If This Were Your Last Day On Earth

In 1990 Steve Jobs skipped an Apple business meeting to take the person who would soon be his wife on their first date.

They met when Jobs spoke at a class at Stanford’s business school where Laurene Powell worked.

They exchanged phone numbers and Jobs was headed back to Cupertino for an important business dinner.

As Jobs is quoted as saying:

“I was in the parking lot, with the key in the car, and I thought to myself, if this is my last night on earth, would I rather spend it at a business meeting or with this woman? I ran across the parking lot, asked her if she’d have dinner with me. She said yes, we walked into town and we’ve been together ever since”.

Most of us are actually pretty good about setting priorities – that is, if we remind ourselves what is important.

And that’s the problem.  Life gets in the way.

So to take the litmus test for what is most important when almost everything seems important by remembering the words of Harry Lloyd:

“Success is only another form of failure if we forget what our priorities should be”.

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  • @LarryNow Thanks for the retweet, Larry

  • Awesome!!

How To Get Out of a Slump

Future hockey Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr had this advice to his young protégé, Philadelphia Flyers superstar Claude Giroux when Giroux hit a scoring slump in January of 2012:

“No matter how good you are, you are going to go through this. I was pretty good and went through it. When you are not the top [scorer], nobody really cares about it. You don’t score for 10 games? Nobody knows that.

“But when you’re a top guy, they expect you to score every day. I don’t worry about it. Nobody should worry about it”.

This does not mean don’t care.

It means don’t worry.

When we hit a slump in our lives, the more we bear down, the more things seem to get worse. 

When we’re on our game everything comes easy.

But when we’re in a slump, nothing comes easy.

The best way to get off the schnide is not by turning yourself inside out to break out of life’s losing streaks, but to stop worrying about it and go on.

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  • @peterjstern I’m in as you see!!!

The Advantages of Smiling

There was a wonderful fellow who was a disc jockey and later program director of WFIL in Philadelphia. 

Jay Cook was first hired to be the midday personality on Famous 56 and one of the things that is so memorable was to watch Jay work.  As soon as his microphone went on, he put a smile on his face.  Then he talked. 

Listeners heard a friendly and happy radio personality no matter what mood he may have been in and the audience ratings reflected his upbeat mood.

There are many advantages to smiling.

There’s no doubt that smiles change the way others see and respond to us.  But smiling also changes us.

You can’t be mad with a smile on your face.

Or down.

Or unhappy — as long as you try to smile.

Smiling is a real tool to bring about positive change initiated by you and not dependent on others going first.

Look for opportunities to smile today – and then watch the reaction of others along with the way smiling makes you feel.

As Tom Wilson said,

“A smile is a facelift that’s in everyone’s price range!”

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How to Say “I Love You” Without Saying It

I remember the radio legend Paul Harvey telling his audience about a man who expressed love in a most memorable way – a way we might want to emulate and a way I shall never forget.

Often the words “I love you” are empty or hard to say for some people.

But Harvey shared a stellar example of how to communicate this powerful emotion without getting caught up in what sometimes becomes a trite phrase.

As I remember it, Paul Harvey told the story of this husband who put a note in the glove compartment of his wife’s car right next to the insurance card and the owner’s card.

She probably would never see it – unless …

On it, he wrote her a note that said he was so sorry that she had to be in an accident, and that she was not to worry how he would feel about the damage to the car.  After all, she was fine and that is all that mattered.

Imagine opening the glove compartment of your car in a stressful situation like an auto accident to read the premeditated reassurance from a loved one that the most important cargo is you and not the mangled metal.

Steven King says:

“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them”.

Here are 10 more ways to say “I Love You” without saying it.

And if you love these daily emails, would you silently forward them to a friend?

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The 6 Most Important Words

Here is a short course in human relations:

The 6 Most Important Words …

I admit I made a mistake

The 5 Most Important Words …

You did a good job.

The 4 Most Important Words …

What is your opinion?

The 3 Most Important Words …

If you please

The 2 Most Important Words …

Thank you!

The Most Important Word …


The Least Important Word …


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  • Excellent.  Short.  Sweet.  Smart.


A great way to explain the importance of teamwork to associates, friends and family is this simple – try it.

If I grasp your hand and pull in the opposite direction, you won’t get far.

If I standstill and don’t move either forward or back, you’ll still have a hard time advancing with me as dead weight.

Only if I grasp your hand and move with you in the same direction and at the same speed will we move ahead together.

Even giving no resistance is resistance.

Teamwork is not the lack of resistance.  It is the act of engagement. 

And the goal of leaders should be to win the enthusiastic cooperation and active participation of others – not just expect it.

Henry Ford said:

Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.

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3 A’s and a B

What’s the first question most parents ask when their children come home with a report card that has 3 A’s and a B on it?

What did you get the B in?


The same thing happens to mom and dad at their jobs where employers show more interest in what they didn’t do as well as what they hit out of the park.

If you want to package more motivation in one line than you could ever get from cracking a whip or lecturing about doing better, try this:

Tell me all about those A’s.

Or if you work with others who have excelled at something important:

How did you accomplish that?

More often than not, they will voluntarily tell you about the “B” or about the aspects that didn’t go as well as they hoped.

When I was a professor at USC, I quickly learned that a teacher only has a few minutes to really teach.  The rest of the time is devoted to getting students interested in hearing what you have to say.

You’ll know if you succeeded when your children, family and co-workers eagerly come to you with news of their success.

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  • Thanks to all of you for your kind words of encouragement.  I’ll keep it coming!

  • As usual, yet another positive thought to reflect upon and share with family, friends and colleagues. Please continue with these thoughts…they’re well received.

  • Jerry, unending, positive vibes. Great thought. Shared your thoughts on learning from failure with the kids, too. They’re >20 now, but its when they need the advise the most. Thanks, as always.

  • Jerry-ive followed you for 25 years. this is my favorite of all the pieces that you have ever written. A+++ -Irwin

The Value of Failure

Steve Jobs gave up control of Apple and got fired.

Bill Gates bundled Internet Explorer browser with Windows 95 but failed to see the importance of search engines.  Google did.

Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt.  And the man who coined the term Imagineering at Disney was fired as a news editor because – believe it or not – he lacked imagination

Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire life.  His most expensive painting now sells for around $150 million.

The Beatles were told by their record label that “guitar groups are on the way out” and that the Beatles had no future in show business. 

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb but not after thousands of failures.  That’s right, thousands!  Edison eventually said, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.

Here’s basketball great Michael Jordan: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The proven formula for success is failure.

Starting today, encourage yourself, your loved ones and your associates to embrace failure as a necessary part of future success.

Don’t dread it.

Welcome it.

Failure is not permanent until you stop trying.

Success is your reward for persistence.

Help spread the positive word.  Forward this thought to a friend and I’ll keep them coming.

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  • TOTALLY NEEDED THIS!!! Thanks for reminding me.

  • Thanks for the kind words!

  • You’re welcome.  It really was a great motivational reminder.  I’m looking for the next big thing after Merlin and that was much needed.  Thanks!

  • As always Jerry – love your inspiration!

  • Great motivator!  Just a clarification.  The Beatles weren’t told that “Guitar groups were on the way out” by their record label, it was actually Decca Records, a label they had just auditioned for that passed on them.  (They would later sign The Rolling Stones as to not miss out on the “guitar group” trend.)  And it was told to their manager Brian Epstein.  The real “Your reward for success is persistence” in The Beatles’ example is that the label they DID sign with, Parlophone, was the just about the only record label in England that hadn’t yet said no to them.

  • TY for the kick in the pants!

Don’t Focus On the Past

Apple CEO Tim Cook remembered Steve Jobs as teaching the importance of not focusing on the past.

“If you’ve done something great or terrible, forget it and go on and create the next thing”.

Apple has had many successes and some notable failures.

Mapgate is one of the failures.

The malfunctioning mapping program built by Apple to replace Google maps is tarnishing the otherwise stellar reviews for the new iPhone 5.

Cursing what is already done is not productive in business as well as life.

Move forward.  Start over. 

The past is history. 

The French novelists and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol said:

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be”.

That is a powerful way to put the past, present and future in perspective that can make a difference in our lives.

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Overcoming Fear and Worry

There is one sure way to conquer fear and worrying.

Consider that 99.9% of everything we worry about never comes true. 

Fortunately, it never happens.

That doesn’t stop worrywarts from making themselves miserable.

And it’s not like you can flip a switch and all of a sudden never have a worry again.  That’s just not going to happen overnight. 

But you can reduce the anxiety that comes with fear and worry.

Forethought instead of fear thought – plan ahead to solve problems but don’t dread what you fear.

Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if that 0.1% chance of what you’re fearing actually occurs.

As the master, Dale Carnegie, says:

“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear does not exist anywhere except in the mind.” 

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