Gary Crow Presents Audio Tidbits

Butterfly Power

There is an Irish Blessing bidding, "May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on, to bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond." Think of this as Butterfly Power.

The special Butterfly Power expands, according to William Butler Yeats, to include a mysterious learning beyond our understanding, "This great purple butterfly, in the prison of my hands, has a learning in his eye not a poor fool understands." I know Yeats limited his observation to great purple butterflies; but I have taken the liberty to expand it to butterflies in general.

At a minimum, it seems safe to conclude butterflies are pretty amazing. Taking this as given, then, Steve Bull provides a useful strategy for tapping into the amazing powers of butterflies. His idea is, "Nerves and butterflies are fine - they're a physical sign that you're mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that's the trick."

Just imagine it. There you are, mentally ready and eager; but those pesky butterflies refuse to fly in formation. The next thing you know, you are pacing the floor, ringing your hands, and quoting Charles Dickens, "Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are!"

Is that the pits or what, your becoming unhinged over a few uncooperative butterflies? Indeed it is! It's every bit as bad as Arthur Somers suggested, "Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained;" and that channel just keeps getting deeper.

Fortunately, there are only three basic butterflies, only three that actually matter. Getting them to fly in formation isn't that big of a deal. You only need to identify them and then figure out where each goes in the formation.

The secret principle for getting butterflies to fly in formation is called the To It Principle. It includes three sub-principles which, coincidentally, happen to match exactly with the number of butterflies you are trying to get to fly in formation. Now how cool is that, one sub-principle per butterfly?

The first sub-principle is the Up To It Principle. Assign that one to your lead butterfly (the big purple one?). You are either up to it or you aren't. Sure, worrying about whether you are up to it is the basis of your anxiety, what is getting you unhinged. Even so, the only way to determine whether you are up to it is to take a deep breath and get started. Worrying and putting off getting started just cuts that channel Somers pointed out even deeper.

That's why you need the second sub-principle for getting butterflies to fly in formation. It's the Around To It Principle. You keep telling yourself that you will get started one of these days, when you get around to it. Well, assign the sub-principle to the second butterfly and put that reluctant flyer in the formation, just behind the left wing of your lead butterfly. You either get around to it today or you likely never get around to it at all.

Okay, you are up to it and have finally gotten around to it. You are ready for the third sub-principle. It's the Down To It Principle. This one is definitely not rocket science. Since you are up to it and have finally gotten around to it, it's time to get down to it, do what you need to do. Assign that job to the third butterfly and slip it just behind the right wing of your lead butterfly.

There you go, your butterflies in a tight formation. As it turns out, there isn't any trick to it. You are nearly ready to go; you have those pesky butterflies in tight formation, leading you to your glorious future. There are just a couple more things you need to know as you pursue your success.

"Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?" (Fanny Brice)

You have a job only you can do. The job you have is being you. At the end of each day you must take a test. Did you give being you your very best?

e. e. Cummings had some words that will take you pretty far. "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." The challenge is never giving your courage a rest. That's how you give being you your best.

Raymond Hull also had something important to say. "He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away." What that means you've already guessed. You have to be just you to give being you your best.

You can't be who other people want you to be. You can't be a spider or a bird in a tree. The spider has its web and the bird has its nest; but you have something special when you give being you your best.

Judy Garland didn't find her advice on a shelf. "Always be a first-rate version of yourself;" and Johann von Goethe's message wasn't a surprise, "If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise."

Confucius was a philosopher who knew how to depart, "Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Go north or south or go east or west. Wherever you go, give being you your best. - with your personal butterflies tightly aligned and leading your way.


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Bad Management & Destiny

“Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.”

How do these words from E. M. Forester resonate for you? If you are scratching your head and thinking, “Huh,” perhaps Jawaharial Nehru can help clarify the point, “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” It’s just like Diana Trilling argued, “There's much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.”

Sure, some lucky ducks were born with silver spoons in their mouths. In life's great poker game, some people get better cards than others. It is enough to make you just sit down and cry. The old law-of-averages certainly does not apply to you. You wish…; and if cows could fly and if luck were really a lady, the world would be a fairer place. Even if it were not, at least you would get better cards. Keep on wishing. Maybe your luck will turn. Then again, maybe not. That is why simply going with the cards you are dealt is usually your best choice.

William McFee knew the winner’s approach, “If fate means you to lose, give him a good fight anyhow;” and as Kin Hubbard counseled, take care to never “…confuse bad management with destiny.”


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The Full Truth

"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your inspiration with others." (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Stevenson's advice sounds like wise council but isn't. He would have benefited from Thomas Jefferson's observation, "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." Sir Walter Scott's caution would have also been helpful, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" The suggestion, either explicit or implied, that intentional dishonesty is appropriate or correct is silly and – well – dishonest.

"Inspiration" is the product of one's creative thinking and work, a sudden intuition about a situation or problem. It pops into reality partially or fully formed, without supporting analysis or carefully considered explanation. Assuming that the "fears" Stevenson suggested that you keep to yourself are associated with the inspiration you share with others, the problem is this. The inspiration is the "I think" part of the sudden intuition. The fears you aren't sharing are the "I feel" part. Stevenson suggests that you share the "I think" part but not the "I feel" part. That seems to promote a "half truth" as the way to go.

Suppose instead that Stevenson didn't intend that the "fears" and "inspiration" were associated. Your fears relate to X and your inspiration relates to Y, with X and Y being unrelated. You should share your inspiration about Y but not your fears about X. The advice would still be debatable but trivial. He is merely counseling people to share their inspirations with others but keep their unrelated fears to themselves. That would make concurrently sharing, "I have discovered a cure for cancer but am deathly afraid of snakes," inappropriate. Is that profound advice or did you, perhaps, already know that?

No, Stevenson advised that you share your inspirations but not your related fears. That makes his advice unacceptable. People need and are entitled to the full truth, not half truth. It also makes what you share more credible. This is especially true for leaders. People want to know what you think, want you to share your vision, your inspiration. They also need to know what you fear, what the risk is for you and for them. Go with the whole truth, inspiration, fears, and all.


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Want To Be Dave Barry's Friend?

This is a special day. I have three (3) bona fide friends on Facebook. That is exactly the same number of friends Dave Barry has; at least that's how the math worked when I considered Dave's friend count a while back. I don't know if Dave's three friends represented a Facebook count or just a regular friend count; but as of today, I am right up there in company with famous people like Dave Barry. - Sure, Dave is famous, I think, isn't he? You bet!

Let me refresh your memory if you don't quite remember the previous Dave Barry story.

Dave said, "I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."

This self-disclosure prompted Curious George (CG) to check around to see just how closely the quotation aligned with reality. The first step was to check with a couple of Barry's remaining friends. Let it suffice to note that a second step was not possible, due to an inability to complete the first. CG confronted Barry, "As it turns out, no one will admit to being your friend, remaining or not." To that, Barry turned red in the face and said, "I for sure have three remaining friends. I used to have more but it has gotten to where three is all I can afford. Your not finding them is hardly my fault. Never attribute your incompetence to mine. Remaining friends aside, I can still win an argument on any topic, against any opponent; and if you want to push the point, we'll just take it outside."


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Kindnesses When You Can

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present." (Babatunde Olatunji)

This present is unlike others you may receive now and then. You can't give it back; and to refuse it is a sin. It isn't a present that can ever be exchanged. It starts and ends in the dark and can't be rearranged.

There are but twenty-four hours in this new day you got. That's quite a few; but it's not a lot. You may wish for more hours to do all of your stuff; but twenty-four is it and will have to be enough.

If you are disappointed in the few hours given to you, there are fourteen hundred and forty minutes to do what you do. If you don't carelessly fritter the minutes away, there's plenty of time for both work and for play.

That's eighty-six thousand and four hundred seconds to use only for you. It's certainly your choice; but is that what you'll do? Do as you will; but consider this plan. Use the four hundred seconds to give kindnesses when you can.


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