Archive for the ‘Abraham Lincoln’ Category

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Batsignal2

Cut Off By a U-Turning Driver

One fine morning last week, with flashlight in hand, I took Blackie the wonder dog, for a walk. It was cold and dark. I was anxious to return home to let my ears defrost.

We walked past a parking lot and a white Honda  approached us going the opposite direction.

Suddenly the driver did a U-turn in right front of us and parked on the street. His car lights temporarily blinded me.

I thought:

Who does this guy think he is, the Dark Knight responding to an urgent bat signal?

He must think he owns the road.

I just knew this guy was an inconsiderate, self-absorbed Charlie Sheen clone.

charlie sheen

“Kind of cold isn’t it?” the driver said as he got out of the car with a big smile.

My frosty attitude towards him abruptly melted.

“Yeah, it looks like summer is finally over,” I replied.

I thought of Abraham Lincoln’s maxim, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.”

Well, I got to know him and he had disarmed me with his friendliness. Suddenly I liked him.

Dog Attack with No Apology

In contrast, last year in about the same place, I was walking Blackie when out of the blue, two dogs burst out of a screen door in a nearby house. They headed straight for Blackie and I, like heat-seeking missiles. The dogs barked and ran circles around us like a wolf pack.

After a minute or two, a lady stuck her head out the door and shouted to her dogs, “Get in here!” The dogs went in and she closed the door without a word.

Would it break her jaw just to say “sorry”? One friendly word would have broken the ice jam and disarmed my hard feelings, but none was given.

laser beam eyes

Now, my laser beam eyes are set on “stand-by” when I walk by that house, ready to unleash fiery retribution at my whim.

The lesson

We are almost powerless to hate a person who is friendly towards us, but it’s hard to forget those who deliberately do us wrong.

The next time I am in a situation where I might offend someone, even inadvertently, I will “disarm their hostility with friendliness.”

———-

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

Related Posts

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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

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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

Act Out Characters to Make a Story SIZZLE (video)

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

 

Snapshot 3 (11-14-2015 8-05 AM) (2)

 

My Seminar

At my seminar/workship, entitled “Inspire and Engage Your Audience with Stories,” last Friday (at the Present Like a Pro Conference), the participants learned to 1) act out the characters and 2) build depth and meaning into a story.

Acting Out the Story

To make your stories crackle with energy, give each character a different voice and a different personality.

Use different voices to mesmerize your audience with laughs and drama. Embrace the full passion and tone of the character. Become the character and your audience members won’t just passively listen to your story, rather, they will be captivated by it.

Here is an Abraham Lincoln story, about a Baptist minister at a revival service that I told to illustrate my point:

Practicing Voices

One great way to practice voices is to give funny voices to the characters in stories that you read. As parents, we do that with the bedtime stories we read out children. As a substitute teacher, I give silly voices to characters each time I read a story to a class. Even when reading silently, I practice giving voices to the characters.

Components of Stories with Depth and Impact 

Before we can connect with our audience we must first connect with ourselves. We discover ourselves by examining the experiences that happen to us and in our response to the lessons that life teaches us.

In my stories I attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life, like Abraham Lilncon did. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them.

To provide depth and impact, a story should 1) identify what your goal is; 2) describe what obstacles exist (what is stopping you?); 3) tie the story to a similar incident in the past; and 4) state the lessons learned.

Make em Laugh, Make em Cry, in 3 to 5 Minutes Say Goodbye

On Friday, each student had three to five minutes to present a story in which they acted out the characters and incorporated the four components of a good story. Their stories were infused with humor, passion, and eloquence. I was amazed at the depth of the stories.

Add a Sing-a-long Song

I often add a sing-along song at the end of my seminar. This is a way to celebrate the effort the students have made and drive home the lessons from the seminar.

Here is an example of a sing-a-long song I  entitled “Tell a Story.”


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Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Disarm Hostility with Friendliness #LifeLesson 8

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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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts #LifeLesson 5

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

WALKING DOG AT NIGHT

 

The Journey Begins

It was 5:30 am.

I put the dog collar on Blackie, my 9-year-old Black Lab, and we began our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, only this time things went a little differently.

I had Blackie’s chain in one hand and my flashlight in the other as we side-stepped the puddles on the sidewalk. The full moon cast an eerie glow.

MOON

A Bad Driver Appears

Blackie and I were near the church when a big pickup truck barreled around the corner and almost hit us. We jumped out of the way, but the car splashed water on us.

The driver yelled out the window, “Stay off the road, x#@x!”

I shined the flashlight in his face and responded, “Hey Speedy Gonzales, keep driving like that and you’ll never have to worry about cholesterol.”

The driver flipped us off as he sped away.

You lookin’ at me?

Blackie and I continued our solitary trek, but not with the same spring in our step.

A few blocks later I saw someone walking two dogs. One was a big brown dog. The other was a short white dog with a long tail. My heart pounded with excitement.

Saving Jack

The white dog was Jack, who I had rescued from certain death in August 2014 when he tried to run across a busy street in the rain. I ran out in the street, picked him up and took him to my house. Jack was a houseguest for two weeks until I located the owner. I hadn’t seen him since.

Spot – My Childhood Friend

Jack reminded me of Spot, the small white terrier that was my pet as a child. My parents didn’t like Spot in my room, but some nights I was terrified that someone was hiding in my closet and I would secretly let Spot sleep on my bed. I felt safe when Spot was with me.


KILLER in closet

Now, the stress from the Speedy Gonzales incident was swept away by the warm feeling of seeing Jack again. Like the morning moon, that feeling lit my path throughout the day!

Lesson:

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts.

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

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

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

PresentLikePro-page-001 - Copy

A feather is better than a hammer to win an argument #tmoy #storytelling 3

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

washingdishesrgb“90 percent of friction in our daily lives is caused by the wrong tone of voice.” — Anon

Last night, I told my son Ben to wash his dirty dishes that he left on the dining room table. He was just preparing to play X-box.

It’s hard for me to believe that Ben is 17-ryears-old. I still think of him as the boy I carry on my back when he too tired to finish a hike. The guy I have marathon nerf gun wars with in the house. The boy I read “Green Eggs and Ham” to before he goes to sleep at night.

grren-eggs-and-ham

I ask myself, Is this the same boy who now, apparently, has an adult mind of his own?

“I was going to do it tomorrow,” Ben replied, slightly raising his voice.

“If you wait until tomorrow, it might attract ants,” I said.

“What about Jerry? He has bags of fast food and plates all over his room.” Ben’s face was flushed.

“We’re not talking about your brother, we’re talking about you.” I raised my voice.

“That’s what you always say, but he doesn’t clean up!”

“Yes he does. You’re just trying to get someone else to wash your dishes, instead of you!”

I left in a huff.

When I went out to the kitchen an hour later, Ben had washed his plates.

A Lightbulb Over My Head

images

It dawned on me that I didn’t have to be tough and argumentative. That’s the way my old-school dad would have done it. I realized that Ben is going to wash the dishes either way. It may not always be exactly when I want him to, but he does it.

Aristotle Weighs In

Aristotle said, “Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way… that is not easy.”

Cleaning dishes, like talking while chewing food, does not rise to the level of something to be angry about – unless that food happens to be jelly-filled donuts.

Similies and Metaphors

Rather than a frontal assault, I prefer to politely come at Ben from the side, using similes and metaphors as my weapons of choice. I want to end on a happy note, so the channels of communication are still open for us, not with both us fuming at the end.

metaphor

Mostly, I want to set a good example for him, both for how he deals with other people now and for later, when he has children of his own.

The Lesson

In arguments, being gentle is being powerful. It’s better to use a feather than a hammer to make a point.

Next time, I will count to ten before I tell Ben to clean his dishes. I will use that time to remind myself to maintain an even composure because dishes are truly not worth getting angry about.

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

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

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

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

PresentLikePro-page-001 - Copy

Give yourself permission to feel frustration, then relax and let it go #tmoy #storytelling 2

Monday, October 12th, 2015

MACYs

 

Lost in Macy’s

Last Wednesday night, my wife and I were walking in the mall and we went into Macy’s.

“I’ll look through the men’s clothing, and then come up to the second floor and find you,” I said.

“Remember,” I said, “I want to be home by 9:00 so I can watch Star Trek on TV.”

“Okay, and may the force be with you,” Angie teased with a spooky voice, as she stepped on the escalator.

“That’s not even from Star Trek. It’s from Star Wars!” I mumbled to myself, as the escalator carried her away. She was already fixated on scouring the clothing racks for the elusive perfect bargain.

spock v yoda

I looked at the men’s clothes for 10 or 15 minutes then took the elevator up to the second floor.

I knew the best way to find Angie was to walk counterclockwise around the outside of the floor, because she generally walks clockwise to do her shopping.

I made two counterclockwise trips. No sign of her. Thinking that we had missed each other because we had been orbiting the same direction, I made one clockwise trip. Still no sign.

The clock said 8:40. We were getting dangerously close to missing the beginning of Star Trek.

I sat in a seat next to the squeaky escalator. It was about as comfortable as a knife in the back.

uncomfortable chair

There is no way she can leave the floor without passing in front of me, I thought.

My mind churned:

Why doesn’t she come?

I’m going to miss my show.

Five minutes later.

She doesn’t really care about me or she would be here.

The more I sat, the more my anger built. I felt abandoned and taken advantage of.

Lost in Penny’s

I remembered when I was about 5 or 6 years old and I got lost in Penny’s. I couldn’t find my mother and father. A clerk made an announcement over the intercom: “We are looking for the parents of Terry Sprouse. Please come to the service desk to claim him.”

I had that same queasy feeling of abandonment.

Lost child in store

Finally, Angie walked up to my so-called chair and said, “Oh, there you are. I was looking for you.”

“I was looking for you too. Where were you?”

“I tried on some clothes. They looked so nice.”

“I did say I wanted to be back by 9:00 so I could see my favorite TV show.”

“Oops. I think I forgot.”

‘Yeah, right, you conveniently forgot.”

I knew Angie was not intentionally trying to make me upset. She just lost track of time while doing something that she really enjoyed.

My tendency is to take slights personally and dwell on them too long.

The Lesson

The next time I lose my wife in Macy’s, or if I am in another frustrating situation, I won’t allow an insult to fester inside of me. Instead, I will allow myself to feel frustrated, acknowledge the frustration, then relax and let it go.

My motto is “Happy wife, happy life.”

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected

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

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Upcoming Presentations

Nov. 13, 2015. “Once Upon A Time: Inspire and engage your audience with stories.” Present Like a Pro Conference. Desert Diamond Casino. Tucson, Arizona.

Nov. 24th, 2015. “Abraham Lincoln: Stories and Humor.” Cholla High School. Tucson, Arizona.

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

PresentLikePro-page-001 - Copy

Overcome obstacles and doubts by doing more than anyone expected #TMOY 1 #PeaceCorps #AbrahamLincoln #EleanorRoosevelt #21DayChallenge

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

 

Eleanor Roosevelt visiting soldiers

Eleanor Roosevelt in South Pacific

Life lesson from Eleanor Roosevelt

During WWII, in 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to travel to the Pacific War Zones and visit wounded American soldiers. Her trip met resistance from top Navy brass. Initially, Admiral Halsey regarded her trip as a nuisance and insisted on surrounding her with so much protection that she felt cut off from the ordinary soldiers she had come to see. However, Eleanor’s indomitable energy and kindness staggered the mind of everyone she met.

When Eleanor Roosevelt visited the wounded soldiers, it wasn’t just a wave and a smile, then on to the next hospital. Eleanor spoke directly to each soldier, comforted them with the words a mother would use with her son, took messages back to their loved ones, and passed along heart felt wishes from the President. The soldiers loved her maternal compassion. Admiral Halsey said “It was a sight I will never forget.”

Halsey later admitted “I was ashamed of my original surliness. She alone had accomplished more good than any other person, or any other group of civilians who had passed through my area.”

Eleanor Roosevelt exceeded everyone’s expectations and her tour graced the lives of countless servicemen.

And, as Abraham Lincoln would say . . . that reminds me of a story.

I had a similar “eureka” moment as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras.

I had dreamed of working in a developing country for many years. However, my experience turned out to be a complete disaster. I returned to school to study agriculture for the purpose of utilizing my knowledge overseas.

Honduran Dream Job Turns Sour

My Peace Corps assignment was to work in a small farming community in Northern Honduras. I started off full of enthusiasm, but within a week I came down with food poisoning and was hospitalized for 7 days.

Upon returning to my site, I felt loneliness, frustration in communicating with the local people (some of whom didn’t seem to like me) and, I was physically exhausted from voracious, industrial sized insects that were attacking my body like the Luftwaffe attacked England. Internally, I had self-doubts about whether or not I could cut the mustard and actually do my job. I felt depressed and it showed in my uninspired work.

One day while walking several miles to visit a farmer, I encountered a hostile looking bull blocking the stream that I had to cross.

Mad Steer

 

Two ladies and several children were standing by looking at the bull.

I asked one lady, “Que pasa?” (What’s going on?)

She said, “El toro esta enojado. No nos deja pasar.” (The bull is mad. He won’t let us pass.)

I looked into the eyes of the bull and we had a “mind meld.” I could feel his fury and his desire to flip me like a pancake if I tried to cross that stream.

MIND MELD Spock

Even though I knew the insects would have a feast on me, like a ravished high school football team at an all-you-can-eat KFC buffet, I jumped a fence and crossed the stream through an adjoining field so the bull couldn’t get me.

When I got home that night. I found I had mosquito and chigger (tiny, super powered mites that burro under your skin) bites all over my body. I could barely move for several days which made me more depressed.

Childhood Memory

I remembered the time I suffered a serious injury in middle school. I missed a month of classes and when I returned, I was overwhelmed by my homework. I doubted if I could ever catch up. I began to think I was not smart enough. Fortunately for me, my American History teacher took me under his wing and to engergize my study habits and to do thinkgs like outline the text book chapters before each test. He pushed me to do far more than was normally expected. Consequently, I caught up on my school work and became  a model student.

I learned that to succeed in achieving goals, I have to do more than anyone else, show super enthusiasm, and throw myself into my workwith reckless abandon.

I applied the same principal in Honduras. I determined that I was not going to give up. Instead, I was going to  work twice as hard as anyone else to be successful.

In doing so, I overcame my obstacles and I came to love my job and the people I worked with. I even stayed a third year in Honduras to continue my work with the Peace Corps.

Lessons 

Action steps I’ve learned to overcome obstacles:

  1. Overcome resistence with indomintable energy and kindness.
  2. Work twice as hard as anyone else.
  3. Move forward with unbridled enthusiasm and reckless abandon.

 

SCAN0249 (2)

Building chicken coop in Honduran school.

Authors note:

These stories are my attempt to glean insights from the seemingly mundane incidents that occur in every day life. My plan is to capture these “eureka moments” and squeeze all the illumination and inspiration from them, before they can slip through my fingers.

Like the storytelling of Abraham Lincoln, I think one’s own personal stories can transform both the listener and the speaker.

———

Related Posts

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

A Mindfulness Trick for You by Lynne Spreen @ Any Shiny Thing

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

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

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

Think for Yourself: Never Ask a Barber if You Need a Haircut – LifeLesson #13

Upcoming Presentations

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

Yard Sales, Heroic Cats and Zombies

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

There is more to yard sales that just selling objects that have no discernable value!

The most satisfying part of a yard sale is the joy of meeting our neighbors, or at least some of the neighbors. I could do without conversing with the neighborhood menace “cat lady/newspaper hoarder.” But that’s another whole article.

CRAZY CAT LADY

Saturday, my wife and I had a joint yard sale with our neighbor.

I had Blackie, my mellow-as-a-cello Black Lab, lying next to the table.

Blackie w toy (3)

Blackie w/hot dog toy

Great Neighbors

A lady (we later learned was named Berta) parked her Toyota Prius in front of the house and walked over toward our table. She had red hair, white shorts, and bright blue running shoes, like an American flag with legs.

She saw Blackie and said, “What a nice dog.”

Blackie lifted her enormous head and wagged her tail.

“You can pet her, if you like. She likes people, but they have to be alive. No zombies.”

Berta smiled, patted Blackie and said, “I love Labs. I had Mastiff-Lab mix. A giant sized body and personality. Great dog.

“What was his name?”

“Dexter.”

“This is Blackie.”

Heroic Cats

My neighbor said, “Ellen DeGeneres has a great link to heart-warming animal videos.”

 

“My favorite video is the one where the heroic cat saves the small boy from a vicious dog,” I said. “It sent chills down my back.”

 

Everyone agreed it was a great video and we discussed favorite animal videos.

Berta said, “Animals were put on earth to make us feel happy.”

60 is the New 40

The topic turned to the mixed blessings of growing older. Since we had all crossed the 60-year-old mileage marker, we shall soon be looking for bargains at that big yard sale in the sky, unless 60 IS the new 40 as I heard a Hollywood personality say. Of course, the person who said it had already flown past the 60 mark eons earlier and now appeared to be moving toward the finish line at a brisk clip.

Sally said, “We just have to take life one day at a time”

Berta said, “It’s important to enjoy every day as much as possible and not worry about what lies ahead.”

Berta just blended right into the conversation, like we’d all been friends forever. It made for a pleasant and memorable experience.

Yard sales can be magical events that transcend our original expectations, as long as disagreeable neighbors and zombies keep their distance.

Related Posts

Overcome 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

Act Out Characters to Make a Story Sizzle (video)

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

Donald Trump vs. Abe Lincoln – #LifeLesson10

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

Upcoming Presentations

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “Abe Lincoln: The Greatest Storytelling President.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Monday, June 15th, 2015

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower

I read “The Hour of Peril” primarily because I was interested in learning more about how Abraham Lincoln responded to this crises and in hopes of gathering more Lincoln stories and quotes.

The book actually focuses on famed detective, Allan Pinkerton, and how he foiled the plot to kill Lincoln before he could be sworn into office. In fact, the book relates the whole life story of Pinkerton Perhaps a more apt book title would be “Allan Pinkerton and the Secret Plot to Kill Lincoln.”

I was not completely disappointed, as I did come across five interesting anecdotes about Lincoln that satisfied my longing.

Allen Pinkerton

1) The “Slow Horse” Story

At a whistle stop in Thornton, Indiana, Lincoln came to the rear platform of the train and apologized for not having time to deliver his stump speech. He launched into an anecdote about an aspiring politician who owned a sluggish but sure-footed horse. “The horse was so confoundedly slow, however,” he said, but just at this moment – before Lincoln could deliver his punch line – the train lurched away from the depot, cutting him off in mid-sentence.

At the next stop along the line, in Lebanon, Lincoln found that some of his supporters from Thorntown had chased the train and were “panting to hear the conclusion of the story.” Lincoln cheerfully took up where he had left off, explaining the he himself shared the dilemma of the owner of the plodding horse. If he stopped at every station to make a stump speech, he would not arrive in Washington until the inauguration was over.

2) “Lincoln Shows Endurance of Bronze Statures”

In some towns where Lincoln’s train passed, men would line up to shake his hand, with the result that his fingers would be sore and swollen. According to John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary: “From what I saw of the President’s coolness under the infliction of several thousand hand-shakings I should say that he unites the courage of Andrew Jackson and the sensibility to physical suffering which is usually assigned to bronze statues.”

3) “Hydrologic Embraces”

Following the first day on the train, a group of Springfield friends took leave of Lincoln to return home. After much melodramatic hugging, they went on their way. Afterwards, Lincoln commented that he was not entirely convinced of the desirability of this preponderance of “hydraulic embraces.”

4) “The Lincoln Formula”

In the interest of keeping the train schedule, Lincoln’s trackside routine had been honed to a concise formula. Here is how Joseph Howard of the New York Times summarized the procedure: “Crowds – enthusiasm – little speech – little bow – kissed little girl – God-blessed old man – recognized old friend – much affected.”

5) “Mutually Surpassed Each Other”

In New York City, Lincoln received a pair of new hats from rival manufacturers, and diplomatically avoided expressing a preference between the two, by affirming: “They mutually surpassed each other.”

While I would have preferred more anecdotes about Lincoln himself, “The Hour of Peril” still told a fascinating story.

 

Upcoming Presentations

August 5, 2015, noon. “Leadership Through Storytelling.” Tucson Downtown Sertoma. Tucson, Arizona.

)ct. 13, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Monday, June 8th, 2015

“Careers in Writing and Public Speaking” Booth

 

On June 5th I was a volunteer at the Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Mock Job Fair, in Tucson, Arizona, a yearly event that benefit tribal high school juniors and seniors.

The students profit from the job fair by:

1) Obtaining real world advice on successful interviewing;

2) Expanding horizons and knowledge of career options;

3) Networking with business community members and leaders; and

4) Learning how to get hired for future jobs.

Interviews

In the morning, I conducted practice interviews with the students and provided feedback and critiques of their interview responses and resumes. A common error in the interviews occurred when they answered the question, “What is one weakness that you have?” Many students answered “I have trouble getting up in the morning.”

I responded, “That is not a good answer. You can talk about a weakness, but you must also add something positive too. For example, “I have trouble getting up in the morning, but I am getting better because now I go to bed earlier and set my alarm clock to make sure that I get up.” This way, the interviewer is left with a positive, rather than a negative impression of the applicant.

Job Fair Booth

In the afternoon, I manned a booth in the Job Fair where I talked to students about careers in writing and public speaking. I had copies of each of my four books for them to look at and I had a stack of free Toastmasters Magazine, for those interested in learning about public speaking.

To each group that visited my table, I emphasized that operating your own business, be it authoring books/speaking, or any other business, requires fortitude. With tongue in cheek, I said, “three-and-a-half-titude is not enough. It has to be fortitude!”

The unvarnished truth is that if you don’t write books or make speeches, you don’t get paid. It’s up to you to light a fire under yourself and take the initiative.

An Illustrative Story

In the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the master storyteller himself, I told each group a story to illustrate my point. I said:

A man was praying to God one day. He said, “God, let me win the lottery. I need the money.”

A week passed and no response came. The man prayed again, “God, I really need some money. Please, help me win the lottery.”

Another week passes and still no response. The man said, “God, what’s going on up there? Why aren’t you helping me?”

A booming voice came down from heaven and said, “Work with me. Buy a lottery ticket.”

Overall, I was greatly inspired by the students’ preparation for the event and their professional behavior. Each student shook my hand, asked intelligent questions and thanked me for participating. Many of them had high aspirations.  I was pleased to be able to play at least a small part in helping them to reach their goals.

Upcoming Presentations

Sept. 8, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 Related Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Senator Stephen Douglas

Stephen Douglas actually feared the storytelling skills of Abraham Lincoln.

When he opposed Lincoln in the 1858 election for Senate, Douglas said: “Every one of his stories seems like a whack upon my back. When he begins to tell a story, I feel that I am overmatched.”

Stories, like pictures, speak a thousand words and, for leaders, stories are powerful ways to connect with other people, illustrate a point and win loyalty.

Many leaders lead by sheer force or the threat of force, like a boss that I once worked for. Every day I had this sinking feeling in my gut, like Haystack Calhoun at a Weight Watchers meeting. To lighten the mood, we nicknamed the boss “sparky” because she apparently combed her hair by sticking a finger into the electrical outlet.

“Sparky”

In contrast, Lincoln led by persuasion and inspiration. He showed deep respect for the dignity of each individual. The mechanism that Lincoln used to persuade and win people’s loyalty was thru a simple and unassuming story, most often told in the course of personal conversation.

Carl Schurz, a Union General who first met Lincoln while riding on a train, commented on Lincoln’s uncanny ability to attract followers, in stating,

” I soon felt as if I had known him all my life and we had very 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 at hand.”

Famed author and black leader Frederick Douglass said of his first encounter with Lincoln,

Frederick Douglass

“From the first moment of my interview with him I seemed to myself to have been acquainted with him for years.”

The Woodman’s Daughter

Virginian W.C. Reeves advised President Lincoln to appease the South and let them have Fort Sumter and all other government property in the Southern states without a fight.

Lincoln said, “That reminds me of the fable of the woodman’s daughter”

“A lion,” said the President, “was very much in love with a woodman’s daughter. The fair maid referred him to her father. The lion applied for the girl’s hand.”

The father replied, “Your teeth are too long.”

The lion went to a dentist and had them extracted. Returning, he asked for the bride.

“No,” said the woodman, “your claws are too long.”

Going back to the dentist, he had them drawn. Then he returned to claim his bride, and the woodsman, seeing that he was unarmed beat out his brains.”

Lincoln concluded, “May it not be so with me, if I give up all that is asked to appease the South?”

Lick Any Man in the Crowd

Many people felt that the Gen. Ulysses S. Grant be removed from command because He drank too much, and his troops suffered too many casualties.  Mr. Lincoln could night afford to lose the services of so valuable a soldier. The press nicknamed  him “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

Grant

When southern armies would request to meet with Grant to discuss the terms of surrender, he would say “There are no terms! Only unconditional surrender!” because he would never negotiate terms of surrender with the rebels

Lincoln would tell the naysayers:

“That reminds me of a story,

“Out in my State of Illinois there was a man nominated for sheriff of the county. He was a good man for the office, brave, determined and honest, but he could not make a speech to save his life.

His friends implored him to come out and state his convictions and principles.

He finally relented to make a speech, advanced to the front and faced the crowd.

‘Feller Citizens, ‘I’m not a speakin’ man; I ain’t no orator, an’ I never stood up before a lot of people in my life before.

I’m not goin’ to make no speech, ‘xcept to say that I can lick any man in the crowd!’ ”

The beauty of these stories are that Lincoln told them in the first place. He could have just argued until he was blue in the face. However, no amount of reasoning could have persuaded people the way his stores did.

Lincoln said, “I reckon I have the popular reputation of being a storyteller, but it is not the story itself, but its purpose, that interests me. I often avoid a long and useless discussion or a laborious explanation by a short story that illustrates my point of view.”

Connect With Hearts

 Stories allow leaders the great virtue of being able to laugh at themselves, and connect with people’s hearts.

One story that Lincoln was fond of telling dealt with two Quaker ladies comparing Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davies.

Quaker story.

“I think Jefferson will succeed,” said one.

“Why does thee think so?” asked the second.

“Because Jefferson is a praying man.”

“And so in Abraham a praying man.”

“Yes, but the Lord will think Abraham is joking.”

Lincoln’s Empathy

Lincoln’s proclivity to tell stories was related to the empathy he felt for people and the series of personal tragedies that followed him throughout life.

Willie Lincoln

The strongest blow may have been when his eleven-year-old son, Willie, died of typhoid fever, while Lincoln was president. Willie had the same magnetic personality of his father and he was Lincoln’s favorite. They were intimates, often seen hand in hand. Staggering under the blow of the taking from him of his child, Lincoln said, “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth.”

Even in this darkest hour, Lincoln relied on stories to see him through. He confided to a minister, “A good story is medicine to my bones.”

Paint a Picture

Remember, next time you need to make a friend, illustrate a point, or win loyalty, – replace talking, with stories. And you’ll paint a picture that speaks a thousand words.

 

Upcoming Presentations/Activities:

June 5th, 2015. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy. Tucson, AZ.

 Other Lincoln Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class