Lessons from a Cancer Survivor

I was honored to work as an instructor for Wynn Etter, a Dale Carnegie sponsor in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Wynn was a force to be reckoned with – a ball of enthusiasm and positivity.  A man who could lift your spirits within the first two sentences out of his mouth.

He often could sense when I had doubts and he would say, “you can do it, tiger”.

Me a tiger?  I guess so if this force of nature thinks so.

Wynn came down with cancer later in life.

All through his treatment which went on for many years, Wynn lived an exemplary life of a person who had to deal with adversity while remaining positive.

How?

He always made it about you.

I would say “How are you feeling Wynn?”

“Great, tell me about your book, Jerry” and he’d be off and running to avoid sulking, sorrow and sympathy.

He lived for years, joined a gym for the first time when he was 65 and taught me by his example that helping others lift their spirits had the simultaneous effect of lifting his.

Wynn died a few years back but as you can read today, he’s very much alive in me.

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The Number One Thing People Crave

Not money – money is nice, amazingly people want and need  it but don’t crave it.

Not lots of friends – yes, friends are important but the number isn’t compelling.

Good health? – certainly, it is hoped for, expected and appreciated but people only seem to crave good health when they are faced with grave illness.

Power?  It’s a drug, wears off quickly and needs to be constantly fed.

The number one thing people crave is compassion.

Sympathy, pity, concern for their problems and sorrows.

And in the end, we do, too.

The perfect gift that makes people crave you is the ability to treat them with compassion.

Listen, relate, feel the pain and connect.

Since we know this is universally true, developing our ability to be compassionate toward others should be our main mission at work, at home and with ourselves.

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The Fountain of Youth

Exercise, diet, cosmetics, fashion – these are frequently employed ways to beat getting older.

Many of my college students think their 30’s will be the decade that all things good will happen.

For everyone else, it’s turn back the clock somehow, some way.

But it’s not numbers or workarounds that constitute the fountain of youth.

It’s enthusiasm.

Never outgrow your zest for enthusiasm.

Or as Henry David Thoreau put it “None are so old as those who have outlived their enthusiasm”.

At any age.

We can become more enthusiastic when we are more devoted to be grateful for all that we have not just that which we want.

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Growing Stronger

Strength isn’t a show of force.

It’s for lifting other people up and for helping sustain you through the challenges of life.

Strong people give power away.

Strong people use their power to help others get along better.

Strength is used to make sure everyone is heard – the number one need of humanity.

It is easy to confuse force for strength but strength is a tool to enable others not celebrate yourself.

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Zombie Eating

88% of adults stare at a screen while eating with or without children or other adults in their presence.

The average eater will check their screen twice during a meal and only have two meals without staring at a screen each week.

91% watch TV while eating a meal or snack, 49% watch TV and eat on a regular basis.

Why such destructive habits?

The survey conducted by Pretzel Crisps of 2,000 adults blames zombie eating on sending or receiving emails (50%).

48% scroll through social media.

37% watch YouTube videos.

36% focus on work-related activities.

Only 3 meals a week are consumed at the kitchen, 79% on the couch, 64% standing at the kitchen counter, 61% in bed and 48% on the floor.

If this is you, your phone is living your life. Becoming more social and interacting with others in present company, becoming the master of your device is a way to promote good relationships.

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