“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”

– Mark Twain, American author and humorist

481Image from Flickr by basykes

I am writing this post sitting in my 87-year-old father’s place in southern Florida. Besides enjoying the beautiful weather and time with family (my wife is here too), I’d like to share a wonderful surprise I had last night.

My dad lives in a senior community of about 15,000 people, during what is affectionately called the “snowbird season.”This place is something to see. Each week they have all kinds of top entertainment.

Last night was Tony Orlando, who I only remember from my youth. For two hours, this almost 70-year-old joyful and energetic performer took an audience of over 1,000 excited, hand-clapping, singing-along people on a wild ride down memory lane with songs from the likes of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, James Taylor, and a wide variety of his own hits.

The level of joy it brought to all of us points to the long and fulfilling lives these seniors continue to lead even today, given the beautiful “wrinkle-fest” we all experienced. 🙂

Exercise:

Do your best today to turn your own frown (and other people’s) upside down, and start an even bigger wrinkle collection of your own.

Unfounded Worry

“I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”

– Mark Twain, author and humorist

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Do you know someone who worries a lot? These individuals are often people who experience considerable fear throughout their life. Perhaps you are one of them.

Twain points to the fact that many of these fears and worries are unfounded – and yet they can limit our enjoyment of life.

Exercise:

When you or someone you know is experiencing worry or fear, ask these questions:

1. What is the likelihood that this thing I’m afraid of will actually happen?
2. What if I am successful?
3. Who can help me resolve this issue?
4. What one step can I take to improve the situation?
5. What, realistically and objectively, is the worst that could happen?
6. How would I cope with it if it did happen?
7. What can I do to minimize the danger of …?

Lastly, try breathing deeply. This technique has a magical way of lightening the load of worry.

“An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth.”

“An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth.”

– Mark Twain, author and humorist

In the earliest days of my coaching career, only a couple of months after I left my job in the pharmaceutical industry, I joined a small consulting firm. Their unofficial motto regarding income generation was “you eat what you kill” – and unfortunately, I was starving. Of course, if we did “kill” anything, we had an agreement to share a portion of our income with the house.

After about 90 days with absolutely no income, my first client gave me a personal check in my name for $1,000. I literally held that check in my wallet for almost a week, unsure if I should share it with the company who – up to that point – compensated me only with a key to the door and permission to use the telephone.

To say I had an uneasy conscience was putting it mildly. I actually made myself ill to the point of vomiting due to my internal conflicts. Living by the quote “The truth will set you free”, I discussed this issue openly with my colleagues – and I was almost instantly healed.

Exercise:

Where in your personal or professional life are you faced with an uneasy conscience, where summoning the courage of your integrity will remove the hair from your mouth?

#111: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

– Mark Twain, author

This quote reminds me of the one about climbing the ladders of life: we must be sure that the ladder is leaning against the correct wall.

As true as this may be, we must also be vigilant, placing one foot in front of the other to progress to our goals.

In my many years of coaching, I have seen some people continually set the same goals and objectives, putting in only modest effort and making minimal progress. In our rapidly moving world, an individual or organization that makes little or no progress often gets left behind by their competition.

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Exercise:

What booster rockets, high-test fuel and massive action would it take for you to reach your goals faster and amaze yourself?

#28: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions…”

“…Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

– Mark Twain, author and humorist

It seems to be everywhere. Maybe it is in the water supply, or even in the air we breathe. I’m referring to the need we have to be right, and to make others with different beliefs wrong.

Some people get a huge pay off from belittling others, and do not see the high cost they pay in dysfunctional relationships and toxic communities.

When we make a small but fundamental shift to a “try it on” attitude, we can find the good and valuable in what others think and have to say.

Exercise:

Who have you been making wrong or belittling lately?

By looking for what’s great about them, you will find your own greatness.

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your details in the sidebar to the right.