Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squeeze the Towel Dry

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how good you look.
     No, that’s not right.

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how drunk you get.
     You’re kidding, right?

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.
     Ouch. That’s terrible.

Grantland Rice, an American sportswriter who lived from 1880-1954, is perhaps most famous for the following lines:
     "For when the One Great Scorer comes,
     To write against your name,
     He marks - not that you won or lost –
     But how you played the Game."

Now that’s more like it.

Another way of saying this is,
“I went out and I squeezed the towel dry.”

That’s what Tiger Woods once said. After the Master’s Tournament in 1998, Tiger was disappointed that he did not repeat his win of the previous year, but he felt good about his top-ten finish: “I squeezed the towel dry this week. I’m very proud of the way I hung in there.”

On another occasion, after a British Open when he finished third, Tiger said, “Sometimes you get even more satisfaction out of creating a score when things aren’t completely perfect, when you’re not feeling so well about your swing.”
From Mindset, Pg 99, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Here’s another legend addressing this concept.

Mia Hamm, as declared by the Washington Post as “perhaps the most important athlete of the last 15 years”, tells us, “After every game or practice, if you walk off the field knowing that you gave everything you had, you will always be a winner.”
From Mindset, Pg 99, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Sometimes there is the simple satisfaction of knowing in your gut that you have given your absolute best and that is enough.

Have you won every time you’ve gone after something you wanted?
Have you scored perfectly in every situation of your life?

Know what? I surely haven’t.

Rather, answer these questions:
Have I done my best? Did I squeeze the towel dry?
  Did I think thoroughly?
    Did I try sufficiently?
      Did it read enough good and accurate stuff?
        Did I listen with open ears?
          Did I hear everything that was said?
            Did I give an open mind?
              Did I try every reasonable avenue?
                Did I do my best?

Did I act with integrity?

You can always rest well at night when you have the satisfaction of knowing you have given your best effort and that there is no stone left unturned.

I hope you’ll go out today and squeeze the towel dry.

In Closing

My friend Kevin Hall has written a terrific book called Aspire.  To use his words, "This book has gone viral."  I've read this book three times this year already, and I can see that I'll read this book from time to time.  It's that great.

Harvey MacKay, famous for authoring the book Swim with the Sharks has written a great piece on Kevin's book as well.  Here is the link for Harvey's column.
Harvey MacKay - Aspire to Use the Hidden Power of Words

Thursday, October 21, 2010

One Year Anniversary

51 blogs
     Over 28,050 Words (550 average per blog)
          Hours of reading and writing
               Some late nights
                    Some early mornings
                         Some lost sleep to capture ideas
                           before they evaporate

So, I ask myself, “What have I accomplished?”

Some have had their hope reignited. Thanks for letting me know that.

Some have been encouraged. I know by the kind notes you’ve sent.

Some have received inspiration. You’ve told me so.

Above all, we’ve journeyed together through
this year and perhaps gotten to know one another
a bit better. That’s what I like best as I celebrate
this one-year mark of my weekly blogs.
You have inspired me to
continue doing what I love;
offering hope, encouragement and inspiration one word at a time.

Some of you have passed
these blogs along to others.
I am thankful and so grateful
for your kind act.
Please continue doing so.


I like to reminisce from time to time. As I look back over this year, I find some favorite pieces.  Some of you have joined in later in the year and perhaps you've missed some of these.  If you missed one, you’ll find the reference so that you can go back and read it later if you like.

Here are some of my favorites.

-“Define your mission. Define your mission and stick to it.”
     (Nov 6, 2009

-Aspire, one of the most significant books I’ve read this year.
     (January, 22, 2010)

-I Only Know Two Notes. (February 5, 2010

-“I’m losing my eyesight. I’ll never lose my vision.”
     (J.C. Penney quote, February 19, 2010)

-Hope (March 5, 2010 – one of the most responded-to blogs this year)

-Never Underestimate the Power of the Right Word Spoken at the Right Time. (March 19, 2010

-Failure Is Not Final (April 23, 2010, another favorite, judging by the comments in my in-box)

-Playing in the Right Key (May 14, 2010 – this one encouraged a good friend of mine and his business associate to maintain their integrity at work when they were asked to sacrifice truth for a lie.)

-The Bull’s Eye (July 8, 2010 – Another favorite based on e-mail responses)

-I Approve of Myself (July 22, 2010 – an important concept)

-Laugh (Sept 2, 2010 – Remember, God delights in us—His creation)

Where are we going this year? More of the same, and some fresh stuff to boot. I have perhaps 30 or 40 blogs written and waiting in inventory – waiting on the right moment to post them. You see, I kind of believe some of these are timely for someone on a specific date in time, maybe on a day when you most need that particular thought.

I have a plan and I’m working on it daily.

I have dreams and I visit them often.

Hope you’ll continue to journey with me.

Thanks, above all, for being a faithful reader. Because you read, I am inspired to write.

Be blessed.
Be at peace.
Hold on to your dreams.
 Love those close to you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


“Courage does not always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying
‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
(Mary Anne Radmacher)

In her book Mindset, author Carol S. Dweck tells this story about Michael Jordan, THE MICHAEL JORDAN, when he played for the University of North Carolina.

“Once, after his team lost the last game of the season, Jordan went and practiced his shots for hours. He was preparing for the next year. Even at the height of his success and fame – after he made himself into an athletic genius – his dogged practice remained legendary. Former Bulls assistant coach John Bach called him a ‘genius who constantly wants to upgrade his genius.’”

I think Michael was saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” After every defeat, after every disappointing experience, he always had a hope in his heart that “tomorrow will be a new beginning. Tomorrow, I’ll be better.”

“The proof is in the puddin’, as we used to say in Tennessee. Michael Jordan had the courage to face his fears and disappointments, get back out on the court and work hard to develop his now legendary talent. But there was a time when he was a nobody.

Nobody paid attention.

          Nobody gave a care

                    And nobody thought much about him
                              nor did they lay accolades at his feet.

Sometimes the courage to try and try again makes all the difference in the world.

Norman Cousins, former editor of the Saturday Review, was diagnosed with an incurable ailment and his destiny was a death sentence. He said, “No thanks. I’ll try again tomorrow”, and he literally cured himself by using laughter and his doctor's suggestions. Read this amazing story in his book called The Healing Heart. (To order, click on this link -    Up-Words LifeLine Book Store This book is located on the opening page, lower right corner)

In the early days of the United States space exploration, NASA faced setback after setback. But with wisdom they continued to say “We will try again tomorrow.” And now look at what has been accomplished. Landing on the moon, exploration of far distant solar systems and planets, and just this week I read that we may soon be able to purchase a ticket for inter-planetary space tourist travel.

I have some friends who are music composers. They work at their craft every day of their lives. Some days they write wonderful melodies and lyrics and other days, well, on other days they throw their work into the trash can, yet they quietly say I’ll try again tomorrow.”

I hope you are finding the courage to try and try again after whatever setbacks you may face. I posted a blog on July 8, 2010 called The Bull’s Eye. The premise is this … “The arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of one-hundred misses.”

As they sing in Beauty and the Beast, “Screw your courage to the sticking place.”

Remember what Scarlet O’Hara said?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

He Is Here!

9-1-1- is an amazing system. I had to use it recently. I was in a retail store when a woman customer went into a series of seizures.

John, her partner, yelled out “Call 9-1-1!. I responded immediately and within a very few minutes the medical team arrived and immediately began assisting this nice lady.

As they were assisting her, I stood back 40 feet to give them plenty of room to work, and as I often do in a crisis such as this, I began praying for this lady. My prayers were taking the theme of “God be present, be with her, be with her partner ... Almost instantly, it seems that God spoke to me and said, “I am already here. I’ve been here all along.”

What a comforting thought.

I have a good number of individuals now reading my weekly blog and many come from backgrounds different from mine. There are Christian readers, Buddhist readers, Muslim readers, and other varieties of faith-based ideologies. My thoughts are for all of us. May the God of your understanding be intimately involved in your life and may HE be real and present with you every minute of every day, just as I experienced.

I am reminded of a verse that has been an anchor in my own life. It is from the Old Testament, Joshua 1:9.

The phrase “wherever you go” jumps out at me.

As I reflect on my life, I am reminded of times when I had
more bills than bucks.

God Was There.

When I faced relationship strife,
When I faced job change decisions,
When a loved one faced a medical crisis,

He Was There!

When I was discouraged,
When I was fearful,       
When my parents died,  
When my grandkids were born,

He Was There!

When I graduated from college,
When I needed my first job
out of college,                   

He was there.

When you face retirement,

He is there.

When I have experienced joy
and happiness beyond belief,         

He has been there.

God has been there in every moment, in every situation I have faced.

     He has never gone to sleep.
          He has never taken a break
               And He has never abandoned me for someone more
                  interesting or more devoted or better looking.

And I certainly know He was there when Kathleen had her seizure.

“I will be with you

wherever you go.”

What an amazingly comforting thought.

May your God-concept expand enough to include this attribute of God. He Is BIG enough, you know!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Has Your Life Had a Beginning?

I am a sucker for great quotes.  Here's one I like.

"Fear not that your life
will come to an end
but that it will never
have a beginning."

John Henry Newman, British theologian

     Drifting along
          Aimless living
                         Come what may living

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? That’s a great way to live on vacation, I suppose. But day to day?

I want to do some things with my life. I have stuff to write, speeches to give, thoughts to think, people to know, books to read, and my mind to fill with good stuff. God deliver me from drifting into aimlessness. It’s a maze in there, they say.

What do you want to do with your life? Do you have books to write? People to see? Places to go? Concepts to instill into fresh, fertile minds? Is there a mission, a passion that you are committed to that will better define your life?

What will it take to go after whatever it is you want? Is today, perhaps, a good day to make a new beginning?

I think that what John Henry Newman means by the above statement is this: what is your purpose for existing? What are you great at doing? What should you do above all other activities that could occupy your time? Where are your acres of diamonds and of what do they consist?

All of these thoughts are another way of saying “Has your life had a beginning?” Has anything captured your imagination so forcefully that you can’t help but respond to life and to this dominant thought?

Once we reckon with these questions then, I think, we have the beginnings of a beginning.

Once you know the answer to your driving motive for life, begin at the beginning. Begin now, today, whether you are ready or not, and take the first steps on this journey of living your life from the beginning. And when you come to the end, you will be able to look back and smile within and perhaps say, “I did some good along the way.” What a satisfying thought.

I hope you’ll be able to say …

“I made a difference.”
“I changed a life.”
“I lifted a load.”
“I encouraged some weary soul.”
“I showed someone a better way.”
“I helped lift someone from despair to determination.”
“I found a better way of doing ….”

“Has Your Life Had a Beginning?”