Am I different?

I am a quirky person. I know, strange way to start a post, but true none the less. I would like to submit the question to you: “Are you different”? If you are getting your first cup of coffee for the day, this might be a little heavier thought than you are ready to tackle. Give this thought some time before you read on. You might have thought of a follow-up question, “What am I comparing myself to with this question?” Ah, now we are off and running. I believe we have a desire for unique things in our life. Have you ever looked at a new product and thought, that is so cool? It might not be something you would need, it is just different than anything that is currently on the market. Here are three things I believe that will make you different in other people’s eyes.


  1. Spend time developing what you are good at. 

Early school years were an exercise in frustration for this very reason. I was not the best at Math. It wasn’t that I couldn’t understand Math; at the time I had no desire to be a math prodigy. Are you pursuing things you are very good at doing? Are you developing skills that feed your passion? If you want to be unique, do not live someone else’s life. Spend time developing and sharing your gift. Your uniqueness will start to emerge slowly and deliberately.


  1. Be an orange in a basket of apples

This might sound strange, and it is, but I believe you get the mental picture I am trying to paint. Most of us like to get along and be part of a group. I recently read about an exercise that was done with a large group in an auditorium. The speaker gave the crowd a task. He told the group when I instruct you to begin, clap your hands every second and continue until I tell you to stop. Of course, it sounded like applause when the crowd first began, yet, a strange thing took place about 3 seconds into the exercise. Everyone started clapping in unison. It was not directed but happened without anyone’s coordination. It was a perfect exercise to demonstrate that people like to be in unison. Are you clapping at the same pace as those around you? It is quite possible you are squelching your uniqueness for the sake of conformity. This is what Steve Jobs said about this subject: “Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits.

The rebels.

The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.

They push the human race forward.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think

they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


  1. Be different for a purpose, not to just be different.

Finally, don’t be different just to be different. Some will make a spectacle of themselves just to be noticed. Be different because you are that way, but be genuine in your difference. The Doors, a group from the 1960’s had a hit song titled “People are strange”. No truer words have been penned in a song. You are different than those around you. This is the gift we have as humans. Always seek improvement as a person, but do not lose that difference, that uniqueness that is “You”. Am I different? Yes, I am, and so are you. This is the gift that has been given to us. What we do with that gift is entirely up to us.


Everyday Mindfulness

With all the distractions of today’s world, it’s easy to lose sight of what makes life so wonderful. It seems we are so eager to find things that take our mind off the here and now. Cell phones, video games, TV shows, and social media; the list goes on and on. Here are a few everyday opportunities to enjoy the present world around you.


The Power of the Golden Hour


The transitional period just after sunrise and right before sunset is known as the Golden Hour. It is well known in the photography world as a prime time for wonderful portraits and landscapes given the natural light is softer and redder than at any other time in the day. You don’t have to be a photographer to soak up the brilliant lighting and alluring aesthetics of the Golden Hour. Take the time to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea on a bench and take note of your surroundings. Chances are they look a shade or two more inviting than usual, all thanks to a little bit of phenomenal lighting.


Unravel with a Joyride


Life can get the best of us sometimes. When the stress comes to a head and you truly need a break, take a joyride. I’m a firm believer in a few requirements for joyrides:

  • Don’t drive with a destination in mind, the purpose is the drive itself.
  • Weather providing, windows should be down.
  • If you are with company, keep talking to a minimum.
  • A designated playlist or album is a must!

Take this time to enjoy the drive, whether it be on backroads or city blocks there is always something new to find when you go wandering instead of simply commuting. Is that an old antique shop? Wonder where this road goes? You’re in the Captain’s Chair. Make sure you bring a map, just in case.


Purposeful Idle Time


People love schedules and planning. Ensure that you pencil in some idle time at some point during your daily routine. Use this time in whatever manner suits you, just make sure you actually use it. Maybe some quiet breathing exercises or meditations can help you invigorate your morning while a crossword and some chai can aid you in unwinding from your workday. Whatever way you see fit, see to it that you find some time to simply pass the time. Ideally, this will be sans TV’s and touchscreens, but if watching a few DIY videos from your favorite blogger helps you feel refreshed, go for it.


How do you recharge?


Distractions can be a very good thing when stress bogs us down. We can choose to be more mindful of the breaks we take from work or school and be cognizant of the wonderful world around us instead of hiding from it behind screens of all sizes. What are some of your favorite ways of escaping the stress and enjoying the present world around you? How does it help you?

Written by Patrick Hicks


I am reading Greg McKeown’s book “Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”. This is how he describes choice. “When we surrender our ability to choose, something or someone else will step in to choose for us.” I have told my children for years that “no choice” is a choice, the decision is made for you. Some choices are harder than others to make. I believe in the method this blog promotes, Listen.Think.Act. It is not enough to research something or listen to good advice. Eventually, we all have to act. Don’t let someone else make your choice for you today. Listen to people you trust and are credible in the area of the decision. Think about the pro’s and cons, in fact, write them down so you can visually see them. Give yourself time to process the information. Finally, act on your choice. Do not stay at this point any longer than is needed. Regrets often come from our lack of action. What choices will you make or will be made for you today?

Good to see you?

Are people really happy to see you or do they just say it to be nice? What do you bring to a relationship? I heard a joke a while back that says “Lock your best friend and your dog in the trunk of your car. When you get to your destination, open the trunk and see which of the two are happy to see you”. I realize this is ludicrous but the point is well taken. Dogs only want to love and be loved. They don’t have a hidden agenda. They just want your love, attention, and company. Look at a dog today. We can learn a lot about relationships from our favorite pets. Love and be loved.

Your Daughter’s First Date

“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

― Shannon L. Alder

One of the great concerns for a Father is having his daughter meet the wrong guy; the other fear is his daughter had met the right guy. As a Dad, I want to protect my daughter from all danger, difficulties, and pain; I want her to be my little girl forever, always with her Daddy. This is not practical, so you can imagine the anxiety a Dad senses when his daughter approaches the dating age. A Dad doesn’t see his daughter dating, he sees her walking down the aisle in a church wedding; this can’t be prevented but needs to be put off to a distant future date. All this anxiety creates a tense and humorous environment for that unsuspecting male that just wants to take a girl to the movies. There are certain rules that need to be observed by all parties during this tumultuous event, tread lightly as you navigate these waters.

    Rules for your daughter:

First, this is a hard time for your Daddy, a hug and I love you will go a long way to calming his insecurities.

Second, dress conservative for this event, tight revealing clothes will cause blood pressures to increase; the one to be concerned about is your Dad’s.

Third, wait until after the date to talk about the wonder of this boy; no words will convince your Dad he isn’t a walking hormone factory, this will cause an increase in blood pressure which has been previously mentioned.

Rules for the boy dating your daughter:

First, the Dad will be scrutinizing your every move, gesture, tone, word, innuendo, etc… Be yourself, and keep the conversation light and polite; you will ease the tension of everyone involved.

Second, do not be late picking up my daughter; this shows a lot about your consideration for her and her time. Showing up late causes more tension, which in turn raises blood pressures, blah, blah, blah.

Third, show respect to the girl in the presence of her Daddy; failing to follow this rule might end the date before it ever begins.

Rules for the Dad:

First, this is a tense moment for your daughter, try your best to make this awkward situation pleasant for her; she will adore you at a whole new level.

Second, tell her date to take care of her; let him hear the words “She is special”, her date needs to hear those words.

Third, hug your daughter and trust her judgment; it will challenge you to make this bold move, but it will pay off when it really matters.

Watching your daughter go on her first date is a moment of reality for a Dad; your daughter is growing up and you will be supplanted one day by the boy of her dreams. Do not try to figure everything out all at once; this is a rite of passage as much for you as it is for your daughter. Handle the event with love, trust, and encouragement; you will not lose your little girl, you will forever capture her heart.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

What would you do if you were not afraid?


What would you do if you were not afraid? Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO in a Barnard College Commencement in 2011 in New York City asked this question. I want to approach this question from a couple of places, none of them saying to be fearless requires you to be reckless.


So, what would you do?

What if you didn’t have any debt? How about if you didn’t have children? Let’s say you didn’t worry about what other people thought of your decision? Let’s look at the following questions. Do you know people that are successful that have children? Do you know successful people that have house payments or car payments? So, this is not the deciding factor in determining what you would do if you were not afraid.


What are your passions?

We all have natural abilities. The longest 8 hours you will ever spend in your life is the 8 hours at a job you hate. Life is short, too short. There is no reason to spend it doing things you hate. Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking”.


We might fear failure more than we value success

Psychology today has an article on “The Ten signs you might have a fear of failure”

If we truly are to embrace the things we love in life, we have to be excused from fearing failure. We now call things a bucket list. This might be things we want to do before a certain age or even before we die. To add to Sheryl Sandberg’s quote “What would you do today if you were not afraid?


Last but not least: I cannot afford to quit life and chase my passion

Our budgets are determined by what we want to spend in a given month. Maybe you have traded your own dream for what others say should be everyone’s dream? Do we need a new car? An overpriced house? I am not saying any of these are bad. If someone wants these things they should pursue them, but not at the cost of doing what they are passionate for.  You might find a simpler life, with less commitments, less stress is exactly what you have been looking for all along. By the way, many people are making a lot of money doing the things they love.


In Conclusion

My blog is called: Listen. Think. Act. I do not propose to have the answers to your questions. I do not have the answers to the things I want to know. Maybe we should listen to people we admire and respect. Maybe, we should stop and think and do this on a regular basis. Yes, I mean literally set aside time to do nothing more than think. Finally, all this is useless unless we act. “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Confucius My Dad use to tell me “Do something, even if it is wrong”. I would advise using this quote with much wisdom. I think he was saying, you have to do something or you will never get any closer to your goal. Do not become paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. You have one life to live. Go live it with passion for the things you love.

3 great things to implement from “The good old days”

When we look back at our earlier days in life it is easy for some to romanticize about that time period. While, there are good things from each generation, some of these gems are hard to dismiss as not essential in any age. The following are three things I believe we should always implement anywhere or anytime.


  1. Be polite and patient with others.

In the hustle of everyday life, many things must be done in a short period of time. Deadlines, are just a way of life. Senior citizens always seem to be present in the moment. I know, some of you will say, they are retired and do not have any deadlines. To some extent this is true, but maybe they have learned to slow down and do something right the first time. I raised my kids telling them there is no excuse to be rude. Most deadlines are self-imposed. Slow down, be patient and above all things be polite.

  1. Do I really need to buy this right now?

I could fill a warehouse with the number of things I have purchased on the spur of the moment, only to find them in a garage sale (I suppose today it might be Craigslist). Many of our senior citizens grew up during the Depression Era. Things didn’t get replaced, they were repaired. There was a real need to price items and think about buying before making the purchase. I seriously doubt our grandparents would believe one day we would spend $4.00 plus for a cup of coffee. Growing up my kids would tell me, Dad it is only $____, you can fill in the blanks. I told my kids, $3.00 is the same today and tomorrow, regardless of what you are purchasing. I wonder how much money has been given away to items I barely used?


  1. If you want to win someone’s heart, write them a letter

I love the modern conveniences that technology has provided for us. I remember trying to get in touch with someone in the 1970’s and the frustration of just trying to find their address or phone number. Yet, I learned to write letters at an early age. I remember being in Japan in 1994 while in the Marine Corps and writing my wife every night before I went to bed. Calling was out of the question with it being $2.00 plus per minute to talk on the phone. I confess it took time and was a great deal more work, but it was so meaningful. We sent thank you notes. We wrote letters to our grandparents. We were forced to communicate this way, but now I realize the value of a written letter. Gentlemen, if you want to know the way to your girl’s heart, write her a letter. She will most likely save with all her most valuable items.


In Conclusion

There aren’t any good old days. All our days we are alive can be amazing, we are the ones that determine their worth. Yet, a look back at a simpler time might just teach us that truly “The best things in life are free”. What are some of your best memories of your younger life?



“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”

John Lennon


There is a segment in the film G.I. Jane that has the Command Master Chief of the Seals training team addressing the subject of pain. The Master Chief tells the trainees that “Pain will keep you awake and bring you back home” than he continues “The best thing about pain, is it reminds you that you are not dead.” Pain is something we all deal with, yet if it becomes too intense, our brain will be able to think of little else. In essence, pain has a way of reducing our world to a small walled prison, with no entrances or exits. There is physical pain that we all have experienced, but the emotional pain we encounter I believe can be the most surprising and debilitating.

The pain of loving someone and missing them either through separation or death might be the worst pain our hearts will endure. Sometimes to protect ourselves from the pain we try to not think about the person we miss and therefore sterilize our hearts, we attempt an emotional surgery that can be disastrous. I love the following quote from C.S. Lewis out of his book “The Four Loves” this is what Lewis says: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

We are never more at risk than the times we decide when, where and how we can and will love. Emotional pain will reduce in intensity over time, though the pain can be stifling and life can slow to a crawl. It reminds me of the stories my wife Judi has told of her in labor with our children. Labor pain is an intensive, pain-ridden procedure that my mind cannot imagine. Judi has explained to me you start to forget the pain of labor quickly once you hold your beautiful baby for the first time. The most excruciating pain a human being might ever experience did not bring a tear to my wife’s eyes, yet I have seen her cry without reserve over one of our kids leaving home. The intensity of emotional pain should not be underestimated, it will quickly remind you of the power it possesses.

We can build up an unhealthy fear of pain, that is to say, pain avoidance can easily separate us from the greatest parts of life. For me, pain doesn’t remind me that I am alive, it often reminds me of why I am alive.

Hello friends!

Welcome to “You Might Say”. I have always been interested in civil discussions about life’s topics. I believe the pattern for success is often “Listen. Think. Act.” I hope we can have fun and still learn from each other. If we can listen, truly hear what others are saying this is a great beginning. The next step is to think. This will involve considering all ideas, even if we initially disagree. Finally, we must act. Discussions are great, ideas can have many turns before we work them out, but our final goal must be to use this new information to benefit others. My posts will not be arguments but discussions, and I will expect each person to be civil in their posts and to avoid attacking others. Respect each other and we will enjoy our discussions. I look forward to learning from each person on this blog. ~Duane

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle