Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creative Problem Solving in a Tough Market

“The world is a grindstone. Life is your nose.” Fred Allen

The 1200 MPH fighter I flew for several years had a bad flight characteristic called a “pitch up” which could cause it to tumble right out of the sky. At twenty miles per minute, things happen fast.

My pitch up started at 56,000 feet (that’s eleven miles up). In this violent tumble I lost 30,000 feet of altitude. That’s almost six miles! This was the 9th pitch up experienced in this kind of a fighter and three pilots had survived. Not good odds! My goal? Be the 4th one!

The experts said that what saved my life was neutralizing the controls and popping the drag chute on the rear of the plane. This got the air flowing normally over the wings and I was able to recover.

That’s good advice for anyone. If you’re facing a major problem neutralize your controls and pop the drag chute. In other words, take a deep breath and don’t panic.

Out of conflict comes creativity. Expect your creativity to kick in. That’s when you come up with some amazing solutions. A perfect example follows:

In the mid 19th century there was a project to build a suspension bridge that would carry trains back and forth from Canada to America. This bridge would cross the 800-foot wide Niagara gorge and 230 feet below this structure would be the turbulent river formed by the Niagara Falls close by.

Keep in mind this is the mid-1850’s. What would you do to start this construction?

The engineers came up with an ingenious solution. They launched a kite-flying contest. Whoever got the kite string to the other side first would win a $10.00 prize. A nine-year-old boy, Homan Walsh won the prize!

His kite string was pulled across and it was tied to a heavier string, which was tied to a rope, which was tied to a cable, and thus the bridge was started.

We need to get more kite strings across our problems and not wait for the kite that’ll fly the bridge across!

Point to Ponder: It’s always too soon to quit!!!

The best is yet to be!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the Shoulders of Giants: A gathering of no-limits thinkers and doers

You’ve been invited to a mountain top cabin. You’re told to bring only a notebook and a pen. The men and women already there occupying the other chairs in the Great Room are starting a very lively discussion. The topics are facing challenges, innovation, courage, launching new ideas, etc.
After furiously taking notes on what was said that evening your notebook would show some of the following nuggets:

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
—Richard Bach, author

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, to the impossible.”
—Arthur C. Clarke

“One of the great discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
—Henry Ford

“I’m looking for a lot of [people] who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”
—Henry Ford

“Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half-awake.”
—William James, philosopher and psychologist

“We can achieve what we can conceive.”
—Elbert Hubbard

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
—Albert Einstein

“All serious daring starts from within.”
–Eudora Welty

“We want it all. From the instant we saw the birds flying, we wanted what the birds had. It’s intensely human to want it all. That’s how we recognize thresholds. They show us what we don’t have. We took what the birds had, but now we want the stars and every planet we’ve ever imagined...and the ones yet to be imagined. Thus, there will always be thresholds. We ask only the right to cross them.”
—From Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience, by Frank Herbert

“The faster I got, the smoother the ride. Suddenly the Mach needle began to fluctuate. It went up to .965 Mach—then tipped right off the scale. After all the anxiety, after all the anticipation, breaking the sound barrier, the unknown, was just a poke through Jell-O, a perfectly paved speedway, because the real barrier wasn’t in the sky, but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.”
—From pilot Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, Yeager

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
–Helen Keller

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”
—Elbert Hubbard

“A wish is a goal without any action attached to it.”

“Success is perseverance applied to a practical end.”
—Alexander Graham Bell

“A cheerful disposition is a fund of ready capital, a magnet for the good things of life.”
—Orison Swett Marden

The harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“If one stands up and is counted from time to time, one may get knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important, stand up and be counted at any cost.”
—Thomas J. Watson, business executive and first president of IBM

“Tough times never last but tough people do.”
—Dr. Robert H. Schuller

“Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”
—Henry Ford

“I know there is infinity beyond ourselves. I wonder if there is infinity within.”
—Charles Lindbergh (This is one of his last written notes. It was found on a nightstand next to his deathbed.)
“His mind is addled; he’s not worth keeping in school any longer.”

—Eight-year-old Thomas Edison’s grade-school teacher

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”
—Thomas Edison

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
—Thomas Edison

“Everything comes to him who waits—provided he hustles while he waits.”
—Thomas Edison

“I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence.”
—Thomas Edison

“The day before the funeral.”
—Edison’s response to the question “When will you retire?”

“My message to you is: Be courageous! I have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”
—Thomas Edison’s final public message, delivered during the depths of the Great Depression

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Long Lasting Moment of Truth

Someone can say something to you or you read something that has a long lasting effect on the positive rhythm of your life. It certainly happened to me.

One Sunday, during my teen age years, I read a life-changing piece on the cover of our church bulletin. It was called “Today Is Here.” That front cover stayed with me through high school and then on through college where it was pinned to my bulletin board.

Then it went with me through Air Force pilot training and supersonic flight school. After that “we” (that’s me and the aging “Today Is Here”) were assigned to the Philippines. During those two and a half years “we” did flying assignments in Samar, Zamboanga, Cebu and Taiwan.

After that “we” flew fighters at almost twice the speed of sound while based in both Tucson and Columbus, Ohio.

Leaving the Air Force, “we” headed for Southern California along with my wife and three daughters. “Today Is Here,” continued to be an inspiration during ten years in sales and now in these years as a speaker and author.

What was the text of this powerful long lasting inspiration? With no changes, “Today Is Here” follows. Also a scanned copy of the fragile original is included.

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!

Danny Cox

Today is Here

It’s time to do what you planned on yesterday

Today…is here. I will start with a smile and resolve to be agreeable. I will not criticize. I will refuse to waste my valuable time.
Today…one thing in which I know I am equal with all others is time. All of us draw the same salary in seconds, minutes and hours.
Today…I will not waste my time because the minutes I wasted yesterday are as lost as a vanished thought.
Today…I refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen because it usually doesn’t. I am going to spend time making things happen.
Today…I am determined to do the things I should do. I firmly determine to stop doing the things I should not do.
Today…I am determined to study to improve myself, for tomorrow I may be wanted, and I must not be found lacking.
Today…I begin by doing and not wasting my time. In one week I will be miles beyond the person I am today.
Today…I will not imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different. I will make success with what material I have.
Today…I will stop saying, “If I had time…” I know I never will find time for anything. If I want time I must make it.
Today…I will act toward other people as though this might be my last day on earth. I will not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.
Anonymous Author

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthplace of a Brighter Future


The three postings so far in April follow a logical sequence but each stands alone as well. The three in order are:

1. Declaration of Personal Responsibility
2. The Guy on the White Horse
3. Fear vs. Courage

The fourth in this sequence in this current posting is "Birthplace of a Brighter Future," again, by yours truly.

You might find it advantageous to review the previous three and then review the fourofthem. Please feel free to pass these aong to others.

Highger up and farther on! The best is yet to be! Danny

P.S. I'd love to hear from you.

By Danny Cox

As I concentrate on each word of this thought, now slips by me into the past. My past, then, is nothing more than a history of how well I dealt with each irretrievable now. So if yesterday is history, tomorrow is a prediction. Only the present exists.

The future is nothing more than an approaching series of nows. During one of these nows, I must make a decision that all future nows will be different. A brighter future grows out of a brighter now. Therefore, my future improves only as I make better use of the current moment.

It's the time remaining that counts, but just as important is my understanding of that profound truth. My willingness to accept responsibility for improving that time will determine the quality of the rest of my life.

The speed at which now becomes the past is staggering. Yet, if I commit my God-given strengths to improving each of these approaching nows, the faith in my bright new future will be exhilarating! For I realize that the same velocity that carries this now into the past can carry me at the same rate toward exciting moments of the future when ever increasing goals become reality.

A year yet to be is unborn, untarnished and full of promise. One of those brand-new years bright with potential, accomplishment and joy will be delivered to me tomorrow at dawn. My choice is to accept it as it is given or, through habit, mold it into the shape of years past.

The challenge is clear. The choice is mine. Challenge accepted!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fear vs Courage

Courage is the mastery of fear––not the absence of it. Mark Twain

If you ain't got a choioce, be brave. Old Ozark sayin'

A tiger that isn't aggressive, becomes a rug. Danny Cox


"Once when Marshall Ney was going into battle, looking down at his knees, which were smiting together, he said, 'You may well shake; you would shake worse yet if you knew where I am going to take you.'" Orison Swett Marden

What or who builds self-imposed barriers? A stonemason named Fear, one who is highly skilled in building powerful barriers from nonexistent stones. Where does this craftsman live? In our minds. He's always there, but it's up to us whether he lives in the back of our minds or the front of our minds.

Fear is the sworn enemy of adventure, which is perhaps the most exhilarating force driving no-limits achievement. And Fear goes exactly where we tell him to go.

We move Fear from the back of our minds to the front of our minds by shifting our concentration away from our own courage, and choosing instead to focus on that which frightens us. Not only does that action change Fear's location, but through the process of concentration, it means we actually start to strengthen Fear. Fear has no strength of its own; its only strength is that which we choose to give it.

When Fear defeats us, it does so because of our own mental focus. And unfortunately, the strength we pass along to Fear is the very strength we need to overcome it! If, on the other hand, we choose to push our goals, wrapped in courage, to the forefront of our minds, then barriers break.

You already possess sufficient courage to initiate this process and see your personal adventure through. A person may not be born with an overabundance of talent, but he or she will certainly possess all the courage needed, whether used or unused, to develop the talent that is there. Long after passing on to the next world, we will be remembered by family and friends, not necessarily for our inborn talents, but for the amount of courage we used, especially during our times of trial. The strength and vividness of the memories our loved ones and friends hold of us after we are gone will be directly proportional to the amount of courage we have chosen to use.

Immediate Action: Starve your fear! Feed your courage! Embrace your adventure!

Point to Ponder: "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there." (From above the fireplace at Hinds' Head Hotel, near London.)

Excerpted from Danny's book, There Are No Limits: Breaking the Barriers to Personal High Performance.

Please feel free to pass this along. Danny

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Guy on the White Horse

“Rise early. Work hard. Strike oil."
—J. Paul Getty’s formula for success

Sometimes, people set up goals for themselves and then find reasons to keep themselves from making any meaningful progress toward those goals. Perhaps you’ve run into people who have established “deserve levels” for themselves—levels of income, or happiness, or career satisfaction that they never go much above or much below, despite the opportunity to do so.

Think about financial goals. Even people who have work situations that allow for wide disparities in monthly income totals—salespeople, say, or home entrepreneurs—somehow manage to keep themselves from moving much outside of this so-called “comfort level.” Although people will say that they want to be able to increase their incomes, they’ll often find some way to link the attainment of that goal to someone other than themselves, and their small steps won’t match up with the big goals they’ve set up. The distance between where they are and where they want to be is measured in excuses: “If only someone would take over the job of organizing things...” “If only our financial system were better targeted...” “If only I had the energy I once had...”

There are far too many unfortunate souls on this earth who think that, once they figure out what life’s all about, they’ll be able to press the “rewind” button and run themselves back to, say, age 21—or any other time when “things were better.” Sad to say, people don’t come equipped with such a button. For these poor folks, life slips by, day by day, as they wait for someone or something to show them the way.

What they’re waiting for, when you get right down to it, is the “guy on the white horse”—the person who will tackle all the mysteries, solve all the problems, ride in and rescue them. While they’re waiting for this person to show up, they disengage. Let me share a secret: You have instant access to the “man or woman on the white horse”—the person on whom our safety and success depends—at any time. All you have to do is look down, and you’ll see that you’re sitting astride that “white horse.”

You are the guy on the white horse! You are the only person who’s qualified to change your present and, thereby, change your future. Don’t wait for great occasions to step forward as your own hero; don’t assume that someone else is blocking your way. Seize common occasions for positive personal change, and make them great.
The time to commit yourself to developing the most efficient plan possible to achieve your goals is right now. And the person who must carry out that plan is you. As someone once said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Immediate Action: Think about how can you take action, today, to address a challenge you had once believed to be someone else’s responsibility. Waiting for someone else to achieve a goal for us means abandoning that “molded-in-clay” goal—before it’s been put into permanent form!

Point to Ponder: Remember: A bad habit—like waiting for the guy on the white horse—can become so strong that it can be mistaken for destiny. Don’t let that happen to you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Declaration of Personal Responsibility

Several years ago, and all in one afternoon, I wrote what I call my "Declaration of Personal Responsibility."

The inspiration for this piece was from a man who was in one of my audiences. After the program, he said, "I hope the guy on the white horse gets here soon because I need help." I gently expained that if his problems were going to be solved he'd have to do it himself because the "guy on the white horse" is non-existant.

My Declaration is in two of the books I've written. Dr. Robert H. Schuller asked to use it in one of his best sellers. Other authors have used in in their books.

Og Mandino, who wrote the worlds best selling "The Greatest Salesman in the World," framed a copy of the "Declaration of Personal Responsibility" and hung it above his desk. He told me he read it every morning before he started writing. His favorite paragraph was the next to the last one that begins "With personal growth comes a fear of the unknown..."

I'd love to hear which one is your favorite.

My Declaration follows this letter. May I challenge you to write your own declaration?

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!
Danny Cox

Declaration of Personal Responsibility

I currently possess everything I've truly wanted and deserved. This is based on what I have handed out to date. My possessions, my savings and my lifestyle are an exact mirror of me, my efforts and my contribution to society. What I give, I get. If I am unhappy with what I have received it is because, as yet, I have not paid the required price. I have lingered too long in the "quibbling stage."

I fully understand that time becomes a burden to me only when it is empty. The past is mine and at this very moment I am purchasing another twenty-four hours of it. The future quickly becomes the past at a control point called the present moment. I not only truly live at that point, but I have full responsibility for the highest and best use of the irreplaceable now.

I accept full responsibility for both the successes and failures in my life. If I am not what I desire to be at this point, what I am is my compromise. I no longer choose to compromise with my undeveloped potential.

I am the sum total of the choices I have made and I continue to choose daily. What I now put under close scrutiny is the value of each up-coming choice. Therein lies the quality of my future lifestyle.

Will my future belong to the "old me" or the "new me"? The answer depends on my attitude toward personal growth at this very moment. What time is left is all that counts and that remaining time is my responsibility. With a newfound maturity I accept full responsibility for how good I can become at what is most important to me.

With personal growth comes a fear of the unknown and new problems. Those problems are nothing more than the expanding shadow of my personal growth. I now turn my very real fear, with God’s help, into a very real adventure.

My life now expands to meet my newfound destiny. "Old me" meet the "new me."