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Disaster, Determination and a World Record

The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. A little boy named Glenn had the job of coming to school early each day to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived.

One morning they arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. They dragged the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die – which was for the best, really – for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.…

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Does Your Birthday Determine Your Success?

I’ve got a birthday coming up tomorrow and as I was thinking about birthdays I was reminded of a story told by Zig Ziglar that I have always loved.

The population of Ghana has many tribes of people living within its borders. The largest is the Akan tribe, which makes up about 50% of the entire population. The Akan have a tradition of naming newborn children based on the day of the week they were born. If you are born on Monday your name will include “Kwadwo”, which is related to peace. If you are born on Friday, your name would include “Kofi”, which is linked to fertility and abundance. You now know which day of the week Kofi Annan, the past secretary general of the United Nations, was born.…

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The Toothpaste Principle of Perseverance

Picture  This morning before brushing my teeth I once again entered into a daily routine. Rolling up the toothpaste tube from the bottom, I meticulously kept a tight roll so as to keep any paste from remaining in the tube. Once the tight roll reached the top, I put the opening between my middle and index fingers and then squeezed from the bottom with my thumb. Amazingly, a small line of toothpaste came out of the “empty” tube and onto the bristles of my brush…just like it had for past 13 days!

Every morning this ritual is repeated and I think to myself that there is no way any more toothpaste could be in that wrinkled up tube. And yet, when crunch time comes, it digs deep and produces yet another small amount of breath-freshening goodness.…

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Playing Chess with the Devil

This is one of my favorite stories. It was originally documented back in 1898 but has been repeated many times since then:

On a tour of Europe, international chess master Paul Morphy and a friend entered an art gallery. Mr. Morphy (surprise, surprise) was drawn to a painting depicting two men playing chess. The name of the painting was “The Chess Players” by Morits Retzch.

In the painting, a man is playing chess with the devil, the stake being the young man’s soul. The artist had most graphically depicted the point in the game where it was apparently the young man’s move, and he seemed just to realize the fact that he had lost the game, the agony of despair being shown in every line of his features and attitude, while the devil from the opposite side of the table gloated over him with fiendish delight.…

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Questions That Leaders Ask Themselves

Great insights into leadership from Tim Milburn. Questions we could all ask ourselves every morning.



Lifelong leaders make choices everyday. Here are twelve of them.

Will you make a plan and follow it or make a plan and forget it?

Will you simplify the complicated or complicate the simple?

Will you make your own opportunities or wait for someone else to make opportunities for you?

Will you create your own definition of success or allow someone else to define success for you?

Will you attempt to control what’s controllable or attempt to control what’s uncontrollable?

Will you be part of the solution or part of the problem?

Will you make a better decision or make a worse decision?

Will you choose a positive attitude or a negative attitude?…

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The Hospital Window – Make a Difference!

I really liked this story the first time I heard it many years ago. Hope you enjoy it!


Here is the original story written in Europe after WWII:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.…

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Let No One Predict Thy Future!

Over the weekend I came across a list of predictions “experts” made about certain products or people that turned out to be totally false. It reaffirmed for me that we should never let anyone but ourselves decide our future. Your future is completely unwritten and you can change the course of your life at any point. Imagine what would have happened if the world would have believed these predictions:

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” (Western Union memo, 1876.)

“Computers in the future will weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” (Popular Mechanics, forecasting advance of science, 1949.)

“I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.” (Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.)

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” (Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.)

“But what is it good for?” (Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the micro chip, 1968)

“There is no reason why anyone would want to have a computer in their home.” (Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp, 1977.)

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.…

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The Important Things

You’ve probably heard this story before but I think it is a good one to repeat because of the profound meaning it has for our lives:

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.…

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Drop the Poison!

Walking down the road one day an older gentleman in a tattered grey overcoat came upon a young man holding a bright green rock. A foul-smelling gas was coming from the rock as the young man held it tightly, examining it’s surfaces.

“Sir”, said the old man. “Did you know that what you are holding is very poisonous?”

The young man looked surprised. “It isn’t poisonous! It’s extremely rare and you can’t have it. It is all mine and I’m not letting go of it.”

“Trust me, it is not that rare. It is poisonous, however, and it will have a great affect on you.”

“Yeah right. Can you prove that it is poison?”

“Well, tell me how you found it.”

“This morning I was walking through the park, talking with an acquaintance.…

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