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.

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

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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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How Much Money Does It Take To Be Happy?

Once you have $75,000 a year, making more doesn’t help according to Gallup data collected from a half million Americans.

People who earned $55,000 were only 9% more satisfied than those making $25,000 – but they had expected double the satisfaction for the money.

Once you get to $75,000 the beneficial results of earning more income were negligible. 

The Million Dollar Man or Woman is not happier than the ones earning $75,000 a year!

More striking is what we do with our money.

The research shows spending money on everything you’ve ever wanted doesn’t make you as happy as banking it and spending it conservatively or giving it all away.

The secret to monetary pleasure is buying things for others giving additional credence to the adage “’tis better to give than to receive”.

When we give money to others to spend, they are happiest when they, too, spend it on others.

There is a push-effect.

I know a woman whose father and mother have crafted their wills to require their children to give away half the money they are being bequeathed.  And they’ve asked that the people who receive the 50% do the same for someone else.

It takes $75,000 to be as happy as a millionaire or even a billionaire.

But no amount of money makes people happier, according to this data, then those who share what they have.

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