Posts Tagged ‘Will Rogers’

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.”

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

 

“From the first moment of my interview with him (Abraham Lincoln) I seemed to myself to have been acquainted with him for years. For while he was among the most solid of men I ever met he was among the most transparent.” Frederick Douglass, author and orator.

“I really think that Mr. Lincoln’s propensity for story-telling has been exaggerated by his enemies. I had once the honor of conversing with him, or rather of hearing him converse, for several minutes, and in all that time he only told four little stories.” Sarah Jane Lippincott, author.

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If, like me, you are a stammering Neanderthal when it comes to small talk, the best way to connect with people is to tell a simple humorous story that reveals something about your life. That allows the other person see that you are open and friendly, and they feel comfortable responding to us with openness and friendliness.

The New Girlfriend

My son invited his new girlfriend over to our house for dinner. I made a batch of my heralded spaghetti. When we welcomed her into the house, her handshake was as limp as a wet fish. She only made eye contact with the spaghetti and responded with one syllable answers to the softball questions my wife and I lobbed to her.

To break the ice, I told a story.

I said, “I work as a substitute teacher in an elementary school. Wednesday I was walking my first grade class, in single file, to the library. Everything was going fine until one boy bent down to tie his shoe and all the kids behind fell over him, to the sound of bowling pins falling (in my mind).”

The girlfriend chuckled and the ice started to break. She smiled more, shared information about her family, and was more engaging. At least until our exceptionally friendly dog, Blackie, unexpectedly snatched the spaghetti off her plate.

Nobody saw that one coming.

Blackie, the Wonder Dog

Willie Lincoln – The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

Of all Lincoln sons, 11-year-old Willie Lincoln’s magnetic personality was most like that of Lincoln himself. Following Willie’s untimely death in 1863, Poet Nathaniel Parker Willis wrote the following article about Willie for The Home Journal. It provides a brilliant example of the prototypical friendly personality. I underlined key phrases.

Willie Lincoln

This little fellow had his acquaintances among his father’s friends, and I chanced to be one of them. He never failed to seek me out in the crowd, shake hands, and make some pleasant remark; and this, in a boy of ten years of age, was, to say the least, endearing to a stranger. But he had more than mere affectionateness. His self-possession—aplomb, as the French call it— was extraordinary.

I was one day passing the White House, when he was outside with a play-fellow on the sidewalk. Mr. Seward (Secretary of State) drove in, with Prince Napoleon; and, in a mock-heroic way—terms of intimacy evidently existing between the boy and the Secretary—the official gentleman took off his hat, and Napoleon did the same, all making the young prince President a ceremonious salute.

Not a bit staggered with the homage, Willie drew himself up to his full height, took off his little cap with graceful self-possession, and bowed down formally to the ground, like a little ambassador. They drove past, and he went on unconcernedly with his play: the impromptu readiness and good judgment being clearly a part of his nature.

His genial and open expression of countenance was none the less ingenuous and fearless for a certain tincture of fun; and it was in this mingling of qualities that he so faithfully resembled his father.

The vivid lessons we learn from Willie Lincoln are that he:

1) greeted others by shaking hands and making a pleasant remark;

2) displayed a graceful confidence;

3) had a genial and open countenance; and,

4) mixed fun and formality together.

Political Humor

There is a distinct difference between the self-confidence of Willie Lincoln and the self-centeredness of politicians. Yet, making fun of the excesses of their fellow elected officials, is a proven way that politicians connect with constituents. Senator Mo Udall, no exception to the rule, (Too Funny to Be President) illustrates this technique in his story about two congressional colleagues.

George Smathers was running against Claude Pepper in a Senate race. In a speech in rural Florida, Smathers did a euphemistic hatchet job on Pepper. Smathers said,

“Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that,” Smathers went on, “but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in New York. Worst of all,” Smathers said mournfully, “it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, practiced celibacy.”

Everybody can relate to the pompous and self-absorbed nature of politicians. Like the kitten that attacks its own image in the mirror, it is reliable approach to share humor and to connect with others.

As Will Rogers observed,

“About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.”

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

June 5, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny BonesArizona 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

Awaken the Sleeping Giant Within – The Abe Lincoln Way

What to do When Struck by a Bolt of Inspiration

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Do your remember that last time you were tied up in knots because you were facing an overwhelming problem?

Then, out of the blue, at 4:00 in the morning, you wake up and the answer to your problem flashes into your mind.

The  really interesting question is, how do you respond to this epiphany? By immediately acting on this inspiration, or ignoring it as fanciful, or not practical, and letting the idea fade from your memory?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within,”  and “abide by that spontaneous impression” even if the whole world is against you.

While we may under-value this great source of inspiration, there are people who have held onto it with every bit of strength that they have, and that has made all the difference in their lives.

Philippe Petit

The Artistic Crime of the Century

On August 7, 1974, Phillippe Petit rigged a wire between New York City’s World Trade Center Twin Towers and walked back and forth across the 200 foot distance between the world’s tallest buildings eight times before he was arrested. He was almost one mile (1,400 feet)  above the ground, walking on a 3/4 inch wire.

Policemen  sent to apprehend Petit were so awed by the scene unfolding before their eyes  that  instead of arresting him they watched in amazement. One policeman said, “We thought we’d never see anything like this again in our lifetime.”

The “artistic crime of the century” took six years of planning. Petit made several trips to New York for first hand observations. He built a scale model of the towers in France to practice on.

But, as fantastic as the actual feat is, of more interest is how did Petit come by this stupendous obsession?

Petit discovered the World Trade Center in 1968 when he saw an artist’s rendition of the yet-to-be-built structure in a magazine while sitting in the waiting room of his dentist’s office. Petit was mesmerized by the drawing, and from that moment, tightrope walking between the two twin towers became his life obsession.

He never thought, “how much is this going to cost” or “will this take too much time.” He only thought, “I’m going to do it.”

Will Rogers

I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like

Will Rogers was the single most popular and beloved man of his era. The inscription on his tombstone reads, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”

Rogers was raised in Claremore, Oklahoma. He worked as a ranch hand and became very good at roping and rope tricks. Because of his magical skills with the rope, he was hired by the owner of a traveling group of entertainers to perform his rope tricks.

While Will was extremely talented, and had many dazzling tricks, he did the show in complete silence. His show was entertaining but he was not one of the top attractions.

What changed Will Rogers from silent rope tricks to international fame as the “Cowboy Philosopher”?

According to his wife, Betty Rogers, the turning point in his career came one night when he was attempting one of his most difficult rope tricks of jumping through the lariat with both feet. This particular night, he only got one foot through the rope, instead of two. The other foot got tangled in the rope. He was embarrassed and made the off-the-cuff remark, ” Well, I got all my feet through the rope, except one.” The audience exploded in laughter.

Betty said, when that happened a light came on in Will’s mind.

From then on, in each performance, Will purposely failed when doing that trick, and each time his funny comment brought the house down.

Will began to include more off-the-cuff humor into his act, and the manager of the show asked Will to introduce the other acts and make humorous comments in the process. His fame grew. He went on to host radio shows, wrote daily newspaper columns, and at the time of his death in 1935, he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Robert Frost

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

This is the final stanza  from Robert Frost’s most beloved poem, “Stopping By The Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Frost wrote hundreds of poems but this one is considered his masterpiece.

What inspired Frost to write these haunting words?

Frost said that he had been up all night writing a long poem and had finally finished when he opened the front door and realized it was morning. He went out to view the sunrise and, and in his words, he suddenly got the idea to write the poem “as if I’d had a hallucination” and wrote it  in just “a few minutes without strain.”

Phillippe Petit, Will Rogers, and Robert Frost, all embraced their bolt of inspiration.

They accepted it without fear or hesitation, allowed it to take over their lives.

Think about this the next time you are in your dentist’s office and pick up a magazine to read.

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Wednesday, August 14th, at 9:15 am (eastern), I’ll be on Dave Kelber’s show, WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ. http://wrnjradio.com (to listen live).

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

Related Articles

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Will Rogers’ Secret of Seizing Opportunities

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

“It was not so much that Will sought the new opening as that he never failed to seize it when it came his way.” — Betty Rogers 

It’s nice to think that we are captain’s of our own ship and masters of our own destiny. Who doesn’t want to like Captain James T. Kirk or Bill Gates?

In my own case, I know that the reason I became the person I am today is by, not so much bending life to my will, but more by taking what life handed me, and by being keenly alert when a new opportunity presented itself.

That’s the way Will Rogers found success.

As his wife Betty said in her biography of Will:

His whole career was the development and unfolding of a personality through the various vehicles that seemed to be constantly and almost miraculously presenting themselves. His comment on stage on the stage during his roping act was incidental at first, if not accidental. (Will never spoke during his Vaudeville rope trip act, except when he once made a mistake and the audience laughed at his funny excuse. From then on, he incorporated that comment, and gradually others, into his act.)

His writing came the same way. (Will wrote a regular Sunday feature for the New York Times that was syndicated throughout the U.S.) His entrance into the movies, too, was not of his own seeking  (he starred in 69 movies). But once started in these new fields, he made the most of each, giving to them the same enthusiasm and energy he had given to the rope (tricks) in the early days.

I added the comments in parentheses to the text.

Meander in the Direction that You Want to Go

I know I’ve probably said this before, at least in Fix em Up Rent em Out, but a good way to get started in real estate, particularly if your circumstances are such that it is impossible for you to start investing in real estate right away, is to just start by meandering in that direction, like a slow, gurgling stream.

You can program your mind to pay attention to anything related to real estate. Cut articles out of the newspaper, buy books at book sales, tale to friends and co-workers about it, watch for seminars and classes about real estate investing. Sometimes desire and knowledge can be acquired simply by observing someone else operating a successful business.

And, when the opportunity does present itself to get started, like Will Rogers, seize it!

 

Upcoming “Turn Your Home Into a Rental House ” Radio Interviews (most shows can be heard  on the internet)

Friday, July 19th, at 7:45 am (eastern time), I will be interviewed by Gary Sutton and Chris Tyler, at WSBA 910 AM  in York, PA.

Friday, July 19th, at 8:10 am, I’ll be on Dan Ramey’s show on WBEX 1490 AM, in Chillicothe, Ohio.

On Thursday, July 25th, at 7:10 a.m. (central time) I’ll be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 AM, Watertown, South Dakota.

On Friday, July 26th, at 7:30 am (mountain time) I have an interview with David Gillian, KRSN 1490 AM, Los Alamos, NM.

Tuesday, August 6th, at 8:10 am (central time), I’ll be on Bob Schmidt’s show, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, WI.

Watch this space for information on additional interviews.

Related Articles:

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair