Tag Archives: quest story

“You find what is exposed”: Dustin Hoffman on the Graduate, the least reliable instrument, and his one wish

The New York Times has a great article on the actor Dustin Hoffman. He’s 71 now! Here are some of his quotes that moved me: Knowing Your Strengths Even When Others Don’t “It was the switch that turned me from off to on,” he says (about The Graduate). “Before that part, I had been a mainly unemployed actor for over 10 years. Basically a failure, from anyone’s accounting of it. Yet I knew what I was about.” Play What’s Not There “It’s not intellectual. You’re mostly aware of what you don’t like. Henry Moore said something like that. You keep chipping away at what isn’t an elephant. And Miles Davis said: ‘Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there’ — I’ve put it on my wall. We think the conscious is the determining factor, and actually it’s the least reliable instrument. The knowing is the infringement. You find what is exposed.” Acting and Being a Child “You go back to being a 2-year-old looking at a leaf, the construct of it. You are doing the same thing again. It’s something in the middle that messes you up.” His One Wish “If I had one wish, it would be to live long enough to get to a point where you know yourself. Is that ever possible? Well, you won’t and you don’t. But you have to retain a sense of wonder.” Inherit the Moment At my age I have no other choice but to inherit the moment and see how it develops. I am out there every day, wary but still open to new experience, which is good for the character and good for me too.” “And just how long have we got the magic?”

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Slow Ice on Lake Michigan – A Quest Story of A Pause With Purpose

January, Chicago. Cities can show you what fun can be or how harshness can feel. This time it’s the harshness side – I’d been on the road for what felt like weeks already with miles to go before I rested and couldn’t get in my city groove. Days were spent in the hotel room toiling as the winter sun shone outside. The morning after the evening Beer Here Now beer team building program I led at the Hard Rock Hotel, the last morning before I flew out. Somehow I got myself out of that room and for a run in the gray morning towards Lake Michigan. A mile away I found it and ran to the water’s edge. Silence, or more specifically almost silence. There was the quiet high tinkling of thin sheets of ice gently knocking into each other. I looked out and saw those sheets of ice fade into the horizon. A huge sky, and huge plain of slow moving ice as far as I could see. Such calm, such trust in a slow, natural order of things. Nothing trying to get done, nothing extra packed in, no overwhelm, just this subtle movement of ice with thousands of other pieces of ice, all looking alike, all moving as one. I could feel myself empty out in the best of ways and be taken over by this grand, slow rhythm. I had no more than twenty minutes to give to this place, yet it transformed the remembrance of the rhythm of my whole trip and to paraphrase Robert Frost in his Dust of Snow poem, it gave my heart a change of mood and saved some part of a trip I had rued. What larger rhythm can realign your purpose today and save some part of a day you might otherwise have rued?

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Quest Quote

“On this Veterans Day…let us pray that there will be no more veterans of any further wars, not because all have perished but because all shall have learned to live together in peace. “ – John F. Kennedy Quixote Consulting has three military charity team building activities: Military Salute: Team Soldier Care Package Building Veteran Tribute: Military Care Package Team Building Teams Joining Forces: Helping Military Families

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The History of Veterans Day

The following is from Remembrance: A Tribute to America’s Veterans, a book I co-wrote with my father Robert A. Fletcher. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, armistice was signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany. The year was 1918. Now 11-11-11 is almost here, and almost a hundred years later, we still pause and remember, calling to heart and mind all the young lives lost in battle since then and before then. In 1926, Congress officially named November 11 Armistice Day and it became a legal national holiday in 1938. This was to recognize the end of “the War to end all wars” on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. It was at this time that November 11-18 became known as “Veterans Week.” After World War II and Korea, Congress in 1956 changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all veterans. President Eisenhower wrote, “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly to preserve our heritage of freedom and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not be in vain.” Great Britain and France celebrate November 11 as Armistice Day, while Canada observes it as Remembrance Day. Veterans Day everywhere is marked by parades and speeches. At 11 a.m., a flag is lowered and raised again as church bells ring after two minutes of silence, just as they did in 1918. Quixote Consulting has three military charity team building activities: Military Salute: Team Soldier Care Package Building Veteran Tribute: Military Care Package Team Building Teams Joining Forces: Helping Military Families

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“There’s gonna be a big hootenanny…” Bill Byrne on Collaboration, Music and Having a Top 40 Hit

Bill Byrne is a renaissance man: a lawyer, judge, mayor (of Morgantown, West Virginia) and musician with a Top 40 song. He’s packed a lot of living into his life. He also tells a great story. I caught up with Bill at a Hero’s Journey Foundation weekend retreat where we played a lot of music together. Listen below to learn how Bill was able to move from competition to collaboration in law and politics, what it’s like to have a Top 40 hit as a teenager, what it’s like to be the family musician, and simply enjoying the act of playing music. You can also hear Hootenanny – his Top 40 hit from the summer of 1963 with his band the Glencoves – both the original version (thanks to YouTube) and a special solo acoustic version recorded just for you. The words are also below if you’d like to sing along. Listen and enjoy the Mayor of Morgantown’s musical story! Listen here: The journey from competition to collaboration Bill’s Musical Journey “It’s always brought out a better part of me” – On being the family musician Letting Go of Perfectionism and Just Enjoying the Act of Making Music Hootenanny solo acoustic version Check out the songs on YouTube: Hootenanny Here are two other songs by Bill’s band The Glencoves: It’s Sister Ginny’s Turn to Throw the Bomb Devil’s Waitin’ (On Bald Mountain) Sing Along at Home! Here are the words to The Glencoves Top 40 hit Hootenanny: There’s gonna be a big Hootenanny, hootenanny Everybody’s gonna come along All join in at the Hootenanny, hootenanny Sing a hooting, hollering song Put on your hat Put out the cat Bring a little money Cause you might need that Throw out the blues Kick off your shoes Sing a little, sing a little Make a little love a little Bring a little honey to The hootenanny, hootenanny Everybody’s gonna have a date Hurry hurry, hurry to The hootenanny, hootenanny We don’t wanna be late You get the girls I’ll get the car Bring a banjo and an old guitar Get out the spoons You know the tunes Hey diddle diddle with A fiddle in the middle If you can’t fiddle At the hootenanny, hootenanny Play a little paper and comb Once you get to the Hootenanny, hootenanny You’ll never wanna go home You get the girls I’ll get the car Bring a banjo and an old guitar Get out the spoons You know the tunes Hey diddle diddle with A fiddle in the middle If you can’t fiddle at the Hootenanny, hootenanny Play a little paper and comb Once you get to the Hootenanny, hootenanny You’ll never wanna go home You’ll never wanna go home You’ll never want to go home

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Zo Tobi on Doing Less With Ease

I’d like to highlight a beautiful part of a recent letter I received from Zo Tobi that gives another voice to what I talk about in my Resiliency training, happiness research, and what I’m looking for personally in my life. To learn more about Zo keep reading after the quote. “What I want to share right now might seem small from the outside, but it’s definitely big stuff for me: Although I have spent less time with fewer loved ones than I’ve had the opportunities to, and I’ve definitely answered fewer emails and phone calls than I’ve had the privilege to receive, I’ve also gone to bed earlier, given myself more adequate sleep, woken up earlier, exercised more, moved more slowly, played guitar and written songs more, and made choices more from joy and gratitude in the moment than from fear of the future or clinging to the past. And, surprising to me although perhaps obvious to you, the sky hasn’t fallen because of it!!!  In fact, amidst the adventure and speed of the last eight months, I have been more present, focused, joyous, open, and at ease than ever. I can truly say now that I’d rather do less with ease than try to cram so much in that I’m too exhausted by the end to enjoy it – even if it means seeing loved ones every few months or few years and really savoring the sweetness of those moments, rather than extending past my physical limits and running myself ragged in order to be with all my loved ones all the time. So, in the past or in the future, if you’ve tried to reach me and you haven’t gotten a response, know how huge this is for me and how grateful I am for your support.  🙂 I hope you and all your loved ones are thriving wherever you are, enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime moment, and making the contribution to the world that you are here to make.” Zo Tobi is an extraordinary guy, Gen Y at its best. He was a student of mine when I taught at the National Guitar Workshop and continues to grow and interact with the world through a really big heart and an eye to making it a better place for all of us. He co-created the Generation Waking Up Experience, a 2-3 hour interactive, multimedia, peer-led workshop that empowers young people to wake up to a clear sense of identity and purpose, as members of a generation-wide movement for a thriving, just, sustainable world. Zo leads workshops around the country for young social change leaders, among many, many other things. Go Zo!

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Does using persistence make you smarter?

Last Saturday I ran the Bridge of Flowers 10k in Shelburne, MA. It was the first 10k I had run since I was in High School in the mid-1980s. That’s a long time ago! I haven’t run that far since on an impulse I ran the first half of the Boston Marathon in 2001 (long story, but I was living in Hopkinton, MA at the time where it starts. I got excited and…). So, I knew I had to call on the power of persistence for this. I had a goal of running it under 60 minutes and a stretch goal of under 50 minutes. From my perspective, the 10k is a long-term race. It’s no sprint. And  it’s different than a 5K in that you (or I any way) can’t just go all out. Hundreds of people passed me in the first two miles, some huffing and puffing so hard I wondered how they’d finish the first half, let alone the second half. Then came the ‘hill’. Half-way through the race, the Crittendon Hill is called ‘Everestian’ by race promoters. How ridiculous is that? Nevertheless, it was steep. More people were walking it then running it. I started passing people there and for the second half of the race was either keeping pace or passing others. I ended up beating both my goal and my stretch goal with a time of 48:54. That made me happy! I’ll take that as my adult PR (it’d be too depressing to try to beat my high school running times). Does using persistence make you smarter? There may be research on this, but I’m here to give you anecdotal evidence that persistence at least helps you act smarter. It’s a good race when I run the second half faster than the first. And that’s a good rule of thumb for persistence. Let persistence remind you to back off and save something for the second half of a project, your day or whatever you care about. Let persistence remind you to pace yourself and don’t panic when it seems like everyone around you is going faster than you. They’ll be waiting for you, huffing and puffing ahead, waiting for you to pick them off, one by one.

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Giving With Purpose – Using Micro-loans to Make a Difference in Vietnam

The number one reason why people give is that they have an opportunity. I’ve seen this research prove itself again and again in our Charity Team Building programs such as Charity Bike Build, Adopt an Elder and Give the Kids Music. People participating in these programs often want to keep going on the path of purpose, and so I offer further resources to help them on their quest. Micro-loans are a wonderful way to connect to one’s purpose. Micro-loans provide that opportunity to give in a new way, allowing people to make small loans ($25 and up) to individuals around the world. You get your money back after a certain time period. With Kiva for example, you get it back within six to 12 months. Then, you can funnel the money into another loan, donate it to Kiva or return it to your bank account. I spoke with entrepreneur John Sorenson about a recent trip he made to Vietnam to see the effects of micro-loans he made possible there, as well as to help with unexploded ordinances left from the Vietnam War. John took a break from celebrating his 70th birthday to tell me his story. Click here to listen to the interview. Here’s an excerpt from one day’s entry in John’s Vietnam Journal: We are up bright and early for a 7:45 a.m. meeting with Clear Path International, headquartered in Bainbridge Island, WA, and directed to helping UXO victims and their families. Our next activity is to go with the RENEW staff to visit our micro-loan recipient families. (We had raised about $15,500 for this project to date, and the first $10,000 launched a class for 25 families – first taught animal husbandry skills and then provided funds for purchasing their animals.) Dang Quang Toan (“Toan”), the RENEW project coordinator, has prepared a document providing the details of the project so far; it has excellent content. Of the 25 recipients of loans, 16 have chosen to buy water buffalos for working their fields, three have purchased pigs, and six have purchased cows (oxen). We are assured that the project is being run well. We go to the homes of two recipient families. In both cases, the men are not able to work because of their UXO wounds. One woman has received a water buffalo and the other an ox. In both cases, these will be used to pull their farm implements in place of tractors. Each of these families grows rice and peanuts, but had to rent the use of a buffalo or ox up to this time, removing a large percentage of the profits from their crops. To say the least, these women are very happy with their animals. Toan encourages us to raise another $5K so they can launch another class of 25. After lunch with the RENEW staff, we head west to the mountains dividing VN and Laos. This is the land of the Montengards (“mountain people” who consist of 53 minority groups living mostly in the north and along the VN western border and making up about 10% of the VN population). We visit a pre-school and community center that was built by funds from the Global Community Services Foundation (GCSF) and Project RENEW. The center is on stilts in the tradition of the tribe, and the cost to build both buildings was about $30K. The community center has multiple purposes and provides a place where the heritage of the people can be preserved. It is wired for electricity but has no meter so the electricity is not turned on. Toan opens her purse, and soon all of us chip in $100 to buy a meter so they can get some electricity and a ceiling fan to move the hot, humid air. We are a spontaneous group. John facilitated his micro-loans through Project Renew, part of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund.

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