Leaning Toward Wisdom

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Here's one theory about the origin from Wikipedia: The origins are uncertain, but a common theory is that the expression arose after Conservative Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury ("Bob") appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1887, an act of nepotism, which was apparently both surprising and unpopular. Whatever other qualifications Balfour might have had, "Bob's your uncle" was seen as the conclusive one. Salisbury is widely believed to be the Uncle Bob that the expression refers to. "Bob's your uncle" is said to derive from the supposed nepotism of Lord Salisbury, in appointing a favorite nephew, Arthur Balfour, to several political posts in the 1880s. "Bob's your uncle" is an exclamation that is used when everything is alright and the simple means of obtaining the successful result is explained. Here in America, we'd say, "a piece of cake" or "easy as pie." But I rather prefer, "And Bob's your uncle." Today's episode was prompted by something that happened one year ago. I recorded the event on my personal Facebook page. Here's what I wrote. Grandson #3 (Easton) and grandson #4 (Cason) went with us to see my parents yesterday. On the ride home Easton sees something and the obsession begins. It's the little marking on the side pillars of the car indicating that there's a side curtain airbag. He's reading out the letters and asking, "What does that say?" All the letters are capitalized though, presenting a new challenge for his reading skills. From the backseat he's announcing the letters. "S, L, D, E, C, U, R, T..." No break or pause, just reading the letters in straight succession. I quickly realize the problem. The L isn't an L. It's a capital "i." Me: "That doesn't spell anything. S,L,D aren't the first letters to anything." Easton: "Yes, it is. That's what it says, S, L, D, E, C, U...(he goes on to announce every letter for the umpteenth time)." Me: "That says, 'Bob's your uncle." Easton: "No, it doesn't. Bob's your uncle doesn't start with S." Me: "Sure it does." Easton: "No, Bob's your uncle doesn't start with S." Me: "What does 'Bob's your uncle start with?" Easton: "B." Me: "Very good." Me: "That second letter isn't an L, it's an "i." Easton: "But it doesn't have a dot." Me: "It's a capital i. All those letters are capitalized." Easton: "But it's S, L, D, E..." (again reciting every single letter) Me: "It says, 'Side Curtain Airbag." (I go on to explain what that is) Then comes a 10-minute conversation on how those airbags deploy. And I interject "Bob's your uncle" some more along the way. Me: "When the airbags come out they say, 'Bob's your uncle' on them." Easton: "But I've never seen them say, 'Bob's your uncle.'" Me: "Because you've never seen airbags. They don't come out until you crash the car. You never want to see 'Bob's your uncle' unless you crash." To add confusion, Rhonda inserts, "Cale is YOUR uncle." Easton: "Then why does it say, 'Bob's your uncle?" Me: "To let you know the airbags are out. And uncle Cale answers to, 'Bob.'" This goes on for about 5 more minutes with Easton growing increasingly skeptical. Rhonda finally tells him I'm "pulling his leg." Of course, that means she has to explain what that phrase means. Easton: "I thought so. I knew it didn't say, 'Bob's your uncle.'" Now, I'm Googling for Bob's Your Uncle t-shirts in kid's sizes! I'm also coaching him to call Cale "Bob" the next time he sees him! I smile every time I think of that car ride. I wish Bob was my uncle, but I do have a cousin named Bob. Easy peasy. That's our hokey American equivalent. Much less clever than, "And Bob's you're uncle." That's that. Kinda sorta the same thing. I don't know if the story is the correct origin of the saying, but I hope so because that makes it funnier to me. Some ner-do-well fella gets a high position and everybody stands around questioning, "Who? Who? Who got it?
I'm doing some computer work and watching Homicide Hunter on ID Discovery. It's just on as background noise, but I perk up when the shot includes Lt. Kenda looking into the camera asking about some dysfunctional family behavior that involved murder. He answers his own question with this witty answer, "I don't know 'cause I'm not crazy." Reasoning with unreasonable people. Trying to relate to crazy when you're sane. Trying to influence foolishness with wisdom. Trying to combat hatred with love. Battling sadness with humor. There are many paradoxes. "I don't know 'cause I'm not crazy." It implies that if Lt. Kenda were crazy then perhaps he could better understand the crazy behaviors he observes. I catch myself sometimes. Saying things that seem habitual. You know, those phrases or sayings you say all the time on auto-pilot. Without even thinking. Until one day you realize, "I say that an awful lot. I should quit doing that." We all have them. Some of us more than others. Mine, at least on this occasion, was, "What do I know?" What do I know? I most often say it when I make an observation - not from certainty, but from uncertainty. That is, I really don't have much of a clue if I understand something or not. Then I say, "...but what do I know?" Kenda has extensive knowledge of murder and crime. And criminal behavior. But he still doesn't understand it because it contains a level of crazy. And he's not crazy. Don't we all know that sensation? That feeling? Two people find themselves needing money. Desperately. One scrambles to think of what he has that has any monetary value. Something he can sell. He thinks about what he might be able to do to hire himself out. Clean gutters. Rake leaves. Anything. The other one doesn't think of any of those things. Instead, he thinks of who has what he wants - money. And how can he take it from them. I see that first fellow and understand. But I don't understand the second fellow at all. My mind just doesn't go there. Right and wrong. Those are heavily involved in these notions. Kenda can't relate to the criminal mind. Hopefully, neither can we. Hopefully, we can't relate to the immoral mind. The person, who when faced with some serious challenge, thinks that bad behavior might somehow make things better. That alcohol, drugs, and sex just might provide the remedy to make their lives better. It never does. But I don't know 'cause I'm not crazy enough to think so. Crime. Immorality. Human degradation. Degradation is the act of lowering something or someone to a less respected state. Would a person intentionally lower themselves to a less respected state? Of course. People do it all the time. Some don't think they're lowering themselves. Some are too self-centered and just don't care enough about themselves to increase their respected state. Still, others are plagued by addictions. Some others, by untreated or undiagnosed mental illness. Degradation is a complex issue. The significant factor here is knowledge. Knowing. More accurately, it's about understanding, but as Kenda observed - that's impossible when you don't suffer the same crazy. Or the same delusion. Or the same foolishness. And honestly, do you want to? Of course not. It makes solving these problems more challenging. It makes helping - serving - some people almost impossible. "You can't reason with an unreasonable person." "You can't want it for somebody if they don't want it for themselves." So many truisms. What should we do then? I wish I knew, but I don't. 'Cause I'm not crazy. Or disposed to chasing foolishness. Or bent toward committing crimes or pursuing doing the wrong thing. That doesn't mean I'm immune from these things. Neither are you. I suppose we could all fall into the wrong things - degrading things. Thankfully, most of us don't. Because most of us can and do keep our wits about us to prevent us from sliding off the edges. Then there's Charlie Sheen.
I stare out the window. The trees have dropped all their leaves. Fall fell. Now it's winter. But I'm in north-central Texas so that isn't quite what it is to you guys who live in Canada or Minnesota or Maine. I'm craving a change of scenery. Not just the kind nature provides, but the kind that puts your head into a clearer space.  So away we go to a spot we often frequent. About half-a-day away by car. Not bad. Piney woods. They affect me in the most positive way. Here I am sitting on the covered back porch with an overhead radiant heater. It's chilly, but I'm comfortable. I'm staring at a golf course, the 6th hole. I've got a clear shot of the tee boxes and the green. Almost a straight-on view, which allows me to track the balls the golfers hit from the tee. I've been here before. Back in the summer when I didn't need a heater. Or flannel shirts. It was then, during the summer, when I told my wife, "I could spend quite a lot of time here." She immediately responded, "Yeah, I could, too." Then we engaged those dreaming wheels in our heads. They're not really just dreaming wheels though. They're more like pondering wheels looking for a path forward, working out a way to make it happen! You daydream. Imagining what it might be like to be in your favorite place. Maybe a beach. Maybe mountains. Maybe lakeside. Your mind drifts to your life and where you're at versus where you'd most like to be. Some success that isn't reality. Yet. Some achievement that's unrealized. Some lifestyles you don't currently enjoy. You ask yourself the same question you've asked most of your life. Wouldn't it be great if...? Wouldn't it be great if we had a lake house? Wouldn't it be great if our business were twice as big? Wouldn't it be great if we got a new car? Wouldn't it be great if we got married? It's a question we ask ourselves about anything and everything. Like a can of lighter fluid on our wildest dreams, we engage parts of our brain that feel like we've neglected for too long. We easily embrace it and go with the flow of imagining what life might be like if our hypothetical were real. Wouldn't it be great if...?  You'll never say, "No, it wouldn't be great." Your mind will always think, "Yes. Yes, it would be great." Because during such times, in our head we work things out so everything works out beautifully. No snags. No problems. No downsides. We do the same thing with the choices we didn't make but wish we would have. We assume the choice we didn't make would have worked out marvelously. We never think, "Good thing I didn't take that other path 'cause that would have been a disaster!" In our heads, the choice we didn't make would have worked out fine. Or perfectly fine. Or terrifically. We look back and think, "What if we'd made that other choice?" Again, in our heads, we iron out all the outcomes so they're better than the ones we now enjoy. The reality is we only know the outcomes of the choices we made. Had we made a different choice...we think we know how it would have worked out, but we don't really know. We project a successful outcome in our minds. It feels real prompting us to regret the choice we made. Maybe. Or at the least, wondering if the other choices might have been better! Fact is - maybe it would be great. Maybe it would be a disaster. Maybe it wouldn't matter. We'll only know if we pursue it. So it makes sense that our brains would gravitate to the best-case-scenario. Why not think the best? Why not think, "Wouldn't it be great if (fill in the blank)?" That's better than thinking, "Wouldn't it be awful if (fill in the blank)?" I'm still sitting there looking out over a golf course with piney woods across the way. Chipmunks, squirrels and small birds are scurrying about in the morning cold foraging for food. I'm pondering life and they're trying to sustain life. No thought about tomorrow. They're not even bothered by later today.
I’m battling my chronic insomnia. Again. 3 am brings out my best. Sometimes. Headphones are on and I'm watching buskers on YouTube. YouTube has some suggestions for me. One is a video of a man holding an acoustic guitar. The title indicates he's covering a Radiohead song, No Surprises. Well, I have to click on that. Not because I love Radiohead 'cause I don't even like them. But this man does not look like he'd like them either. I can't imagine what this cover might be like so I have to find out.  Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Who is this old guy? He's been in my life all of the 3 minutes it took him to play this song and I'm smitten. I like this guy. Instantly. A lot. This video has over 300,000 views. How have I never seen this man play before? Must be an outlier, but I'm thankful YouTube made the suggestion. I click on his name, below which I see 176K subscribers, which takes me to his YouTube channel's main page. A hundred seventy-six thousand subscribers? WHOA! I look at the many videos he's produced and click on another one, a John Prine cover, "I Remember Everything." I do love John Prine. I'm still sad that John is gone. I click on that video and I'm fully smitten by this guy now. I click play who knows how many times before I finally stumble into bed. About 90 minutes later I'm up for the day. I go to Frank's YouTube channel, to the about section. No details. No website. Just a place to click for an email address for business requests. I click it and shoot him an email. Frank, I have no idea what to even say. Except that stumbling onto your channel made me - yes, MADE ME - devote hours watching video after video. I'm a business guy who began to podcast before it was even called PODCASTING. My passion project is a podcast called Leaning Toward Wisdom (https://LeaningTowardWisdom.com - tagline is "modern tales of an ancient pursuit"). Would you be open to having a recorded conversation with me for that show? A Zoom video call. Not an interview, but a conversation with a guy from Dallas, Texas who loves what you're doing. True confession: I've had a passion and love for the guitar for as long as I can remember, but I never learned to play. I learned that what I love most is watching/listening to others play. You're now added to the list. Thank you. Think about it and let me know. I promise it'll be fun. More fun than that stunt of your daughter slapping you about the vegan remark. :D Randy   Frank replied the same day. Randy , Thank you for getting in touch, i don’t mind having a conversation with you i’m not sure if you know i am in the UK, so we would have to get the times right, i would probably have to take a laptop upstairs or something depending on whether anyone else is at home, my wife and grandson can get pretty noisy at times lol, you mentioned that vegan joke, funny how humour doesn’t always translate as quite a few people didn’t like the idea of a daughter doing that to her dad, but then you can’t please everyone, oh and i have family in Texas (San Antonio), never met them but still family lol, if i’m right i think you are 6 hours behind us, you mentioned you like guitars but never learned to play ……i didn’t either lol! Frank. Having watched the 2 videos with his daughter I was not surprised at the snarkiness of his reply. And the bromance continued. :D Listen, when you get to be the age of me and Frank you rather enjoy seeing and connecting with people who have some notion of how you grew up in the days before the Internet. Here's the original of a cover done by Frank. This will give you an idea of just how much Frank makes these covers his own.  Here's Frank's version of that same song.  The video that blew up his YouTube channel was this cover by a heavy metal band, Slipknot.  Frank has a 7 song EP available, My Life Unplugged. Here's the Amazon link. Here's the Spotify link. Here's the iTunes store link.
I contacted about half a dozen business owners expressing interest in hiring them for a future project. Yes, they were all in the same space. I was hoping to figure out the best one to do what I wanted to be done. I sent cold emails explaining what I was hoping to accomplish. I contacted 7 companies. Literally, I contacted 7 business owners. Right away I heard back from one who offered to schedule a phone call within the next 2 weeks. A few back and forth emails resulted in him wanting a 9 am appointment. I offered to send a calendar invitation, which would include a note that he was to call me on my cell phone, which I listed in the invitation. He accepted the invitation. Now we'd wait. The morning arrived. My wife joined me here inside the Yellow Studio as we awaited the business owner's phone call. I was going to run the call through my podcasting gear so my wife and I both had mics in front of us and each of us donned a pair of headphones. Nine o'clock arrived. Then 9:05 am. Then 9:10 am. Then 9:15 am. I told my wife, "He's not going to call." At 9:22 am I called him. No answer. Voice mail. I left him a voicemail saying, "I apologize if I got our time slot wrong, but you offered and accepted the calendar invitation for 9 am. Perhaps I misunderstand. I guess we can reschedule. Thank you." At 9:33 am he called. I was in another meeting so my phone went straight to voicemail. He left a message that he was calling, acting as though he was showing up on time. When I got out of my meeting I returned his call. Rang and rang, then went to voicemail. I left another message, similar to the first one. And I never heard from him again. Let's get one thing out here upfront. Business requires marketing - getting the word out. Elevating visibility as much as possible. Being top of mind and all that. Nobody will have a successful business without customers. And to attract customers, you need not only a good or viable product or service, but you need to make sure folks know about your good or viable product or service. That's just the start. You also have to have your act together. Whenever I'm dealing with business owners or leaders over at the day job (GrowGreat.com) I'm focused on the trifecta of business building: a) getting new customers, b) serving existing customers better and c) not going crazy in the process! So I'd love to tell you about the differences between a business and YOU, but then I realized that may be the foundation of the issue I'm talking about today. Maybe there is NO difference. Maybe we are all in business. Perhaps we're not selling products or services (or art, podcasts, or music) for money, but we're certainly vying for attention. And attention may be more difficult to get than money. As a business guy, I know this much - until you get their attention you won't get their money. So maybe there's no difference between your personal life and a business. For some reason, that notion depresses me though. And I’m a business kinda guy. Why Don't The Best Blow Their Own Horn The Loudest? That was my original title, but the more I thought about it the less I liked it. So I changed it to what eventually was the published title - The Loudest Horn Blowers Never Are The Best Players. The real point today is probably best summed up in the statement, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." Let's take it a step further. If it's worth doing well, then it's worth doing it as well as you possibly can. It's worth being great, remarkable, dazzling --- and if you've got the talent, it's worth being world-class. So why don't those considered "world-class" toot their own horn the loudest? Well, there are exceptions. Muhammad Ali was an exception. Michael Jordan maybe. Tiger Woods in his prime. Maybe. What about a non-sports example? Can you think of one? Yes, me neither. I suppose there are some though. Outliers. There are always outliers. Then I got to thinking - I'm able to do that every now ...
"Are we good?" I ask. There hadn't been any tension. No drama. No strife. But there had been a bit of quiet. And how could you know if it was caused by the pandemic or something else? Well, you couldn't. Unless you ask. So I did. "Yes, of course," was the reply. A 15-minute phone conversation followed, catching up on a few things. Each of us reinforced to the other that we'd just not been in touch like either of us desired because the pandemic had completely thrown us off our rhythm. One last time, before we hung up, I said, "OK, we're good, right?" Confirmation came immediately. "Of course, we're better than good." I hung up the phone and wrote the phrase, "OK, we're good, right?" Truth is I had already been thinking quite a lot about how people - all of us - are prone to surmising. supposing that something is true without having evidence to confirm it When I was pretty young I became keenly aware of people's obsessions with other people. Maybe something prompted it, but I don't remember anything specific. Just a bunch of things - various situations where I'd observe people who'd make assertions about people without having any facts or evidence. It was likely the language that got my attention because I've always had this weird fascination with words. Especially the words people use. "I'll bet he...(fill in the blank on what they were thinking)." Lots of people would say that about somebody. During my early teen years, I was particularly irked with what we now call "fronting." People pretending. I naturally found pretentious people unpleasant. Mostly, I was intrigued by why people would so desperately care what other people thought about them that they'd be fake. Couple these two colliding youthful observations about people and I grew increasingly perplexed by why people weren't just forthright with each other - and why people wouldn't behave more honestly with each other. Besides, I'd grown up hating strife and tension. Unlike what I saw in many adults - avoiding facing it or confronting it - I was naturally wired to find out the problem because it seemed to me you couldn't fix something without first knowing what was wrong. Making peace seemed to demand to get to the crux of the matter so you could find some common ground so everybody could move on. I've learned through the years that sometimes people may think I'm insecure about whatever relationship we've got. "Are we good?" likely smacks of "he's feeling insecure about our relationship" to some. I don't always word it that way, but in spite of knowing how it may sound to some, I've also learned that the same people who may feel I'm taking aim at my own insecurity about our relationship feel that way no matter how I make the inquiry. I know because I've asked. :D Then, there are those of us who ask a lot of questions because of our desire to know. Some of us are more naturally curious than others. It's why for decades I've often told people, "I know what I know, but I don't know what you know." The only conversations that I hate - after the fact - are those where I feel like I've talked too much. It happens more frequently than I'd like and I'm constantly reminding myself to be quieter. I’m genuinely interested. Well, let's be completely honest. I'm genuinely interested when I'm talking to somebody I really want to talk with. There's only a small percentage of people in whom I'm not that interested. Self-absorbed, full of themselves types. Know-it-all, smartest-person-in-the-room types. I find myself lacking even a small amount of curiosity about such types, but I'm fairly interested in most people. I'm the guy who will not likely give up on the conversation until after 2 or 3 uncomfortable questions - made only uncomfortable by the person's not being forthright to answer. NOT, by my asking some uncomfortable questions. Before I got out of high school I had learned some people are just uncomfortable talking about themselves.
Today's show was prompted by an email from a new listener who asked if I had any episodes giving "my story." Well, I didn't have the heart to tell him this entire podcast is pretty much "my story," but I know what he meant. Hopefully, this is my not-so-boring effort to provide him, and YOU, a bit more context about me. But as always, this isn't about me, but it's about US. All of us, who have an interest in leaning more and more toward wisdom...while simultaneously leaning further and further away from our own foolishness. Mentioned in today's show, as a resource for those who care to learn more, is RandyCantrell.com. I hope you enjoy this show. And I hope collectively and individually we devote ourselves to making 2021 a year where we live better lives.
He lost 75 pounds in 3-1/2 months. He admits it wasn't likely the ideal way to do it or the ideal timeframe. But he was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Here's what he did: 1. Gave up soda and sugar 2. Ate oatmeal every morning 3. He ate grill chicken every day and premade enough for the week, his only veggie was broccoli 4. When he got too tired of chicken he ate eggs instead 5. He ate special k bars for sweet cravings (high glycemic but it worked for him) 6. He did eat fruit but his overall calories were under 1500 calories a day 7. He was hungry at night so he would go to bed early 8. He avoided dairy and went to almond milk 9. He did not go to the gym but he did walk and run I saw his video about a year ago and for some reason, it popped up in my YouTube feed again so I watched it again. He's just a good 'ol boy trying to get better. The minute he said it, I instantly remembered watching this a year ago - because it's such a true statement.  Lots of folks who are smarter than me had said it. We all know it's true. In our own lives. In the lives of others. “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”                   - Dr. Henry Cloud Our slimmed-down country boy says it in a way I can completely understand. "You have to be totally tired of who you are." Why would I be totally tired of who I am? Let me count the ways. ;) Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. That's how an article at PositivePsychology.com begins. The title of the article is, "What Is Self-Awareness and Why Is It Important? [+5 Ways to Increase It]." Social media is overrun with people disparaging the opinions or viewpoints of others when it comes to YOUR life. It goes well beyond the seemingly wise admonition to ignore the haters. It presupposes that everybody has the ability and desire to see themselves accurately and that each of us is able to do that without any help. It also foolishly holds that none of us benefits from listening to others. The truth is we all struggle to accurately see ourselves or to face the realities of ourselves. We likely lean toward thinking too highly of ourselves, or too lowly. It's too easy for us to overestimate or underestimate ourselves. Accuracy is difficult. Others can help provide just enough perspective where we're able to more accurately see ourselves. If we choose to ignore their help, it hinders us. We need the insights, experiences, and observations that others can provide. But not just anybody can do that for us. Those with whom we're fully safe serve us best. These are the people who only want our best. They have no other agenda. They don't want to live our lives for us. They don't want to make our choices for us. They simply want us to do the right thing by helping us make the wisest choice that will help us be our best. They love us enough to challenge us, nudge us, push us, question us, support us, and do whatever else they can to help us move forward. If we choose to ignore or banish these people, we do so at our own peril. Self-awareness is not a solo pursuit. It demands we make wise choices in who surrounds us. That's a critical component to succeed in growing tired of who we are when who we are has become destructive or detrimental to being our best. Recently we learned that a business hero to many - Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappo's - was living a life most of us knew nothing about. Virtually every major news publication, including the Wall Street Journal, has written pieces that reveal Hsieh had a serious drug addiction. According to multiple accounts, he banished those who attempted to help him correct his poor behavior, choosing instead to surround himself with people who would support anything he chose to do - common behavior for drug addicts. Sadly,
Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management. I don't know him personally and until 2016 I had no idea who he was, but that's the year I read an article in The Atlantic entitled, "Why Luck Matters More Than You Think." It was intriguing me, but honestly, there wasn't anything new about my intrigue. The subject of luck has fascinated me for a long time. Some people don't believe in luck. Or serendipity. Or chance. Especially when it comes to success or achievement. By "late-life" I don't necessarily mean age, but it might include that. Most certainly it includes experience. A person begins to learn something at an early age. Take a current professional ice hockey player. His parents put him in ice skates for the first time when he was 3. Since then he's spent almost as much time in ice skates as he has sneakers. By the time he's approaching 14, he's a decade into the learning curve. Off he goes to play major junior hockey - a high level of play for boys approaching high school. He moves to another town where the team is located and he begins to play the highest level of amateur hockey while living with a host family who has taken him in. Before his 18th birthday, he's drafted by an NHL team. He's 15 years into the learning process, but he's only 18. A person matures past middle-age. She's spent her entire life pursuing art. As a young girl, she fell in love with painting and she's been at it ever since. It's never earned her much of a living. Until now. A while back she had a little showing at a local gallery. A blogger with a widely read blog happened to live in the area and visited the exhibition. And wrote a piece about this woman's artwork, along with posting some pictures of her work. About a hundred miles away, in a big city, an art gallery owner saw the blog post about this now older woman's showing. An email was sent and now after 4 decades of painting artwork in relative obscurity, she's achieving late-life luck. She's experienced at art and life. There are many flipside stories that counterbalance these. Stories of people who began early and never found any success. People who persisted for decades and never found any luck. Let's talk more about it.
In 2012 a musician Joshua Hyslop released an album, Where The Mountain Meets The Valley. Track 6 is "The Mountain." It contains a lyric that serves as the title of today's episode.  When I first heard it I wrote that phrase down. Often I'd remember it. I'd consider the long list of things I set out to do as a young man. And those things I'd still like to get done now that I'm old. It's different now. Not at all like it was when I was 20 and my ambitions seemed more fantastic. When Joshua's latest record was released, on September 11, 2020, I went back to listen to other music he'd produced, including this song, The Mountain. I hadn't thought of the phrase in a long while, but there it was marching its way to the front of my mind. Especially during early morning walks, I'd think about it. Then, a few days ago, on September 29th my father turned 97. I thought about his life and the years he's experienced since 1923, the year he was born. For his birthday I decided to record a sort of year-by-year historical commentary from 1923 up to the present. It wound up being almost an hour-long, but the last few minutes being a son's message to his dad. I'm blessed that both my parents are still alive and doing well, living in a house by themselves. My mom is 88. My folks have enjoyed long lives. They're still enjoying life. They're blessed. They won't likely reach the end before they're done - the blessing of living a long life. But you can never be sure. Time - our time - is tenuous at best. Which is why the admonition "make the most of it" is so common. But also why it's become so trite and ignored. 2 Peter 3:4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." It's the trap we all step into. The trap of thinking we'll have tomorrow. Or this afternoon. Or tonight. Why? Because that's how it's always been for us. We had yesterday. Now we have today. So we're fooled into thinking - believing - we'll have tomorrow. I'm not trying to be a downer or be morose. Today's show focuses on 5 words: Curiosity Understanding Judgment Criticality Grace (compassion) Also, here's an old episode you may have missed that speaks to one aspect of today's topic: the process. Enjoy!
It's a few minutes past 5 o'clock. In the morning. The sky is light thanks to an almost full moon. The city lights help, too. When you live in the city the sky isn't nearly as dark as it is out in the country. I walk. Quite a lot. You'd think I'd look like it, but you'd be wrong. No matter. I walk 4 to 6 miles every morning. Often before the sun is up. But not as often as I did before this pandemic. 3 am and 4 am were favorite times back before life was disrupted by COVID 19. I'm not sure why that changed my readiness to hit the streets in the middle of the night, but it did. I suppose I figured people were more uneasy so I just haven't wanted to risk it. Part of my walking routine involves traipsing through a field near a densely wooded stretch filled with all sorts of critters. I've seen a coyote-type creature a few times. And a cat of some sort. Not the domestic kind either. But I'm not a wildlife expert. You won't ever see my on reality TV...especially one of those survivor type shows. Unless somebody produces one of those as a comedy where morons are dropped into the middle of nowhere so the audience can laugh maniacally at them. Mostly, in this stretch of trees are cottontail rabbits. I attribute this to the reproductive reputations earned by rabbits. But I'm not complaining 'cause I rather love them. I just wish they'd stick around a bit longer. The path I walk is about 15 to 20 yards from the tree line of the wooded area. By the time I get within 30 yards or so of them, they quickly scamper into the woods. You can see a handful of little holes that serve as their escape routes. Each hole has a nicely worn pathway as proof that they frequent these routes to dart in and out of the woods. I bent down and took the picture shown below. To give you some scale, that opening is about 10 inches wide. It's not very big. What you don't see is the density of the wall of growth where this opening exists. On a typical morning, I'll spot 6 to 10 rabbits out foraging for food outside the woods, within 5 to 10 feet of their wooded home. They don't venture out too far. I'm supposing it's because of that coyote-type creature and the cat. But I'm sure there are other predators who'd love nothing more than a rabbit for breakfast, lunch or supper. That's why there is no rabbit in that photograph. The little buggers are really camera shy. They're the perfect creature for zoom lens photography, but all I have is my phone. In 1925 Hugh Harman drew a mouse around a photograph taken by Walt Disney. Walt was inspired by this tame mouse near his desk at Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Mortimer Mouse was the name Disney gave the mouse until his wife, Lillian, talked him into changing it to the name we all know. Mickey Mouse. From that cartoon began the modern small animal stories told in moving pictures. But the stories existed long before that. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. Like rabbits. Or other animals. Enter Aesop, a Greek storyteller credited with a number of fables. The timeframe? Around 564 BC is the date ascribed to his death. It's up for dispute whether there was a real person Aesop behind the fables. Somebody crafted the stories though. He was reputed to be a slave who passed from various owners until he was eventually freed. History or legend has it that he was executed by being thrown from a cliff after false charges were leveled against him because he had insulted powerful people. No matter. Attributing human-like qualities to animals in his fables happened long before Walt ever imagined a mouse. Frogs. Turtles. Birds. Foxes. I suppose somebody has anthropomorphized just about everything. Especially by Hollywood. I'm thinking of Ice Age, Bugs, The Secret Life of Pets and Toy Story. In Toy Story you don't even need a living creature. Toys will do. No big shock,
Are you not inside the new community? Click here to join - it's completely FREE! LeaningTowardWisdom.com/join If you'd like access to exclusive content, like my two videos reviewing the music of 1972, join the community. I've moved away from Facebook so I hope you'll join me inside this new community. Hopefully, it'll be more interactive. All it needs now is YOU. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- My pondering began with Bible study. Not a big shock since you already know how important Faith is in my life. I'd heard the story my entire life, sitting in the pew as a little boy listening to old preachers tell the story recorded in Luke 15. The story of the prodigal son. As a little kid I sat there wondering why this son got a wild hair to confront his dad and make such a bold request, but mostly I wondered why the father gave him what he wanted. The adults in my life wouldn't have so indulged me, I thought. He takes the money and whatever else he got and left home. That baffled me, too. I'd never had the urge to run away from home. Well, not for long, any way. There were days, you know? But I figured I had it pretty well. And that's where it started for me. Wondering why this son didn't realize how good things were. Of course, I knew the end of the story. I know in advance how bad his life got. Mostly I wondered how long he was in that far country doing whatever he was big enough to do. I wondered why he had to lose everything before he gained clarity that things back home were really great. That was likely my first serious pondering about delusion and my introduction to the fact - yes, FACT - that every human being is capable of self-deception. Seeing things inaccurately. Believing things that aren't true. Some months I put my own sermon about this story online, but I approached it from the perspective of the father, not the son. The father, by the way, did not deceive himself. He was seeing clearly the entire time. And thankfully, his clarity served both his sons. Self-deception and delusion is an everyday conversation in my work. Twenty years ago I bought and read a book, captivated by the joining of 2 topics I was interested in, leadership and self-deception. "Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box" by The Arbinger Institute. Leaders of every ilk can be prone to self-deception. But leaders aren't unique. It's a complex issue and our quest to simplify things likely contributes to our delusion or false assumptions. We like neat and tidy things and most things aren't neat or tidy. Fast forward and the topic of delusion and self-deception intersect with another conversation point, addiction.  In my executive and leadership coaching work, I often have conversations with clients whose families and lives have been horribly impacted by addiction. From people abusing prescription medications, to people not abusing - but people taking prescribed medications that have completely altered their personality, to people abusing alcohol and even people consumed by gambling or other addictions. Almost weekly I have a conversation with people whose family is struggling to help a member of their clan get out of the pit. They tell stories of how the person just can't seem to think or see things accurately. Fogged over with chemicals that have impaired their ability, I'll often listen as they recite how smart, funny, and engaging the person was before they surrendered to some form of chemical dependency. Once in a while I hear about recovery. Like the prodigal son, it never happens quickly. In most cases, many years have elapsed before the self-deception and addiction are overcome. Success stories are both rare and lengthy. I've yet to encounter a story of somebody who recovered quickly. The downward spiral is long and destructive. It seems it must get very bad before there's even hope of it getting better. I never understood it. I still don't.
She was in the midst of a struggle. It was fresh though, which is never the best time to do much more than encourage. We reviewed the facts - the things she knew to be true as opposed to the things she could be assuming. At some point I said it. "I'm sure there's a way forward." Just because it's not apparent right now doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Figuring out ways to escape isn't often apparent. You've got to search high and low, devoting yourself to figuring it out. I'm thinking of that classic film, The Great Escape. Those prisoners of war had to consider a variety of paths forward in their attempt to escape. It required lots of thinking, pondering, planning, debating, and figuring it out. It also involved many setbacks and high risks. Nobody said the path forward would be apparent or easy. Besides all that, sometimes endurance is the path forward. Not overcoming. I've lost some friends - close friends - to fatal health issues. There was no overcoming of their illness. But each of them had to find a path forward so they could more successfully endure their eventuality. Pain. Sorrow. Sadness. Disappointment. EVERYBODY has experienced plenty of it. EVERYBODY has plenty of things they could dwell on to serve as excuses. EVERYBODY has lots of circumstances - some beyond their control and some not - that might compel them to embrace being "victims." NONE of us are immune. A few years ago I suffered a personal setback. One I've alluded to in the past. It prompted me to surround myself with older men - each one a gospel preacher who I'd known all my life. I figured these were the guys who could help me find a way forward. And sure enough, they did. I'm unsure of how timing works. I'm very sure about God's providence though - meaning God's ability to work through the natural courses of life. We all make up our own mind. We make choices and behave in ways we choose. The Bible pretty clearly teaches us that God can and does use the natural events and circumstances of life for his Will. If I choose to behave poorly, it's not God's fault. He's not behind it. It's my own free will in motion. But my poor choice can still be leveraged by God to serve some purpose that may not be clear for a long time - if ever. One by one these 3 older sages in my life passed on...leaving me alone and pretty much without any more older men in my life who had served me as they had all my life. I'm not bringing it up to lament my plight, but to illustrate how urgent it is for all of us - no matter what we're facing - to find a way forward. My confession is that when I lost the first one I took great comfort that I had him for as long as I did. I was especially thankful to have had him over the course of the previous year plus. His wisdom was unparalleled. But I was also very grateful I still had the other two even though both had serious health issues (one more so than the other). Curveballs enter everybody's life. Mine came when the seemingly healthier of the two was suddenly gone. Even though he was the oldest of the 3 - the youngest was the first to pass - none of us were expecting it. The suddenness of death is always a jolt. Within a short time, the 3rd and final old man left the planet and entered Eternity. It was expected, but that didn't make it any easier. Now there were none and my path forward was not apparent. During dark days of sadness and sorrow, it's hard to find enough light with which to see any path or way. I'm a lifelong insomniac. Inside the Yellow Studio is a red light bulb I burn at night - like an old photographer's darkroom. It provides enough light to see without illuminating the house and waking up Rhonda. But I'll often traipse into the kitchen from my studio and without any lights on...and my eyes adjusted to the red glow...and I'll struggle to barely make out where furniture and walls are so I can make my way. If I wait just a bit and employ my memory of where things are,
Jason Wilber was John Prine's longtime lead guitarist and musical director. John died during this pandemic. Jason released a new album after John passed. It's entitled, Time Traveler and contains a song, Poet's Life. Today's show title is a lyric from that song. How do you measure a pleasure or an itch? I don't know. But I don't know how you measure sadness, sorrow or disappointment either? So my inability to measure such things runs in every direction. I've been sharing way too much Billy Strings with the private Facebook group lately. Billy Strings is William Apostol. He's a 27 year old guitar whiz kid who combines heavy metal with bluegrass. Yeah, I know. Sounds nuts, right? Well, it's not nuts. It's brilliant.  Billy is one of those artists that I'll binge on a few times a year. I'll just listen and watch everything I can for 2 weeks straight. Mostly in complete amazement at how somebody can be so proficient at something at such a young age. I look over in the corner at my encased acoustic guitar, which I'm unable to play - and I think of measuring the value of a guitar in Billy's hands versus a guitar in my hands. At least you could kinda sorta measure that by looking at how much income Billy earns playing the guitar versus the zero dollars I'll ever earn with a guitar. My only chance of making money on a guitar is if I sell mine! I grew up hearing preachers deliver sermons about the powerful impact of godly women. Much of the time they'd speak of how priceless a godly wife, mother or grandmother was. And since I had all three, I can attest to the high value they deliver. But I'm not able to measure it. Proverbs 31:10 "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." I can't play the guitar, but I sure do enjoy watching and listening to Billy Strings perform. In the last 2 weeks, I've likely spent over 50 hours listening to my Billy Strings' records (okay, they're digital) and watching his YouTube concerts. I love watching the guy perform. Many nights in the last 2 weeks his songs have been earworms. Many things are hard to measure. But maybe it's worth asking, "Why measure them anyway?" The square, super-logical among us would say, "Because you can't make progress unless you can measure it." Check out The Squircle Academy if you want to investigate circles and squares. Ridiculous. Of course, you can make progress in something that can't be measured. Some aspects of love may be measurable, but it's pretty hard. John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." So there's the pinnacle, right? Hatred is at the opposing extreme I reckon. But what about all that space in between? I fell in love with my wife in the summer of 1975. After 42 years of marriage, I love her more now than then. I don't have any paperwork to prove it. Nor do I have any assessment I can show off to her. I just know how I feel and what I think. I can measure it intuitively. By how important she is to me. By how devastated I'd be if something bad were to happen to her. By how lonely I'd be without her. By the value she provides to my life. Family. Friends. Allies. Mentors. Teachers. How do you measure their value? Billy Strings said this in a magazine interview... Those moments are what I cherish the absolute most. For instance, when I was six or seven years old, I was learning “Beaumont Rag,” and I just played the rhythm, but I kept messing it up in this one part. Right in the middle of the song, I said, “Stop. Dad, why don’t you play it and let me listen?” I listened to what he was trying to say with the guitar, and I go, “Now, let me try it again,” and I nailed it. He started laughing. He reached over his guitar and squeezed my little hand. He called my grandmother and said, “Listen to your grandson right now!” I was a little kid, but I’ll never forget that moment. Now there have been several moments since then,
NOTE: I began preparing for this episode some days before the violent death of George Perry Floyd Jr. in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer. As violence broke out across the country it seemed best to stay silent and observe. And listen. The irony of the title of today's episode wasn't lost on me. It was purely coincidental. I was already thinking very seriously about my own urge to be quieter in some specific areas of life. If you've listened to the COVID19 episodes you could likely figure out that my tolerance of highly opinionated, judgmental people is eroding. I've never much cared for it, but if the coronavirus didn't bring such people out of the woodwork, this current ordeal surely has. I simply want you to know that today's show is not a response to specific incidents or any news, but today's show is mostly provoked by human behavior. Disagreement. Anger. Assumption. Judgment. Strife. Contention. No big shock really. Behaving poorly is almost always the easy choice. Doing the right thing - behaving with kindness - requires more from us. At the beginning of the pandemic, I began to post some audio sermons in a YouTube playlist entitled, In Thy Paths. The first sermon (21 minutes long) was entitled, A Certain Samaritan Answers The Question, "Who is my neighbor?" I've embedded it here in case you want to give it a listen. Even if you're irreligious I hope the message will resonate with you. So with that, let's talk about moving in silence. Thank you for hitting that play button. I know your time is valuable and I can't properly thank you enough for giving me your time and attention. Without you, I'm just a guy talking to himself into a microphone!  ____________________________________________________ It started some time ago with Baker Mayfield, starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, but most notable in my book as being the OU Sooner Heisman Trophy winner. Last year I was highly entertained by him, as usual. But I'm a fan, so that's my bias. During the offseason - and even during the season - Baker was widely criticized for being too loud and talkative. Prior to the beginning of this weird 2020 season, Baker decided it was time to start "moving in silence" - a quote from his press conference that captured my attention. John Prine's song had already been in my ears and on my mind, Quiet Man. And for weeks I'd been giving serious consideration to my urge to become quieter, not in a podcasting sense necessarily, but in other real-life situations. Truth was, I had made up my mind weeks ago that I was going to be much quieter in some areas of my life.  And there's more music about silence or quiet, too. One of my favorite bands, Mandolin Orange, released an album in 2010 entitled, Quiet Little Room.  Then about a couple of weeks ago Ken Yates released a new album, Quiet Talkers. It's like the universe was pushing, not just nudging, this idea of quietness. Something that isn't all that hard for me. In spite of the fact that I'm a podcaster who struggles with consistency. Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." I'd also been thumbing through an old book (circa 1988) - a paperback that I've had for years entitled, "Quiet Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men." There are a number of books dealing with introverts which have a focus on the power of quiet. The paradox is that I'm compelled to communicate. Until I'm not. Then I'm even more compelled to be silent. And it can last quite a while. I don't read the genre, but I jotted down a quote I ran into that I thought was quite clever. Science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick crafted a great line in a novel, Valis: “When you are crazy you learn to keep quiet.” Perhaps I'm becoming aware of my own craziness. Maybe that's fueling my desire to pick my spots and grow increasingly quieter. I'm not sure. How can I be? I'm crazy. ;) I know that I'm quite fond of 3am.
It's May. And we're still in this pandemic thing. Let's talk it out. Some more. Join the private Facebook group. There'll be surprises in it for you! Click here. Thanks,
It's a question. Not a statement. Here in Texas, our "stay at home" order (issued by the governor) ends tomorrow, Thursday, April 30, 2020. Starting Friday, May 1st, stores can open up at 25% capacity. The exceptions are hair salons, bars and health clubs. If things continue to improve (some argue that they may not be improving), then the governor said he'll modify his executive order to elevate the capacities to 50% on May 18th. By then, he may have a plan for bars, hair salons, and health clubs to reopen, too. As with many things, time will tell. It's the first sign and step toward emerging from this pandemic. Maybe. Some are still quite anxious about it. Others are restless and ready to get back to the old normal. Me? I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to enter some crowded space. Those who are cavalier, thinking this is much ado about nothing, will likely think I'm an idiot. And that's fine. I can live with it. I've been called worse. Today, let's talk about music and other coping mechanisms of this pandemic. Enjoy. Stay safe. And let's see if we can't figure out a way to create an even better normal than our past normal. Here's the social media post I refer to in today's show. Laugh at will. Randy P.S. If you'd like to watch the video of this episode, plus tons of other fun stuff not available here at the website...join the private Facebook group. Just click here and answer a few quick questions.
It's been about 5 weeks since this whole stay-safe-at-home began. Today, it's a rambling-mess documenting my effort of continuing to cope with Covid. You can judge how well or how poorly I'm holding up. Early on, I know many of us, including me, thought this might be much ado about nothing. But there are real people behind the fatality numbers. Here's just one example that happened more than 2 weeks ago... I wish you all the best. Love, P.S. If you'd like to see a video of me recording today's episode, then join the private Facebook group. Click here!
Today's show is a video. I decided against live streaming 'cause I'm just not a live streaming guy. Okay, mostly I'm a chicken. I'll give some words that distill today's episode: Compassion Understanding Judgment I'm coping with COVID by trying to better understand. I hope you and yours are safe, and well. Links you may want to check out (mentioned in today's show): Ed Sheeran's looper board demonstrated (you can find much more if you dig deeper) Kevin Presley's sermon on Plagues And Punishment Enjoy the show. 
Happy Friday the 13th. No, I'm not superstitious. The best definition I ever heard of overthinking is creating problems that are never there. Today let me encourage us to just do stuff while avoiding thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Today it's about thinking what if it goes right. What if it goes well. 'Cause it could. It might. But we'll never know if we don't try. Fear stops us, but today needs to be the day - a notable day 'cause it's a Friday the 13th - to give it a go and fail if we must. But we might succeed. Wildly. How will we know if we don't try? And if we fail we'll laugh it off. Get back up and either do it again because one failure doesn't mean we were doing it wrong...or we'll adjust and it slightly different. The good news is we get to decide what we'll do. But the urgent thing is that we do something! And that we keep doing it. “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill Stop worrying about it. Stop thinking it may not work. Stop thinking that everybody is watching. You know that's untrue. I certainly know it's true. Unless you've got millions of followers on social media you know nobody is paying attention to your life. That's a blessing. We can try stuff without any fear of failure or embarrassment - except in our head. So today get out of your head. “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt Today it's about being in the sunlight of optimism. And it's about working harder to battle our fears and pessimism thinking it won't work. Starting today and all through the weekend let's try an experiment. Let's put in the work - let's do the things we most want to try to do - and let's assume it'll work out. Let's assume success. Yes, failure is always possible, but success is, too. Let's bet on success! What if for the next 3 days we refuse to be pessimistic about what we're doing and we embrace optimism choosing rather to believe that our work - our efforts - will pay off. Do something. Do the one thing you've refused to do up to now because you were afraid. Stop being so afraid you don't do anything. Be afraid, but do it anyway. Pick the one thing that you know is in your way. The one action you're not taking that you know may make the big difference. Do that thing. Believe it will work out to your favor. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller Go do it. If you want my help, shoot me a message using that contact page. Let me know what you're going to do. Let me know you did it. Then let me know how it turned out. I promise I'll reply and give you encouragement to keep moving forward. Randy
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will think it’s stupid.”  - Albert Einstein Let's personalize it. If YOU judge yourself by your inability to do something, you'll think you're stupid. There are many things you're not. Many thing you cannot do. That doesn't mean you're a failure or stupid. It merely means those aren't likely the things you should pursue. Those aren't your element, that place Sir Ken Robinson describes as where your natural aptitude intersects with what you love. So you'd best devote more time to finding your element than lamenting what isn't. You know what's possible for everybody? The things within the reach of every single one of us? Goodness. Morality. Righteousness. Holiness. Love. Forgiveness. Humility. Loyalty. Friendship. Courage. Vigor. Zeal. Enthusiasm. Resolve. Persistence. Trustworthiness. Sanctification. Salvation. Add whatever words you'd like to that list. You get the idea. Nothing prevents any of us from accomplishing ALL of these things. Lasting things. Things we can instill into our families, our children, and our friends by our good influence. We can be so much more. We can do so much more. We can if only we will. What's stopping you? Is it the pursuit of lesser things? Like money? Or fun? Or self-indulgence? Should we give up these lasting pursuits for entertainment, or luxury, or ease? Self-talk is important. Be careful how you talk with yourself. But be even more careful to see yourself for what you truly are. Invest more time in those areas where you can become a better person. Where you can make a bigger difference to others. Be wise. Be helpful. Randy P.S. Want to join us inside Facebook? Click here.
How are those New Year's resolutions working out for you? Have you given up on them yet? The odds are you've already quit. And if you haven't, you will. Almost everybody does. Sad, huh? Maybe. Maybe not. There's good news and bad news. Let's start with the bad news. You won't do anything you don't want to do. Well, actually that can be good news if you think about it in more positive ways than most people do. Because...it means you can do what you want to do. It doesn't mean you can do it well. You may not have the talent to pull it off. But you can still give it a go. The thought of an unprofitable outcome might help you change your mind and decide to give up on it. Like me playing the guitar for the past 40 plus years. Mostly I've been in love with the idea of being able to play. I've been far less in love with actually putting in the work. So it's pretty clear I made up my mind. Learning to play the guitar has never been important enough to me - important enough that I wanted to put in the work to learn. Freedom. We all have it. Our freedom may be impacted by our circumstances, but only to the degree we allow it. We convince ourselves of things. Real and imagined things. You know the circumstance that has always ruined my desire to learn the guitar? Not being able to play anything well for a long time. I'm not foiled by the knowledge that I'll never play music for money, or be recognized as a great guitarist. Those were never goals or dreams. The new times I've sat down to try to begin learning, the task seemed so daunting that I convinced myself it'll be years before you can play anything enjoyable. I've never been able to mentally or emotionally move past the truth that I just don't enjoy the process. And even though not all processes are enjoyable, we pursue the processes that take us toward something we really want. Seems my truth is, I really don't want to learn the guitar. Else, I'd be learning. My truth? I really enjoy listening to and watching great guitarists play music. That's where I get pleasure. The result? I listen to a lot of music. I love it and I willingly invest the time to listen to a lot of music every single day. I can easily prioritize my music listening in lieu of other activities like watching TV or reading a novel or any other thing. The good news is you can do what you want to do. The hard part may be figuring that out. The other bad news is that you can't decide or choose for anybody except yourself. Deciding for yourself is challenging enough, but sadly we frequently spend more time hoping to change somebody else. Meanwhile, our own growth and improvement go unattended. We're busy trying to drive somebody else's car. Growing increasingly frustrated when it doesn't work. They don't do what we want. All the while, losing more and more of ourselves. Sometimes our life goes into the ditch because we're not taking the wheel of our own life. Maybe it's time to change that. So now what you gonna do? It happened. Something you never saw coming. Something you knew was coming. Something bad. Maybe horrible. Life knocked you down and dragged you out back, beating you until you were so hurt you couldn't get back to your feet. Not right away. I don't know what it is that attacked you. It could be one of a million things. Sickness. Death. Broken relationships. Money (or lack thereof). Job. Faith. There is no area of our life immune from a crisis.  Before you can dive too deeply into answering today's question there's another - even more personal question to answer. Who are you gonna do it for? I hope there is somebody. Think about them. Right now. Keep thinking about them. Embrace whatever feelings sweep over you. Spend a lot of time pondering the person - or the people. Why do they matter so much? What do they do for you? What do you do for them? Is your relationship with them growing? How is each of you bringing value for each other?
I'm working on a new episode, but in the meantime, I thought I'd produce this special episode answering some of the questions I get. A number of these questions come fairly regularly. Enjoy! When did Leaning Toward Wisdom begin? What got you started in podcasting? What happened to Project #CravingEncouragement? Do you make money podcasting? How much? What was the point in starting Leaning Toward Wisdom? Where is The Yellow Studio and how did it get that name? What's your background? Why did you get interested in making a podcast about wisdom? Will you ever get on a regular schedule and release episodes more often? When you're up at night, how do you pass the time? What is your workflow? Has it changed through the years? How long will you keep doing Leaning Toward Wisdom? Thanks for listening. I hope you'll subscribe and join us over in the private Facebook group. Randy
“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again Some years ago Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a book entitled, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward. Experience has taught me that this isn't easy for some. They struggle to say, "No." Or to quit something, even if they know "the something" isn't working terribly well for them. The difficulty is determining how necessary the ending truly is. Quitting can be hard. Figuring out what's necessary to quit? Even harder. You'd think to figure out what isn't working would be easy, but it's not always so clear cut. Sometimes we have to step back and better understand basic terms. Every website and software has terms and conditions. Those outline the responsibilities of both providers and users. Most are a grand display of legal protections but at their core...they outline the issues of WHO and WHAT. Sometimes they may also include HOW. So let's try that with a few things in the hopes it'll help us learn how we can figure out the endings of our dragons. 'Cause even dragons have their ending. Dragons: They're Not Our Pet They shouldn't be anyway. Sometimes we make them our pets. We cuddle them. Love them. Embrace them. Do whatever we can to keep them hanging around. Hoping they'll love us. Dragons - at least for our discussion today - are the people or situations that don't help us progress as people. They don't make us better. They don't benefit us in ways that truly matter. They may be fun. They may even be rewarding in other ways - maybe they make us money, or they give us associations we enjoy. Even destructive relationships or endeavors can provide something we value...but just because we value it doesn't mean it's good for us. “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.”              ― Mary Anne Radmacher We can all value destructive things. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. Gambling addiction. Pornography addiction. Abuse. The world is filled with destructive things that not only exist in people's lives...but often rule their lives. Think about the things in your life right now that you know are destructive. You know they hurt you and your ability to become a better person. Go ahead. Write them down. Open up a note in your phone and list them. All the destructive things that you know are in your way toward becoming the best version of YOU. We can all value things that aren't destructive necessarily, but they don't move us forward. They keep us stuck. Jobs we hate. Careers we hate even more. One-sided relationships. Oppressive bosses. Habits. Now, think about these things. They're not bad in the sense that they're destructive, but embracing them puts you in the same place as those destructive things. They stop you from being a better person. They stick you in a place you know isn't your ideal best. Go ahead. Write them down somewhere. Make a note of them. All the things that you don't think are bad, they just keep you from moving forward to improve. To get better. Dragons are dragons, even if they are our pets. They'll turn on you. It's only a matter of time. We should be on guard because you can never trust a dragon. Dragons are large, over-bearing creatures. Figments of our imaginations. Making them the most fierce beasts around. Because they're largely - but not always - in our head. But even dragons have their endings. And we can help. After all, we created most of them in our minds. Stands to reason, we can stop creating them and cease to give life to the ones we did create. Dragons aren't merely thoughts though. Some are real. They can take the form of toxic people. Or toxic situations. Or challenges and difficulties. Or even opportunities - things that might otherwise be good and profitable,
Welcome to a new season of Leaning Toward Wisdom. It's season 2020. Surely a year of clarity - at least we hope so - for many of us. I've got some new things in store for you this year. The first is something you're hearing, a different microphone. It's a mic made by a company I'd never heard of before (neither had anybody else), TechZone Audio Products.  I won't bore you with the minutia, but you're hearing more details in my voice and I hope you find it even more pleasing than before. ;) The biggest new thing centers around my new focus on the power of others. So intense is this urge to talk more about it, to incorporate it in all that I do...that I rebranded my "work" podcast into The Power Of Others. It was the Grow Great podcast. I can't think of a better way to begin this new season of Leaning Toward Wisdom than to talk about how important it is for us to help each other move forward and get things done. The pursuit of wisdom isn't about just holding good, wise thoughts. It's about making smart, wise choices that will affect our behavior. It's about being better by doing better! ======================== “You can't plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley He was a famous religious leader, the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yes, I confess I had to Google that whenever I first read this quote. It's among a list of quotes I rather like - quotes about doing things versus just planning to do things. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." [State of the Union Address January 11, 1962]  ― John F. Kennedy Back in 1999 I read a book that distilled better than I ever could how I felt about doing things, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton. Many of us are prone to seek more knowledge. We think if we could just learn something more, then success would be certain. The nagging question is, "What if we just did what we already know we should do?" In other words, what if we closed that knowing-doing gap and moved forward doing what we already know. There are untold thousands of people buying information and training every single day. Training and education they'll never implement. I've long heard that fewer than 2% of any audience will deploy the things they learn from a public speaker or a trainer. And that may be a high estimate. This also explains why ideas aren't nearly as powerful as we may think. I still get tickled if somebody asks me to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), which I refuse to do any more. People can protect their ideas like they're gold when the reality is the gold is in doing something with that idea. Execution of the idea is where success is found. Reminds me of that famous quote by head football coach John Mckay when he was coaching the upstart, expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Talk about a man who could produce some of the funniest quotes! In response to a question about his team's execution, the head coach responded, "I'm all in favor of it." :D "We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking." The coach was right. We all know it. You have to DO something. Thinking about it won't get it done. Planning it won't either. “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.”      ― Yogi Berra “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower I love to plan. I want to be prepared. And I'm prone to overthinking. Not enough to not act, but enough to get in my own way. But not about everything. Mostly the things that are incongruent for me. The things that don't quite fit with who or what I am. Dirty Harry said, "A man's gotta know his limitations." I know mine. And I know my strengths. My overthinking leans hard in the areas where I know it's not a natural fit for me...
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Podcast Details

Created by
Randy Cantrell
Podcast Status
Jul 4th, 2013
Latest Episode
Apr 15th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
American English

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