Chapter 4, Laugh at the Irony of It

We were sitting on the sand of Laguna Beach California when my daughter learned to walk.

She stood, bare feet in the sand, a little sunbonnet on her head covering those red curls that took so long to arrive I said they had to screw themselves in. She stood wobbling, swaying, on two little legs that had to hold up a body ten times their size.

From an outsider’s perspective, her possibilities of walking looked slim.

However, she knew it was possible. She had seen people walk. Her parents walked. So, she stood, swaying, balancing on feet highly undersized for what stood above them, until, plop, she landed on her butt.

Did great tears roll down her face, and her little voice wail, “I’ll never walk?” Nope. She laughed at the irony of it all. Stood again. Wobbled again, until… She walked.

She continues to walk to this day.

You don’t have to be successful right out of the starting gate. You don’t have to berate yourself either. Begin, and keep on keeping on.

Laugh at the irony of it.

“The first prerequisite of an artist in any medium is to make a fool of himself.”–Pauline Kael, film critic

Or, at least be WILLING to make a fool of oneself.

Zeppo: “The garbage man is here.”

Groucho: “Tell him we don’t want any.”

The world is filled with people who have talent who never produce a thing.

We think that talent is some God-given genetic thing. The dictionary says it is an aptitude, a flair, an instinct for something.

Einstein said it is 90% hard work.

In your quest to unleash your creative spirit, you may feel silly, and you may say a lot of terrible things about yourself.

Be kind.

I know most of us want to fit in, to please others, to live a wave-free life. We know that to be ostracized was a death-sentence to our ancestors. If we are left alone in the jungle we would more than likely be eaten, so we learned that it was dangerous to go against the tribe.

Have you noticed how often you have a thought, but dismissed it? You thought it was a silly idea, not practical, and probably wouldn’t work anyway. It came from your mind, you thought, not from some great mysterious muse from beyond.

So, you tossed out the idea, only to find shortly after that someone else picked it up, ran with it, and made a success out of it.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

My younger daughter worked for a company that discouraged the employees from talking to each other, and they had eight minutes to complete an email, using formal English, with no contractions and no misspelled words. (Copywriting encourages contractions as they make writing conversational.)

Contrast this work environment to the Disney Imagineers who built a slingshot so big it would require two people to pull, and would catapult various breakfast foods across the room aiming for a hot cup of coffee. The winner was a bagel and cream cheese. An éclair came in second, but it needed the cream cheese for balance.

The winner catapulter would get rousing applause followed by a pelting of rubber bands.

When you’re in a state of fear you get entirely different results than when you’re are in a joyful state.

It’s time you made the contribution you were born to make.

For years I have held fast to a quote from one of my favorite, and most-read books,

Illusions by Richard Bach.

“If you wonder if your mission on earth is complete if you’re alive, it isn’t.”


“Why the Fuck not YOU?”

If you think one person doesn’t make a difference, think of Mahatma Gandi or Martin Luther King.

What about the woman who sued McDonald’s because she spilled hot coffee on her private parts. Now McDonald’s regulates the temperature of their coffee. Or, how many people take their shoes off at the airport because of a one-person bomb scare. Hey, if taking off my shoes will keep me from being blown sky-high, I’m game. Damn terrorists though. Stop it.

Airplane passengers subdued the shoe bomber—they are the heroes, but we still take off our shoes.

Tamper-proof medicine bottles, child-proof caps, Halloween candy that must be sealed, packaged and delivered. All caused by one person, all created out of fear.

One of my favorite Positive success stories is of one person who impacted millions by selling a kettle, a stirrer and a scrap of paper.

The owner of that kettle walked into a drug store one day and came out $500.00 richer.

The substance that came out of that kettle has made billions of dollars, has given untold people jobs, has given sugar cane growers business, has made the town of its origin famous, and has supported a college there.

The story began in 1886. And the paper held the recipe for Coca Cola.

(The first year there were an average of nine servings per day at 5 cents a glas. Now Coca Cola is selling 1.9 billion bottles globally. I do believe that the Coca Cola Company knows something about marketing.)

A fascinating aside is that one month Coca Cola didn’t market their product. Everybody knows about Coke, right? who would have though they needed to constantly advertise? Yet that month Pepsi beat them out by 12%.

And The Coca Cola Company gave some artists good jobs.

Most people blame circumstances, don’t ask for what they want, fail to tell the truth, don’t exercise, and avoid conflict, then wonder why their lives aren’t working.

Ask yourself:

“What is the job I would love so much I would do it for free—yet actually get paid?”

Ahem, write it down.

Then go to Chapter 5 Come on Baby Light My Fire