Easter: Wiping the Slate Clean

Easter: Wiping the Slate Clean

Easter, Holiday, Hope, Personal Value, Spring
I've often heard the argument of living a life without regrets, not worrying about our past and asking others to accept us and our actions and move on. The counter is a life of trying to right every previous wrong, sorrow for past mistakes and where they have led us. Both approaches are partial truths and partial answers to what really helps us find happiness, but none of it works without help from a key source. Not only is it not possible to change previous poor decisions, but it is not necessary. Those bad decisions, even those that changed the trajectory of our lives in a negative way, can be wiped clean and remembered no more. Our eternal happiness is not dependent on the past, not dependent on things we…
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Pilot or Passenger?

Pilot or Passenger?

Flight, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Personal Value, Vector
A-10 Control Stick During pilot training, one of the instructors in the T-37 was notorious for grabbing the student’s oxygen hose and squeezing it to cut off the supply of oxygen.  While doing so, he would ask, “Are you a pilot, or passenger?”  While teaching formation flight, he was particularly sadistic.  When his student had trouble getting into position right off of the fingertip of their flight lead only a few feet away, he would again grab his student’s oxygen mask and say, “Get in position!  No fingertip, no oxygen!” There may be better ways to teach, but this instructor's madness worked.  Fear and a little bit of panic drove his students to get in position, take control of the aircraft, and learn how to be a pilot instead of a passenger. I spent quite…
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Perspective and Goals in Simple Things

Perspective and Goals in Simple Things

Family, Perspective, Priorities, Relaxation, Vector
Often, even the simplest and most tedious of tasks provide much-needed relief from 'the grind' of modern life, and provide us with a moment to reflect on what matters.  They also present us with opportunities to stretch ourselves in the same moment. My wife and I recently found one such task in a dusty field in the middle of nowhere. We were returning from a short trip to the Teton Valley on the West side of the Teton Range in Eastern Idaho/Western Wyoming recently, a valley full of lush fields, amazing vistas, beautiful skylines, and abundant wildlife.  I had given a small presentation to an unnamed board, and we were in a hurry to get home to kids, family chores, and sleep…
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Establishing a Personal Baseline

Armed Service, Excellence, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value
I arrived, along with nearly fourteen-hundred of my new classmates, in Colorado Springs during the first week of July 1985 for Basic Cadet Training at the United States Air Force Academy.  My parents dropped me off earlier that morning at Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia, and to say that I was apprehensive was like saying I thought Christie Brinkley was kind of cute.  I was borderline scared.  My dad had been a cadet in the Air Force Academy’s first graduating class, and had shared with me a glimpse of what to expect.  I was not looking forward to it at all.  It was hard to say goodbye to my family, but what filled my mind were the…
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Unexpected Heroism from a celebrity Hero–Eddie Rickenbacker

Freedom, Friendship, History, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value, Veterans
Eddie Rickenbacker was America's Ace of Aces with 26 kills during World War I.  Despite his initial rejection into flight school because of his 8th grade education, Eddie eventually became the leading ace, Medal of Honor winner, darling of the Allied media, and commander of the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron.  The world knows him for such heroics, but they were just expressions of who he really was--a quiet, every day over-achiever who never took himself too seriously or forgot his roots. Losing his father at 13, Eddie Rickenbacker instantly became the man of the house.  The third of 9 children, but the one who felt the responsibility most for his family, Eddie dropped out of…
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Stripping Away the Titles–True Greatness

Excellence, Leadership, Personal Value, Veterans
Throughout his life, my dad has held many titles.  General, Fighter Pilot, Senior Vice President, President, Elder, Chairman, Instructor.  The list goes on and on.  His resume over the years looks almost like something made up to boost someone's ego and secure a high-paying job.  The consumate type A, he was ever-willing to do what was required for the mission at hand, to take charge, and to serve where needed.  His 'to do' list has always been longer than the day, and his ability to prioritize and tackle that list resulted in a successful career at many levels. Now, my dad is about to turn 82 (Happy Birthday Dad).  A stroke-like accident almost 5 years ago nearly killed him, and robbed…
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