Posts Tagged ‘Abraham Lincoln’

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.

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Virtue Is Its Own Reward

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

footprint in beach

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

– R. Buckminster Fuller

Transformational Speaking

Gail Larsen, in her excellent book Transformational Speaking, implores us that if we wish to inspire people, we must tell a better story than the ones we told before. Her book shows us how to make our speeches more moving, inspiring, and effective by speaking from the heart. In essence, if you are not moved by what you say, others will not be moved either.

Virtue Is Its Own Reward

One story that came to mind as I read Transformational Speaking, was when my mother passed away, three years ago in May.

She was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation clinics a lot at the end. It was a stressful time for both my mother and I. She often said, “My get up and go, got up and went.”

Yet, even in the midst of this hurricane, there were also peaceful moments when we could chat while sharing lunch or when putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I admired how she responded to the difficulties with a kind nature.

Funny Bone Workinghospital foto

However, my blood boiled when health care “professionals” treated her like an object rather than as a person. Even when people acted as though she were invisible, or worse, as though she was not “all there,” my mother never wavered in being thoughtful and accommodating.

One humorous incident that occurred in my mother’s hospital room. My mom was in her hospital bed and a lady walked into the room and stared intently into my mother’s eyes.

“Lois, how are you feeling? Why haven’t you called? We have all been worried sick about you.”

My mother and I both looked at her with blank expressions on our faces.

“Don’t you recognize me, It’s Bernice.”

“I don’t think I know you,” said Mom.

Bernice looked at me and said, “Tell her who I am.”

“I’ve never seen you before.”

Then, this perplexed (and perplexing) woman suddenly walked back out of the room.

“Quick, lock the door. She might come back,” Mom said.

Though most of her other body parts were worn out, Mom’s funny bone was still working like new.

The Lesson

I watched my mother’s courageous example of how to deal with:

1) the physical tribulation of her body wearing out; and

2) the mental antagonism from people who treated her like a “has been.”

I took note as she refused to let life’s indignations tarnish her heart. Instead, she just smiled, joked, and kept on doing the best she could.

When the time comes after “my get up and go got up and went,” I will follow her lead.

Like Abraham Lincoln said,

“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 by the light that I have.”

Upcoming Presentations:

April 9, 2016. “Storytelling and The Hero’s Journey.” Competitive Edge Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.

April 14, 2016, 12:30 to 1:30. “Use Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones, Like Abraham LIncoln Did.” Moon Valley Women’s Club, Phoenix, Arizona.

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Sunday, December 20th, 2015

evil hot chocolate

 

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

— Abraham Lincoln

 

The Hot Chocolate Caper

Upon clocking in at school yesterday, Diane, the office manager said,

“Hi Terry, I made hot chocolate for all the teachers. Please help yourself to some.”

“Thanks. I’ll get some a little later.” My hands were full, but I had to bring my class to the library later and I planned to get my cup of hot chocolate then.

At 9:30, as my students worked on the library computers, I slipped out, grabbed a cup of hot chocolate in the office and took it back to the library with me.

I took a sip out of my cup.

Yuck! This tastes like hot brown dishwater!

“What do you think about this so-called hot chocolate?” I asked the librarian.

“It’s ghastly. I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot barge pole,” she replied.

coffee

Then, the librarian left to run some errands.

Since there was no sink in the library, I set the vile concoction inside of a trash can in front of librarian’s desk. There was a plastic bag lining the trash can.

A few minutes later, a couple of other teachers wandered into the library and started chatting.

One of the teachers looked in the trash can.

“Oh my God, someone put a full cup of hot chocolate in the trash can,” she gasped loudly.

My face flushed.

I opened my mouth to admit to my crime, but before I could say a word, the teacher reached into the trash can and removed the cup of hot chocolate.

“This is unacceptable. Who would do such a thing?” she asked with a frown.

It was too late to confess. From the tone of her voice, I realized that the teacher would not be happy until someone did jail time for this heinous crime.

I turned and walked to the other side of the library.

wicke witch

I’ll get you, my pretty!

I was ready for the teacher to look me in the eye and ask in a creaky witch-like voice, “What do you know about this?”

Fortunately, she didn’t ask that question and I soon took my students out of the library and back to safety of the classroom.

I felt guilty for not coming forward with the truth, but I was in a Kobayashi Maru (no win) scenario that would baffle even Captain James T. Kirk.

cap Kirk 2

……………………..Uncle!!!…………………………..

 

I now think that teacher is out to get me, waiting for me to slip up. As I pass down the hallways of school, even if I don’t see her, my back tingles as I feel her evil gaze upon me.

The Lesson

As every politicians knows, the cover up is always worse than the crime. Next time, I will just confess to my error and let the chips fall where they may.

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.

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Sunday, December 6th, 2015

DONALD TRUMP

 

“My IQ is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure; it’s not your fault.” — Donald Trump

 

Responding to Obstacles and Misforturne

No matter what the obstacle, Donald Trump never gets off message – “I am the best candidate for president,” he says, with the insinuation that “anyone who questions me is an idiot.”

Minor details such as his apparent fabrications of the truth, insults hurled at opponents and journalists, contradictions of earlier positions he took, don’t bother him in the least. Because Mr. Trump radiates such self-assurance, we are inclined to believe him and overlook his seemingly half-baked statements.

We may choose to respond to setbacks like Donald Trump and bombastically claim we have been unfairly treated and misunderstood.

For most of us, however, misfortune gives us pause for thought. Contrary to Mr. Trump, we may respond to setbacks with a sigh and a smile. We could take the attitude that we may have lost a battle, but at least we come away with our self- respect intact and maybe we learned something along the way.

The Rental Car Epiphany

Last week I rented a car to take my wife and two boys to Los Angeles over the Thanksgiving break. As we drove out of my driveway, I discovered that the car had no cruise control. I decided to exchange to car for one with cruise control. While waiting at the counter I heard a commotion at another car company at the other end of the room.

A customer was yelling at the two desk attendants.

“I already told him!” I heard the man scream while flailing his arms at one of the attendants.

I couldn’t hear all that was said, but obviously the man was dissatisfied and he was in full-rant mode. It was like watching Mount St. Helens explode.

Volcano

I am not going to take this bulldozer approach, even if they never switch my car, I thought.

“This car I got didn’t have cruise control. If I could, I’d like to switch it for one that does. Sorry, I didn’t check that before I left,” I said to the attendant.

“I’ll look and see if we have one available with cruise,” he said.

“Thank you. I appreciate that.”

“No problem. Have a good trip.”

Without bursting one blood vessel, I was able to get a car with cruise control and have a fun trip to LA.

In fairness to the guy who blew his top, he was probably already having a bad day, even before the rental car meltdown. We’ve all been there. We have days where if one more person tries to take advantage of us, it pushes us over the edge, like Billy Jack.

 

I try to avoid that explosive situation by keeping in mind my long-term goals.

In the back of my mind, my objective is to make friends with the counter attendant, and beyond that, to win them over to my way of thinking with friendliness and reason. I believe that life is inherently fair and if I calmly explain the problem, the attendant will see the light.

To see it from the attendant’s position, nine times out of ten, the staff person is only following the company policy.

As Abraham Lincoln said,

“A drop of honey that catches one’s heart, when once gained, you will find little trouble in convincing their judgement of the justice of your cause.”

Lincoln’s approach seems a bit more practical to me than Donald Trump’s.

 

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.

———

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Upcoming Presentations

Dec. 15, 2015, 12:40 to 1:00 pm. “How Abe Lincoln Used Stories.” Old Pueblo Rotary Club. Hotel Tucson. Tucson, Arizona.

 

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.

———

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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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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.

Turn frustration into creative energy #LifeLesson 7

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

 

Late for the Wedding

The Graduate

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

–Norman MacLean

I had carefully planned to leave the house at 8:50 am so that we could arrive at the wedding, of our two friends, well before the 10:00 am start time. However, while my wife and I were ready to go, my two lazy teenage sons were still glued to their beds.

“Get up, you have to shower now in order for us to leave on time,” said I to one son.

“It only takes me 10 minutes to take a shower,” he mumbled grumpily.

“You’re conveniently not counting the time for you to get dressed and eat breakfast,” I pointed out.

My other son, responded to me with passive-aggressive silence. He leisurely showered and dressed.

I Get Irritated

In response to the boys’ snail’s pace, I expressed my irritation by muttering snide remarks like:

“We’re going to be late.”

“We should have left 10 minutes ago, just to arrive on time.”

Or, my favorite, “I’ll wait in the car!”

I might as well as have been speaking Chinese. My comments didn’t speed them up one iota and it just made me feel agitated and hostile. My heart was racing.

I thought, what’s the point of this? I’m the only one suffering.

I Change My Approach

I’d would have preferred to arrive early to the wedding, but in truth, the fate of the free world was not hanging in the balance. It didn’t matter if we get there 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late. The wedding would still go on and we would still see it.

No amount or cajoling would speed up the boys anyway, so instead of fuming, I sat down at the computer and worked on a story I was in the process of writing. I poured my frustration and nervous energy into the story. I wrote like a man with 10,000 volts of pent up energy passing through me.

lightning-myths-8

By the time the boys were ready to leave, I had completed some great work on my story and I felt utterly relaxed.

Fishing – Blessing or Curse?

I experienced a similar incident in my childhood when my dad took my mom, my brother and I camping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. He really enjoyed fishing and thought I should too.

My dad would say, “My worst day fishing is better than my best day at work.”

Yet to me, fishing was as boring as meatloaf, and I was offended that innocent fish were being killed – unless my dad was somehow only catching the guilty ones. Nevertheless, while my dad fished, I turned my attention to nonlethal ways to enjoy nature. I hiked along the river, observed bugs and climbed rocks.

Lesson:

Turn frustration into creative energy.

The next time I am in an exasperating situation, I will change gears and direct my energy into creative channels.

———-

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

A Light Heart Lives Long #EurekaMoments 6

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

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

Don’t let pride stand in the way a brighter future #EurekaMoment #LifeLesson 4

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

 

reed richards2

Substitute Teachers Must be as Flexible as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic)

I reported to work at Stoney Elementary School at 7:10 am, five minutes earlier than my substitute teacher schedule required.

“We need you to go immediately to the cafeteria and supervise another class until their sub arrives. Candace, the office manager said,

“Sure, no problem, I said. I had taught at Stoney before and had a good relationship with Candace and the teachers. “What’s up?”

“The other sub is here but he is eating breakfast.”

“Have no fear, Mr. Terry is here!” I responded.

substitute teacher 1

Later I met the breakfast-eating sub, Stan. He was a teacher in the classroom next to mine.

Stan told me that he had an argument with Candace because he had arrived to school at 7:00 am in order to eat his breakfast before starting his job, at 7:30 am. When Candace told him that his starting time was incorrect and that he was needed right away in the cafeteria, he refused.

“Do you think I’m in trouble?” Stan asked.

“I think you should apologize to Candace, if you ever want to work here again.”

“I can’t. I was completely within my rights to eat my breakfast before starting work.”

“I agree that you are within his rights, but what school wants a substitute teacher who is not flexible? You’ll win the battle, but lose the war.”

Newspaper Delivery Boy Principles

My very first job was as a newspaper delivery boy for the The Rocky Mountain News. I was a 13 year old student at North Middle School in Aurora, Colorado. The papers were dropped off at my house at 2:30 am. I folded the papers and loaded them into my bike bags.

It took two hours to deliver the papers, counting the time for me to reload my bags half way through the neighborhood. I delivered papers every day, whether it was snowing, raining or below freezing. I felt it was my duty to complete my job, even under adverse circumstances. I feel the same way about substitute teaching.

paperboyinsnow

My obliging attitude opened the door for a plethora of teaching jobs at Stoney.

In Stan’s case, the manager and the principal were in a tight spot. Stan’s right to eat was superseded by the greater good of the school.

The Lesson

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

—————–

 

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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