Growing Good Corn

14 03 2013

Growing Good Corn

James Bender, in his book How to Talk Well, illustrates how it benefits to everyone when we mutually help each other. He relates a story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his best corn in the regional fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him to learn about how he grew blue-ribbon corn year after year. The reporter discovered something interesting. He learned that the farmer actually shared his best seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seeds with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition against yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

It’s a simple and important principle. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves. He cannot succeed simply by watching out for Number One. He succeeds best by helping his neighbors succeed. That’s mutualism.

And I am aware that it goes for me, too. Do I want to succeed? Then I must help others to succeed.

Do I want to live in peace and harmony? Then I need to help my neighbors also live in peace, and the very peace they experience will add to my own.

Do I want to live meaningfully and well? Then I should help to enrich the lives of others, for my own happiness and well-being is bound up in the lives I touch.

In other words, if I want to grow good corn, I need to help my neighbors grow good corn. Call it mutualism. Call it a principle of success. Call it a law of life. I only know that none of us truly wins until we all win.

~ Steve Goodier


Tonight, God Is In The House

22 01 2013

Tonight, God Is In The House

Posted: October 23, 2007  @ 12:04 PM      |      By: Brian Johnson


“We may affirm that absolutely nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” ~ Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Have you heard the story of Art Tatum? It’s pretty cool. (I got this from Robert Cooper’s BRILLIANT book, The Other 90%.)

Art was one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists. Here’s his story:

Art was born partially blind in Toledo, Ohio in 1909. He became completely blind after he was beaten as an adolescent. Yikes.

Art absolutely loved music—especially the piano. His family couldn’t afford a piano or lessons so when he wasn’t at school or working, he’d have someone walk him over to the local saloon where he’d sit at the player piano and follow the keys for hours on end.

It was hard to keep up with the dizzying speed of the keys going up and down, but that’s how he taught himself how to play.

Here’s the cool part: What Art didn’t know (because he didn’t have a teacher telling him it was impossible) was the fact that the manufacturers of player pianos of the 1800’s and early 1900’s used two pianists, not one, to make the rolls of paper music.

Not knowing it was impossible, Art became the first pianist in history to play four hands of music with his two hands. Nice.

Apparently, at one point Art Tatum played with Fats Waller, another jazz legend. Waller told the audience: “I am just a piano player. But tonight, God is in the house.”

7 year old Matty B dedicates a song to his sister

10 01 2013

This Is Good.

9 11 2012

This is Good!

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!” To which the king replied, “No, this is NOT good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. “You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean,’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you.”

When To Help Others

1 11 2012

A mouse looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package; what food might it contain?

He was aghast to discover that it was a mouse trap!

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning, “There is a mouse trap in the house, there is a mouse trap in the house.”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me; I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mouse trap in the house.”

“I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse,” sympathized the pig, “but there is nothing I can do about it but pray; be assured that you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow, who replied, “Like wow, Mr. Mouse, a mouse trap; am I in grave danger, Duh?”

So the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected to face the farmer’s mouse trap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a mouse trap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught.

In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.

The snake bit the farmer’s wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

She returned home with a fever. Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

His wife’s sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well, in fact, she died, and so many people came for her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.

So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when the least of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

About Confidence

25 09 2012

A once-successful business owner found himself deep in debt and could see no way out. The creditors were closing in on him and his key suppliers were demanding payment or they were going to cut him off, which would shutter his business.

Desperate and distraught, he found himself sitting on a park bench fretting about his situation trying to think of what to do to save his company from its impending bankruptcy.

Just then an old man walked up and sat down next to him. The old man said, “I can see something is troubling you son. What is it?” After listening to the business owner’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”

He asked the man his name, wrote out a check and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today and you can pay me back at that time.” Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business owner looked down to see the check in his hand was for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in the world. The business owner thought, “All my money worries have been erased in an instant!”

Nevertheless, the business owner decided to put the check in his safe first, before going to immediately cash it. He thought, just knowing it was there as backup gave him strength to work out a way to save his business.

With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals, got extended terms of payment and pushed through on a few big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly a year later he returned to the park with that un-cashed check. The old man did not appear for some time, yet the business executive decided to wait for a while more. Sometime later the old man came along but seemed unmindful of the business owner.

He stopped the old man and was about to hand over the check with enthusiastic words of gratitude when he saw a nurse come running up to grab the old man.

She said, “I’m so glad I caught him. I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling everyone he’s Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished business owner just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half-million dollars behind him. Suddenly he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

He understood in that moment that his massive transformation came from one force—confidence.

Confidence is nothing but the distant vision held positively, no matter what comes. It derives from one’s commitment and dedication and is entirely internal, no matter the external circumstances.

If there is one attribute you want to work hard on developing it is this: CONFIDENCE (or chutzpa, if you’re feeling Yiddish).

CONFIDENCE, as defined by full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing (meaning yourself).

That’s what you want: full trust and belief in your powerful self

17 09 2012

Riding the High Wire

In 1859 Chevalier (Charles) Blondin made his first of 17 trips across the Niagara Gorge on a tightrope. A cable had been stretched from Canada to the US. He started from the Canadian side and was crossing to America. In front he was pushing a wheelbarrow. One foot at a time he crossed the wire, below millions of tons of water were crashing over the falls. The artist with nerves of steel pushes his wheelbarrow across. As he reaches the American side wild cheers were sent up, drowning out the roar of the great falls. He stood alone on the platform, hands raised high, and yelled to the crowd below. “Do you believe I can do it again?” The crowd went into a frenzied roar. He yelled again, “Do I have a volunteer to ride in the wheelbarrow?” All you could hear was the roar from the falls, the crowd was silent.

Do you walk the walk or just talk the talk?