Little Epistle: Incubate Your Dreams

Click on the picture to see the video (You know that already)

When I worked at Brigham Young University I was privileged to have an office in a beautiful new building. The man who made it possible with a large contribution was Pete Harman. One day he told us how he made the money to finance this, and many other worthy projects.

Pete was at a trade show in Chicago when he met a man with a secret. He was a common working man, now retired. But in his heart he carried a dream. So about the time many people are wrapping up their life’s work and heading to the rocking chair on the back porch this man was in Chicago at the show pursuing his dream.

The two struck up a conversation. The southern man said, “If I ever get to Salt Lake City I’ll cook you a chicken dinner.” Pete smiled. They shook hands and parted.

But surprise. Some time later the gentleman turned up at Pete’s door and said, “I have come to make good on my promise.” The visitor called for several pressure cookers, various spices and ingredients, and labored in the kitchen for most of the night.

Pete figured he had an eccentric all talk no do wanderer on his hands. The visitor seemed to have bitten off more than any of them could chew. In fact, it looked as though none of them would be chewing anything. Nine hours the stranger pored over his pots and pans and frustrations. Still no chicken dinner.
But at length he called his hosts in and invited them to partake. They did so, mostly to humor him. Pete and his wife Arline tentatively lifted the chicken to their lips, took a bite, looked at each other and smiled. They both knew gastronomical gold even in the rough.

They spent the next few days preparing to give this new dish a little trial run at their restaurant. By Saturday they had an ample supply and production facilities to test the new offering at their restaurant, or so they thought.

As the marketing people say a product has got to have legs to move. This chicken had legs. It took off running all over Salt Lake City. People savored the flavor, devoured the dish, phoned their friends, and ran to and hollered at their neighbors to hustle down and treat their taste buds. No way could the restaurant keep up with the stampeding appetites. They had the world’s greatest marketing problem, over demand. They eventually solved it in a national and worldwide way.

Just before they opened the store on that momentous Saturday they remembered the new dish ought to have a name.

“What shall we call it?” Arline said.

Pete replied, “Well Mr. Sanders says he is from Kentucky. Why don’t we call it Colonel Sander’s Kentucky fried Chicken?” And they did.

In this great land which is still filled with opportunity dreams come true at many stages in life in many ways. The secret is to never give up on your dreams and always keep an eye open for the next opportunity. Not all of us have hankerings to build an international corporate empire. But we all have some secret desires incubating inside us. Even if they seem impossible, keep them warm, keep them alive. Some day to our surprise we may see that little egg hatch and watch that chicken run, maybe even fly.

To be continued

Little Epistle: Train the Brain, and the Body

When the ancient Egyptians mummified a body, they mashed up the brain, sucked it out through the nose, and threw it away as useless gray gunk.

Aristotle, probably the most respected of ancient Greek learned men, thought the brain was a radiator to cool the blood.

But in today’s society, we almost worship the brain. A trained brain is often the ticket to prosperity, popularity, and success.

No doubt the brain is a useful organ, no thinking person should be without one. But is it the sole source of knowledge, intelligence, capability and wisdom? Maybe not. Dr. Robert Cooper a personal improvement expert has done extensive research on how the body gains and dispenses knowledge and feelings. His findings indicate that certainly the brain is the center of much, probably most, of our thinking and motor coordination. But there is much learning and even thinking at some level going on throughout the body.

Dr. Cooper’s research shows at least three thinking centers in the human body. The brain, the center of the body, and the area around the heart. Interesting. Perhaps brainpower, gut feelings, and heartfelt impressions are more than just figures of speech.

There is such a thing as emotional intelligence apparently. It well may be more valuable in everyday interaction than intellect. It also may be more powerful than brain centered thinking. Dr. Cooper’s studies have measured electro-magnetic waves emanating from the brain. They radiate out to about 11 inches. But similar waves from the heart area can be detected up to five feet away from the person.

I’m thinking (or maybe feeling) the best way to train and utilize this emotional intelligence is to analyze our actions, then look at the motives behind them. Then ask ourselves, “Are these things bringing me what I really want in life, and making me the person I aspire to be?”

If all things are lined up properly then we can enjoy the picture in our mind of wise old King Solomon in the Bible smiling down upon us and saying, “As (a person) thnketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Little Epistle: Memory as a Tool Not a Weapon

Our conscious memory can sweep us from scene to scene faster than the speed of light. It can carry us to the vast caverns and massive motivational engines of the unconscious mind.

This incredible tool must be designed for important work. It is. The scriptures say, “Remember the Lord your God,” (Deuteronomy 8:18) This perspective from the past can help guide our future.

With our memory we can hang on to one piece of information, attach to it another and gradually build our knowledge base. Since intelligence is the glory of God, memory is an integral part of our divine potential.

The memories of joyous summers can support us as we work through the cold and bitter winters of our lives.

There is even an eternal memory that seeps slightly through the veil. It is called the light of Christ and it reminds us that we are not creatures of this earth alone, but eternal beings.

Memory is an indispensable tool. But like other tools it can become a weapon against ourselves and others. Memory misused constantly calls up discouraging and destructive images. An abusive memory recalls and re-injures old wounds and refuses to forgive past offenses thereby making the rememberer guilty of a worse sin than the one who offended him. (Doc. and Cov. 64:9)

The key to a truly effective memory is not simply recall, it is wisdom in our selection of what to store in it. Sydney Harris once said, “Happiness usually depends more on what we can forget than on what we can remember.”

Little Epistle: Habits

I count among my friends the late Stephen R. Covey, but then so do a few million other people. But I did work with him on a couple of projects and they turned out well.

Stephen was an internationally respected consultant to business, government, educational, and religious organizations. His book, The Seven habits of highly effective people has sold 25 million copies in 40 languages.

The “habits” in the book’s title are the key to Steve’s effectiveness. Seven rules effectively recited won’t take us very far, but habits are what can make or break a life. Ingrained deeply enough, they determine our character.

Steve succeeded because he trained and motivated people to actually put into practice the principles he taught them.

He was convincing and authentic because he used the seven habits to guide his own life and his family. As a result, he was effective in more than just business.

His message was memorable because he packaged profound principles into seven bite sized habits.

In this he followed the master teacher who was the center of Steve’s life.

Jesus distilled his curriculum into just two habits, and his teaching method into two words. The habits he espoused were first Love the Lord, second love your neighbor. His teaching mode was, “Follow Me.”

I wrote a little song about that. It goes like this.
Jesus came to Galilee
He found Peter by the sea,
And the sons of Zebedee
He said to them, “Follow Me.”

As usual, you can hear this message, and Martin and me performing the rest of the song if you click on the YouTube attached to this post.