New issue each Monday
Issue 18,  August 17, 2009     —      Michael Michalko, Carpe Diem

In this issue:   FEATURE: Elinor Stutz, The Sales Personality     Michael Michalko, Carpe Diem     Linda Sapadin, Can Men and Women Be Friends?     Guy Finley, Enter Into The Untroubled Now   Sharon Elaine, Love Yor Body... One Day at a Time   Gabriella Kortsch, Cellular Responsibility   Wider Screenings, Beyond the Boomers   Events   Reviews   Earlier issues   Submit Article

Every person dies, but not every person lives.

The other day I built a fire in my fireplace. I placed the logs in such a position to make the air between the logs flow just right up the chimney. The logs were so exactly placed that they formed channels for the draft. When the draft blew, yellow flames licked and jumped up the logs. Each log glowed with full intensity. When the fire died, it burned to nothing. There was nothing left but a pile of dust.

There was a world of difference between this fire and other fires that I have made which were just piles of burning logs, which had to be stirred and poked continually to keep it burning. You might say one fire was alive and the other fires were dead. Yet, we both know that fire is not a living thing. If pressed to explain why one fire was alive and another dead, I am at a loss to explain the difference, except that I can feel it.

In the same way, Beethoven’s last quartets are alive, so is the poetry of Emily Dickinson; so is Edison’s light bulb; and so is a candle flame. When you look at the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Edison, the sketches and ideas seem to take on a life of their own. We all know that some business products such as a Mont Blanc pen or a Rolex watch are more alive than other products. Even winning physicist, Richard Feynman made quantum electrodynamics, a dry lifeless science, come alive with his famous diagrams.

I am, of course, speaking metaphorically when I say some fires are alive and others are not and that some products are more alive than others. The metaphor makes us believe that we have found a word to grasp this quality of life. There is the same sense that some people are more alive and creative than others. In the world of humanity, a person who is talking, walking and working can be alive and self-creating or lifeless and miserable. This is something we all know yet cannot find the words to express it.

What makes some people alive and others lifeless and drab? I once found a cocoon of an emperor moth. I took it home so that I could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On that day a small opening appeared, I sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. In my kindness, I decided to help the moth, so I took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. I continued to watch the moth because I expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What I did not understand  was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was the way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, I deprived the moth of health. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life in order to be truly alive. When I think of people who are alive and joyful, I think of Richard Cohen.

You may not know Richard Cohen. He is the author of "Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness" (HarperCollins).  He lives a life defined by illness. He has M.S. , is legally blind, has almost no voice, suffers chronic pain which makes sleeping difficult leaving him constantly exhausted. Two bouts of colon cancer in the past five years have left his intestines in disarray. And though he is currently cancer-free, he still lives with constant discomfort.

Cohen worked as a producer for CBS until he was physically unable. Being precluded from many activities because of his chronic illness and physical disability initially left him feeling worthless. Friends and relatives encouraged him to seek professional help from psychologists, but he refused. He felt psychologists always focus on what’s wrong with you and explain why you feel worthless. Like the emperor moth, Richard decided to use his struggles to become truly alive.

Cohen realized the inevitable consequences of his illness, but he also realized that he and he alone controlled his destiny. Cohen says, "The one thing that’s always in my control is what is going on in my head. The first thing I did was to think about who I am and how I could prevail. By choosing my feelings on a conscious level, I am able to control my mood swings and feel good about myself most of the time.” He cultivated a positive attitude toward life by interpreting all of his experiences in a positive way.

He said his life is like standing on a rolling ship. You're going to slip. You're going to grab onto things. You're going to fall. And it's a constant challenge to get up and push and push yourself to keep going. But in the end, he said, the most exhilarating feeling in the world is getting up and moving forward with a smile.

Richard Cohen is the subject of his life and controls his own destiny. People who live as subjects are wonderfully alive and creative. Once, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, in a café in Old Montreal I saw a woman rise from her table and for no reason started to sing opera. She had a certain smile and I knew she was perfectly at home with herself. She was wearing a great wide hat, her arms were flung out in an expansive gesture, singing, and utterly oblivious to everything but what was in her and around her at that second. Even as you read this, you are thinking of people you know who are alive and people who are lifeless.

This woman was wonderfully alive and self-creating. When you meet people like Richard Cohen or the woman in Montreal you get this vague feeling inside you that you “ought to be” something more. You already know this feeling. We get this feeling when we recognize the thing in others that we long to be. This feeling seems so trivial, so fundamental that we ought to be like that, that we dare not admit it to others. We long to become more alive and creative in our personal and business lives. The feeling for it is the most primitive feeling which a person can have. The feeling for it is as primitive as the feeling for your own well being.

It is not easy to put this feeling into words. The person who believes she is the “subject” of her life is frank, open-minded, sincerely going ahead, facing situations freely and looking forward to each day with a smile. The person who believes she is the “object” in life is inhibited, pushed, or driven, acting by command or intimidation, powerless and can’t wait for each day to end.

Years later I went to St. Bonaventure University to visit Father Tom one of the wisest men I know. At the time, I felt shackled by chains of responsibilities, family obligations and expectations of others. I asked Father Tom for advice. Instead of answering me directly, Father Tom jumped to his feet and bolted to a nearby tree, flung his arms around it, grasping the tree as he screamed, “Save me from this tree!” Save me from this tree!” I could not believe what I saw. I thought he had gone mad. The shouting soon brought a crowd of people. “Why are you doing that?” I asked. “I came to you to ask for advice because I thought you were wise, but obviously you're crazy.”You are holding the tree, the tree is not holding you. You can simply let go.” Father Tom let go of the tree and said, “If you can understand that, you have your answer. Your chains of attachment are not holding you, you are holding them. You can simply let go.”


Take a moment and imagine you are a mountain climber and read the following scenario:

You are climbing one of the largest mountains in the world and are very close to the reaching the peak, which is a goal you’ve had all your life. You’ve prepared yourself physically and mentally.

You are beginning the final stretch to the peak, when you decide to rest on a small ledge which juts out about three feet from the mountain. You see another climber approaching you from below. He lifts himself up and joins you on the ledge. He’s wearing a rope tied around his waist and holds the loose end in his hands. He holds out the end of the rope and says, “Pardon me, would you be so kind as to hold the end for a moment?”

You take the rope. “Thank you,” said the man, who then added “two hands now, and remember, hold tight.” To your surprise the man jumped over the side of the ledge and yelled, “Don’t let go! I’ll fall a thousand feet if you do” You hold on with all your strength. The man is suspended over the ledge, and sure to die if he fell. You try to pull him up but he is too heavy. You offer suggestions about how he could climb back up the rope hand over hand. The man shouts back, “Hold on. Don’t let go. If you let go, I’ll die.” you tug and pull but nothing works. The afternoon is beginning to fade and it’s getting cold. You have to do something otherwise you’ll not reach the peak which you can see through the mist and clouds.

You think of a way the man can wrap the rope around himself and eventually pull himself up and shout the instructions. The man replies, “No, please, please don’t let go. I’ll fall to my death if you do.” You coax, wheedle, scream, and yell at the climber all to no avail. You realize you are running out of time, and if you don’t do something, you will not reach the mountain peak. You shout the instructions one more time, “Listen carefully. I mean what I’m about to say. I will not accept the position of choice for your life, only for my own. If you don’t  help yourself while I’m helping you, I can do no more. If you don’t do this, I’m going to let go of the rope.”

The man responded, “No, hold on. If you let go, I’ll die. Just hang on tight.” You wait and tug and the man does nothing but hold the rope. He makes no effort at all.

You let go of the rope and climb to the peak of the mountain.

Now, take a moment, and think about the scenario. What is it in your life that you are holding on to that is represented by the climber. What is it that you are holding on to so tightly that it is keeping you from getting on with your life? Think about that thing at the end of the rope and think about what it would mean to let go of it? Was it worth staying stuck in order to keep that thing at the end of the rope alive? What really would happen if you let go of it?

Once you can imagine yourself letting go of the climber, you feel a tremendous emotion. The power of metaphors lies in the fact that they speak in the more primary process of the unconscious mind. Metaphors encourage unconscious processing of information. This will make it easier for you really “let go” of your fears and traumatic experiences by visualizing this story over and over.

You have to take chances in life and let go of things that are holding you back. You cannot connect the dots in your life looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust yourself and move forward toward with your hopes and desires. As a child I was taught to seek security in fixed positions and prearranged strategies. One day, while approaching a stream with some friends, I, as usual, planned out my moves by visualizing in my mind how I would use the rocks as stepping stones, putting down each foot on each stone in order to cross the stream. As soon as I began to cross the stream I realized that if I stopped for only a moment on a stone I would fall into the water. The only way I could cross was to keep moving rather than make a series of transitions between fixed stopping points. At that moment, I realized that security did not lie in grasping fixed positions but in continuous movement and flow.

Many of us who work in a corporate environment feel restricted and confined by its bureaucratic nature. If we let go of our fears of being fired, ridiculed or demoted and followed our instincts what would happen? One person who did let go of his fears was 3M’s legendary Richard Drew. Stories about him and his incredible creativity and drive are often told at 3M gatherings to inspire new employees. Former 3M Chairman and CEO, Lewis Lehr, said that if Dick Drew had not worked at 3M, 3M might not exist today or, at best, it would be a lot smaller than it is.
Drew was a consummate risk-taker, constantly pushing to and beyond the edge of the envelope.  He ignored his boss when he was summarily ordered to quit working on masking tape and get back to work on improving a brand of Wet-or-Dry sandpaper.  That Drew ignored management and wasn’t fired, speaks volumes not only about Drew but about 3M’s management philosophy even back then.  It tells you that Drew would pursue his belief in the face of any obstacle, and it tells you that 3M’s management genius included an intuitive understanding of the need to let creative talent alone and to gamble on their ideas.

After creating the initial version of masking tape, Drew asked an executive for permission to buy a thirty-seven thousand dollar paper maker.  He said it would help improve the masking tape, which has a crepe-like paper backing.  The executive, Edgar Ober, told Drew to hold off for a while because finances were tight, and he didn’t feel the paper maker was worth the expenditure.  Six months later, Drew took Ober into the laboratory and there was the paper maker, working away productively, turning out a vastly improved backing for the masking tape.  Ober was flabbergasted and angry!  He asked Drew where the hardware came from.  Drew explained that he simply submitted a blizzard of 100 dollar purchase orders over a six-month period of time.  The machine was paid for in the small amounts in petty cash he was authorized to spend on his own.  The paper maker helped make masking tape into a phenomenal commercial success for 3M.

Drew also encouraged his own workers to attack their goals as relentlessly as he pursued his own.  One day, one of his subordinates went to Drew with an idea he was very excited about.  He presented his idea enthusiastically and sat back to wait for Drew’s response.  Drew paused thoughtfully and then he replied, "Your idea leaves me colder than a Billy goat in hell."  Before disappointment could set in, however, he told him, "You obviously believe in your idea so strongly that I’ll fire you if you don’t continue to work on it, regardless of what I or anyone else here think."

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer, is another example of letting go and living in continuous movement. His biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put him up for adoption. She felt very strongly that he should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for him to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife.  Except that when Steve was born they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So his parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." His biological mother later found out that adoptive mother had never graduated from college and that his adoptive father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when his parents promised that he would someday go to college.

And 17 years later Steve did go to college. But he naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of his working-class parents' savings were being spent on his college tuition. After six months, he couldn't see the value in it. He had no idea what he wanted to do with his life and no idea how college was going to help him figure it out. So he decided to move on with his life and drop out. He said it was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions he ever made. The minute he dropped out he stopped taking the required classes that didn't interest him, and begin dropping in on the ones that did.

He slept on the floor in friends' rooms, He returned coke bottles for the deposits to buy food with, and he would walk 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. And much of what he stumbled into by following his curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Because he had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, Steve decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. Steve learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in his life. But ten years later, when he designed the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to him and he designed it all into the Mac. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If he had never dropped out, he would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.
Steve Jobs was able to let go of the expectations of his parents, his biological mother and his peers and move forward driven by his curiosity and restlessness for something more.


Think of how you are living your life.  Imagine your life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and infinitely times more with nothing new in it. Every pain, joy, every thought and sign must be relived in the same sequence and succession, even this very moment of reading this paragraph. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over and over and over. Would not this thought change you as you are or perhaps crush you? The question in each and everything, “Do you want this more and innumerable times more?” would weigh upon your actions as the greatest stress. Or would reliving every moment over and over be the ultimate confirmation of your life.

Matthew Crawford thought about how he was living his life. Matthew finished his doctorate in political philosophy at the University of Chicago and was hired by a prestigious think tank in Washington, D.C.  After five months, he could not see the rationale for being paid at all for what he did. He was always tired and said he lost all self respect working in a job that had no discernible product or measureable result. Basically, he said he was managing information and his self-esteem depended on the opinions of others. Despite his income and title, he felt he was no more that a “clerk.”

Matthew quit his job and started doing motorcycle repair in a decaying factory in Richmond, Va. His journey from philosopher-intellectual to philosopher-mechanic is the arc of his book Shop Class as Soulcraft. Crawford believes that the office, at best, is a “place of moral education” with managers acting as therapists, concentrating on making workers into “team” players. The individual begins to believe he is alone, he is without any effect. He becomes passive and helpless and has difficulty imagining how he might earn a living otherwise.

It was the massification of higher education that has created this bleak scenario where everyone must go to college or else be viewed as suspect, stupid, and/or unemployable. After you get a degree you must  take a job where you are doing smart, clean, fun, and well-paid work. Except for “clean” the other adjectives no longer apply. Matthew decided on doing something that was “meaningful” for him and became a motorcycle mechanic and ignored the expectations people had for him and his Ph.D. All his happiness took was his willingness to get his hands greasy.

Physicist Stephen Hawking can hear but can’t talk. He only has movement in two fingers of his left hand and communicates by typing and a computer screen. Yes despite his appalling disability which isolates him from the world he has figured out how to juggle the universe in his mind and make conjectures about infinity from his wheelchair.

There is an awareness of the beauty of human potential that lies in each of us. This is what we see reflected in the lives of Stephen Hawking, Richard Cohen, Richard Drew, Steve Jobs, Matthew Crawford, and that wonderful opera singer in Montreal. People agree to a remarkable extent about these people being among the best examples of people realizing their human potential.

Not only do we recognize this quality in people, but we also see it in objects which are more or less like our whole selves. Surprisingly, it appears this judgment is independent of person to person differences, and independent of culture. See how you do with the following thought experiment.


Which one of these two objects (the salt shaker or bottle of ketchup) represent you as you are and as you hope to be? Which reflects everything, both your weakness and your happiness, your vulnerability and your strength? Assuming for a moment, that you believed in reincarnation and that you are going to be reborn as one of these two things, then which one would you rather be in your next life? 

Each of us has an awareness of what our “essence” is. If we seek a thing which reflects this essence, it is entirely different from choosing a thing which merely metaphorically represents the one-sided imperfection of the present idea we have of ourselves (such as “this looks like me,” or “this looks like the way I feel,” and so on).

Forget your likes and dislikes, if one is better designed than the other, or which one is the more aesthetic, simply look and look until it becomes clear to you which one comes closer to you as you are and as you want to be. Which one comes closer to being a true picture of you in all your weakness and humanity; of the love and hate in you; of the good in you and the bad; of your past, present, and future, of what you hope to be as well as what you are?  Once the question is understood, an overwhelming majority (90%) of people, in this example, choose the salt shaker as being representative of the essence of life.

My Godfather John Haffich was a kind, sensitive gentleman from the Ukraine who always engaged me in conversations about life when I was a young boy. He would pick a wildflower and then tell me that if I looked at it in the right way, I could see heaven in the flower; or he would pick up a grain of sand and tell me that the whole world was no more than a grain of sand in the universe.

He was a poet who tried to encourage me to write poetry, which I did for a while. Some of it was published but I never felt my poems were good enough for me to seriously consider myself a poet. When he was in a nursing home and dying, I visited him and told him my thoughts about my inadequacies as a poet. He could barely whisper at the time and asked for a pencil and paper. He wrote the following poem and gave it to me with a smile.

I carry that piece of paper with his poem in my wallet to this day as one of most treasured possessions. It was one of those little things that changed the direction of my life.

Use what talents you have.
The woods would be silent
if no bird sang
except those that sang best.
Michael Michalko is the author of the best sellers Thinkertoys (A Handbook of Business Creativity), ThinkPak (A Brainstorming Card Deck), and Cracking Creativity (The Secrets Of Creative Genius)

Waiting for Autumn



Waiting for Autumn is a warm and revealing book about personal transformation. Its narrative reveals the honesty of one who has really walked the path of forgiveness and divine connection and found the rewards of intuition, mission, and synchronistic flow. This book will speak to everyone.”
— James Redfield, the author of The Celestine Prophecy

“A thrilling story, a deep metaphysical message, a breath of fresh air.”
— Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., the author of Five Wishes and co-author of Conscious Loving

“A journey of personal and spiritual discovery that opens up our hearts and fills us with divine wisdom and inspiration.”
— Debbie Ford, the author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and Why Good People Do Bad Things

In the tradition of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love and spiritual classics such as The Alchemist, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and The Celestine Prophecy, Waiting for Autumn is an enchanting semiautobiographical parable that reveals a deep and powerful message. This book follows Scott, an inquisitive seeker who meets a mysterious cardboard-sign-toting homeless man named Robert who has a sleepy black Lab puppy at his side and a penchant for changing lives.

Sparked by Robert’s unconventional wisdom, Scott is thrust into a spiritual adventure where he attempts to heal his past while confronting the spirit of his dead fiancée. He ultimately faces an extraordinary dilemma between his spiritual calling and earthly responsibilities.

Join Scott as he visits unseen worlds on his unique journey of self-discovery, where various spiritual modalities are revealed, including shamanic soul retrieval, energy healing, conscious eating, nature-spirit communication, kirtan, ancestral healing, and more. This metaphysical page-turner is a fascinating exploration of one humble soul’s profound awakening—with a surprise ending that will warm your heart.

Scott Blum is an author and the co-founder of the popular inspirational website DailyOM ( He is also a successful multimedia artist who has collaborated with several popular authors, musicians, and visual artists and has produced many critically acclaimed works, including a series featuring ancient meditation music from around the world. Scott lives in the mountains of Ashland, Oregon, with Madisyn Taylor—his wife, business partner, and soul mate.

Hay House, Inc.

 Voted one of the 100 best business books of all time

THINKERTOYS will teach you how to generate new ideas for businesses, markets, sales techniques, and products and product extensions. Packed with fun and practical tools and exercises, it outlines 30 practical linear and intuitive techniques that can be used by individuals or groups to tackle and solve business problems in fresh, creative ways.
An updated edition of the best-selling business creativity book, with more than 30 brainstorming techniques and hundreds of creative-thinking tips and tricks. Revision includes new techniques, examples, and sections on group brainstorming and endgames.

Believe it or not, this wonderful book will have you challenging the impossible. -- Nonprofit News

The most significant book about creativity that we have seen in years. -- AMA

This book is a creative-thinking workshop in a book that will have your imagination soaring. -- Chicago Tribune

This book shows you how to do what you think can't be done. -- The Futurist

Will turn anyone into a startingly creative thinkier. This is the book this editor wishes he had written. -- CreativeMind

Forget About Luck, Becoming Wealthy Is A Science ...

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The Inspired Science of Getting Rich Program  does far more than simply complement Wattles' works.  It sets the teachings of Wallace Wattles out in such a way that if you follow the process, you are destined to take yourself to a whole new level of awareness, personal accomplishment, and wealth creation.

Day by day our belief system continues to shape our thoughts, habits, actions and ultimately, our whole life. These are buried deep in the subconscious mind, and we are not aware of them most of the time.

Words don’t fit and can’t be applied to our beliefs because they are masked by our actions. However, the subconscious mind is a powerful force.  Why?

Our subconscious operates with the input of beliefs that are installed there.  So, what is placed inside our subconscious dictates how the mind works. We know that our actions are the products of our thoughts. Where the mind goes, the person follows. We are essentially slaves to the dictates of our minds.

But with the Inspired Science of Getting Rich Program you can train your subconscious mind to think according to the way you want.  You are the master of your mind, so you can therefore bend it, twist it, and direct it.

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Think, feel and act in harmony with the natural laws of the Universe so that you deliberately put the Law of Attraction to work in your life and start attracting more of what you want.

Develop a level of trust, belief and faith in yourself so that you know you can follow your intuition on the pathway to riches.

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Become a master of the "science" behind the Science of Getting Rich and be an shining example and inspiration for others.

The opinions expressed in any articles in this publication are those of the individual authors and may not necessarily by shared by the publishers of No Limits
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