

2) Tell me when you are blocked in and I will move the car behind you;

3) If you know you have to leave again, just park on the street where you won’t be blocked in.”

“Okay, Pop,” he replied, embracing his affable personality.

The affable listening approach, just as the pen, is mightier than any sword.

Write it Down

“A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory,” said Steven Wright. That describes the state of my wobbly memory. If I want to remember something I must write it down, or take a picture with the phone. Sometimes I do both.

When I talk to someone, their words fly through the space between my ears like laser guided missiles, unless I write them down. These are often important things to remember, such as, they are having surgery, taking a trip, or the names of brothers and sisters or spouses. I make a habit of writing down what people say, immediately after I speak to them (I always carry pen and paper in my pockets), then later I transfer that information for permanent storage in my Daily Journal.

For example, I write down my younger son’s junior college schedule class each semester, the first time he tells me. That way I can ask him how his class went, mentioning the correct class, each day. It makes him think that I am interested and that I have the memory of the Amazing Kreskin.

As a substitute teacher, I always write down the names of teachers and other people I meet (janitors, teacher assistants, and staff) and record pertinent information about them. This is particularly useful when I return to a school after a long absence teaching in other schools. I can use my notes to refresh my memory of the names of people I will be working with again.

Cary Grant – Listener Extraordinaire

Carry Grant had a richly deserved reputation as an actor who could genuinely listen to his co-stars.

Judy, Judy, . . .

The Atlantic Magazine (Jan/Feb 2007) reported,

“Cary Grant found a novel way to treat women in film: he clearly related to his heroine as a attractive woman—and also as a witty, intelligent, and idiosyncratic one. Often he conveyed this by adopting the strategy of simply listening to her. (With both his male and female costars, Grant would emerge as probably the best—that is, the most unobtrusively generous—listener in Hollywood.) The result was that Grant allowed the actress’s performance to emerge and flourish. He thus transformed his leading ladies ‘into comic goddesses’.”

Sure, any Tom, Dick or Harry can do a Cary Grant impersonation, but how many can match his finely honed listening skills?

Big Bang Listening Example

Here is a sparkling example of listening from The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon coaches Amy in the fine art of listening.

Transformative Listening

Like Cary Grant, Amy and Sheldon, we can transform the people that we speak with through our generous listening. The more generous we are, the more confidence and eloquence our friends will develop.

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Places in the Heart

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

“Abraham Lincoln was liked by every person who knew him. He made himself useful in every way that he could. If the water-bucket was empty he filled it; if wood was needed he chopped it; he was always cheerful and in a good humor.” Caleb Carman, New Salem neighbor.

“It cannot be too often stated that cheerful friendliness was the most striking feature of his (Lincoln’s) personality.” Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1858.

_____

Treat Strangers Like Friends

I was walking my dog, Blackie, one morning. As I began to cross the street, a van suddenly appeared and was barreling towards me. The lady in a van stopped to let me cross. I thought it was my neighbor, Pat. I waved for her to go first, then I gave another wave and smile as she passed. As she went by I realized it wasn’t Pat, but rather, a complete stranger.

The remarkable point of this incident is that I can pretend that the people I meet are just like someone I already know and like. Then I find I have the same warm feelings for that stranger as I do for an old friend. If I project traits I know about a person I am acquainted with to a new person, I try harder to understand them instead viewing their actions in a negative light.

My friend, Mark, is a “type A” personality. He is capable of pushing himself to accomplish great things and he can be very kindly towards others, but he is also easily frustrated and angered when things don’t go the way he expected. When I meet someone with a personality like Mark, I know what buttons to push to make him smile and what buttons to avoid so he is not upset, based on my experience with Mark.

Forced to be Affable

As a landlord and owner of rental houses, recently my wife and I were really low on money (i.e., broke). We are always feel like we’re low on money, but this time the well was really dry. We maxed out our credit card to purchase a new air conditioner for a property.

Big Lou

On top of this, we had to pay for a hotel room for a tenant, when the old air conditioner went out and he and his family could not live in my rental house, due to the heat. This unexpected (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!) combination of large expenditures hit us like a Lou Ferrigno-sized tsunami. I feared we might have to sell a rental house to get out of debt, something I have eluded because we are relying on the rental houses as a future source of retirement income.

We desperately needed new tenants in this house. We found two promising, albeit quirky, tenants. I was so motivated to avoid this financial cliff we were facing that I bent over backwards to keep the tenants happy. I assumed an exceptionally affable personality.

Affable Personas

My attitude was that the tenants could do no wrong, even though they did things that under normal circumstances would rub me the wrong way, such as: they had a dog in the house for a short period (no pets allowed); they paid the rent late; they didn’t transfer the utilities into their name; they were pushy in asking for minor repairs that they could easily do themselves. How hard is it to buy a $1.00 bathtub drain plug?

Yet, I maintained my amiable, easygoing attitude. Anything that happened, regardless of how shocking, I acted as if it was exactly what I had anticipated. My response was always, “No problem. We can handle that. It’s a piece of cake.”

Some typical tenant problems and my response:

“I have a leaky faucet.” No sweat. I’ll change the washer.

“The door is squeaking” I’m on it. Let me put some WD 40 on the hinge.

“I dropped a pencil on the floor.” Leave it to me. No project is too small.

Surprisingly, since I’m normally an intense worrier, this positive attitude grew on me like a barnacle on a ship. It has made me feel much more relaxed.

To Change the Present, Come Back From the Future!

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote that we should live each moment as if for the second time. We recognize that we didn’t fully appreciate our experience the first time around and now have a chance to return to the moment and do it right (as mentioned in Lynne Spreen’s “Any Shiny Thing – Life After 50” Blog.)

Marty and Doc Brown

To come back from the future, we don’t need a time machine built from a DeLorean car like Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future. Rather, the trick is to pretend like we are in the future, but we imagine we have traveled back to the present.

For example, I am 63 years old, but I imagine that I am really 83 and I have returned from the future to enjoy this day, as if for a second time. I take the things that happen as though it’s my last chance to see these people I love, in this stage of their lives. I imagine that I have already experienced this day once before and I focus on really treasuring the people and experiences in this second opportunity.

Putting My Affable Persona to the Test

In my adventures as a special education substitute teacher, I frequently come across kids with extreme anti-social behavior. Since all of the other teachers in the class (there can be three or four teachers in some classes) are already burned out from working with that one kid, I am usually paired up with him.

As I approach each new classroom, my thought is, “You never know what you are going to get. That’s the exciting part about life.”

Recently, I walked up to the classroom door and surprisingly, the door was locked.  I knocked. The teacher opened the door just a crack and shoved a boy at me. In an exasperated voice, she said, “This is Angel. Can you just watch him for a while? We have to get him out of this classroom. I don’t care what you do, just don’t let him hurt anyone.” The door closed and locked behind us.

10 Year Old Imp

I was alone in the school hall way with this 10-year-old imp who was just expelled from his classroom. Our eyes locked. My mind was churning with foreboding thoughts.

Suddenly, a continuous stream of expletives flew out of his mouth. He ran down the hallway ripping papers off bulletin boards and yelling insults at teachers and students he passed. I herded him into a teacher preparation room where I kept him blocked in, thinking it was be safer for everyone if I isolated from the rest of the school population. He threw papers, pencils and markers on the ground, put pens in the toilet, and taunted me with insults. His favorite name for me was “pink lips.”

Yet, I kept the Lincoln perspective firmly in mind and maintained my affable persona. I would chuckle at some of his over-the-top taunts, or reply to a particularly creative insulting name for me with, “That’s a good one.” I found a Goosebumps book in the prep room and started reading it out loud as I continued to try to neutralize Angel’s destructive efforts. He took an interest in the story and calmed down a bit.

I returned Angel to his classroom in a slightly better frame of mind than I got him, although that might have been because he just needed a rest. Yes, I was happy to be rid of him, but I was more pleased to have maintained my calm demeanor.

Later, I went home and kicked my dog. (Just kidding.)

An Affable Waiter

Let’s try to be as affable as the imperturbable waiter.

“I’m sorry, but I only have enough money for the bill. I have nothing left for a tip,” I once told a waiter.

“Let me add up that bill again, sir,” the waiter responded.

 

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

“No matter how busy or how deeply engrossed in his work Mr. Lincoln might be, whenever anyone came in he would greet him with a pleasant or humorous remark, and before he left would inevitably tell a joke or anecdote.” John H. Littlefield, law clerk

“If a friend met or passed Lincoln (on the streets of Springfield), something would remind him of a story, and tell it he would.” William Herndon, Herndon’s Life of Lincoln

“In the midst of the most stirring and exciting — nay, death-giving — news, Mr. Lincoln has always a story to tell.” Adam Gurowski, State Department

“Mr. Lincoln’s wit and mirth will give him a passport to the thoughts and hearts of millions.” George Goutwell, Secretary of Treasury.

___

Three Factors that Inspired Lincoln to Connect to People with Humor

“I like people”

1) He had a gregarious personality. He liked people and enjoyed getting to know them.

2) He knew that his appearance was intimidating to others. He was extremely tall and had a homely appearance. To compensate for that, he put people at ease with his humor.

I once worked with a guy named Frank who had a hostile face. If he looked at you, you’d think he was angry with you, but he actually had a very friendly personality. Every time I saw him Frank had a joke or a funny quip to tell. Like Lincoln, Frank used humor to mitigate people’s reaction to his stern appearance.

Leo Gordon as Frank

3) As a politician and lawyer, Lincoln’s quickest path to success was to have the type of personality that allowed him to quickly connect with people.

Building Friendships One Person at a Time

I can’t think of anything more valuable than building lasting friendships. However, we must be subtle and have a plan when first meeting new people. Rather than just launching into a long winded anecdote or knock-knock joke, the best way to meet a new person is to keep your opening remarks short and simple.

Five Ways to Break the Ice

1) Tell an appropriate quip or make a humorous observation.

Use a humorous observation or a pithy quote, from your collection of quips and quotes as a way to show your friendliness and social grace (savoir faire).  If you don’t have a collection, now is a good time to start one.

For example if the topic of lawyers comes up, I’ll say, “It’s unfortunate that 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.”

2) Be lighthearted

Channel your tense energy into just exuding happiness. Smile. Take the attitude that, “I’m just here to be friendly and have fun.”

3) Poke fun at your own distinctive characteristics or personality

I am skinny, balding, 63 years old, incessant worrier, so I am entitled to make fun those characteristics. People quickly recognize that we have certain outstanding characteristics, and they feel more comfortable with us when they know that we recognize these characteristics in ourselves and can make fun of them.

When speaking about my job, I like to say that I do the work of three men – Moe, Larry and Curley.

4) Joke with others in ways that are complimentary to them

One comment I use that pokes fun at a person, while acknowledging respect for them at the same time, is if they say or do something insightful, I respond, “That’s pretty good, for someone who used to be (or who is) a cop.” I say it with a smile. Of course, I would substitute in the appropriate profession, such as teacher, or psychologist, or whatever job they had, or presently have. When said in a jokey way, it works.

5) Express genuine interest

This one hits pretty close to home. How do you think a guy like me, with my prehistoric social skills, ever got married? Fortunately, opposites attract, and I found a wife who had advanced conversational skills. She was able to carry the conversation long enough for us to get married. All I had to do was to act interested.

Very few people don’t open up and come alive when they sense that you really are interested in them, in what they are doing, or what they are interested in.

Practicing for job interview

A Grrrrr8 Job Interview

When I applied for a job as Border Coordinator for the Arizona Department of Water Resources, I was selected as one of three finalists. I had to go in for an interview with the director, who would select the winning candidate. Normally, I have a reserved personality. My philosophy is, “A closed mouth gathers no feet” (Oscar Wilde).

However, I knew the director was a lawyer and lawyers are usually very verbal and assertive. I made up my mind that I would respond to her questions in  the interview in the same vein, as if I too were a lawyer, and like Lincoln, I would shoehorn in some humor.

I had several little jokes and quips memorized for use during the interview. I knew it may not go exactly the way I planned, but my father always told me, ‘As you walk through the cow pasture of life you’re bound to step into the truth once in a while.’ I realized during the interview that the director was enjoying my jokes and quips and that I felt really relaxed with the way things were going.

A few days later, the Director called and said that I was hired.

Extemporaneous Quips Lighten the Workload

Sometimes a good quip will pop into your mind when a humorous situation unfolds.

The other day, I was teaching in a special education class with three other teachers. A boy named Jose, who was unable to speak, had an electronic toy that spoke the letters of the alphabet. Jose apparently liked the letter “D” because he pressed it continuously for about 20 minutes. “D!,D!,D!,D!,D!” It sounded like a jack hammer pounding into the very core of my being.

Judy, one of the other teachers, was working across the room from Jose. She said, in an exasperated voice, “Jose, can you please select another letter. That one is driving me crazy.”

I was sitting next to Jose and I broke the tension in the room by commenting, “Sorry Judy, but Jose is not taking any requests right now.” The other teachers chuckled at my quip.

Enhancing Our Posterity

If we season our conversation with quips or humorous comments, they fizz and sparkle. People remember what we say. It’s like the delicious green frosting on a Christmas sugar cookie.

As Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “I must leave behind me the remembrance of a bon mot or I shall be forgotten.”

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Monday, December 25th, 2017

 

“In ten minutes I felt as if I had known him (Abraham Lincoln) all my life. He had the most wonderful faculty I have ever seen in a man to make one feel at ease.” A New York gentleman, from Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Intimate Memories of Lincoln.

“Lincoln greeted me cordially as though we had known each other for a long time. He knew men on the instant.” William O. Stoddard, journalist.

“Lincoln always manifested interest in everybody with whom he associated. When you first met him and studied him he impressed you with being a very sad man and a very kind man. He struck you as being a man who would go out of his way to serve you. There was about him a sense of self-abnegation.” John H. Littlefield, law clerk in the Lincoln-Herndon law office.

“Mr. Lincoln shook hands with me in his kindly way, and the direct simplicity and naturalness of his bearing were then and still remain the exact impression upon me of his daily manner. There was a natural courtesy and real interest shown toward me, with nothing of patronage or condescension.” Charles S. Zane, law student.

“The handshake of the host, affects the taste of the roast.” Ben Franklin
_____

Who was the last stranger that you greeted and shook hands with?

Meeting strangers can be a scary proposition. We don’t know who they are. They might think differently than us, or even be hostile. We may not like them. They may not like us. And of course, Mom always told us, “Never talk to strangers.”

Yet, Abraham Lincoln greeted everyone, without fear, as documented in the above quotations. He was interested in people. He had a desire to help people. As followers of Lincoln we too are obligated to greet all people that enter our lives.

Practicing to Meet and Greet

Recently, I was participated in a Toastmaster Area Humorous Speech Contest. My goal

Confederate and Union soliders shake hands in 1930

in attending was to win the Contest. However, my secondary goal was to apply Lincoln Affirmation #1 (see The ‘Secret’ Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln) and to shake hands and greet the 30 people attending the event. Throughout the event, I walked up to every person I didn’t know and said, “Hi I’m Terry Sprouse. I don’t think we’ve met.” I met 26 of the attendees. I only missed four people who came in late.

I admit I felt a bit like a stalker. After greeting someone, I would casually gaze around the room looking for my next victim. I struck mostly before the meeting began and during the break. My strategy was to choose people who were preferable alone. My second choice was people in groups where I already knew at least one person, then I would pick off the others in the group one by one. The easiest ones were when someone sat near me during the ceremony. “Hi I don’t think we’ve met.” They were like unsuspecting flies caught in my spider web.

Princess Diana greeting AIDS patient

The hardest one was, Juan Mendoza, who I hadn’t met before. I saw him talking to someone at the registration table. Just as I walked up to meet him he walked away. I followed him, like an Africanized bee following my prey, across the room, where he was engaged in another conversation. As he left that conversation, in my exuberance, I jumped in front of him and blocked his path. I blurted, “Hi I’m Terry Sprouse, I don’t think we’ve met.” I probably seemed a little too eager, but Juan took it in stride and shook my hand.

While I did not win the speech contest, I did have a radiant feeling of success because I was able to greet almost everyone and accomplish the goal I had set for myself, through a spiritual link with the Illinois Rail Splitter.

Mission (pretty near) accomplished!

Shaking Lions’ Paws

A few days later, I attended two more meetings. One was at The Lion’s Club, where afriend had invited me to attend a meeting, and later I attended the Toastmaster Division Speech Contest.

Matin Luthor King and LBJ shake hands

At The Lions Club I introduced a new wrinkle into my quest to meet people, I wrote down the name of everyone that I met. I was a hand-shaking machine, and easily met almost everyone there, since they conveniently greeted me, often before I could greet them. I had about a 95% completion rate at Lion’s Club, for the 50 people in attendance.

Another Crack at Toastmasters

At my next meet and greet effort, the Toastmaster Division Speech Tournament, I got only 16 out of about 42, or 38% completion. But, that low showing was because I arrived later than I planned to. Even though I only greeted 16 new people, that’s still 16 more than if I had made no effort.

What happens to these names, you ask?

I transfer the names of all new acquaintances to my Abe Lincoln “Make Each Day Count” Daily Logbook where the names, along with any useful information about these persons, is safely stored for future reference.

As William Butler Yeats said, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”

Your arrival will always be greeted with excitement

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Like Abe LIncoln, Be Prepared with a Quip or Bit of Humor

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Introduction

Dr. Josh Axe, author of Eat Dirt, states the reason that most people have toxins leak from their gut into their blood supply, is because of stress. It’s compelling that the number one reason for having a leaky gut is not related to any diet or physical ailment, but rather to how we think!

Psychologist William James observed, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” I don’t know if Abraham Lincoln had a leaky gut, but I do know that he chose his thoughts carefully.

Embrace Your Secret Identity

The key to success in allowing Abraham Lincoln to channel through you, is to be prepared. Imagine the things that will happen to you throughout the day and imagine plugging in your quips and anecdotes ahead of time. Just as Bruce Wayne could switch into his Batman persona, we can switch into our Abraham Lincoln persona when the occasion calls for it.

If you wait to respond on the spur of the moment, then it’s too late. The moment will pass you by, like a speeding train. Have your brain primed to respond, like a loaded gun, then just pull the trigger and fire your quip.

We can never control our circumstances random events that happen to us, but we can have complete control over our observations about the vicissitudes of life. Our quips and stories permit us to filter life’s challenges and to frame them in a way that we allow ourselves to be victorious over them. If we respond to adversity with a smile and an insightful remark, we can never be defeated.

I believe there are two lessons to be learned from emulating Abraham Lincoln:

1) We can accomplish anything if we assume the right personality. Just as if we wish to cross the ocean, we pick the strongest vessel which we know will get us through to our destination.

2) We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. By assuming the same character traits that worked for Lincoln, we too can become the leader, the entrepreneur, the teacher, or any other type of person that we aspire to be. We have the dream and Abraham Lincoln provides the means.

Put Life’s Experiences Under a Microscope

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You must live in the present . . . find eternity in every moment.”

To really live in the present and find eternity in every moment, we have to truly focus on the things that happens to us each day. We must listen to each word we hear and parse each word we say. No matter what else is true, we know beyond all other truth that we only live in the present. (Except when we come “back from future,” as I will discuss in a later post.) If we don’t cherish what we have right now before us, we have nothing.

The beauty of following Lincoln’s system is that it literally allows us to capture the essence of every day. By anticipating what will happen and preplanning how we will respond to our experiences for that day, we are more likely to stay focused on living in the present. Later, when we evaluate how we performed at the end of each day, we discover the illumination and insight, “eureka moments” if you will, in our daily experiences.

Capture Lightning in a Bottle

Here’s where the power is. When you write it down, you double your experience. When you convert your experience into a story, you triple your experience, and it spreads in concentric circles to brighten the lives of countless others. The initial experience takes on a life of its own.

Upcoming Presentations:

Feb. 4, 2017. Competitive Edge Toastmasters. How To Be a Published Author. Hardesty Center 1100 S Alvernon Way, 8:00 am. Tucson, AZ.
March 18, 2017. Tall Tales Speech Contest, Catalina Area 3, Toastmasters. Tucson Ward 2 Office, 7575 E. Speedway, Tucson, AZ.
October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

Related Posts:

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

You Only Live Twice – Life Provides Second Chances LL #9

Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10 

Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

Convert Affliction to Anecdote – Utilizing the Stories from Your Hero’s Journey

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Boldness had Genius, Power and Magic In It

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

We are what we think

 

“You, who are on the road, must have a code, that you can live by;
And so become yourself, because the past is just a good bye.”

— Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young


 We all operate our lives by a “code of conduct,” yet we generally never put pen to paper and jot down our code. Our code operates behind the scenes, in our subconscious mind, guiding our every action.

The same held true with Abraham Lincoln, who never spoke of affirmations, or a code of conduct, but like our own, they were imprinted in the recesses of his mind.

In my attempt to distill the essence of who Lincoln was, I examined extensive observations of Lincoln by his family, friends, and acquaintances. From these “historical snapshots,” I unearthed the preeminent notions that rattled around inside of Lincoln’s head. The compass if you will, that directed him on his “hero’s journey,” all the way from his modest beginnings in rural Kentucky to the White House.

Here then, are the affirmations that Lincoln utilized in every situation, and with each person he met.

For each affirmation, I cite quotes from Lincoln’s contemporaries, or from Lincoln himself, to elucidate the idea.

Channel Your Inner Abe Lincoln

1)  Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

“He greeted me cordially as though we had known each other for a long time. There JFK Kruschevwas no strangeness about him. He knew men on the instant.” William O. Stoddard, journalist.

“He approached, extended his hand, and gave mine a grasp such as only a warm-hearted man knows how to give.” New York journalist.

“Mr. Lincoln shook hands with me in his kindly way, and the direct simplicity and naturalness of his bearing were then and still remain the exact impression upon me of his daily manner. There was a natural courtesy and real interest shown toward me.” Charles Zane, law student

2)  Be prepared with a “quip of the day”

“No matter how busy or how deeply engrossed in his work Me. Lincoln might be, whenever anyone came in he would greet him with a pleasant or humorous remark, and before he left would inevitably tell a joke or anecdote. Sometimes he told the same story to four or five different person.” John H. Littlefield, law clerk, Lincoln-Herndon Law office

“If a friend met or passed Lincoln (on the streets of Springfield), something would remind him of a story, and tell it he would.” William Herndon, Herndon’s Life of Lincoln

“In the midst of the most stirring and exciting — nay, death-giving — news, Mr. Lincoln has always a story to tell.” Adam Gurowski, State Department

“Mr. Lincoln’s wit and mirth will give him a passport to the thoughts and hearts of millions.” George Goutwell, Secretary of Treasury.

3)  Employ an affable persona – be gentle, kind and courteous

“He was liked by every person who knew him. He made himself useful in every way affablethat he could. If the water-bucket was empty he filled it; if wood was needed he chopped it; he was always cheerful and in a good humor.” Caleb Carman, New Salem resident

“Mr. Lincoln quickly gained the confidence of strangers, and, if they were much with him, their affection as well. I found myself strongly drawn to him from the first, and this feeling remains to me now. He had genuine kindness of heart.” Horace White, journalist

“There was such a blend of dignity and gentleness in his (Lincoln’s) voice and words, that there came a degree of relief to the tension of my first impression (of him).” Henry C. Bowen, editor of the New York Independent and organizer of Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech (from Lincoln at Cooper Union by Harold Holzer).

4)  Listen to friends, keep open communication channels 

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships,” Lincoln letter to Joseph Gillespie, 1849.

“Wherever he moved he found men and women to respect and love him. One man who knew him at that time says that ‘Lincoln had nothing, only plenty of friends.’ ” Josiah G. Holland, author

5)  Inner guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

“The name of the man had come to stand for what he was. In the ‘cave of the winds’ cavewhere he saw history in the making he was far more a listener than a talker. The high adventure of great poets, inventors, explorers, facing the unknown and the unknowable, was in his face and breath, and had come to  be known, to a few, for the danger and bronze of it.” Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln

“In traveling on the circuit, he was in the habit of rising earlier than his brothers of the bar. On such occasions he was wont to sit by the fire, having uncovered the coals, and muse, and ponder, and soliloquized, inspired no doubt by that strange psychological influence which is so poetically described by Poe in ‘The Raven.’ ” Lawrence Weldon, lawyer

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde

6)  Note your own flaws, share them with others

“Self-deprecating humor came naturally to Lincoln; once after being called ‘two-faced,’ he quipped, ‘If I had two faces, why would I be wearing this one?’ ” Francis B. Carpenter, portrait painter, 1865

“While riding a train, I was once accosted … by a stranger, who said, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I have an article in my possession which rightfully belongs to you.’ ‘How is that?’ I asked, considerably astonished. The stranger took a jackknife from his pocket. ‘This knife,’ said he, ‘was placed in my hands some years ago with the injunction that I was to keep it until I found a man uglier than myself. I have carried it from that time to this. Allow me now to say, sir that I think you are fairly entitled to the property.’ ” Abraham Lincoln, as told to Francis B. Carpenter, portrait painter, 1865

7)  Constantly improve – push the envelope of your comfort zone

“The way for a man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can.” Abraham
Lincoln

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
Abraham Lincoln

8)  Offer to help others who cannot return the favor

Ab Trout, a poor barefooted boy, was chopping wood one cold winter day. Lincoln feedinghomelesscame up and asked what he got for the job, and what he would do for the money. Ab said, “One dollar” and pointing to his naked feet said, “A pair of shoes.” Abe told him to go in and warm up and he would chop a while for him. Lincoln finished the work, and told him to go buy the shoes.  William Herndon, Herndon’s Informant’s

Lincoln defended the son of the widow Armstrong, in a murder case. Lincoln saved her boy from the gallows. The only possession she had in the world was 40 acres of land, which she offered to give to Lincoln as payment. “Aunt Hannah,” he said, “you took me in years ago when I was poor and homeless and you fed me and mended my clothes, and I shan’t charge you a cent now.” Andrew Carnegie, Lincoln – The Unknown

“Lincoln chopped wood for widows and orphans. When he saw travelers bogged down, he stopped to help them.” Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life

9)  Look for the big picture

“We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.” Abraham Lincoln.

“Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Institute Address, 1860

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” Abraham Lincoln, 1854.

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” Abraham Lincoln, Speech to 140th Indiana Volunteers, 1865

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.” Abraham Lincoln, 1858

10) Nourish humor and tell stories, so people say, “I felt like I had known him my whole life and we had long been friends.”

“In ten minutes I felt as if I had known him all my life. He had the most wonderful joke bookfaculty I have ever seen in a man to make one feel at ease.” Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Intimate Memories of Lincoln

“He talked in so simple and familiar a strain, and his manner and homely phrase were so absolutely free from any semblance of self-consciousness or pretension to superiority, that I soon felt as if I had known him all my life and we had long been close friends. He interspersed our conversation with all sorts of quaint stories, each of which had a witty point applicable to the subject in hand.” Carl Schurz, Union General

“From the first moment of my interview with him I seemed to myself to have been acquainted with him for years. For while he was among the most solid of men I ever met he was among the most transparent.” Frederick Douglass, author and orator.

“I really think that Mr. Lincoln’s propensity for story-telling has been exaggerated by his enemies. I had once the honor of conversing with him, or rather of hearing him converse, for several minutes, and in all that time he only told four little stories.” Sarah Jane Lippincott, author


Lincoln Affirmation Card

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Upcoming Presentations:

November 30, 2016. “Uncommon Friendliness: Abraham Lincoln’s Miraculous Formula to Squeeze Every Drop of Inspiration and Illumination Out of Each Day.” Breadkfast Lions Club. Radisson Inn. Tucson, AZ.

 

Related Posts:

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

You Only Live Twice – Life Provides Second Chances LL #9

Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10 

Failures Can Be Transformed into Strength – #LifeLesson 11

Is it better to remain silent, or to speak up and confirm you’re an idiot? LifeLesson #12

Convert Affliction to Anecdote – Utilizing the Stories from Your Hero’s Journey

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Boldness had Genius, Power and Magic In It

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

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Grant Workshop

Arizona Grantwriters “How-To” Conference (for beginners). Nov. 5, 2016, Tucson AZ.

Finally!
A conference for new and aspiring grant writers who want to unlock the secrets to building winning grants! Attend educational sessions and network with other professionals in the grant writing and non-profit community. Participate in an afternoon Bootcamp experience designed to prepare you to write your next grant. 

Registration information.