Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln Story Telling’

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

Sunday, November 1st, 2015


three stooges auto mechanics

An Unexepected Twist at the Walmart Auto Shop

I went to get the oil changed in Wal-Mart on my 1989 JEEP.

After changing the oil, in a maneuver that reminded me of a Three Stooges short, the technicians “bumped” some wires and the car wouldn’t start.

“Look, I brought my car in here to get it fixed and now it’s in worse condition,” I said to the department manager.

“I’m not sure what happened. Some wires came loose durning the procedure,” he replied.

“That’s funny because there are not even any wires near the oil drain or where you pour it in.”

“”There’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll push your car outside.”


I called AAA for a tow truck to haul the JEEP back home.

My Image of a Tow Truck Driver – Revised

My mental image of tow truck driver is a guy with grease on his clothes, reeks of cigarettes smoke, and spews f-bombs. I expected to see Jonathan Winters from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.

jonathon winters

Notwithstanding my stereotype, the AAA tow truck driver turned out to be a clean-cut guy named Steve.

I sat in the cab as he towed my car away.

“How’s it going?”  I asked.

“Not bad, except I got four jobs just before I got off work at 5:00. I guess I’ll be working late again. It doesn’t bother me though because when I work these extra hours, I feel like I’m building up a lot of good karma.

Yesterday they sent me to west Ajo Road instead of east Ajo Road, so I had to travel an extra 15 miles to get to the right place. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

He stretched out his words in a slow-burn, mock-angry way. He smiled as he spoke. He didn’t seem to take his predicament too seriously.


The Impersonal Observer

I was struck by how Steve accepted adversity without allowing it to penetrate his cheerful personality. He took the attitude that, yes, bad things were  happening to him, but he was like an impersonal observer watching the action from a distance. This let him to take a philosophical perspective and to transform his misery into humor, not unlike Larry Talbot/The Wolf Man on a full moon.

Giant Sea Turtles


Punta Raton, Honduras 1987

Steve’s’ attitude reminded me of an experience I had as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. One time, I took a group of kids from my school to watch the giant sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs in the sand. It was the wee hours of the morning and we got lost on the way to the beach. Yet, I just acted like it was a fun educational side trip that I had planned all along.

And, guess what?

That’s what it turned out to be.


When things don’t go the way I expect, I’ll take it with a smile and I’ll remember that “a light heart lives long.”


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

Use warm memories to replace negative thoughts

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

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones


“I am Terry Sprouse and I am a Lincoln-holic.”

But, let’s go back to where it all began.

I first became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras in 1986. Like most PCVs, I was starved for any reading material that was written in English, a thing more valuable to me than diamonds.

A Life Changing Book 

One day, I received a large package from my mother. It was book entitled “Abraham Lincoln – One volume edition” by Carl Sandburg.

I was captivated by the personality of Lincoln, as well as the elegant manner in which the book was written. As I read the book, I felt like I was experiencing a beautiful dream that I never wanted to end. I read the book through many times and highlighted passages that I wanted to remember.

I think the life of Abraham Lincoln is the most intriguing story in American history. Poor farm boy rises, like Venus from the half-shell, against all odds, to become President of the United States. And beyond the Presidency, he achieves legendary status through unparalleled displays of grace, charm, and good humor.

I planted a goal in my mind to write a book that would inspire people the way that Sandburg’s book had inspired me, and maybe even write a book about Lincoln. I read everything I could get my hands on about Lincoln.

28 Years Later- The Book is Written

Fast forward 28 years. I have been a member of Toastmasters (public speaking club) for several years, and I delivered several speeches about Abraham Lincoln. In 2012, I completed a book with my wife (Turn Your House into a Rental House Instead of Selling It!) and I was casting about for a topic for my next book.

Then, the goal that I had planted in my mind to write a book about Lincoln came back to me. I initially thought to write a book containing Lincoln’s best jokes that I could sell in conjunction with my making Lincoln speeches at various groups and organizations.

Gradually the book got longer and stronger, as I decided that some supplemental text would make it all the more interesting. I added chapters on the techniques that Lincoln used to tell his stories –mimicry, self-deprecating humor, and adding a moral to the end. Then another chapter on childhood influences that molded young Abe into a storyteller. Another on how he “Lincolnized” old stories to make them his own.

Throwing modesty to the wind, I also included a chapter on how I use Lincoln-like stories to teach my young boys valuable lessons and in radio interviews to promote my books.

I presented many of my ideas in speeches to my Toastmaster Club. In the process of writing the speeches and receiving feedback from club members, the text improved, and ultimately wound up as content in my final book.

With the publication of my Lincoln book, the 28 year wait is over and my mind is at ease.

Yes, I am a Lincoln-holic, and gratified to be in such good company.


See also:

Abraham Lincoln Storytelling Secret – Add Voices

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

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

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview

Feb. 4: “Abraham Lincoln and the Power of a Story” at AZ Senior Academy

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

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

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