LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “failure”

Later One Night…A Long Time Ago

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/2-shot-in-early-morning-Tukwila-bar-fight-136262138.html

I looked at my watch, it was nearly 2:00 am. The bar would remain open for another hour and a half. The place was packed as was always the case for a Friday night. The bar was located near a large university in a city well known for it’s long association with the country music industry. This created quite a mix of different lifestyles for the patrons, ranging from college co-eds to music legends to the stragglers just prayin’ for a break. The kind of break the scraggly hair, unshaven for about a week, fat man sitting at the end of the bar had experienced. The fat man had written a song three minutes and thirty two seconds long, it had shot to number one, held that position for several weeks, and eventually had a movie produced from it. His financial life was changed forever. That fact alone explained the two big busted, leggy blondes, each wearing a dress that would barely cover a six year old, perched on each side of him. The kind that are attracted to the money, either for as long as it holds out or until new money comes along.

My friend Mikey and I weren’t interested in the rest of bar goers who were packed into the room like sardines, and smelling nearly as bad by this time of night. Our eyes were riveted on the flashing blue and red lights across the street. Mikey’s plan was unfolding perfectly, so far. The way he had it worked out his pager (before cell phones dominated the earth) should go off any moment now. Then he would get up and exit the bar area by the door going into the kitchen. He would step over, around, and in between couples in various stages of sexual acts until he reached the sound proof office of the owner of the bar, where he would be let in by one of the numerous bigger than life, bodyguards who toted large caliber firearms and did an excellent job of keeping the peace when a female co-ed found herself more enamored by the rock n’ roll skinny, lead guitar player in a touring band than the physics major that had brought her to the bar with the idea of having her consume just the right amount of alcohol in hopes of  whisking her back to his dorm room for some personal excitement before she or he passed out.

Mikey would use the office phone to return the call. Probably speaking to someone at  dispatch who would deliver the crushing news that his store had just been robbed of all the gold jewelry. He would then wait about 20 minutes before slipping out the back door to his waiting car. He would then drive around a couple of blocks, checking for anyone tailing him, before pulling up behind the squad car we were now watching. Mikey would then go into the throes of a business owner who could not believe his misfortune. Who could do such a thing? Especially after all his hard work. What kind of people are they? What is this world coming to? If Mikey was anything he was a great actor worthy of a Grammy award and all its accolades.

For a moment the scene faded back and my thoughts went ahead. What kind of life was this? Why aren’t there any old drug dealers? Would the women filling this room with perfume and sexual heat eventually becoming moms driving Toyota mini-vans around, filled with children, from school to soccer practice? Would they tell their husbands about the nights they went slumming with drummer of a punk rock band? Would the boys/men eventually sit on the boards of industry and make decisions about the direction of our economy? Would they be willing to marry women from this room or would they decide on someone who wasn’t so tainted, someone with not so much baggage? What would they tell their children about drugs, indiscriminate sexual coupling, and waking up in the the bushes by the business next door? Who would pull out of this morass and who wouldn’t? Who would die from an overdose, or alcohol poisoning? Who in this room would be forever damaged goods because of a relationship that went dreadfully wrong?

The pager went off…and Mikey went into  Act II of the evening.

More than 30 year later:

I never knew what happened to the woman I was with that night. The truth is, while I can recall the color of her hair and her long legs, I don’t remember anything else. Her name, the shape of her face, the sound of her voice all have been lost to the passage of many years.

Mikey on the other hand is a different story. He continued in the drug trade for several years and was eventually arrested after selling several ounces of cocaine to undercover DEA agents on multiple occasions. He posted bond, was released from jail and hired a defense attorney well versed in the ins and outs of plea bargaining drug charges. However, the mood of the country was beginning to change. The wild and loose era was becoming the straight and conservative era. Citizens were demanding steeper penalties for those who dealt death to their children. Mikey was looking at a couple of decades in a federal penitentiary. One morning he disappeared. They found his car along the interstate with the keys still in it. He has never been seen or heard from since. Seven years later his wife had him legally declared dead and collected one million dollars from his life insurance company. After twenty plus years she has never remarried and continues to live in the same home.

It took several years, but the questions I had that night sitting in the bar watching life pass me by, began to bear fruit. I stumbled from a shower one morning in a hotel room in downtown Columbia, Missouri with an entirely different approach to life. What exactly happened from the time I opened the shower door and stepped in until I sprawled on the bed bawling my eyes out some time later remains a mystery to me. I call it God’s grace.

All I know is those few minutes have altered my life forever.

It is not easy to write about the past. Like all of you, my past contains moments of intense pain. But I don’t write to relive the pain, or the excitement, or the so-called glory. I write to cast a light into the darkness. The light of hope. The light that says anyone can change. No one is beyond hope. It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. I know…I’m living proof.

Be encouraged!

Late One Night…A Long Time Ago

http://drugsinfonewslineireland.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/dublin-the-day-that-cocaine-traces-was-discovered-in-leinster-house/

The small mirror I hold in my left hand reflects the dull light straining to penetrate the dirt that coats the lens of the overhead street lamp. If I turn it slightly it catches the bright orange light which flows from the dashboard of my turbocharged black sports car. The sports car turns heads when I drive through the city, which of course is the whole idea. The exhaust is tuned to make it purr like jaguar moving through the jungle. The car says, “I’m cool and I rule my world.”

At the moment I’m not concentrating on the car or the woman draped over the taupe buttery soft leather seat beside me. Come to think of it she is like jaguar too, just in a much different way. She says, “I’m cool and I’m going to sleep with you tonight after we party and you spend lots of money on me.”

My focus is on the mirror. To be more exact my attention is what’s on the mirror, which is about a hundred dollars’ worth of Peruvian marching dust, otherwise known as blow, candy, and sometimes referred to as cocaine, but usually only by those talking heads on the evening news and very uncool people.

I watch as my right hand, holding a single edge razor blade, makes short quick chopping motions. The technique used in this process speaks volumes. It says, “I know what I’m doing. I can do this in my sleep. I’m a pro.” The woman is impressed. She makes the appropriate sounds, a soft ooh and ahh through perfectly glossed shiny lips that are parted only slightly to display her movie star white teeth.

I’m parked in a lot behind a mini retail mall with eight store fronts ranging from a convenience store to an upscale men’s clothing store owned by my good friend and drug dealing buddy, Mike. All of the stores are laundering significant sums of drug money.

The night is perfect. My plans for the evening are rolling along just the way I had planned them. Earlier I had taken the young lady to a French restaurant with modern décor that screams, “Buddy, your ass is not getting out of here for under five hundred dollars.” Then on to a dance club where we had walked by all the poor souls waiting in line, palmed a hundred dollar bill into the hand of a man five times my size, and been ushered to a private balcony. There we sipped a variety of alcoholic beverages and decided when we would descend to the dance floor so we could gyrate in pseudo sex acts that pass for dancing. By daybreak the young lady and I will be seriously entwined with one another beneath the sheets, and I will have completed one more day as drug dealer without getting busted.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.

It was then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. Probably just a stray alley cat or a large rat, but with  a hundred dollars’ worth of cocaine on display and another six thousand dollars’ worth lying in the console between the seats one couldn’t be too careful.

Damn, there it was again! Definitely something behind the trash dumpster. Without taking my eyes off the dumpster I laid the mirror and razor blade down between the seats. Now that my right hand was free I reached beside my seat and pulled out my Glock 9 mm. The vibe in the car had changed, and while the little missy setting beside me would never be mistaken for a psychiatrist, she detected the change and to her credit, even noticed the gun.

I carefully placed the pistol in my waistband and pulled on the door handle. “Be cool.” I said as I pulled myself up and out of the car, “I’ll be right back.” I walked slowly toward the dumpster with two prayers on my lips. The first was for whatever was behind the dumpster that I could now hear, “Oh God please let this be a rat.” The second was, “And God whatever happens; please don’t let this damn gun go off while it is only inches away from the only penis I’ll ever have.”

It is then that I hear a familiar voice.

“Ditch the bitch.”

My first prayer was answered, it was a rat, only with two legs.

“What?” I mumble.

Slower and more distinct, like I’m a kindergartner being told to pick up my crayons, “Ditch the bitch.”

Mikey that you?

“Yeah, who the hell did you think it would be?

“Gee Mike, I don’t know. I guess I just kind of forgot that you always hang out behind the dumpster at 1:00 on a Friday night.”

“Get rid of the bitch and give me hand will ya?”

“Not on your life butthead. For your information I’ve got over a thousand dollars tied up in that babe tonight and I’m getting laid for my money. Besides what the hell are you doing back there.”

“I’m stealing my stuff.”

“What!?”

“Did you suddenly go deaf? I said I’m stealing my stuff and I need your help. So get rid of the woman of your dreams and give me a hand.”

“I don’t think I’m the one going deaf…or stupid. Why the hell are you stealing from yourself?”

I’ve got a shipment of blow coming in at the end of the month and I’m a little short on cash. So I’ll heist my stuff, turn it into the insurance, get the money, pay for the blow, put the stuff back, and life will go on. That is unless you stand out here in the parking lot and keep flapping your jaws until somebody finally calls the cops cause two queers can’t make up their minds what they are going to do.”

“Danny, this isn’t exactly on my schedule for this evening.”

“Look Steve, send the girl over to the bar across the street with some cash. Tell her you’ve got to help a friend for a few minutes and you’ll be right there. We aren’t moving a damn warehouse, man just the shit in my store. I’ve got a van setting right over there. It won’t take thirty minutes. Then I’ll bust out the lock on the back door which will trigger the alarm and I’ll scoot across the street and you can buy me a drink for being such a genius. It shouldn’t be too long before the police arrive. The alarm is tied directly to them. By the way is that a gun your carrying.”

“Yeah it is.”

“Jesus, I hope you don’t shoot your dick off.”

Obviously friendship can do strange things to the brain.

I trudge back to the car and open the car door. I explain a kind of, sort of emergency thingie has come up and I need her to go across the street to the bar and I’ll be along shortly. I can’t help but notice the blow is gone from the mirror and there is a small smidge of white powder resting just underneath both her nostrils. Nothing surprises me anymore. It has always amazed me how compliant a woman can be when you are spending a thousand dollars a night on her. She shimmies out of the front seat and teeters across the street on come hump me pumps while I go back to my friend.

Less than thirty minutes later we are sitting in the bar nursing our drinks as we begin to hear the sirens.

It’s just another wasted night in a life that has no reason to exist.

Be encouraged!

Counting

http://www.colourbox.com/image/two-ripe-red-apples-and-half-of-apple-image-3946870

My wife, Susie has a saying that I have always found interesting. I’m not exactly sure when she started using it, but I have liked it since the first time I heard it. This is it:

You can count the seeds in an apple, but can’t count the apples in a seed.

I’ve been thinking about this little quote since the first time I heard it and it reminds me of a story.

Most of you who read this blog are aware I have background that includes many unfavorable exposures to the law and those who are charged with enforcing it. It wasn’t that I thought police were pigs, as was the common verbiage back in my hippie days. I was simply breaking the law and I wasn’t interested in getting caught. This put the police and I on different sides of the same issue. Throughout the years I got to know a few of them, like the rest of society, some where honorable and had a good grasp of how to handle the bad guys, while others had no scruples and would have felt right at home in any German WWII concentration camp.  Not all of those who wear the blue are upright, moral, and fair, nor are they all uncaring, racist, and bigoted.

I have been arrested several times in various states, usually on outstanding warrants of one type or another. Those warrants, for the most part, originated in Illinois, so I tried to spend as little time there as possible. It had gotten to the point where local police knew me by first, middle and last name, the types of cars I drove, and the way I walked, so I tried to find other states to call home. When I was arrested in these other states they would run a criminal check on me and discover I was wanted, then offer me spartan accommodations in the nearest county jail, notify my home state that they were hosting me, and arrange for a  state police officer of Illinois to retrieve me. Since there is no posting bail while awaiting extradition, I would have a few days to cool my jets while waiting for a free ride back home.

I’m not sure how this happened but several times I was transported by the same officer. He was nearing retirement age and had been on the force over thirty years and was one of the good cops. The first time he picked me up we had a 3 hour ride back to the county where my warrant had been issued which gave us some time to talk. He spoke about his wife and kids and I described my life of drinking, drugging, and chasing woman without mentioning any names or particulars.

The next time he showed up to provide a ride I was surprised to see him, of course he knew who he was picking up, so all he did upon seeing me was smile, say how nice it was to see me again, and ask I turn around so the handcuffs and leg shackles could be put on.  We fell into talking much like we had the first time as he caught me up on what his two sons and daughter were doing and I updated him on the latest bars and women I had found. But this time the ride back was different.

As we neared the outer edge of the city where he had picked me up, he drove the cruiser to the side of the road. He got out walked to my side, opened the door, and asked me to step out and turn around. Without saying another word he removed the cuffs and shackles and told me to get back in. He returned to the driver’s seat and we proceeded on.

Now this was HUGE. Cops don’t do this. First of all, if anything goes wrong, say like I try to escape, it means at the very least he will face an inner-jurisdiction reprimand, suspension of a couple of weeks without pay, and it will go into his permanent record, at the worst, it means his thirty plus years on the force goes up in smoke, and maybe his retirement as well.

As he edged the patrol car back onto the highway he resumed his conversation as if nothing had happened. A few hours later he said he was going to need some gas and pulled into a station with a McDonald’s attached. He asked, Hey I bet your kind of tired of jail food, what would you like to eat?” I replied something about having some money in the manila envelope he was caring along with my watch and identification, but he just smiled and said, “Naw, I got this one.”

As we neared the county were I would be quickly bonding out, he again pulled to the side of the road, came to my side, opened the door, and said, “Sorry to have to do this to you, but they would skin me alive if I walked you in there without these.” Then he reattached the cuffs and the shackles, but before he eased me back into the car he asked, “Those aren’t too tight are they?”

The third and last time he retrieved me from an unpleasant living situation, he again stopped and removed my restraints, and as before, we stopped for gas and something to eat, but this time I asked if I could go use the restroom. He looked me in the eyes for a moment then said, “Sure, I’ll meet you back at the car.”

Why I am telling you this story?

Because these events happened over thirty years ago and that man was one of the finest human beings I ever met. He trusted some one who was not worthy of any trust. He believed in some one who was not worthy of any belief. But most of all he gave me hope in my self.

You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

When you plant a seed you have no idea what will happen. How it will grow. What will be the effects. None of this is predictable.

There was nothing in me that inspired trust. I was wild. All I talked about was a life of debauchery. I wore it like a shield of honor.

But when I changed my life, the talks I had with that police officer rang in my head with a clarity that was undiminished by the years.

I write these words while sitting in my office with tears streaming down my face. I remember his face, the tone of his voice, the firm way he moved, his poise and pride. After thirty plus years his words still resonate. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He treated me with a dignity and respect I didn’t deserve…yet he did it.

Truth is we don’t know what good (apples) will come out of our actions (seeds). What smiles, kind words, and a helping hand will do. So when you look around your life at those who might seem a little less deserving than others…remember you just can’t tell…none of us can.

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…PartIV

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/drmarciana/3216269473/

The double doors leading to the factory floor swung open to reveal a world I had no idea existed. I might as well have been transported with Scotty, Bones, Spock, Captain Kirk, and  the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise to another dimension. This was another world…and nothing in the world I knew, had prepared me for this.

Let’s start with the smell, it nearly knocked you down. Think of WD-40 and 3in1 oil mixed together and then injected into nose via a fire hose. The smell wrapped around you like saran wrap and tore into your lungs like Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Later I would learn how it permeates into your skin, so even after bathing with all kinds of girly soaps, and things of my wife that I can’t identify, you still smell exactly like the factory. I’m telling you my wife is a very special kind of woman to put up with that.

Then there was the noise, it was deafening. I’ve been next to tornadoes and this was louder. I have been in the front row of a Guns n’ Roses concert and this was louder. It was like having a blunt instrument pound away at the inside of your brain, right between the eyes.

As I stood there reeling from the total effect of this onslaught I realized the man leading me lips were moving. I yelled out as loud as I could, WHAT?”

He smiled and leaned closer to me, NEVER BEEN IN A FACTORY BEFORE, HUH?”

Well this man was obviously a genius. Surely I had completely camouflaged my shock. It must have been me staggering backwards when he opened the doors and him having to repeat himself four times before I answered him that blew my carefully formulated cover.

“YEAH SHERLOCK, FIRST TIME.”

He motioned for me to follow him. No problem there. I kept as close to him as a newborn kitten afraid of losing his mother. In fact, now that I think about it, that new born kitten analogy is an accurate portrayal of how I felt. Safe in his Mommy’s womb the newborn fur-ball is thrust into a world that is cold, hard, and completely different from anything the little guy has ever experienced. Nothing has prepared him for this; he has to find nourishment a whole different way, suddenly there is a lot more room, and he still can’t see anything…and that was EXACTLY how I felt. If I could have turned around and drove back home to Susie, crawled into bed beside her, and gone back to sleep my world would have been perfect. Except I couldn’t do any of that. We had lost our bookstore business and, although we weren’t destitute, we could certainly see it from where we were standing. Besides Susie and I hadn’t worked all our lives to lose everything, so I was willing to do whatever was necessary to keep us afloat.

But all of that didn’t keep me from being scared. I was shaking in my new steel toed boots.

It took me nearly six months to begin to grasp how things worked. Eventually I got use to the smell, the noise, and the dirty weld fumes that made you blow out black crud when you blew your nose. I got use to women cussing more than any sailor I ever talked with, but I never got accustomed to men showing me their iphone pictures of the women who, as they put it, were “pounding” vagina. However, after a while I did know who they were and I avoided them like the plague.

I quickly moved up the proverbial corporate ladder and off the factory floor, but I’ve never forgotten the men and woman who are still there. Still working in 110 degree heat in the summer and bone chilling cold in the winter. Still breathing in the fumes and still having the noise assault their senses daily. Still working, because they need the benefits and the pay is the best in this region.

Those men and women will be in my memory forever…I miss them…but not so much the guys with the iphones.

Be encouraged!

Another Gem

http://ihearttosweat.blogspot.com/2012/07/6-super-simple-ways-to-clean-up-your.html

Most of you reading this post are already aware of the type of person I am. I tend to lead toward the simple. I don’t like to get too complex. I feel life can get away from us easy enough without me adding some convoluted writing to the process. Plus, if the truth be told, I’m just not that smart, so simple comes rather easy and natural to me.

Today I was turned onto another blog site called MysteryCoach and can this woman write…check out http://mysterycoachdsi.com/hoping-this-guy-is-it/ for some straight forward, no-nonsense, honest soulful writing about trying to find your true love. Awesome piece. Well I decided to follow her. So almost immediately she returns the favor by following me…which is impressive…I love folks who live on their computers like I do.  Then I decided to see if I could find something out about who she is so I went to her ~Welcome~ page. While scrolling down the page I found this gem and fell in love (not that kind, Susie is still the only one, but you know what I mean) all over again:

Give this woman’s blog a look at…I promise you won’t be disappointed…then follower her…I suspect this a very deep well.

Be encouraged!

Time Is On My Side

http://www.bowdoindailysun.com

Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

(Time Is On My Side by Jimmy Norman and made famous by The Rolling Stones)

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. It traditionally has taken two different forms. The first being the calendar and the second form being represented by the clock. For the purpose of this post we will be focusing on the clock.

The clock has never been my favorite unit of measurement for time. Probably due to the fact that in the past I was late for everything. Years ago I learned a trick for defeating this deficit in my character make-up. I began to set my watch ten minutes ahead. Although in my mind I understood what I had done, the reality was if I looked at my watch and discovered it was time for me to be somewhere I would immediately begin to move heaven and earth to get there. Of course, I still had ten minutes, but my mind would overlook reality and simply begin issuing commands as if I were late. Later, I turned all the clocks in my home ten minutes fast and have eliminated my lateness. Susie is not particularly fond of this method of brainwashing, but after twenty years she has adapted. Only rarely now does she ask, “What time is it in the real world?” In the interest of full disclosure, one night while she was sleeping I got up, tipped toed around to her side of the bed, and set her watch ten minutes fast as well.

Back in 1977 two social psychologists, Dan Barton and John Darley from Princeton University, set about conducting an interesting experiment involving the interpretation of time. They approached Princeton seminary students who were preparing a speech on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Each student was told either: A) He is late, that he was actually expected in the lecture hall a few minutes ago, and that his instructors are waiting for him. or B) He has plenty of time, but might as well start to go over now.

As each student headed to the lecture hall he passes a person slumped over and coughing profusely, obviously in need of assistance. Of course, the person is an accomplice of the researchers. With no one else nearby the seminary students are confronted with a decision. While going to give a speech about the Good Samaritan, who stopped to deliver aid to a hurting individual when no one else would, do they stop to help or do they go on to their lecture. The only difference in the two groups is the time pressure. One group believes they are late, the other thinks they have plenty of time.

The majority of those who believed they had plenty of time stopped to render assistance. Of those who believed they were running late 90% failed to stop.  All students involved admitted they saw the individual slumped over and understood he needed help.

Allow yourself to slow down and look around. Are there people in your family, your work place, and/or your group of friends who might be “slumped over” and in need of help? Are we missing anything? Could someone we know be telegraphing pain, hurt, stress, worry, and/or fear and we are missing it? Reduce our speed, quiet our thoughts, and remove the blinders from our eyes and take a closer inspection of those we interact with on a daily basis.

Let me know what you find.

Be encouraged!

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units.

Politics

I am not one who enjoys proclaiming his political views. I know there are those who find it fascinating and God bless them, but I am not of their ilk. I have my opinions and for the most part I prefer to keep them to myself. Airing my thoughts in public I find to be counter-productive to what I hope to accomplish in bringing people together in peace. Politicians no longer (if they ever did) speak for me I don’t find comfort in either the right or the left. There are elements of both I like and a good deal more that I don’t.

But while I was playing catch up  after a weekend of interviewing acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, contortionists, unicyclists, trapeze artists,  and a couple of other unique performers (trust me this is a whole series of posts in and of itself) I came across Terri’s blog at http://terri0729.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/mondays-military-honors/. The snapshot above was one of many about those who serve in the military for our country. My official disclaimer is I am somewhat biased in my opinion regarding the military. In my youth I was a hippie and not inclined to be supportive of those who served, but life often has ways of turning a person’s thinking around. Our youngest son is career Army and there is not a prouder parent in the United States than this old hippie.

Take a moment to think about this information. Perhaps there are some things that should drive us into the streets, waving our placards again.

Be encouraged!

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

http://edwardrecommends.com/people

What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

http://cheezburger.com/3057568512

There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

Something I Found Interesting

The man in the photo (http://www.newfangled.com/interview_with_risd_president_john_maeda) is John Maeda. On June 2, 2008 he was selected as the President for the Rhode Island School of Design. Earlier  Esquire magazine had identified him as one of the 21 most important people for the 21st century. He grew up in Seattle, Washington as part of a family owned tofu business, which he refers to as familial child slave labor. His degrees include BS and MS degrees from MIT, and a PhD in design from Tsukuba University Institute of Art and Design in Japan. At the MIT Media Lab he was a graphic designer, visual artist, and computer scientist, as well as, one of the founders of “simplicity” in the digital age.

That last paragraph was written to convince you John Maeda is nobody’s fool. This is an intelligent man who knows what he wants and knows how to go about getting  it in life. Which is why I found a recent article about him fascinating. The article was located on page 20 of the May 2012 (Issue 165) of Fast Company. It is written by Linda Tiscler, who according to her bio on Fast Company’s web site, writes about the intersection of design and business.

The bulk of the article conveys how Dr. Maeda stumbled by alienating his co-associates at RISD when he instilled some of his MIT Media Lab’s cyberstyle leadership skills. I am not exactly sure what the details were, but the end results was Dr. Maeda  failed, and this is a guy who is not accustomed to failing. In fact, his failure was so acute his board-endorsed strategic plan for the school was met with a “no confidence” vote from the faculty.

In the face of failure he embraced a piece of advice he had received from a close friend, John Jay, Wieden+Kennedy’s executive creative director. Although these are his 10 tips for young designers I believe they will resonate deeply within you, they did me:

  1. Be authentic.
  2. Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from your effort.
  3. Life is visceral. Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture.
  4. Constantly improve your craft.
  5. Travel as much as you can.
  6. Being original is still the king.
  7. Try not to work for stupid people or you will rapidly become one of them.
  8. Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them.
  9. The Golden Rule actually works.
  10. If all else fails, #2 is the greatest competitive edge of any career.

These are copied from http://designtaxi.com/news/34110/10-Lessons-for-Young-Designers-from-John-C-Jay/.

His revised plan was passed with a 80% faculty approval. This is what it means to not see our failures as the end of the line. It is not indication we are not good enough or in some way flawed. Our failures are only obstacles to be overcome or built upon to achieve success. Dr. Maeda clearly demonstrates this in his willingness to embrace outside assistance and re-formulate his strategic planning goals.

Granted few of us operate in the rarefied air of the nation’s top design schools, nor may we have the credentials of Dr. Maeda, but I believe his approach can apply to all of us when faced with our own less than perfect outcomes. Accepting the advice of others isn’t a sign of weakness. It is an indication of our willingness to grow and expand.

After each post is published I am always looking forward to the comments I receive. They never cease to make me think about what I’ve written. In many cases they have been the impetus for new posts. So let’s go forward, growing, reaching, striving, and doing all we can to support and strengthen as many as we kind, while always being willing to receive.

Be encouraged!

Some Days

http://www.facebook.com/CoachTaraWoodruff

Some days are simply tougher to get through than others. The reasons can be counted into the billions. I’m having one of those days. This blog has never been a place where I share the minutiae of my everyday life. It’s not that interesting and I believe in boundaries.  So I’m not going to go into all the details.

I’m not sure at what point everything got away from me. but it did. The usual positive motivation, stay-on-top-of-it thing slipped a tad and everything went into the ditch. Before I knew it I was stuck straddling the fence with no way off. Let’s just say I’m having to take a dose of my own medicine.

A few posts ago, I wrote about what we have to do when our tidy lives fall apart. We need to take hold of our run-away emotions, corral the stampede, pick-up the pieces, and face in to the wind. All great words, but it is the action that makes the difference.

Today I am taking action.

Sometimes it helps to look around and count our blessings. Take a moment, inhale deeply, and look at those aspects of our lives that are, in truth, a gift we do not deserve. I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination, especially considering my past. I have a wonderfully beautiful wife, great kids, loving grandkids, awesome pets, a peaceful home, a life-style many only dream of, not in wealth, but in deep soulful satisfaction.

I control my future. I control my success. I control my income. I control my attitude. I control how I think and feel. I control my life.

There is no reason, justification, explanation, and/or defense for acting any other way.

The day is starting to get better.

Be encouraged!

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