Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “schools”

Virtue #3 – Ambition


Well here is one virtue I think at first glance we all go, “Hmm, are you sure about this?”

Everyone of us knows someone who has taken ambition, cut the chain, and ran with it. They have run so far with it that ambition no longer looks like ambition. It looks more like greed and walking all over people to get what you want (e.g., Michael Douglas in Wall Street).

Yet let’s back up and look at ambition in its true sense. defines the word as:


  1. an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
  2. the object, state, or result desired or sought after
  3. desire for work or activity; energy

I will admit the first definition about desiring to achieve power and/or fame makes me a slight bit uneasy, but only because of their abuse. The word earnest thrown in their before the word desire creates for me a better feeling. Mainly because when I think of earnest, I think sincere and honest.

I don’t believe we have to make a choice between being ambitious and having principles. I would like to think I have ambition. Actually, I believe I have above average ambition. I know as I made the effort to turn my life around I was very ambitious. I was not going to fail. My entire focus was in breaking the bonds that I had created in my old life and establishing new positive valuable ones.

When I ran the 3,160 miles across the United States I definitely had the desire. As I have created this blog, worked on my book, and sought speaking engagements to spread hope, motivation, and success I have had ambition.

In our marriage, Susie and I have exercised ambition to be happy and content. Growing up our children understood that ambition is a necessary quality to live life to its fullest. We have already discussed with our six-year-old grandson what ambition is and how it is correctly used.

Ambition has an old fashion feel; like somehow we are now beyond the concept. Yet pure ambition can be used to propel you beyond the roadblocks and obstacles of life. It can be used to harness your positive energies and open a world of possibilities.


As I’ve written this I have struggled with exactly how to portray this virtue. On the one hand, I want to caution against the run away freight train that turns ambition into nothing more than clawing one’s way up the ladder of life.  While on the other, I want you to understand I believe ambition is an essential feature to be successful; whether we are talking about careers, marriages, friendships, or companies.

Like most elements of life I think there is a tension that exists between good and evil. Lack too little ambition and you end up sitting in the basement of your parent’s house playing video games every day for the rest of your life. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you will ruthlessly walk over people and principles to attain power/fame/wealth.

Ambition is good, too much and you have a problem. Be ambitious, but be cautious.

Be encouraged!

Before We Go Any Further

Stop Sign 2 Clip Art




Here is my point…lying and believing are intertwined. Someone once commented they believed people wanted to hear a lie just as often as they wanted to be told the truth. While I”m not ready to whole-heartedly embrace that philosophy, I do believe there is a connection between lying and what we want to hear.

Do I believe there should be a NO LYING DAY? Absolutely. I would love to see the concept reported on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, the news wires, and go viral. What a great concept. The realty will probably fall far short.

Why? Because many of us are simply comfortable in our lies. It is where we live and work. Our lies are no more a distinct separate part of our existence. They are part and parcel of who we are. We have lived and breathed them for so long, that our lies feel like the truth, and the truth now feels as strange as lies once did.

We operate in a world that not only encouraged the use of falsehoods, but actually, it many respects rewards it. Whatever the reason for lying, we are masters at justifying it. All the way from “everybody does it” (which is probably true) to “it wasn’t REALLY a lie.”  If we want to, we can find an excuse.

I have received several emails and comments about this subject. Many writers were intrigued by the question of morality it raises, others were more interested in the philosophical underpinnings. There were writers who complained of my over-simplified explanation. The point is, the issue of lying, deserves to be a topic of conversation. It needs the light of us blog writers, the press, think tanks, TED talks, church groups, and folks sitting around having a few beers. In my heart I believe change bubbles up. Only when we the common folk, the 99%, the silent majority, or whatever it is we are going by now, rise up and say, “Wait a minute! This is an issue. Lets talk about it.”, we are going to continue to experience an erosion of truth it all its forms.

I hope this post causes you to think. After you think about lies, and truth, and the role you play in it, maybe you will talk. Start a conversation with a loved one, or your child, the neighbor, your pastor, those in your study group, or any one who is willing to listen. With all my heart I believe change bubbles up. And, just maybe, some day we really will have a day of NO LYING.

Be encouraged!


From Those Who Comment…

This post is purely inspired by those who commented on Lying–Maybe…Maybe Not.

Lem Usita writes at His post show a deft knowledge of leadership and how it ought to work. Her posts are filled with practical, rubber-meets-the-road type of information that I personally crave. I am the just-tell-me-what-to-do-and get out-of-the-way kind of guy, and Lem tells you what and how to do it. He wrote:

You bring up an interesting idea for me – this idea that lying takes on different forms depending on your stage of development – pick your developmental theory. I need to think about what a lie looks like in light of this. Do you have any articles that talk about this?
Thanks for the post.

I responded with:

Lem, first of all let me say how much I enjoy your posts regarding leadership. I would like to swap a few emails, or even a phone call or two , to discuss my experiences in leadership development at a Global 100 manufacturing firm. I think you’ll find the stories interesting.

Developmental theories are kind of like a bad haircut, everyone has had one, but their idea of what it is differs widely. Lying when we are younger is often seen as punishment avoidance. Q.-Did you spill the milk? A.-No way, the cat did it. As we age lying is the result of peer acceptance or is seen as a useful tool to gain something. Such as Q.-Hey Dad, can I have the car keys? A./Q.-Did you get your room cleaned like your Mom asked? A.-Yeah, pretty much (Reality-room looks like a bomb went off in it, but you told the guys it would be no problem getting your Dad’s car and promised to pick them up at 6:00). By the time you have graduated from college and entered the work force, the lies start to look more like CYA. Q.-Did you get the Jones Report done? A.-Yeah, you’ll have it on your desk when you arrive in the morning. (Reality-What the hell is the Jones report?)

If you look at Maslow and Metamotivation, is it possible we are seeking fulfillment of our Being Needs via lying through our teeth?

I don’t have any articles which speak directly about what I’ve written. However, I have pulled from Psychology Journals, books, magazines, newspapers, and friends who I have bombarded with questions, concepts, and theories. While sitting around having a few beers I have often pulled the topic of our conversation from whether the Yankees will pull it together to make another run for the pennant to when do our dreams become reality?

I drive my friends nuts, but as long as I’m buying, they seem to hang around. lol

My email is Give me a holler and maybe we can exchange phone numbers. By the way…what do you think…when do dreams become reality?

Another comment I received was from 5kidsmom. She writes at Her writing is clear, pure and cleverly insightful. I have always deeply enjoyed her thought process and delivery. Also in the interest of honesty; her and I have discovered we share remarkably similar, yet different perspectives, so we have agreed to collaborate on a book. She wrote th:

oh my….
>>>>>”Some men (not all, ;) have to lie about ‘WHY’ they lie!!<<<<<<
Rack ’em up boys!! Keep lying about why you’re lying, we’re listening LOL! What he doesn’t realize is….while little boys are lying to their mothers, (???FEAR??) little girls are being taught by their fathers, BOYS LIE!
Too late MacIntyre—-we’re onto you, and just like you, we started ‘getting it’, from a very young age!! That’s no lie ;) One more thing, boys lying to their Mom’s didn’t really make life easier, it probably just sparred them the consequences. So come on guys, you lie because you’re afraid of the wrath lol!

I responded:

Gosh, this lying thing has started our own little personal firestorm. Why? Well probably for two reasons. 1.) We all do it. We aren’t exactly proud of that fact. We don’t go around saying, “Alright! I just told another whopper!” Truth is we are ashamed. We are ashamed, because even after all we’ve been taught (programmed?) we still know it is wrong. 2.) We have all been lied to and it is frustrating. It hurts and we clearly understand the world (shoot, forget the world, even our little lives) would be a better place if everyone would stop.

Boys lie to girls, girls lie to boys, men lie to women, women lie to men, men lie to men, women lie to women, employees lie to bosses, bosses lie to employees, companies lie to customers, customers lie to companies, races lie to other races, nations lie to other nations, and I’m relatively confident if the human race ever encounters extra terrestrials, we will lie to them too.

So the bottom line is, “What do we do?”

This is too good for just a reply. I’m going to take this out and put it on the big screen. I will have a post forthwith, which will answer the question, “What do we do?”


Here is what I propose:






I am reblogging this post from Marie Wetmore’s site This is my second reblog in a row, but I feel these are important voices worthy to be heard. If you have any technical trouble viewing the video, click on the address for mobile users.

The young man, Autistic salutatorian Eric Duquette, is a perfect example of having a growth mindset. No failures in his life, only opportunities to grow and learn.

This story is especially close to my heart. One of Grandsons is autistic. He, also, has a growth mindset and has taught our family many important lessons about how to approach obstacles in our lives.  In the future I will write his story. I have often been inspired by his tenacity and accomplishments.

As always I hope you find motivation in this post. I hope you gleam a morsel of truth, which helps. Thanks for reading.

Be encouraged!




   Have you ever had an “Ah Ha” experience? It is when the proverbial light bulb suddenly goes on in your brain to illuminate some concept or idea, which until that very moment, had lived in the dark. It flashes out of nowhere. One moment you are lost, the next you have a complete grasp of exactly what it is you are trying to comprehend. Usually the experience leaves you mildly delighted with yourself and is a natural mood elevator.

“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Author & Physician


     This is exactly what happened to me in a hotel room inColumbia,Missourinearly twenty years ago. Most people sing in the shower, I on the other hand, changed my life’s destiny. I had stepped into the shower without any preconceived thought of altering every aspect of my life. I was just going to do what showers are designed for, take a shower. I was in a hurry. I had an appointment and I didn’t want to be late. So I turned on the water, checked it to make sure it was not too hot or too cold, stepped in, and grabbed the soap. It was at that moment the earth metaphysically turned a corner. As the mind will sometimes do, I began to think about a variety of things, all running single track, at light speed. The thoughts began to coalesce into images of my life’s actions. I started to see not only the actions, but also their affects. I began to understand the terrible results coming from my preoccupation with only myself. Not that I was spending the time staring into my navel. I was using and abusing people. I felt the searing pain I caused to those who had tried to love me. Nothing in my life mattered except making it easy, comfortable, and financially solid. I cared not one wit about the people around me, in the slang of today, it was all about me.

     Then the thoughts began to move ahead. Every time I had ever been in jail there was always this one old guy. Sometimes it was the same guy, sometimes it would be a different guy, but the story was always the same. They (the police) had popped him this time, but he was working on something (he couldn’t share the details with you, but he assured you it was good) that would be the big score. It would always be successful. It would always be relatively easy. It would always allow them to be “set” for the rest of their lives.

     Except the truth was, it never worked out. When I would see them again, they would always dismiss it by saying, “Oh yeah, that was nothing, but I’ve got a score I’m working that is going to change everything. They are not going to see me in here again.” I wasn’t old (whatever that is), yet I could clearly see our paths where one and the same.

     I could also see the long range outcome of the direction I was going. I knew either long term incarceration or premature death (my hand or someone else’s) awaited me.

     I staggered out of shower, dripping water across the floor, as I fell into the bed. I began to cry and weep. The hot tears flowed as though there was no end. My soul was shattered by the way I treated those closest to me. The wrenching agony I had caused. I felt gutted. There was a white-hot searing pain from deep within me. I struggled even to breathe, which was something I didn’t believe I deserved.

     It was there I made a decision as my wet body lay stretched out across the bed, with tears flowing down my face, gasping for every breath. I sat up. I took the towel and wiped off my face. With every ounce of will in my body I determined to change my life around. Whatever it took, I would do. Whatever change would be needed, I would do. Whatever whatever would be needed, I would do. There was no force or obstacle that could keep me from becoming a different person. A whole person. Someone of worth. An individual who could/would/should change.

     I don’t know the type of life you are living. Maybe you are one of the gifted ones, who has it all together. Hopefully you are not the way I was. Possibly you are somewhere in between the two. Wherever you may be in life, you have the ability to get better. You already have all it takes to move upward. Within you resides the raw materials for building something great. I’m not saying it will be easy. It won’t. I’m not saying there won’t be setbacks. There will be. I ‘m not saying all the people who are currently around you will stay. More than likely they will not.

     What I am saying is deep within the person you currently are lives each and everything you need to move forward in your life. To create the type of person you innately know you are meant to be. You can love. You can be loved. You can give and receive grace and forgiveness. You can be great. You can be awesome.

     Why you ask? Because that is why you were born! You were not born to live in addiction, angst, pain, suffering, loneliness, heartache, or anything else hurtful. You were born to laugh, smile, enjoy, have pride and self-esteem, to love and be loved, to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, and everything else you can think of that brings a smile to your lips.

     Do it! Change your life. Change your business. Change yourself.

     Be encouraged!

More wolf stuff

Our good friends at Wolf Creek Habitat ( sent us the above site. It is from a Today Show piece about wolves. Our friends run a compassionate habitat for wolves. They interact with the wolves in a way that allows the to be exposed to man, but in no way tries to domesticate them. The wolves remain exactly what they are…wild, beautiful creatures able to instill awe.

Please check out this link. I believe it is essential that we remember and experience nature. Don’t be deprived of the life that exists all around us.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I always try to convey that sentiment when anyone comments. I love to read what you have to say so please stay in touch.

Thank you and as always…Be encouraged!



This art piece was created by Sarolta Ban who was born in Budapest, Hungary. She is passionate about the possibilities of digital photo manipulation. She says from her blog post on, “she hopes that the meanings of her pictures are never too limited, are open in some way, each viewer can transform them into a personal aspect.”

This is my personal aspect.

I was immediately struck by the look of awe and wonder on the child’s face. In the past I’ve seen the light bulb used as an icon for an idea. Look at the size of the bulb compared to the child. Isn’t that a beautiful metaphor for how much bigger our ideas can be than we are. Our ideas have the power to change not only our lives, but our world.

During the short time I’ve posted this blog it has been read by people from South Africa, Malaysia, Norway, and countless other places. It is read by other writers, housewives, ex-hookers, photographers, Sam’s Club cashiers, and God only knows who else.  It has reached people in areas I’ve only read about and most likely, will never visit. It is certainly much bigger than I am.

But that is how ideas are. Seth Godin, the marketing guru, best-selling author, online entrepreneur, calls it viral. I call it freakishly, insanely amazing!

I’m not bragging about this, quite the opposite. I am deeply appreciative of every comment I receive and of everyone who takes time out of their busy schedule to read. But look at what has happened to a blog that was started only a month ago. Folks it was just an idea. I took Seth Godin’s advice which he offered on a Success magazine’s CD. He was asked what to do if a person wanted to get their ideas before other people. He replied, “Start and blog and keep writing.” So thanks Seth (like he is actually reading it, but then again you never know).

We are all just kids, regardless of our age. We act, we posture, we imitate, we do everything we can to be grown-ups, but down deep inside, the place where only we go, we know in our heart-of-hearts we never really grew up.

So be a kid, be fascinated with big ideas, think big ideas, dream big dreams, think you can draw.

And as always…

Be encouraged! 

A few thoughts on yesterday’s post…

As I was writing yesterday I began to think of a story I had heard some time ago. I am great at remembering stories and people, but not so good at remembering where I heard the stories or where I met the people. So if I am ripping this story off of you please forgive me. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure you get full credit.

A few years ago there was a study done that went into kindergarten classes and asked the little students how many of them could draw? In every instance 100% of the children raised their hands. Then they went to third grade classes and asked the same question, this time 2/3 of the class raised their hands. Next they went into fifth grade classes with the same question, but now only about 1/4 of the students raised their hands. The final class they asked were freshman in high school. The response had dwindled to less than a handful who believed they could draw.

So what has happened? Is there a mysterious ailment that afflicts adolescents causing them to lose the ability to draw? Or do they quit because art now becomes another class they need to get through? Or do they become preoccupied with “other stuff.”

I am no psychologist, but here is what I believe, at least, begins to contribute to the falling number of students who believe they can draw. They begin to listen to themselves and others who say, “You can’t draw.” Now maybe they aren’t that direct, instead they hear these words, “What is that?” or “That’s dumb.” or “Yeah, whatever.”

These words set the tone. They are not encouraging. They don’t make you feel like you are making a good effort. Back in my youth we called it a bummer. They bum you out. They cause you to doubt. To believe what you are accomplishing isn’t very good and not worth the effort.

I wonder what would happen if we praised the art work of every child. No I’m not saying we have to proclaim each child the next Picasso, but if we encouraged the effort, the concept, or the idea. Not all children can draw, but I suspect that are a lot of drawers out there who don’t draw because somewhere along life they got the idea they weren’t good enough.

What if this is true, not only with drawing, but also singing, writing, playing an instrument, creating, thinking, wondering, traveling, exploring, love, and/or life. What if this type of dwindling belief in what we can accomplish is active in sports, business, religion, in our governments, in our schools, in our hospitals, in our families, in our lives.

Is there really only one Lance Armstrong? 

Is there really only one Usain Bolt?

Is there really only one Martin Luther King Jr.?

Is there really only one Gandhi?

Is there really only one Desmond Tutu?

Is there really only one Richard Branson?

Is there really only one Steve Jobs? 

Or are there more? Maybe even thousands more, just waiting for the right words or combination of words, so they can excel. So they can break the shackles of mediocrity and soar. How high? We don’t have a clue. But we’ll never know if we don’t encourage.

Be encouraged.

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