Friday, March 26, 2010


All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move. Benjamin Franklin.

This quote from Benjamin Franklin seems to apply to so many areas of life I wanted to share it with Eclectic Chalkboard fans.

Think about it relative to:

Career Advancement







Either we aren’t doing anything, we have the ability to do anything but aren’t, or we are doing.

Thanks Ben.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The neighbor kid, Jimmy, a scruffy-looking 19-year-old, who seemed to favor faded black T-shirts with numerous holes and well-worn dirty jeans he liked to wear for a couple of weeks before washing, came over to borrow a rake. He couldn’t help but notice again, the care I was giving to detailing my car. At the beginning of every Spring and Autumn, I give my ten-year-old Toyota its biannual spa treatment, inside and out. It may have its car door dings and parking lot scratches, but it still has that showroom shine and no rust. An accomplishment I take a bit a pride in.

And then there’s Jimmy’s car. A prematurely aged ’98 Ford Fiesta, a British import. Dirty, dented and rusting, its cherry red exterior had oxidized to the point that the cherry had abandoned the car a couple of years ago. Jimmy’s idea of taking care of his car was running it through the $2 car wash once a year, at the end of winter, “whether it needs it or not,” he liked to say. This despite the fact that Jimmy works at a car wash.

Jimmy liked to think that people shouldn’t make judgements based on outward appearances. And while I agree that people shouldn’t make judgements only on outward appearances, first impressions are inevitably made on what people, places and things look like.

Jimmy thought it was a waste of time, money and effort keeping my Toyota looking and running as well as I could. I tried previously to explain the value of maintaining an investment but it mostly fell on deaf ears. He kept insisting that a car just gets you from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and it shouldn’t matter what others thought.

This time I thought I’d try a different approach when he asked me why I work so hard at “keeping up appearances”.

I asked him why he always borrowed his dad’s ’06 Dodge Viper (yes, a red one) when he went out on a date.

“Dude,” he said, “It’s the snake, man. Look at it. Girls love it and I look so good in it.”

“But why not just use your car,” I asked. “All you need is to get from here to there, right?”

“Mr. E, you can’t be serious,” he said. “I’m not gonna impress a girl in a Ford Fiesta. I don’t want her to think I’m a total douche on the first date.”

“So on what date do you want her to think that of you,” I asked.

“None,” Jimmy said emphatically, like I was some kind of nut for even suggesting it.

Suddenly the candle flickered inside his brain, signaling some activity. I think he finally got it.

A couple of days later, he asked if I could give him some tips on “restoring” the finish on his Fiesta.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


“If only I’d gotten that promotion,” the young man said to his friend. “Man, if I woulda got it I coulda got on that executive fast track. I’m so bummed. I really shoulda got that promotion, you know. Now I’m just stuck with the other losers.”

In about fifteen seconds, this young turk placed himself squarely in the middle of “the other losers.” And not because he didn’t get the promotion.

He did so because he decided to speak the language of losers. He invoked the “if-onlies” along with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” lament. These are the phrases that tend to lead people down the path of regret, blame, stress and often crisis. Rather than looking forward to the real opportunities ahead, they focus on the perceived lost opportunities behind. They talk about what they’ve lost rather than on what they can gain.

In the battles we fight today for the treasures we seek tomorrow, we need to be mindful of what our focus is and how our words can either obscure or clarify it.

Pursue your purpose. Pitch everything else.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


In one of my previous lives, (and no, I don’t mean reincarnation) I worked in a number of prison systems. (And you’d be amazed at how eclectic that was.) And among the many things I wondered about, one of the more silly things I found was the question almost every parole board asked of almost every prisoner up for possible parole.

“Do you feel you have been rehabilitated?”

You’re reading the files of rapists, muggers, killers, burglars, stalkers, ad infinitum, and the best question you can come up with is, do you feel you’ve been rehabilitated?

And I wondered if they ever got any answers like:

“Well Mr. Parole Man, I’m a mean, unrepentant reprobate and if I ever get out of this prison, I’m going to go right out, buy the biggest sledge hammer I can find and commit numerous and heinous acts of vandalism.”

“Rehabittle-bable-liberal-tated? Hell, I can’t even spell the word, so no, I guess not. Can I go back to my cell now?”

“I’m glad you asked that. If you will quickly visit my web site Cut_Me_Loose_Today_Or_I’ you will find a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the twenty top reasons why I believe I’m rehabilitated.”

“Well golly gee willickers of course I do. Yes, I know I cold-bloodedly murdered and hacked to pieces a baker’s dozen of victims, but I’ve since learned in my years of therapy and group counseling that that is not a constructive way to deal with my issues of people with zits.”

Or maybe the response would be a loud, maniacal laugh that would reverberate down the granite hallways and out into the countryside until the milk curdled inside that cow a mile and a half down the road.

I can think of a number of good ways to determine if someone is likely rehabilitated, but asking a prisoner something like that is no where on the list.

What a silly question.

Monday, March 22, 2010


For those who are familiar with the Winnie the Pooh character, Eeyore, this will make a lot more sense. Especially if you’ve heard his voice in the cartoon adaptations of the book. (Yes, there was a book that preceded the animation.)

Eeyore is a somewhat gloomy, despondent, melancholic kind of character. He’s the darkened cloud on your otherwise sunny day. He’s the muddy puddle you step into with your new shoes. He’s the pothole on your freeway of life. He’s also one of the more favorite and beloved characters in the Winnie the Pooh stories. Go figure.

Now imagine the Eeyore personality come to life in the girl who is “serving” you at the checkout counter. From the depressive body language and the eyes that never really make contact to the labored movements and that distinctive Eeyore-type voice, it is an uncomfortable point of customer contact.

That having been said, let me offer some offer some advice to hiring personnel and the people that supervise those hired to be points of customer contact.


For the sake of all that is good and right in the world, STOP IT!!

Stop hiring people who don’t want to work.

Stop hiring people who think that their best is showing up relatively on time.

Stop hiring people who treat productivity like it’s a naughty four-letter word.

Stop hiring people who act like they hate customers who interrupt their raging acts of nothingness.

And if for some ungodly reason you have to hire at the bottom of the barrel, at least tell them to stop handing customers their receipt, and in that woe-is-me Eeyore voice, say, “Have a nice day.”