You Accomplish More in Defeat Than Victory

Former South Dakota Senator George McGovern who died last week at 90, was a failed presidential candidate losing in the Nixon landslide of 1972 not even carrying his own state – one of the biggest repudiations of a presidential candidate in history.

Later, McGovern lost his senate seat in 1980. 

But George McGovern picked up the pieces and created a post-political, non-partisan alliance with Senator Bob Dole to combat hunger.

McGovern, the polarizing anti-Vietnam war candidate found a new purpose in life by working for the common good with someone who held polar opposite views.

McGovern, the liberal.

Dole, the conservative.

But both shared growing up in the plains during the Depression and they knew the ravages of hunger.

McGovern, before his death said,

“To be honest that was a very productive time of my life.  Sometimes life works that way; you accomplish more in defeat than you do in victory”.

We fail every day in lots of ways, but the key is to remember that failure is a rehearsal for success and to welcome it as such.

Change the way you look at life’s failures – small and large – and it can make a meaningful difference.

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  • George McGovern said “The people have voted, but they don’t know why.”

Emerging From Divorce

Robin Williams says “Ah, yes, divorce … From the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet”.

The multi-married Zsa Zsa Gabor counters, “I’m an excellent housekeeper.  Every time I get a divorce I keep the house”.

But Nirvana’s Curt Cobain nailed it, “Mom hates dad, dad hates mom, it all makes you feel so sad”.

I always thought that divorce was when two people could not get along with each other.

But I was wrong.

It is actually the other way around.  Divorce is when two people cannot get along with themselves and that’s when all the trouble begins for them, their partner and the unsuspecting children of their union. 

I wrote this, as a person who has experienced divorce, in my book.

Here are 5 revelations about divorce:

  1. In divorce, you are actually divorcing yourself.
  2. A lack of self-love and self-esteem paves the way for divorce.
  3. Two complete people make one complete marriage.
  4. Most good marriages are made or broken well before they occur in their families of origin.
  5. Counseling often saves individuals and not marriages.

Helen Rowland put it a powerful way: 

“When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they ‘don’t understand’ one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to”.

Out of bad marriages come good people who, when they commit to dealing with their family of origin issues, can then enter into healthy relationships.

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Make My Day

Clint Eastwood has been back in the news lately with his most famous line:  “Make my day”.

Did you ever try to make someone’s day – but not at gunpoint?

There is a gentleman in South Jersey named Wynn Etter who from time to time when he crossed the bridges to nearby Philadelphia made someone’s day by doing random acts of kindness.

Wynn would drive up to a tollbooth, pay his toll and the toll of the unsuspecting person behind him.  As he drove away, you can imagine the shock and delight on the face of the commuter he waved to from his rearview mirror.

Often the driver behind would try to catch up and wave out of gratitude from the adjacent lane. 

Imagine how this one act made the day of two people?

The 14th Dalai Lama said:

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

So go ahead, find a way to make your day – and someone else’s, too.  It may become habit forming.

It doesn’t have to be paying their bridge toll – especially at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where it can be as high $12 per car.

There are lots of other ways – most of which do not cost a dime.

Add your stories of random acts of kindness below.

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  • Riding my bicycle I spotted an elderly lady struggling to carry grocery bags.       I offered to carry them and she gratefully accepted.     At her apartment, she lived on a 3rd floor walk up, I hid my bike and carried everything up.     She was in tears,  but I felt badly knowing she didn’t have assistance.     I was glad to be able to help this one time, but she needed help every time.

  • This isn’t something that I did, but my 10-year-old twins…  They went to the Halloween Parade last night.  They were watching the Parade at my aunt’s who is 80, and has a Parade watching party for all of her friends and family every year.  They collected two huge bags of candy being tossed to the onlookers, which they promptly shared with all of the elderly people there.  Needless to say, they made me very proud.

More Important Than Looks Or Brains

You’re stuck on an elevator.

Guess who 63% of the men surveyed by Nielsen Entertainment Television would like to be stuck in that elevator with?

Not a Victoria’s Secret model.

Not even an athlete (only 15% said Eli Manning or some other athlete).

It was Jon Stewart.

And that’s because the next generation values humor above other qualities.

Not even music is as attractive to the next generation as humor.

88% said sense of humor was important to their self-esteem.

58% sent out funny videos to impress someone.

Humor has always been appreciated as a personality asset but if this research is to be believed, now more than ever, humor is a major component of our daily lives.

Maya Angelou said:

“Laugh as much as possible, always laugh. It’s the sweetest thing one can do for oneself & one’s fellow human beings.”

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If This Were Your Last Day On Earth

In 1990 Steve Jobs skipped an Apple business meeting to take the person who would soon be his wife on their first date.

They met when Jobs spoke at a class at Stanford’s business school where Laurene Powell worked.

They exchanged phone numbers and Jobs was headed back to Cupertino for an important business dinner.

As Jobs is quoted as saying:

“I was in the parking lot, with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, if this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman? I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since”.

Most of us are actually pretty good about setting priorities – that is, if we remind ourselves what is important.

And that’s the problem.  Life gets in the way.

So to take the litmus test for what is most important when almost everything seems important by remembering the words of Harry Lloyd:

“Success is only another form of failure if we forget what our priorities should be”.

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  • @LarryNow Thanks for the retweet, Larry

  • Awesome!!

How To Get Out of a Slump

Future hockey Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr had this advice to his young protégé, Philadelphia Flyers superstar Claude Giroux when Giroux hit a scoring slump in January of 2012:

“No matter how good you are, you are going to go through this. I was pretty good and went through it. When you are not the top [scorer], nobody really cares about it. You don’t score for 10 games? Nobody knows that.

“But when you’re a top guy, they expect you to score every day. I don’t worry about it. Nobody should worry about it”.

This does not mean don’t care.

It means don’t worry.

When we hit a slump in our lives, the more we bear down, the more things seem to get worse. 

When we’re on our game everything comes easy.

But when we’re in a slump, nothing comes easy.

The best way to get off the schnide is not by turning yourself inside out to break out of life’s losing streaks, but to stop worrying about it and go on.

Please share this with your friends and family and I’ll make more

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  • @peterjstern I’m in as you see!!!

The Advantages of Smiling

There was a wonderful fellow who was a disc jockey and later program director of WFIL in Philadelphia. 

Jay Cook was first hired to be the midday personality on Famous 56 and one of the things that is so memorable was to watch Jay work.  As soon as his microphone went on, he put a smile on his face.  Then he talked. 

Listeners heard a friendly and happy radio personality no matter what mood he may have been in and the audience ratings reflected his upbeat mood.

There are many advantages to smiling.

There’s no doubt that smiles change the way others see and respond to us.  But smiling also changes us.

You can’t be mad with a smile on your face.

Or down.

Or unhappy — as long as you try to smile.

Smiling is a real tool to bring about positive change initiated by you and not dependent on others going first.

Look for opportunities to smile today – and then watch the reaction of others along with the way smiling makes you feel.

As Tom Wilson said,

“A smile is a facelift that’s in everyone’s price range!”

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How to Say “I Love You” Without Saying It

I remember the radio legend Paul Harvey telling his audience about a man who expressed love in a most memorable way – a way we might want to emulate and a way I shall never forget.

Often the words “I love you” are empty or hard to say for some people.

But Harvey shared a stellar example of how to communicate this powerful emotion without getting caught up in what sometimes becomes a trite phrase.

As I remember it, Paul Harvey told the story of this husband who put a note in the glove compartment of his wife’s car right next to the insurance card and the owner’s card.

She probably would never see it – unless …

On it, he wrote her a note that said he was so sorry that she had to be in an accident, and that she was not to worry how he would feel about the damage to the car.  After all, she was fine and that is all that mattered.

Imagine opening the glove compartment of your car in a stressful situation like an auto accident to read the premeditated reassurance from a loved one that the most important cargo is you and not the mangled metal.

Steven King says:

“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them”.

Here are 10 more ways to say “I Love You” without saying it.

And if you love these daily emails, would you silently forward them to a friend?

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The 6 Most Important Words

Here is a short course in human relations:

The 6 Most Important Words …

I admit I made a mistake

The 5 Most Important Words …

You did a good job.

The 4 Most Important Words …

What is your opinion?

The 3 Most Important Words …

If you please

The 2 Most Important Words …

Thank you!

The Most Important Word …


The Least Important Word …


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  • Excellent.  Short.  Sweet.  Smart.


A great way to explain the importance of teamwork to associates, friends and family is this simple – try it.

If I grasp your hand and pull in the opposite direction, you won’t get far.

If I standstill and don’t move either forward or back, you’ll still have a hard time advancing with me as dead weight.

Only if I grasp your hand and move with you in the same direction and at the same speed will we move ahead together.

Even giving no resistance is resistance.

Teamwork is not the lack of resistance.  It is the act of engagement. 

And the goal of leaders should be to win the enthusiastic cooperation and active participation of others – not just expect it.

Henry Ford said:

Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.

Help spread the positive word.  Please forward this thought to a friend and I’ll keep them coming.

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