Issue 94

“Achievement is an act of the will.”
Gene Griessman, Ph.D. Editor


Getting Ahead Of Yourself
”Better to be five years late than one day early when you do The Tonight Show.”
— Jim McCawley (producer of “The Tonight Show;” 1942 –1997)

It’s Harder Than It Looks
“Those who most appreciate the works of a master are those who’ve tried to do it themselves.”
—Author unknown

The Power Of Art
“Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view.”  –Paul Klee (Swiss-German painter;1879-1940)

Yield Not
“Don’t be evil.”
–Unofficial motto of Google

Missed Opportunities
“Luck doesn’t wait for you.”
–Traditional saying

“It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.”
Thomas Jefferson (Second U.S. President;1743-1826)

Everybody Needs A Friend
“We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome.”
–John Steinbeck  (American author; most famous work “The Grapes of Wrath,” which won the Pulitzer; 1902-1968)

America The Beautiful
“America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.”
–John Updike (American novelist, poet, literary critic; 1932 –2009)

The True Nature Of Politics
“Politics shouldn’t be a problem, it should be a solution.”
–Chris Matthews (American author and political commentator; 1945)

The Way To Get Action
“If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want”
–David Ogilvy (Called “The Father of Advertising, and known for “10 Tips on Writing.” this is his 10th tip;1911-1999)

An Ounce Of Prevention
“When embarking on a project, think of all the ways something can go wrong, and devise ways to deal with it if it does.”–Gene Griessman, “Time Tactics of Very Successful People”

Know When To Fold ‘Em
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Then quit.  No use being a damn fool about it.”
–W.C. Fields  (American comedian, actor, and writer; 1880-1946)

Stephen Sondheim, now in his 80s, remembers a lesson he learned from Oscar Hammerstein when he was fifteen. The famed lyricist-composer–known for the hit musical “Sundays in the Park with George” and the song from “A Little Night Music,” “Send in the Clowns” immortalized by Judy Collins, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and scores of other marquee performers–had written a show for his high school.

Sondheim, who knew Hammerstein through a family connection, asked Hammerstein to judge it. Sondheim told him to evaluate it as he would a professional show, because, in Sondheim’s words, “I was so sure it was wonderful.” Hammerstein told him, “In that case, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read.”

Sondheim was upset.  Up to that point he had been sure he was going to become the first 15-year-old ever to have a show on Broadway.

It sounded cruel, Sondheim says, but it wasn’t. “What he was saying was, if I was going to ask for a professional standard, he was going to treat me like a professional. He told me, ‘It isn’t that I don’t think you’re talented. I think you are, but I will tell you where it’s wrong.'” Then the great Hammerstein went though the 15-year old’s show–all the songs, all the dialogue–and showed him “where it was terrible,” showed him how to turn a play into a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end so that the characters are different at the end than they were at the beginning.

Sondheim says he learned more about writing that afternoon than he learned the rest of his life. Says he still does what he learned that afternoon. Source: HBO special “Six by Sondheim” (One of the finest documentaries I’ve ever seen. Don’t miss it. May get an Emmy nomination, perhaps an Emmy. I know it will get my vote.)

Athletics is a school where life lessons can be learned: courage, discipline, focus, alertness, self-management, steadiness under pressure, strategic thinking. Athletes are not just playing. They are learning, often without knowing it.  The credits are transferable. Success in one field can lead to success in another. That’s why so many leaders in business, the military, and politics have also been involved in athletics.

Examples: Obama played high school basketball on a team that won the state championship.  Lincoln was a wrestler. So was George Washington.  Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan played college football.  George H. W. Bush was captain of the Yale baseball team.  Theodore Roosevelt was a boxer and Dwight Eisenhower was a golfer.

It’s a term from sociology that means “taking the role of the other.”  Actors do it, obviously.  It’s their stock in trade.  Playwrights do it.  They create characters with wants and habits, and let the characters take on a life of their own.

Leaders can use sympathetic introspection, too. Imagine yourself playing the role of the other, the “other” being a member of your team, a sales prospect, a competitor.  It’s startling how much you can learn if you can get inside the thoughts and wants of the other person.

Disagree without being disagreeable can be more than a cliché.  It can be a personal goal for effective communication.

The old saying—“If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all”—is just plain wrong.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” a saying attributed to Edmund Burke, is closer to the truth.  I’d make this modification.  All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people say nothing.  Saying nothing is often just as bad as doing nothing.

Here’s a communication tactic that just might help you disagree without being disagreeable. Start by saying, “There’s merit in what you say.” This kind of response shows that you respect the other person.  The person you are disagreeing with may be less defensive, less combative if you begin this way.

Interested in learning how you can communicate more effectively?  There’s a compendium of proven tactics at

“If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything.  If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

A staged reading is scheduled for The Village Church in Hapeville, GA, near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on July 26 and 27.  Mark your calendars.  More details soon.


About The Lincoln Fundraiser In Atlanta
“Last evening’s performance was outstanding overwhelming, stirring, and inspirational. You truly became Abraham Lincoln on the stage. Northwest UUC thanks you many times over for this generous gift of time, effort, and talent. There is no way we can thank you enough for your generous contribution.” –Beryl-Grall Petty, Event coordinator.

“I hope that you are basking in–and relaxing in–well-deserved glory. I knew that your performance would be good, but didn’t realize how superb you are.  You had the audience eating out of your hand, from your triumphal entrance to your standing ovation.”
–Sondra Ilgenfritz (President, Atlanta Theater To Go)

“Shirley and I had a simply wonderful time last night. She was enthralled by your portrayal, and I had the chance to witness a master class on how to captivate an audience.” –Tom Nixon (Tom Nixon Design)

About The Previous Issue Of TAD
“Wonderful issue. I was enthralled by the history of the Lincoln White House and the military. Great stuff!.” –Gene Siciliano (CEO, Western Management Associates)

From The Lincoln Presentation And Seminar In Rochester, NY
Lincoln’s approach in the first-person really brings you in and keeps audience engaged.” Jeremy Knoll

“I liked the stories told by Lincoln and relating it to current time. Loved the acting. Very engaging.” Laurie Zazzaro

From the Michelin Leadership Retreat In North Carolina
Great presentation. I like the conversational aspect of the topic rather than PowerPoint.” Ghulam,Husnain