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Week 21 – Mayday! Mayday!

In this week’s lesson, Haanel points out something which hit me between the eyes. Blindsided.

21.16. If the desire is one which requires determination, ability, talent, courage, power or any other spiritual power, these are necessary essentials for your picture; build them in; they are the vital part of the picture; they are the feeling which combines with thought and creates the irresistible magnetic power which draws the things you require to you. They give your picture life, and life means growth, and as soon as it beings to grow, the result is practically assured.

It seems that I have the picture in my mind and have been driving towards the “end point”, the person I will be after I have climbed the mountain, not the person I need to be to actually do the climbing. How could I have missed this important point?

Short blog, big task ahead. I believe I have inadvertently been preparing to be a 3 Star General without ever having gone through Basic Training. Gotta go, there’s a shitload of pushups to do!

(please don’t tell Dr. J.  He might just call on Big Vinnie & have him blow smoke in my face while chastising me for my utter lack of competence….)

Dang, only 5 weeks to get this straight.

Week 20 – Lilly’s Rosary

Last evening Janet & I attended a Catholic Funeral Vigil for our friend Lilly. For those of you unfamiliar with Catholic traditions, this is a prayer service for someone recently deceased and usually includes praying the Rosary. I had never been to any Catholic services before I started dating Janet (boy THAT sure goes back a long ways….), but when you marry a Catholic, you marry their Family AND their traditions as well. It has turned out to be good for me.

The last couple of weeks in our MKMMA journey we have been reading obituaries, thinking of our own impact on the world and most recently, getting into our little brains some idea of the short TimeLinetime we have left to get the important things done in our life. Dr. J. has asked us to write out a card showing a timeline of our life with the current position indicated to help us visualize where we are at in this incredible journey called Life. Being an Engineer I just had to use a ruler. Of course, the endpoint I chose (95 years) is debatable.

So how should I feel about the fact that I am over half way to the end? Two thoughts come to mind:

1.  I can be like the brat at the arcade when mom says they are leaving in 10 minutes and the child throws a fit.

2.  I can be like the child at the arcade when mom says they are leaving in 10 minutes and the child makes a beeline to the favorite arcade game to wring the most joy out of the remaining time.

I don’t want to be remembered as a brat.

Lilly was 91. A smiling short Italian lady, usually meeting us at the door, waving us in, pushing food in front of us. The kind of person everyone should be blessed to know. Funny how an elderly person can seem so content, but yet be worried about everyone else’s well being at the same time. She managed to wring value from every day.Compass01

I wonder if she is content with her timeline? I wonder if she would be content with mine and how I have lived? My plan is to be sure that friends like Lilly are proud of how I live my life.

The compass, remember the compass………  (and as I said before, my watch doesn’t have a battery in it)

Week 18 – Ed Kinney liked me.

To summarize my experience to date with the MKMMA journey – I am happy. I have always been a positive sort of guy (OK – always is a stretch, but you get the idea) but I feel happier, more “tuned into” my surroundings, paying more attention to feelings than I did before this class. A day doesn’t go by that my wife & I make comments like:

Are you asking my expert opinion? (accompanied with some chuckling)

That was kind… (of you, or them).

That is OK, they are where they are supposed to be in their life.

Being content, happy with what happens. Happy knowing the outcome will be OK.

Last week we were to read an obituary or two each day. Presumedly to get us thinking in terms of our legacy, something I have never done much of. Then last Friday I awoke with this week’s blog in my head. I had not started thinking of what to blog, this was just “given” to me. Funny that I had written “Ed Kinney liked me” on a gratitude card a month ago, maybe Ed is reminding me that an important part of our legacy is the memories we leave with others. Memories of him certainly came back to me after all these years……

Ed Kinney was a farmer in central Nebraska. I met him when I was a young boy at my father’s gas station. Dad’s gas station was located on the edge of a town of maybe 130 people surrounded by corn farmers with a few raising cattle or hogs. The spot where everyone went to get their gasoline back in the days where we washed the windows & checked the oil and tires for free, when gas cost 28 cents a gallon. Ed was a life-long bachelor, lived in a run-down single wide trailer house and drove his tractor everywhere he wanted to go. Ed was no more than 5′ 6″ tall and kind of scrawny with the skin of his arms and face tanned dark brown from years under the Nebraska sun.

Ed was a hoot. His volume levels were either whisper or shout and he was exuberant about life. When you spoke with Ed he looked you in the eyes, fully connected to every word you spoke. Although he never finished school (he may never have attended any for all I knew, his signature was limited to a crude “X”) he was masterful of his crops and the weather. Oh, and of his tractor.


John Deere 2020, or as Ed would say “trinny – trinny”. The one possession of value held by Ed. He drove it everywhere. His trips were timed to fit into his farming and the destination determined by the week’s needs, and they were day trips, meaning he spent most of the day at the lucky location. He would arrive at the gas station when the tractor needed some attention or he needed to pay his bill (this was the age when people got gas or an oil change or a tire repair, and left, with us attendants recording the transactions, no signature needed). His arrival was announced by much shouting and hollering and laughing, and usually some jumping or shoving for good measure. Although he didn’t have much, he lived a full life with many friends. Some people didn’t much care for this old man wearing bib overalls having spots of dirt or grime, old round-toe boots, unkempt hair and skin with the powdery Nebraska soil ground into the pores of his face. But Ed liked everybody.

He would be sitting in the shop listening to the other farmers bitching about corn prices or the weather or the latest government official, and when it got quiet for too long Ed would spring to his feet and holler “I’M GONNA KICK THE BUCKET!”, which was always followed by “tch, tch” a sound he made not unlike what a rancher uses when coaxing a horse out of the barn. Ed could jump up, land on his knees on the concrete and bounce back on his feet, then run up to you, usually much closer than most people are comfortable with, look you deep in the eyes and whisper, “how do I look, do you think I’m gonna make it?”. I cannot remember a day when Ed arrived and didn’t announce to everyone that he was gonna kick the bucket. If the group of farmers which we there when he arrived left, to be replaced by others, he made sure they knew as well.

I don’t remember when, but someone started a game we played with Ed, much to his despair. Since we knew he would be at the shop for the day we started hiding his tractor when he wasn’t paying attention. Out behind one of the buildings, or sometimes wedged between two pickups where he couldn’t get it out by himself. Ed would moan and holler and plead, all the while laughing or trying to shove someone against the wall as if this little man could strongarm them into releasing his prized tractor. Then one of us would take Ed to the local grocery store to help him pick up some essentials for the week (usually limited to canned goods and a loaf of bread).

Ed was the poorest person I have ever known, poor in the sense of not having any material things beyond his beloved tractor. He always wore bib overalls and boots, he was always dirty and lived in a trailer house that should have been burned to the ground. I remember one blustery winter day when he arrived and I thought he was going to loose his ears from frostbite as he only had a seed corn cap on his head (for those unfamiliar, the seed corn companies always gave baseball-style caps having their logo on them to the farmers as a way to advertise. Usually thin to keep one’s head cool in the summer sun). I had one of these stupid hats that was ugly green, quite heavy, fur lined & had earflaps. I gave it to Ed and you would have thought I was a long lost brother. He wore that hat every winter thereafter.

Then, when I was in high school, Ed kicked the bucket.

I don’t remember much about that spring, I suppose due to being too involved with school and more “important” things to worry much about than this farmer who wasn’t going to get to plant another crop. I stayed at the gas station the Saturday of his funeral to allow the older guys to attend. It turns out there wasn’t anyone who could remember a funeral in Wood River Nebraska with half as many people in attendance. It would seem that Ed spent his free days at other gas stations, other grain elevators, other shops, hollering and laughing and entertaining everyone. Jumping up and shouting  “I’M GONNA KICK THE BUCKET! tch, tch”. He had LOTS of friends.

It took a few years to sink in, but I think Ed taught me a few things. Not to say I am good at them, but I’m working on them.

          Look people in the eye when you talk with them.

          Everyone likes laughter. Make them happy.

          Be happy with what you have.

          Take good care of your tractor, it may be the only one you get.

Thank you Ed.

Week 17.5 – I am one of a kind

In this chapter of “The Greatest Salesman in the World”, Mr. Mandino is trying to get us to believe that we are special, unique, valuable, a miracle. Some might argue that it is a miracle I have made it this far (in life, not the class…..).

This morning I awoke with the thought to put into this space filled with Masterful Minds something which would energize me, cut off the easy retreat to a life of comfortable indifference, to share my cards….

So be it. I am learning to not only listen to but to heed that inner voice, Mr. Intuition. So here goes, a list of all of my cards whichI have written regarding why I am special, perfect in every way. The proof of my uniqueness will be in your replies.

I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

I am an outstanding electrician

I shook hands with Harold Edgerton.

I have seen men wearing wooden shoes.

I have walked down the railroad tracks.

I have cried at a movie.

I have been an excellent manager.

I have been to the top of Pike’s Peak.

I keep a gratitude journal.

I rode on Goliath.

I scratched my name on the bluff above Rock Springs, Wyoming.

I can print black & white.

I know how a laser works.

I flew an airplane solo on my 16th birthday.

I have been to Holland.

I graduated from High School.

I am a good plumber.

I have cut down a tree.

I know how to use an oscilloscope.

I have a great sense of humor.

I lived at Stuhr Museum.

I have replaced the battery in a cell phone.

I am an excellent tutor to college (and high school) students.

I can ride a bike.

I saw The Blue Man Group.

I can type.

I have seen shooting stars.

I have repaired cameras.

I graduated from college.

Ed Kinney liked me.

I synchronized the carburetors on a Jaguar.

My mom is proud of me.

I crawled through the storm sewer.

I keep my cars clean.

I have been to Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

I am on the cover of TN News.

I have seen dolphins in the wild.

I have given a bird a bath.

I have a graduate degree.

I have grown orchids, keeping them vibrant for years.

I can be very creative with my test equipment.

I saved a bunny in the window well.

I am a great photographer.

I had $135,000 in cash in my Blazer (a story for another time).

I have unloaded barrels of oil from a semi trailer.

I can read a vernier scale.

I have seen a whale.

I can use a 10 key keypad.

I passed 3rd grade (barely).

I have disassembled & repaired computers.

I witnessed the births of my beautiful daughters.

I made coffee today.

I am good at math (much to the surprise of my teachers).

I have changed the oil in cars and trucks..

I have held a WWII Japanese sword.

I painted my blazer.

I gave the old man a ride home to get his car.

I make a great cup of coffee.

I have driven 140+ MPH on a motorcycle.

I won a cruise.

I can develop film.

I make friends easily.

I drove the PCH from San Francisco to San Diego.

I am a good mechanic.

I am good at painting the interior of homes.

I have a $20 gold coin.

I helped an officer in need.

I have been to the top of the Cabauw Tower.

I went pheasant hunting with my Dad.

I can read & write.

I can fly a model helicopter (sort of).

I climbed trees.

My dogs loved me.

I have seen several tornadoes.

I drove a State Patrol car (yet another story).

I designed and built a beautiful home.

I can cook.

I do an outstanding job of washing windows.

I am a skillful and safe motorcycle driver (see above).

I have fixed tractor tires.

I can repair refrigeration systems.

I know how a slide rule works (but I am not proficient at using one).

I can sew.

I visited Florida.

Puppies like me.

My name is on a patent.

I went to a Papal Mass.

I can write software.

I can fix almost anything.

I rebuilt an engine.

I am a good writer (my teachers would not believe this).

I am good at cleaning floors.

I am a terrific father.

I drove Doug to the hospital after he broke his arm sliding into first base (idiot).

I designed an IC.

I rode in a hot air balloon.

I did EMP testing on a military radio.

I can set an irrigation tube (a lost art).

I share my tools.

I have lots of friends.

I can repair tires.

I can design digital circuits.

I can draw.

I have replaced the battery in an iPod.

I am good at using a computer.

I am a great shot with a pistol.

I cut my hair using a FlowBee (and I look great).

I am great at finding my way around.

I designed a world-class light sensor.

I have held a luna moth (I didn’t even see one for over 50 years of my life, then this guy wanted me to hold him!)


Some of you will have similar cards, but there won’t be anyone claiming to have all of these same sentences on their cards. Which means, both you and I are nature’s greatest miracle.

We are all connected, all on a never ending journey.  And Yes, you are Perfect.

Week 7 – Holy Negativity Batman!

How is it that our mind can go from being happy and content to angry with only a thought? You can be in a conversation with a good friend, sitting on the veranda sipping great coffee, beautiful weather, flowers, and something is mentioned about a person or event that pissed you off a long time ago and WHAM, your attitude tanks. The taste of the coffee even changes with your mindset.

LionKnowing we can go from good to bad in a heartbeat should give us hope that we just might be able to figure out how to go from bad to good in just as short of a timeframe. It is possible, but it takes effort. This week the Big M. has been bending our minds, trying to get us to go 7 days without keeping a negative thought in mind for more than 7 seconds.

“Really? – how in the world will I count off 7 seconds when I am torqued off?”. It certainly has been an interesting week. Not the least of which is discovering that the majority of time when I harbor a negative thought – it is self-inflected. I can handle the person who blasts through the red light at the intersection (say a prayer for them, they may be on the way to the hospital), or the person taking two parking spaces (I can understand someone needing more room to get out of the car, and I assume they didn’t want to scratch the car next to them) but when a memory rolls into view of some past event where I was wronged, it can be hard to let go before the dreaded 7 seconds pass.

So next time you catch yourself with an unhappy thought in your noggin, try to picture something that makes you happy. If you practice ahead of time you just might beat the seven second rule!

Day 46 of a 182 day journey, be positive Boy Wonder….

Week 5 – Perspective

How do we get ourselves into these predicaments? I was happy, living a fulfilled life with a wonderful family, we had a nice roof over our heads, good health, great attitudes, more than enough to eat, reasonably happy with our jobs, and then it happened. Someone gave me a book.

It is interesting that when we are in school, if we only read one or two books in the course of a year we are called “slow”, but yet most adults don’t read one or two books per year. I wasn’t in that camp and kept current with several technical magazines monthly as well as several books at any given time. There were years where I probably didn’t read more than three books, but these were rare. However, few were what I would now consider “personal development”, unless you consider reading several books on photography and darkroom techniques. I did process a lot of film and paper, so maybe the development counts. We were busy. Looking back I can see now that were ran about doing things we felt were important, but maybe not so in the grand scheme of things.


Anyway, this book I received was not something I would normally look for, and as such it was placed on the junk desk without much fanfare. After a couple of months I figured I should either give it back, or actually read it, so I started reading. You know how – skimming over quickly to get to the next page without much interest in the author’s intent. Then I couldn’t quit. It was over in about two days and I will never be the same, nor will my family. Our sense of security in the life we had built during 30-odd years destroyed by one man and his wife through this one purple book, written by Robert and Kim Kiyosaki. They have cost us thousands of dollars over the past 5 years, endless hours of study, books, seminars, webinars and lost sleep. My gratitude for Dave having given me this one book cannot be expressed. It changed my life.

Since reading that book I have given up wet-chemistry based photography (very time intensive), flying model helicopters (time intensive, at least to be good enough to not spend a lot of time at the repair bench), home electronics projects, home remodel projects (I have paid others to do some things because my time is now too valuable), …you get the picture. The focus is now on personal growth and a business we have started.

Andy Andrews speaks of having perspective, and that book slapped some perspective on me regarding how wealth is generated, the meaning of “passive income” and being an entrepreneur. My perspective changed big time. Now I will be honest and tell you that my success as an entrepreneur has not kept up with where my conscious mind wants it to be, but that too will change.

This past weekend I had the exhausting pleasure of watching our two granddaughters for a 30 hour stint. Doing my “out loud” readings with a 4 1/2 month old in my arm gave me a new perspective. My voiced enthusiasm shifted to a warm and loving tone to match the smiles of the young gem in my arms as opposed to the louder rants that usually erupt during my readings. Later I laughed as I watched her laying on a blanket on the floor, clean diaper, full tummy, surrounded by her favorite toys, whining and crabby. Just like me, banging my head against the teachings Mr. J. is trying to get across, which are appearing to be amazingly simple, but this “old school” subconscious that loves math and science and physics and taking the hard class, just to show them, seems to be either annoyed or indifferent.

One of my favorite visions has to do with the phrase I heard in one of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s audiobooks, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”. I see myself as this awe inspiring, powerful spirit with the tip of the finger just touching a calm pool. Where the pool meets the finger is where my entire human experience exists. Which means that when I get frustrated with how things are going, things I put into motion via my subconscious, my Divine self is chuckling as I did while watching my granddaughter’s frustration. Knowing this does not, unfortunately, prevent an occasional rant or outburst.

I am sure glad I decided to read that one book – thank you Dave.

Day 31 of a 182 day journey.

Stay the course. See you in a week.