Posts Tagged ‘The Keys to Succes on the Road Less Travelled’

Offer to help others who cannot return the favor

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Abraham and Tad Lincoln

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

“Ab Trout, a poor barefooted boy, was chopping wood one cold winter day. Lincoln came 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

 _____

Phil made me feel exceedingly comfortable when I first joined Toastmasters. I felt a little awkward at the meetings because I didn’t know anyone. But Phil, a longtime member, took care of that. He was always one of the first persons in the meeting room and every time I would walk in, he loudly announce, “Here’s the professor. How are things going at the university?” It made me feel exceptionally welcome, and put me at ease, even though I was not a professor, but merely a researcher, at the university. Nonetheless, I gracefully accepted the comical promotion that Phil gave to me.

Fast forward five years. Phil falls down and breaks his leg. He goes through surgery and spends weeks in rehab. I visit him virtually every day at the rehabilitation clinic. We wile away the hours chatting, playing checkers and putting puzzles together. Phil, still at the top of his game, at 95 years old, in short order makes friends with the staff and other patients.

Mental note to self: There’s a lot to learn from Phil.

My Sworn Enemy – The Thorny Bush

One of my worst enemies is a thorny bush that blocks a sidewalk which students use

Janette Scott facing down evil plants

to walk to a high school near my house.

I’m pretty sure that it is possessed by the devil. If not cut, branches with huge thorns grow through a fence and force students to walk around it or risk cuts to their arms and legs. It’s even more dangerous at night because you can’t see the branches.

Twice a year, wearing a long sleeve shirt and leather gloves, I fight back against the devil brush branches, like Janette Scott in The Day of the Triffids. I cut the branches and carefully load the large branches into the bed of my truck. The thorns can go right through my gloves, and haul them to a large trash can in the alley behind my house. The last time I did it, I accidently stepped on one of the branches and a thorn pierced through the sole of my shoe and into my foot. Yikes!

I chalk it up as a war injury in my never-ending battle with the sinister thorn bush.

The Lone Ranger

I often do house repairs for neighbors and friends who need help. I’m pretty good at it since I often repair my rental houses. Just last week, Cynthia, an older friend and former neighbor, who had just returned from mouth surgery, called and said,

“Terry, my toilet is leaking. Can you take a look at it?”

“Sure, I’ll be right over.”

I grabbed my tool box, stopped by Ace hardware to buy a toilet repair kit, and drove over to Cynthia’s house.

I ring the doorbell.

“Hi Terry. Thanks for coming.”

“You’re welcome. How’s your mouth feeling?”

“Okay, but sore. I still can’t speak too clearly yet.”

“Did you just say, ‘Okay you bore. I steal cans of peak to clean ear pets?”

“No.”

“Sorry. I was just rattling your cage. Show me where the leak is.”

She leads me to the bathroom.

As I suspected, the fill valve was broken and leaking. I replaced the valve and the flange too, for good measure. It worked like new.

“Can I pay you something?”

“No thanks. I’m the Lone Ranger. Justice is the only reward I desire. If you need anything else, give me a call.”

“Okay. You helped me a lot. Thanks kemo sabe.”

I gallantly drive away with music from the William Tell Overture playing on my cd player. I feel as pleased as punch.

I often get so wrapped up in my own life that I can’t see that other people have problems too. Imagine that! Even a minimal effort on our part to help someone, can have a huge impact on another person’s life.

Love Completely Without Complete Understanding

Sometimes it’s not readily apparent how to help others, yet we can still act.

Like when my mom was near the end of her life. I feel I could have done better, but at least I always tried to be at her side when she needed me the most.

As Norman Maclean said in A River Runs Through It and Other Stories,

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, but what, if anything, is needed? Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”

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”

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

Places in the Heart

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Blackie with her rabbit toy

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt in the heart.” Helen Keller

Let me tell you about my Black Lab dog, Blackie. She is much more than just a dog.

Blackie is my walking companion and she is my best friend.

When I come home from work Blackie runs circles around me like a toupee in a tornado! Wagging her tail with her favorite toy rabbit in her mouth. All the stress from my job melts away.

A few years ago, my mother was in a nursing home, shortly before she passed away. I would take Blackie to visit her. It revitalized her like a shot of adrenalin in the arm.

Blackie would put her head on my mom’s leg and wag her tail as my mom petted her head. My mom’s face glowed with serenity. Blackie was completely absorbed in her dog duty to provide companionship to my mom.

I learned a lot about compassion from Blackie. Compassion was not something she turned on and off like a water faucet. For her, it was a way of life.

The other day, Blackie and I began our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, a ritual that we had done a hundred times. We knew every step of the way. What could possibly go wrong?

Crazy Driver

As we approached the church, I heard a car revving its motor. Rrrrrrrrr.Rrrrrrrrrr.

Suddenly, a pickup truck barreled around the corner like a runaway freight train. We jumped back.

The driver stopped and yelled out the window, “Stay off the road, eh!” He must be Canadian.

I saw the hair on Blackie’s back rise up.

Blackie is a big and intimidating dog, but, on the inside she is a little tiny Chihuahua. She instinctively runs from danger, just like my wife instinctively runs when she sees a mouse.

I said to the driver, “Hey Speedy Gonzales? I have an idea. How about sharing the road with pedestrians, eh!”

The driver stared at Blackie. Blackie stared back. I tightened my grip on Blackie’s collar. Blackie appeared to be preparing to attack the driver, but I know she was actually planning to run away in the opposite direction.

Finally, the driver gave us the one finger salute and screeched away.

I looked at Blackie with appreciation. Even though she was no great guard dog, I felt safer when Blackie was with me.

Blackie and I continued our solitary trek with a little less 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.

Memories of Spot, My Childhood Pet

The white dog reminded me of Spot, the pet dog I had as a child. I have fond memories of Spot.

My parents did not like Spot in my room. Some nights I was terrified that somebody was hiding in my closet. I’d wake up my dad and say, “I heard something in my closet.”

Dad came in my room, opened the closet and looked around, a ritual he had done hundreds of times in the past.

“Nope. No one in there,” Dad said.

“But, I heard something.”

SLEEEEP!

“Go … to … sleep.” “S-L-E-E-E-P” my dad said in a deep hypnotist voice while slowly waving his fingers.

My dad left the room.

My father’s attempt to put me to sleep with a hypnotic trance failed miserably. I had no alternative but to secretly let Spot into my room and sleep on my bed. I felt safer when Spot was with me, like I did with Blackie.

Blackie Remembers Mom

As Blackie and I got close to our house, an elderly lady walking a little poodle approached us going the opposite way. As soon as Blackie spotted the lady, her tail started furiously wagging. The lady had white hair and walked very slowly. Blackie thought it was my mom.

Blackie still carries my mother in her heart. As long as Blackie lives on this earth, a part of my mother will still be alive.

At the very core of her being, Blackie knows that the most beautiful things in the world are only felt in the heart.

If you own a dog, I challenge you. Treat her like the noble and kindhearted creation she is.

You will never find a more faithful friend.

 

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”

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

 

 

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”