Category Archives: The Way I See It

Get out of your comfort zone

While sitting in my office in deep thought, I was gazing out the sliding glass door to the deck and noticed a wasp that was trapped in the space between the glass door and the screen door. I have no idea how he found himself in that predicament, nor why he simply didn’t backtrack and exit the same way he entered. But after watching for quite some time I realized that without some help he’d probably perish in his self-made prison. So I carefully opened the glass door just enough where I could slide the screen door back by a foot or so, thinking this would give the wasp an easy escape route. But to no avail. The wasp continued to try to escape by flying at the screen mesh, bouncing back, and trying another spot on the mesh. He could see freedom, but he could not fathom how to get there.

There was no questioning his desire: his repeated bursts into the screen had to have given him a pretty good headache (if wasps get such things). It was interesting to note that several times he was within one inch of flying to freedom. But like many humans I know, he was within his comfort zone and not about to venture out. Finally, with some more “careful” assistance on my part, the wasp was finally able to fly away.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If your head’s been hitting the screen door (or the glass door) for quite some time now, perhaps it’s time to fly a different route. Your desired result may be a lot closer than you think, if you’re willing to venture to new territory.

Lesson learned from a fishing guide

I don’t fish nearly as often as I’d like to. Not nearly enough to develop real proficiency at casting a rod and reel. Today was like most of my fishing days — my early casts were most likely to be bad casts until I remembered “the hang of it.” After awhile I let my frustration get to me and I let forth with a couple of choice words, accomplishing nothing but maybe for the release of a little steam and scaring the fish (and my guests).

On the other hand, I noticed how our fishing guide handled his occasional bad cast (and he did have some—anyone who casts a lot is going to have some bad ones). He’d simply reel the line in without any emotion and he’d cast again. Comparing his reaction to mine, I realized our guide was a very wise guy. Firstly, he realized that the bad casts don’t really count in the whole scheme of things. You’re going to have good casts and you’re going to have bad casts. Simply forget the bad ones and move on to the good ones — that’s how you catch fish. And secondly, he realized the most important requirement for catching fish is having your bait in the water, which is impossible to do if you’re fuming and fumbling around worrying about your last bad cast.

Had a bad cast lately? Are you ready to cast again and get your bait back in the water?

Lessons learned at the beach

The weather was gorgeous today at South Ponte Vedra Beach. As I walked along the water line I reflected on the difference between today and the blustery, rainy and cold day earlier this week. Between the two days were some good weather days and some bad weather days. But at South Ponte Vedra Beach this week, as at every other beach in the world, there was at least one constant: every day, good weather or bad weather, the tide rose. And every day, good weather or bad weather, the tide ebbed. Regardless of the weather, the tide moves on.

It occurred to me that I was witnessing several lessons for those days when there seems to be a lot of bad weather in my life. The first lesson is that I could not have judged today to be a gorgeous day unless I had something to compare it to. Hot would be impossible without cold. There could not be an up without a down, an inside without an outside. When you think about it, darkness actually makes daylight possible.

The second lesson is that, like the tide, I need to move on, certain in the knowledge that the bad weather will soon be replaced with a gorgeous, sunny day. The ancient writer of Ecclesiastes told us that there is a season for everything, and we know that the cold, dark days of Winter are always followed by the warm, bright days of Spring.

Bucking the herd mentality

When we are children and teenagers it is very important that we fit in, that we’re accepted by our peers. This leads us to wear our hair a certain way, don a certain type of clothes, maybe piercings, tattoos, etc. This behavior follows most people into adulthood and throughout their lives. Some people call it the “herd mentality,” but regardless of what you call it, I find it very dangerous to success. In a herd, there’s only one winner, the cow at the front, leading the herd. The lead cow eats first, drinks first and decides where the herd is going.

My study of super-successful people reveals that most, if not all, are “contrarians.” To a large extent, they go against the flow. Edison, Ford, Rockefeller, Churchill, Walton, Gates, Gandhi, King and the list goes on and on — all had reputations as contrarians. Not in the sense that they didn’t get along with people and know how to “build teams,” but in the sense that their thinking was contrary to the “mass-thinking.”

Are you thinking like the masses or like the “world –class?” Are you leading the herd or following the herd? If you’re not out front — now is the time to break out. As it’s been pointed out, the leader of the herd is always experiencing a change of scenery. Those following in the herd are always looking at the same thing. 🙂