Although my sister Nancy moved to Greece in the early seventies, it wasn’t until twenty years later that I made my first visit. Not only were the ruins of Athens, Delphi and Corinth new to me, the trip was filled with many other firsts.

I ate food I’d never encountered before, made my way around a country with a different alphabet than ours, and haggled with shopkeepers. All of these new experiences made the trip unforgettable—and taught me things I’d never have learned otherwise.

Of course, we don’t need to travel to distant lands to find new adventures.

From time to time, […] Continue Reading…

Psychologist Eda LeShan said that middle-age occurs when you realize that  you won’t live long enough to read all the books you want to read. According to LeShan’s definition, some of us were born middle-aged.

Finding the time to read isn’t just a problem of our busy, modern world. Back in the 14th Century, Italian poet Francesco Petrarca faced the same dilemma and solved his conflict this way: “Whether I am being shaved, or having my hair cut, whether I am riding on horseback or taking my meals, I either read myself or get someone to read to me.”

Doubling up on […] Continue Reading…

Several years ago, two friends and I decided to take a trip to Las Vegas in July. (Insider tip: there are big bargains during the hot summer months.) Since both of them had been working on big writing projects, their cash flow wasn’t great.

Within a week, however, they had both secured the necessary funds. How did they do it?

No, neither of them held up a 7-11. Being self-employed, they had Option Banks, a collection of ways to generate cash flow when needed.

In the olden days when I worked for a fixed salary, I operated very differently than I do […] Continue Reading…

My 5-year-old grandson Zachy started Kung Fu lessons this fall. It has not been an easy experience.

So when I got a call from his mother last week, I was delighted to hear her say, “Zachy earned his yellow belt today. Can you come over and watch Noah while I take Zachy out for ice cream?” I was on it.

Celebrating small victories is more important than our busy selves sometimes realize. It’s reinforcement of the most basic sort that we’re on the right track.

It’s also fun to celebrate, of course.

We build a track record or a body of work by […] Continue Reading…

On my way out of the bank this morning, I picked up several deposit slips. As I walked back to my car, I suddenly remembered that a friend once jokingly pointed out that a sign of prosperity is using up your deposit slips before using up your check blanks.

Quaint, huh? In this day of online banking and virtual commerce, we don’t need to ever have direct contact with currency. Advertisers and credit card companies have done a brilliant job of making money an abstract concept.

Unfortunately, too many of us have failed to realize what a disservice we’re doing to […] Continue Reading…

Long before I began my life as a gypsy teacher, I was a gypsy student. I attended seminars on personal growth, on marketing, on building a business as often as I could. Since the teachers I wanted to study with weren’t showing up in my small town, I spent a great deal of time and money traveling to learn.

What I learned (among many other priceless things) is that seminar rooms are my natural habitat. I love to learn and I really love being in places where new ideas and insights also show up.

I began meeting people with the same […] Continue Reading…

It appears that I have fallen in love with the mandolin. This was no overnight love affair, however. It kind of sneaked up on me.

As a longtime fan of the music of Antonio Vivaldi, I had heard my share of mandolins and associated the instrument with music from the past.

That all began to change when I attended a performance of Prairie Home Companion and heard the amazing Peter Ostroushko play. Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to commit.

Then it happened. Several weeks ago, while listening to the weekly broadcast of PHC, Ostroushko performed the most glorious piece, something he’d written to […] Continue Reading…

The small tree in my front yard looked pathetic. I suspected it might be dying.

So imagine my surprise on a spring morning, when I looked out the window and saw it had burst into bloom overnight. Tiny pink blossoms covered the recently barren branches.

I wonder what else I’ve condemned to a premature death, I mused.

Ever since I read Paul Hawken’s marvelous Growing a Business, I have looked for metaphors in the plant world to help me solve problems and find better ways of growing my business.

Even though I never lived on a farm, I grew up surrounded by small […] Continue Reading…

Note: I drove to Ventura again today and got thinking about this story of the Pumpkin Farmer from two years ago. Decided it was worth a revisit.

Yesterday I drove to Ventura where my sister Margaret lives. I’d been assigned the task of finding a vacation rental apartment in Paris for our sibling outing next spring and didn’t know where to begin. Margaret agreed to coach me since she’d already tracked down our Amsterdam accommodations.

In the springtime, this drive reminds me of Ireland because the craggy hills are so lush and green. Right now they’re festooned in shades of beige […] Continue Reading…

Every few months, I get the alumni magazine from my college. I usually glance through the class notes to see if there’s anyone I remember who has gotten mentioned.

Most of the entries are a bit, well, dull, saying things like, “Now retired after 30 years teaching in the same school” or “Just retired from 40 years at the bank.”

Apparently, my fellow college students were big on staying put in one place.

One time, however, an entry caught my eye. It read, “Retired after thirty-five years as a social worker and probation officer. He now spends his time as a traveler […] Continue Reading…