That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done – The Calf Path and the Roast.

How many times have you heard the words, “That’s the way it’s always been done”?  My guess is that you have done a lot of things in your life by making that assumption and following it. There are a couple of well known stories that illustrate this very nicely and may give us some incentive to change the way we think.

The Roast.  A young woman was preparing a roast and carefully cut off the ends. While delicious, her dinner guests wondered why she cut off the “best part.” She said she did it that way because her mother always had, and her mother had taught her to prepare a roast. When she asked her mother why, the reply was that her mother, Grandma, always had as well. So they went together and asked Granny, who said, “I cut off the ends because I had a small roasting pan.”

The Calf Path. This poem written by Sam Walter Floss in the 1800’s is one of the best illustrations ever on how we get stuck in our thinking, and sometimes mindlessly adhere to an established track. As you read it think of some of the ways that you may be on your own version of the calf path.

One day through the primeval wood a calf walked home as good calves should.
But made a trail all bent askew, a crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled. And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail. And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day by a lone dog that passed that way.

And then a wise bellwether sheep pursued the trail o’er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made. And many men wound in and out and dodged and turned and bent about and uttered words of righteous wrath because ’twas such a crooked path.

But still they followed – do not laugh – the first migration of that calf.
And through this winding woody-way stalked because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane that bent and turned and turned again. This crooked lane became a road where many a poor horse with his load toiled on beneath the burning sun, and travelled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half they trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet. The road became a village street.
And thus, before we were aware, a city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this of a renowned metropolis.
And men two centuries and a half trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout followed this zigzag calf about.
And o’er his crooked journey went the traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were led by one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way, and lost one hundred years a day.
For thus such reverence is lent to well-established precedent.

Are there some situations in your life where you are putting one foot in front of the other without thinking? Take a look at some of your daily habits and ask yourself this question. Then ask yourself how you might shift your thinking and change some of these habits. Your life might just become a bit more exciting. In what ways might you create some new calf paths of your own rather than doing things because “that’s the way it’s always been done”?

Stay happy, healthy, and Kind.

One More Story of Kindness

I feel bad that I haven’t been posting latley on this site but I have been very busy with my new book and my Presidency of The Villages Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club. I am very excited about the feedback of my new book and believe it will have a powerful impact on creating a culture of kindness in our communities – and in our world. Has there ever been a better time to promote kindness?

Here is one more story of kindness:

Remember our Veterans – A Wonderful Story

Being a Veteran, I am always on the lookout for things that show kindness and appreciation for those who give so much for our country. This story is one that is well worth sharing. My hats off to teachers like this!

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a history teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

“Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?

She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.”

They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.” “No,” she said.

“Maybe it’s our behavior.” She told them, “No, it’s not even your behavior.”

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period and still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom, Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.”

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned

Martha said, “You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.”

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights that they have won for us.

“America without its soldiers would be like God without his angels.”

Let me leave you with a wonderfulpiece of advice by Linda Ellis:


I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

 By Linda Ellis, Copyright © 2020 Inspire Kindness,

Another Story of Kindness

In honor of my new book, “Kindnes Rocks!; How To Live a Life of Kindness“, here is another wonderful story of kindness. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker so get out the tissues. I hope you enjoy these stories and they give you a sense of the power of kindness.

Fireman’s Kindness

In Calgary, Alberta a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son’s dream to come true.

She took her son’s hand and asked, ’Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?’

Mommy, ‘I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.‘ Mom smiled back and said, ’Let’s see if we can make your wish come true.

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Calgary, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Alberta. She explained her son’s final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.  

 Fireman Bob said, ‘Look, we can do better than that. If you’ll have your son ready at seven o’clock Wednesday morning, we’ll make him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards!  

And if you’ll give us his sizes, we’ll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat, not a toy, one-with the emblem of the Calgary Fire Department on it, and a yellow slicker like we wear, and rubber boots. They’re all manufactured right here in Calgary, so we can get them fast.’    

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Calgary that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic’s van, and even the fire chief’s car. He was also videotaped for the local news program. 
Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.  

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept – that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, ‘We can do better than that. We’ll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire?’ ‘It’s the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?”

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy’s third floor open window. Sixteen fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy’s room. With his mother’s permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him. With His dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, ‘Chief, am I really a fireman now?

‘Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,’ the chief said with those words. Billy smiled and said, ‘I know, He’s been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing.‘   

He closed his eyes one last time.

This is a true story.

This is an extract from my book, Kindness Rocks!

Kindness Stories

You may have noticed that I have taken a hiatus from blogging on this site. I have been busy writing my new book, ‘Kindness Rocks! How To Live a Life of Kindness’, and building our Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club ( As you may have guessed, kindness has become a new focus for me. So my next few blogs will be stories of kindness which I hope will excite you as to how important this is to our future. Please check out my new book at

The following story is just full of messages of kindness, and of life. You may want to have a tissue handy.

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like someone out of a 40’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly to the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness.” It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated”. “Oh, you’re such a good boy” she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” I answered, “It’s not the shortest way” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice. “The doctors say I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that once had been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing in the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with the driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said

“You have to make a living.” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held on to me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Downsize Your Life

Have you ever spent a day cleaning out your garage or cellar and then found that it really made you feel good? Well why not applied this theory to your life. We tend to collect a lot of stuff through the years and much of this tends to get stored away, never to be seen again. Or sometimes it just becomes a source of something more to worry about. The older we get, the more important it becomes to simplify our lives. Here are some of the things that you should simplify.

Simplify Your Schedule. Here is an interesting and simple way of looking at how to reduce clean up your schedule.

  • Make a list of things that make you happy.
  • Make a list of things you do every day.
  • Compare these lists.
  • Adjust accordingly

How many things are taking up your time that don’t either make you happy or add excitement and beauty to your life? Make a list of things you HAVE to do and a list of things that you WANT to do. What are some of the things on the HAVE to list that you can sacrifice to give you more time for your WANTS? Can you plan your day so that it includes special time periods to assure that you are doing some of the things you really want to do. For example, among other things I love to read, write, and listen to music. So I set aside certain times during the day to do these. Some of the things you love can be done simultaneously (like listening to music while writing), so work on building your multi-tasking skills.

Simplify Your Expectations – Shoot From the ‘Golds’. Sometimes, when we are feeling stressed out, it may be because we are expecting too much of ourselves. You may expect to be perfect at everything. You may have a need to be better than your friends and associates. You may have set your goals much too high. If your expectations are too complex and out of reach your inability to achieve them may make you very unhappy. Take a serious look at your expectations and reposition and resize them so that are challenging but achievable. And, if you find you just have too many expectations, eliminate a few that really aren’t that important.

So what do I mean when I say, ‘shoot from the ‘golds’? If you are a golfer this will make a lot of sense to you. Most courses have multiple tee sites (blue, white, gold, and red) based up on the golfer’s ability. I am by no means a great golfer but felt that I should always shoot from the ‘whites’. That is until a friend told me that I would enjoy the game much more if I played from the ‘golds’. He said I’ve earned it because of my age – and he was dead right. My game is so much more enjoyable now.

Downsize Your Stuff. George Carlin did a wonderful skit which was all about “stuff”. Check it out on YouTube if you can before you read any further. I remember back when I had a growing family and decided to get one of those storage sites so that I could make more space in my home for more stuff. When my kids all left home I decided to close this, and ended up throwing out almost everything I had stored – for years!

It feels great when you downsize. Pick a certain spot and begin cleaning out. Throw out or sell anything that you haven’t used in a while. You may discover a lot of things which you’ve long ago forgotten about. Some of those rediscoveries may still add value to your life – you don’t have to toss everything. And you will likely find that your family may love a lot of those things you no longer need. Why not distribute some of your stuff to your family and friends?

Cast Aside Your Negative Thoughts. Negative thoughts have the power to block you from true happiness. Through the years, a lot of us develop negative thoughts about a number of things. There may be certain people you don’t like. Perhaps you have developed a strong bias or prejudice about certain people, politics, religions, lifestyles, practices, etc. I am the first to admit that I once had some negative thoughts about some of these things. But I have tried my best to eliminate these, and I think I have succeeded. And I feel much better because of this.

So here is what you need to do. Take a careful look at each of these areas for downsizing and simplifying your life. Have fun and enjoy the process. After you have succeeded in downsizing, focus on maintaining a simpler, less complicated life and make sure you don’t slip back to where you were before.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things.”


Live Life Fullest

The Seasons – A Wonderful Metaphor of Life

Greetings All! You haven’t heard from me in a while. I’m back – did you miss me? My plan is to post some of the best blurbs of the past few years on how to “Grow Young”. I guarantee you will love them. Join if you already haven’t. There is no cost – just some great info.

In the many years I spend in the northeast, I was always taken back by the beauty of autumn. One autumn, while on our annual leaf viewing trip, it occurred to me that the seasons provides us with a very interesting metaphor for life.  Each season provides a different metaphorical twist to our thinking and, when we put these all together, the overall result is the opportunity to understand what you are going through in your life just a little bit better. Let’s play with this one for a while.

Autumn is a time for shedding a lot of the well-rooted, mature ideas that have been adding color to our lives, but are getting tired. The great colors of summer give way to even more spectacular autumn colors.  The falling leaves represent our ability to break current thinking patterns and the ultimate composting of these leaves represents the great idea enhancing value that our combined experience and learning gives us. The absence of leaves exposes the wonderful trunk and branch structure of the trees, which gives us a nice metaphor for the backbone of our thinking. If you were a child growing up in a seasonal climate you probably felt compelled to save a few of the more beautiful leaves and this is a good metaphor for building on some past idea nuggets. The wonderful smell of autumn (at least in the Northeast) conjures up some of the most pleasant memories. For me these memories just seem to span my entire lifetime. I sometimes feel like a kid again, even though some people have told me that I’ve never stopped being a kid. The autumn season of the mind is the time to challenge and shed old thinking and get reacquainted with the principles and values that support your thinking.

It signals the time to question how events in your life impact the restructuring of your life in the future. What things need to really change in your life? What habits do you need to drop? What dreams do you have to reformulate? What current strengths do you need to nurture and what new ones do you need to build for the future? What patterns of thinking do you need to change? Late autumn brings that first killing frost which ushers us into winter thinking.

Winter is a time for quiet thinking, contemplation, and introspection. As an author I find winter is my best time for writing and for generating some great new creative ideas. Deciduous trees, bulbs, and perennials are storing energy in their roots and gaining strength during the winter because they don’t have to show off for a few months. A lot of our creative thinking is blocked by our need to look good and show off. Winter thinking suggests that we think below the surface without worrying about how we will be judged. A blanket of snow just adds a little more security to protect those new, creative, and fragile ideas. As winter wears on, evergreens and the basic structure of trees that became exposed in the autumn can really strut their stuff. This is very well aligned with the idea that, after you set aside old patterns of thinking, some new, more creative thoughts are able to take shape. Since these are great metaphors for the basic principles and structures that guide our thinking, it helps us to stay in touch and build from them. The winter season of the mind is the time for understanding the roots of your thinking and internally energizing the seeds of new ideas. Winter provides us with a few more questions to ask of ourselves.

What do I have left to build on as I examine my basic structure? How might I turn my concerns and losses into something positive? This may seem like a strange question but, in my many years of studying creative thinking processes, I have found that there are always some positive aspects to even the most negative situations. What plans do you need to put in place for when the spring of your thinking arrives? What do you need to be doing to build up strength in your inner core?

And then comes spring when everything comes to life again. It’s also a time for massive cleanup, as any gardener knows. It’s also a very exciting time for gardeners because they are preparing for the beginning of a long period of growth as opposed to autumn when we prepare for a long period of rest. This is when new plants (ideas) really begin to grow and are nurtured along by warmer temperatures, longer days, and rain. We rake, prune, cultivate, fertilize, plant, aerate, and mow because we know that whatever we do now will stick with us for a good part of the year. We also know that it will create healthier roots for new ideas in the future. What are some ways that you carry out these tasks to help new ideas grow? The spring season of the mind is a time for growth and expansion of new ideas.

Spring represents a time for new growth and moving on. It’s a time for rekindling your excitement about living. The one thing that has always amazed me about spring is that it always seems to come. Every year I tell myself during winter that all those things that made spring and summer so beautiful are never going to want to return. But, come May, spring brings the most beautiful sights, sounds, and smells. When I think of spring I think of the start of a new life. What new things do I need to plant in my life? What are some of the leftovers from winter that I need to clean up and throw out? What things do I need to prune in my new life? How might I cultivate and nurture new relationships that will make my new life more meaningful?

Summer is a time for harvesting and enjoying the fruits of our labor. For many it means vacation, a time to take your thinking to a more relaxing place and to view it from a different perspective. In winter thinking, the energy is concentrated below the surface at the root level. Summer thinking creates new ideas and expands on what is above the surface. We look at what we have and continually trim, prune, and deadhead to create more beauty. The summer season of the mind is a time for improving and enjoying our ideas.

Summer represents the beginning of feeling comfortable with your life. It may signal a time to move on and find new relationships and opportunities. How might I create lasting enjoyment in my next 50 years? What new opportunities can I grow in my life? How might I cultivate new relationships in my life?

Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (Pastoral) is all about the seasons. Listen to this while doing some deep thinking about the seasons of your life which will really enhance the experience.

Here’s your chance to get a book that’s full of some of the best posts from ‘The Growing Young Site’ over the past 3 years (and then some). Everyone over fifty needs this book! As a matter of fact, you should have one in every room in your house.  Check it out now at


Acknowledging Acts of Kindness

Greetings All! There have been some technical difficulties with this blog in the past several months, but it’s now working. Did you miss me?

I will contunue to add bi-weekly articles on gowing young. If you would like a summary of all my past blogs you will find it in my book, “Fifty Shades of Growing Old; How To Grow Young in Your Second Fifty Years“. I’m glad to be back, and hope you enjoy my future blogs.


I have been busy with a number of things to include leading The Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club. Along with this I am writing a new book called, “Kindness Rocks; How To Lead a Life of Kindness“. Our club started in The Villages, Fl and we hope to help others start these in their own commmunities.

Here’s a short story about us:

The Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club (AAOK Club)

In February 2019 Joe Santoro, Founder of the Santoro Lifeskills Foundation, and author/speaker Lindsay Collier started this club in The Villages, Florida. The mission of the club is to promote a culture of kindness in our communities. This is done through various levels of honoring those who have positive attitudes and display acts of kindness.

The main way of doing this is to supply people with the club’s “Kindness Cards” which they can give to those they observe displaying kindness. The act of doing this is quite contagious and our experience tells us that it makes both the giver and the receiver feel very good.  At least 2 cards are handed out so that the person receiving the acknowledgment can pass these on as they observe other acts of kindness. The process is fun and quite contagious, and does wonders in spreading a culture of kindness.

The club also identifies people who have shown extraordinary kindness and recognizes them with some very creative special events.

The club will supply these “Kindness Cards” to anyone through their website,   They also will supply their flyers and cards to any organization that desires to promote kindness.  This includes businesses, schools, social groups, churches, and more. Promoting this method of acknowledging acts of kindness has an especially powerful potential in schools. Its effect on our future could be tremendous.

We are very interested in growing similar clubs in other communities. Our first such club started in Dayton, Ohio and has been very successful, especially in bringing the process into various school systems. If you would like to be a part of this effort feel free to contact us and we will do anything we can to help you. Our contact information is:

Kindness is Contagious – Let’s Cause an Epidemic!

Stay Safe! Lindsay Collier

BC Design - AOK V8-01

Gardening as a Great Metaphor on Life

Greetings! I haven’t posted anything in a while.Did you miss me? I’ve been very busy with some other commitments but it’s time to get back to sharing ideas on how to grow young. Here goes:

I’ve had a passion for gardening pretty much all of my life. I was the only boy in my high school class that had a subscription to Flower and Garden Magazine – and I took a lot of ribbing for that. Gardening can be a wonderful metaphor for the stimulating of thoughts on how to add richness to our lives.

In a garden we:

  • Plan
  • Plant things (seeds, seedlings, and established plants)
  • Re-arrange
  • Fertilize
  • Weed
  • Remove bugs
  • Prune
  • Till soil
  • Pinch back flowers
  • Let wildflowers grow
  • Pick flowers
  • Add statuary
  • Create walkways
  • Protect from elements


Each one of these activities has a strong parallel with some aspects of our lives that we can influence. For example:

  • How might we seed and fertilize the ideas we have to create an exciting next 50 years?
  • Do we need to rearrange our priorities?
  • How might we apply fertilizer to our thoughts of the future?
  • How can we identify and remove the weeds that draw energy from our lives?
  • What part might pruning play in the stimulation of these ideas?
  • What are things we might consider pests that influence new thinking and what can we do to combat them?
  • How might we till the soil that our lives are based upon to help the creative/innovative process?
  • Are there some flowers within our lives that need “pinching back” from time to time?

As you can see, the use of this metaphor allows us to pose some challenging questions while letting us carry out the conversations in a context well outside the normal thinking process.

Just think about composting. As any gardener knows, composting is a truly amazing phenomenon. How many times have you heard the cliché, garbage in – garbage out? In composting it’s garbage in – good stuff out. It breaks the rules. Imagine – throw in various layers of yard and kitchen scraps, add a little who knows what, mix it up every now and then, give it some time and, before you know it, you’ve got great soil!

You may be asking what this has to do with your life. If we can create great soil out of a mixture of yard scraps and garbage, just imagine what possibilities we could achieve in our lives when we compost all our thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams.

Our lives are just gardens waiting to be nurtured – put those gloves on and get to work!

“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”

Live Life Fullest




Kindness and Ubuntu

One of the highlights of my speaking career involved 4 tours of South Africa during the period of Nelson Mandela’s Presidency. I was asked to share with many of their leaders my thoughts on creativity, innovation, and breakthrough change. I became fascinated with a popular native word, Ubuntu, which roughly means ‘I am who I am through others’. The more you think of those words, the more powerful their meaning becomes. And the link between kindness and Ubuntu is very strong.

If “I am who I am through others”, then having a relationship of kindness with others can be oh so powerful! Spreading kindness not only has a positive effect on those who benefit from your acts of kindness – it has an equally positive effect on you.

That’s such a strong argument for making kindness a part of your life. There are two ways to do this. One is by going out of your way to be kind to others whenever you can. Always be on the lookout for opportunities by becoming a keen observer of what’s going on around you. Opportunities to show kindness to others are never that far away. And small acts of kindness (like giving someone a pleasant smile, opening doors, etc.) are every bit as rewarding as the larger ones. Start each day with the goal of carrying out at least 1-2 acts of kindness and you’ll sleep like a log every night!

The other way to make kindness a part of your life is to acknowledge acts of kindness that you observe. Never miss an opportunity to thank someone for their kindness. When someone exhibits a positive attitude or shows kindness, tell them how much you appreciate it. When people show kindness it comes from the heart and they are usually not looking for accolades. But when you acknowledge their kindness it lifts them up even more. So you should always start your day with the goal of acknowledging at least one or two acts of kindness.

We have started a club in The Villages, Florida called The Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club (AAOK Club for short). Our mission is to promote a culture of kindness by acknowledging those who have positive attitudes and display these acts. We have some very creative ways of doing this, our main one being the handing out of cards to those people we see who show kindness. We believe that acknowledging acts of kindness will have a major impact on promoting a culture of kindness.


We believe this idea is going to spread rapidly to other communities. A satellite club has started in Dayton, Ohio, The timing of this club and its publicity was right about the time of the tragedy that occurred there. We also have a possibity of one in England. If you would like to know more please vist our website at or send us an email at


That’s it for now.

“Kindness is lighting the light in someone else for no reason

other than to watch them enjoy the glow.”



The Road to Abilene

The Road to Abilene is Dr. Jerry B. Harvey’s parable about a family trip to Abilene. I have found this useful from time to time in situations when I feel obligated to follow the crowd, when the crowd is doing something I don’t particularly want to do. Hope you find it useful too.

They were sitting around on the porch in Coleman, Texas. The temperature was 104 degrees, but the porch was shaded, and everyone was comfortable. Then, Jerry Harvey’s father-in-law said, “Let’s get in the car and go to Abilene and have dinner at the cafeteria.” In the back of Jerry’s mind a little voice said, “This is nuts. I don’t want to travel 53 miles in the heat of summer in a 1958 Buick to have dinner in a lousy cafeteria.”

But Jerry’s wife said, “It sounds like a great idea.” And Jerry heard himself saying, “Sounds good to me. I hope your mother wants to go.” And Jerry’s mother said, “Of course I want to go.” Four hours and 106 miles later, they returned. The heat had been brutal. Of course there was no air conditioning in the car. Perspiration and dust stuck to their clothing and bodies. The food, as Jerry guessed, had been awful.

Later that evening Jerry said, sarcastically, “It was a great trip wasn’t it.” Nobody spoke. Finally, his mother in law said, “To tell the truth, I really didn’t enjoy it much. I would rather have stayed home, and I wouldn’t have gone at all if you hadn’t pressured me into it.” To which Jerry responded, “I didn’t pressure you. I was happy here. I only went to make the rest of you happy.” His wife said, “You and Dad and Mamma were the ones who wanted to go. I just wanted to make you happy.” And his father in law said, “I never wanted to go to Abilene. I just thought you might be bored sitting at home with the rest of us.”

So, they all made a 106 mile round trip in the God forsaken desert under furnace-like conditions to eat unpalatable food in a dingy cafeteria, a trip nobody had been looking forward to and nobody wanted to take. The concept is simple and it’s called “Group Think.”

How many times have you been in a situation when someone says, “It would be great if…” and nobody wanted say it was a dumb idea? People just watch and hope that somebody else is going to speak out. Perhaps you should remember long road to Abilene and speak up.

Here’s a quick update on a very exciting new club we have developed in The Villages, FL, called the Aknowledging Acts of Kindness Club. Our mission is to promote kindness in communities and we have some very interesting ways of doing this. Visit our website and Facebook page to learm more.


BC Design - AOK V8-01

I’d love to hear from any of you and want to thank Frank Sweet for this note:

“Thank you for your frequent “Creative Ideas” posts. I enjoy them as “alternatives” to the jokes and political comments of many emails. I find your posts constructive in thinking of my daily life in a more positive way. “If I approach this activity (which I may not like) in a different way, I’ll begin to enjoy it”. I find many of your posts helpful in this way.
I frequently share your posts with other family members.
Thank you for doing what you do”.