“Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity.

Successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something.

Soon it becomes a reality.

Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will see positive results.”

William James, psychologist

I heard a story about a football player who reported for Summer training camp. When the equipment manager asked him what size helmet he wore. The player thought for a moment then answered, “I don’t know. I’m not in shape yet.”

Except for a few scratches and a spider bite that landed me in the emergency room, I’ve been blessed with great physical health. Mental health, getting my head in shape, is a different story.

I’ve discovered three important tools for this project, reading, running, and rim shots.

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Joseph Addison, writer and politician

I love books.

One of the most valuable things in my wallet is a library card.

And if you go with me to a shopping mall, our first stop will be the bookstore.

Here are some books I recommend for getting your head in shape.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

You Don’t Have to be Blind to See by Jim Stovall

 Bus 9 to Paradise by Leo Buscaglia

 The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

I Can. You Can Too by Mamie McCullough

 Pete the Cat: I Love my New Shoes by Eric Litwin

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Dream More by Dolly Parton


Buddy Bloom Wildflower by Jerry Snider

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“Running, it’s cheaper than therapy.”


Gotta get those endorphins hopping!

And if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.

Thirty years ago I started running. And I have no plans to stop.

Cooking up a good sweat, feeling my heart pound, filling my lungs with fresh air, listening to the beat of my footsteps – I’ve never been more alive than when I’m running.

Add the sun, the wind, and sometimes a gentle rain – mother nature is the gymnasium of the soul.

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That Badum-CHING thing they do on a drum after a joke.

Urban Dictionary

I agree with the wise soul who said, “Every time you are able to find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.”


Did you hear about the man whose car broke down and he accidentally called AA instead of AAA.

When the tow truck from AA arrived, they could only move his car twelve steps.


I just bought a new toaster but I’m going to return it to the store. Something’s wrong with it – the first time I used it the loaf of bread got stuck.


Fall is my favorite time of year. Everything looks so pretty. Have you noticed, even the traffic lights change color.

Badum-CHING !


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“A flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention.”


Just what does it mean to be a wildflower?

Here’s what I think. See if you agree.

The first part of Google’s definition, “A flower of uncultivated variety…”

My twelfth grade English teacher, Mrs. Schiff, was fond of telling her class that a high school diploma wasn’t worth anything until you didn’t have it. I agree and encourage young people to do their best in school. For most, this is the entrance ramp on the highway to success. But it doesn’t work for everyone. So hats off to those brave souls who managed to make a name for themselves without graduating at the top of the class.

Thomas Edison, who gave us the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the light bulb, and a whole bunch of other things, spent less than four months inside a school building. He was partially deaf. A note was sent home to his parents suggesting they take young Thomas out of school because in their words, “He was too stupid to learn.” Thanks to his mother who believed in her son and took on the role of educator, we are all blessed every time we flip a light switch.

Way back in 1979, humorist Sam Levenson published a book called, You Don’t Have To Be in Who’s Who to Know What’s What. Sam got some great advice from his father. “It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.’

Add to that this advice from an old wise man and you have the making of a wildflower.

“If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help. If you’re determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

Now for the second part of Google’s definition, “…a flower growing freely without human intervention.”

Dr. Bernie Siegel in his best-selling book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, told a story about a young man who became a lawyer because his father, grandfather and several uncles were lawyers. The problem was he didn’t want to be a lawyer. When it was discovered he had cancer, doctors gave him a year to live.

The young man decided that if he only had a year to live, he was not going to spend that time being a lawyer. He would devote his last year to playing the violin, something he enjoyed.  The year came and went. The cancer was gone. He never returned to the law firm. Instead, he plays the violin in a orchestra and has a good time doing it.

“Love what you do and do what you love.

Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it.

You do what you want, what you love.

Imagination should be the center of your life.”

Ray Bradbury, author

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Helen Keller, author and political activist

“Tell me, did your Father ever give you any advice?”

“Yes, he did.”

“What was it?”

“I’m from Columbus, Ohio.”


“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“In front of City Hall in Columbus is a giant statue of none other than Christopher Columbus himself.”

“Exactly what is your point?”

“Not far from the statue, docked on the banks of the Scioto River, is the Santa Maria. The ship Columbus sailed on.”

“The real thing?”

“No, of course not. But it’s as close as you can get to the real thing.”

“What do you mean?”

“The world’s most authentic, museum quality representation of  Christopher Columbus’ Flagship.”

“Who told you that?”

“That’s what it says in the little brochure they give you when you buy a ticket to board the ship.”

“You went aboard?”


“How was it?’

“Interesting, I got to see how the crew lived and worked. There wasn’t much room for forty people. That’s for sure.”

“How’d they do?”

“They got pretty restless and were near mutiny when they sighted land. They had been at sea about five weeks.”

“What about the indians?”

“What about them?”

“They were here first.”

“I’m not trying to offer an argument about that. You asked me if my father had any advice for me and I’m trying to tell you what he said.”

“Well, please get to the point.”

“Whenever I was on the edge. When I was deciding whether to move or stay put in the face of opportunity and I asked my father for advice, his answer was always the same.”

“And that was?”


“And by that he meant?”

“Go for it.”

“Then why didn’t he just say, go for it.”

“I don’t know why. I guess, “TAKE A CHANCE, COLUMBUS DID!” rings with more passion, more courage, more adventure.”

“So, you just blast off in search of adventure?”

“No, you don’t. Columbus had three ships, loaded with men and supplies. They had skills and what’s more important, they had a goal. They gathered as much information as they could, they planned for as many contingencies as possible. Then they set sail.”

“I’m glad I asked.”

“Me too. Anything else you want to know?”

“Yes, but I’m a little afraid to ask.”

“Weren’t you paying attention?”

“Yes, I was.”


“Okay, will you loan me a hundred dollars?”

“No, but nice try.”

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.”

John A Sheed, author

“Just do it.”


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August 4, 1974.

Traveling by automobile I left Columbus, Ohio – destination Deer Lake, Pennsylvania.

Twenty miles north of Reading, Deer Lake was the location of the training camp for Muhammad Ali, heavyweight boxer and, at that time, former champion.

Just a few weeks earlier, during a television interview, Ali invited all his fans to come up and watch him train for his next fight.

Arriving at the camp early Monday morning, I felt like I’d been knocked out when a member of Ali’s entourage told me where he was. I had left Columbus to go to Deer Lake at the same time the champ left Deer Lake to go to Columbus. He was scheduled to return the next day.

Before sunrise, I was back at the camp. The timing was perfect. Ali was just completing a six-mile training run. I was the first fan to greet him that day. We shook hands. I told him I was from Columbus and we laughed about passing each other on the highway two days before. This Ali was turning out to be different than the one I was used to seeing on TV.

During interviews he was loud and crazy. In person, he spoke barely above a whisper. He was polite. Our conversation centered around his upcoming fight with George Foreman, a man all sports writers were calling invincible.

A boxing fan’s dream came true when Ali said he had business in Philadelphia that day and my wife and I were welcome to travel with him. The kindness didn’t stop there. Returning home, I was quick to write a thank-you letter. In it I enclosed three pictures of him that were taken that day. He autographed them and returned them with this letter:

Dear Jerry,

I was delighted to hear from you. You may not think so, but I really appreciate each and every letter that I receive. I feel good now.

I’m in good shape and razor sharp. In case you were a little apprehensive regarding my upcoming fight, let me inform you that this is going to be the prettiest most masterful upset that boxing has ever seen. I guarantee this, and I couldn’t be more serious. Please forgive the brevity of this letter, but I have much to do and must move on. I hope you achieve success in whatever you try to do.

Very truly yours,

Muhammad Ali

Ali knocked out foreman in the eighth round and once again was champion.

Here was a man who, at the time, was the most famous personality in the boxing world and beyond. Celebrities and heads of state sought his company. For himself and others, he earned millions. With all his fame, he did his best to remain approachable. What a privilege to meet him.

I was in the right place at the right time.

And the lesson from the champ, be kind to everyone.

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