“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

—Josh Billings, pseudonym of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw

With the advent of email and texting, my use of regular or snail mail has declined by over 90%. How about you?

For selective or special mail such as birthday cards, I’m still an old-fashioned guy who sends cards with hand-written notes.

Despite my reduced use, I cannot recall stamps every falling off, and perhaps only a few times when my special message failed to arrive. The speed with which these message got there is another story.


What current project or top priority in your professional or personal life requires even greater focus and “stick-to-it-ness” for you to get to the result or outcome you desire?

Elbow Grease is the Best Polish

“Elbow grease is the best polish.”

—English Proverb

Image of "elbow Grease" tins

When I was a boy, Vaseline was always in our medicine cabinet. This magical goo is simply a brand of petroleum jelly used for cosmetic purposes like removing makeup or soothing dry skin.

We also found that a little dab of Vaseline could put quite a shine on our shoes, and provide a bit of waterproofing as a bonus!

For us Baby Boomers, the term “elbow grease” simply means hard work and doing what it takes to make something good even better.


Which current personal or professional project would shine a bit brighter with a bit more elbow grease from you or others?

Friday Review Persistence


How persistent are you in your pursuits? Here are a few persistence-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.

Image of a river full of rocks


“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”



Image of Sysiphus pusing a rock up a mountain


“Persistence prevails when all else fails.”




Image of sticker stating times in the future


“SOMEDAY is not a day of the week.”

unbeatable combination for success

“Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”

Napoleon Hill, America’s foremost success/motivation author

Image from www.newinki.com

Image from www.newinki.com

I recently finished a chapter on Personal Mastery for a book titled Essential Wisdom: Personal Development and Soul Transformation, which will be published soon. As I researched my topic, I discovered how relevant Napoleon Hill’s statement is to virtually every journey of success.

When we combine these three qualities, they appear to have far more helpful impact than their additive effects. We say that 1+1+1=3, but perhaps 32 or 3 to the second power, might more accurately demonstrate their potential synergies.


Where would combining greater patience, persistence, and perspiration make the biggest difference in your personal and profession endeavors?

The Stream and the Rock

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence.”

—The Buddha, Indian Spiritual Teacher

Image from Flickr by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Image from Flickr by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Most of my elementary school teachers would have described me as an average-to-good student with a bit of an attention problem.

Starting in the eight grade, I realized that although I was average-to-good on the standardized tests, I was able to outwork others to achieve what I wanted.

This “magic quality” has been a key to success throughout my life.


Where can you apply the power of persistence to outwork others and achieve your goals?

Trust when the answer is no

“Trust that when the answer is ‘no,’ there’s a better ‘yes’ down the road.”

—Author unknown

Photo from Flickr by Abhi

Photo from Flickr by Abhi

Many people are familiar with the story of Thomas Edison’s 10,000-plus unsuccessful attempts to create the light bulb. His philosophy on such a high volume of failures was that the world was simply saying ‘no’ to the most recent attempt. He is quoted as saying, “I never failed. I only found 10,000 ways in which it did not work.”

Undaunted, he persisted in his efforts, always seeing a better way and getting to a ‘yes’ that would eventually light the world.


Where in your own life are you receiving your share of No’s?

How often do the No’s stop you? How often do they spur you on in faith, knowing that the better Yes’s of life may simply be a bit further down the road?

“A jug fills drop by drop.”

“A jug fills drop by drop.”

—The Buddha, spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism


Image from Flickr by Shan Sheehan

The other evening, I was watching a science program on television: “How the Universe Works.” The subject of this particular episode was how the Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago.

Surprisingly, I learned that in the early years, the Earth had no water at all. The constant bombardment of water-containing meteors and asteroids filled our rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans drop by drop over billions of years.


What efforts are you adding, drop by drop, to your personal and professional “jugs” each day, to have a more fulfilling life?

“It is not a daily increase but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

“It is not a daily increase but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

– Bruce Lee, martial artist and actor

When I speak with the majority of my clients and ask them how they are, they almost always say something that includes words such as “busy,” “swamped,” “overwhelmed,” or “slammed.”

Most of us are faced with an increasingly complex life, and unfortunately, spending time, space and energy on the inessentials can be exhausting. Bruce Lee suggests here that we can take particular note of what can be eliminated from our lives, to reclaim fulfillment, vitality and happiness.


Explore the following categories as you look to decrease or perhaps eliminate things from your life:

  • Clutter
  • Subscriptions
  • Email
  • Clothing
  • Toxic relationships
  • Technology

Press “reply” to this message and let me know some other categories you plan to hack away at.


“Someday is not a day of the week.”

– Unknown

Someone once said that hard work pays off in the future, but procrastination pays off now. This is a funny thought, and it may even be true on a limited basis. However, people who procrastinate and put things off for someday in the future often look back on their lives with regret.

When people are asked about their regrets in their lives, in their old age, they rarely regret the things they did and often regret the things that they did not do.


Rather than dreaming about the things you will do in the future, consider:

  • Traveling to wonderful places.
  • Starting a business or changing your career.
  • Learning a new language.
  • Becoming healthier.
  • Saving for retirement now.
  • Engaging in a new hobby.

Start or revisit your bucket list and place an actual date next to each item on the list.

Try to check one of those items off this week, if possible.

“The race is not always to the swift … but to those who keep running.”

“The race is not always to the swift … but to those who keep running.”

– Unknown

Over the years, I have known a number of friends, colleagues and clients who took on the challenge of running a marathon. The most inspiring was a friend named Jerry, who was in his late 40s and about 50 lbs overweight.

Each week of his extensive training program, he would email his friends and colleagues about his efforts and progress. He even gave us his cell phone number to call him during the race, to provide support and encouragement.

The result – Jerry finished the race. (The time? Well, let’s say that it was way over six hours.)

Another wonderful result for Jerry is that he now sees he can take on other life challenges, because he keeps putting one foot in front of the other.


What proverbial life races are you planning to run, and where will you need a little “Jerry” inside you in order to finish?