Posts Tagged ‘The Keys to Success on the Road Less Traveled’

Always Say “Yes”

Sunday, March 25th, 2018


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

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

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


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

Abe says “Yes”

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

Lincoln as Lawyer

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

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

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

“Yes” to Peace Corps

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

“Yes” to Marriage

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

“Yes” to Toastmasters

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

Captain Kirk Connects the Dots

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

 I nearly always say “yes.”

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

William Shatner

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

Phoenix or Bust

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

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

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

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

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

Foreboding Phoenix

vibrations,” I said.

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

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

I said “yes,” and the dots connected.

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


Upcoming Pesentations:

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

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

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


Amazon Link


Related Links

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

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Be a Master of Disaster – Ponder the big picture

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


Angry Cow! (video)

Monday, October 9th, 2017


I never saw a Purple Cow,

I never hope to see one,

But I can tell you, anyhow,

I’d rather see than be one!


Most people have a favorable view of cows. We make light of them in poetry, as in the famous “Purple Cow” poem. We even joke about them.

I remember my father telling me, “Terry, you haven’t finished your milk. We can’t put it back in the cow, you know.”

In 1985, I became a Pearce Corps Volunteer in Honduras and that forever changed my point of view of the seemingly humble cow.

My assignment in the Peace Corps was to work with small farmers (5’ 5” tall or shorter) in a small village in northern Honduras. The crops they grew were corn and beans.

My work routine in Honduras consisted of getting up early in the morning, with the chickens, and walk out to farms to collaborate with the farmers. I had to cross the river to reach the fields. There was a large tree trunk laying across the river that served as a bridge.

On either side of the road was tall grass infested with voracious, industrial sized insects that were ready to suck the blood out of my body.

I walked my usual route out of the village. As I approached the river, I hear screaming and shouting up ahead. Then 4 or 5 people from the village were running back towards me shouting “vaca loca” “vaca loca.” “Correle.” “Crazy cow. Crazy cow. Run away.”

One man told me “Mr. Terry, you cannot cross the river today. There is a cow blocking the road.”

I said, “I’ll take care of that cow. I will just shoo him away.”

“Mr. Terry, for the sake of the entire village do not anger the cow.”

“Pfffft! Have no fear, Terry is here.”

I boldly march over to the river. I turn the corner around some trees and my eyes locked on an enormous Arnold Schwatzenegger-sized cow. As big as a house. He had enormous horns. He scraped the ground with his massive hoof! Steam came out of his nostrils as breathes.

I looked into the eyes of the cow 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.

Immediately, my family jewels rose up to my Adam’s apple and my ignorant bravado about ‘shooing’ away the cow, gave way to a feeling of stark raving terror. I stood there trying not to look too horrified. I inched my way back to the villagers.

“Did you shoo the cow away, Mr. Terry?” one villager asked.

“No. for the good of the village, I have revised my plan. Now, I think we need to just give the cow his personal space,”

Just then the cow came around the corner moving towards us. “AAgggh!” we screamed in unison.

The villagers bolted back to the village so fast that they left a vapor trail.

I jumped over a fence on the side of the road, still thinking I had to see the farmers, and I walked through the insect infected plants. The voracious bugs feasted on my body like a ravished high school football team at an all-you-can-eat Pizza Hut buffet.

I knew these were tough mosquitoes. When I slapped them, they slapped me back.

I managed to circle around behind the cow and limped out to see the farmers.

Later, when I dragged myself back home. The last few feet I was actually crawling back into my house.

Long after I returned home to the United States, I still harbored a fear of cows. Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat. How long will I have these horrible memories? Yes, you guessed it, until the cows come home.

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.





The Keys to Success on the Road Less Traveled

Edited by Terry Sprouse


The 15 authors of The Keys to Success on the Path Less Traveled, illustrate the different shades and colors of the word ‘success.’ We view success as:  realigning one’s life following the death of a loved one; channeling the energy of rejection into writing comic books; recognizing the daunting sacrifices of one’s mother; finding inspiration in working with disadvantaged youth; recognizing the trials of being teacher; celebrating the nobility of ‘man’s best friend;’ capturing the essence of life through the lens of poetry; overcoming the past and finding ways to love yourself; among many other intriguing ways.

The title of this book, The Keys to Success on the Road Less Traveled, refers to the subtle insight that we glean from reflecting on the experiences of life, and embracing the nuances of meaning that life presents to us.

As Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”