Tag Archives: Mark Twain

Kirk Douglas – Huffington Post

3 Jul

I came across this article by the actor Kirk Douglas (father of Michael Douglas) yesterday, July 1, 2013 in the Huffington Post and thought it important enough to share it with you. He talks about bigotry, racism and prejudice and how it is learned. The interesting thing is that when I was around 9 years old I had a similar experience to Mr. Douglas. With tomorrow being July 4th where we celebrate the birth of our glorious nation, I thought you might want to see what a 97 year old thinks of our newest generation.

On Jews and Justice

I was six-years-old when I had my first contact with anti-Semitism. I came home from school one day with a bloody nose, crying to my mother — “Yanak hit me!”

“Why?” my mother asked.

“He said I killed Jesus Christ.”

“What? You killed who?”

“I didn’t kill him. I don’t even know who he is.”

My nose stopped bleeding and soon I was playing again with Yanack as if nothing had happened between us. It wasn’t his fault, because that was what he had been taught to believe by his father. And come to think of it, it wasn’t Yanack’s father’s fault either because he’d certainly been taught the same thing by his father. Maybe none of them could read, because if they had actually studied their New Testament, they would have learned the truth: that the Romans were the ones who crucified Jesus. Only the Romans had the right of public execution. The Jews were a tiny people subject to the laws of the Roman empire.

Rodgers and Hammerstein dealt with the subject of learned prejudice when they wrote the highly successful musical comedy South Pacific. South Pacific was a hit on Broadway but when they started the tour in the Southern states they ran into trouble. The state of Georgia introduced a bill outlawing South Pacific because it contained “an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow.” The claim was based on one song, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught.” Here are the lyrics:

“You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” (Lyrics from South Pacific)

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.

The Southern legislators maintained that this “song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life.” Rodgers and Hammerstein fought stubbornly against them and the song stayed in.

I’ve lived a long time. Almost 97 years. I’ve seen a lot of fear-mongering, bigotry and discrimination. But now I’m also seeing a modern generation of children who view the world very differently than their parents and grandparents. For them, no amount of teaching will make them hate people simply because they’re different. That gives me hope.

Meanwhile, I will never forget my first bloody nose. It always reminds me of why I’m proud to be a Jew. As Mark Twain wrote, “[the Jew] has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him.”

Kirk Douglas

With Love,

Michael

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Courage

3 Jun

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

Wouldn’t it be nice to live a life completely free of fear? Where we could and would try anything new because we would not be constrained by those awful, uncomfortable feelings fear causes us.

Well, it’s not going to happen. Nor would we want it to. Without fear, some of us might decide to do some pretty stupid things in our quest to posthumously receive the Darwin award. So in some instances experiencing fear is a good thing.

But most of the fear we as normal humans experience daily is not real. It is created by the delusional negative thoughts we entertain. Something like 54,000 of the 60,000 thoughts the average person thinks in a day.

So, as Mark Twain said, we are never going to reach a place of total absence of fear. But, we can stop fear from negatively affecting our lives by resisting fear and mastering it. And we do that by changing the fearful thoughts we think to positive ones.

So the first thing we must do is identify a negative thought we are thinking. And here comes the tricky part, because I know you’re going to ask, “Michael, how do I do that?” Actually, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

How you feel at any given moment is a reflection of what you are thinking. A positive thought generates good feelings. A negative thought bad feelings.

Acknowledge when you’re feeling fearful, afraid, uncertain, or doubtful. Then stop and identify what you were just thinking. It should be easily recognizable as a negative thought. Then let go of that thought and replace it with a positive happy thought. In moments you’ll find yourself feeling better.

There are times when I like to ask my higher power for help in taking the negative thought from me. Typically, when that happens a positive thought will immediately come to fill the vacuum. I usually ask the Holy Spirit the following: Holy Spirit, I cast the burden of this negative fearful thought about ___________ on you, and I go free.” It is best to say this out loud and as many times as it takes to unburden yourself of the thought.

If at first this doesn’t work for you don’t worry, it will. As you make this a habit you’ll find your belief system will change until you reach a point where you ask your higher power to take your negative thought fully expecting it to disappear. And, it does.

With Love,

Michael

I Worried and Worried – But Nothing Happened

1 Apr

I have been through some terrible things in my life…some of which actually happened. – Mark Twain

When was the last time you had to give a speech or get up in front of your colleagues and make a presentation? Was it scary for you? Were you so afraid that you lost sleep over it?

For most people it is the epitome of terror. In fact more people fear public speaking than fear death itself. Fortunately, you won’t have to give the eulogy at your own funeral?

As scary as it was when you finally had to give your talk it was nowhere near as frightening as your mind made it out to be in the weeks leading up to the event. The fact is for most people the daily fear they feel regarding an upcoming event is often greater than the fear they feel at the time the event happens.

Why does this happen and what can you do about it? In my book, Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life I talk about having to give a speech after accepting an award in New York City. For weeks leading up the speech I was a nervous wreck. Every day my mind raced as I came up with one excuse after another to try get out of it, including faking an illness. It was pure misery.

But at the moment I was called up onto the stage the fear seemed to dissipate and I knew I would be alright. Isn’t that usually the way it happens? We allow our minds to generate nothing but negative and catastrophic thoughts which in turn cause the fear based feelings we feel in our bodies. It ruins our days and nights, and for what?

Mark Twain knew what most social scientists know; that over 90% of the things we worry about and fear the most, never happen. They never happen.

So, the next time you’re facing a scary challenge remember that only one out of ten things you worry about ever come to pass. And when that one thing does happen it is never as bad as you made it out to be.

And remember: Happiness comes from living each day without fear.

With Love,

Michael

Master Your Fear!

22 Mar

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. – Mark Twain

Wouldn’t it be nice to live a life completely free of fear. Where we could and would try anything new because we would not be constrained by those awful, uncomfortable feelings fear causes us. Well, it’s not going to happen.

Nor would we want it to. Without fear, some of us might decide to do some pretty stupid things in our quest to posthumously receive the Darwin award. So in some instances experiencing fear is a good thing.

But most of the fear we as normal human beings experience daily is not real. It is created by the delusional negative thoughts we entertain. Something like 54,000 of the 60,000 thoughts the average person thinks in a day are negative.

So, as Mark Twain said, we are never going to reach a place of total absence of fear. But, we can stop fear from negatively affecting our lives by resisting fear and mastering it. And we do that by changing the fearful thoughts we think to positive ones.

How you feel at any given moment is a reflection of what you are thinking. Thinking  positive thoughts generate good feelings like love and joy. Negative thoughts generate bad feelings like fear and worry.

So the first thing we must do is identify a negative thought. And here comes the tricky part, and I know you’re going to ask, “Michael, how do I identify a negative thought that I am thinking?” Actually, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

Recognize when you’re feeling afraid, uncertain, doubtful or worried. Then stop and identify what you were just thinking. You’ll soon realize that what you are thinking are negative thoughts. The next step is to then let go of those thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. Something that typically brings happiness to you like thinking of a child, a spouse or other loved one. Or even a memory of a joyous occasion or event, or just a wonderful moment in your life. Concentrate on that thought and you should immediately find yourself feeling happier and more carefree.

Learning how to do this simple exercise will give you the courage to overpower and master any fear.

With Love,

Michael

Worry – Worry – Worry!

15 Feb

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~Mark Twain

Let me ask you a question. I am writing this on Valentine’s day. Can you tell me what you were worried about last Valentine’s day? How about Valentine’s day 2011? Here I’ll make it easier for you. On January 3rd of this year, only 42 days ago, what was your number one worry?

If you’re like most of us you have no idea. And, do you know why that is? It’s because over 90% of the things we worry about, never happened. Yes, they never happened. But I bet your worries drove you crazy.

Maybe you couldn’t sleep because something in the future was going to take place. Or your kids faced an unusual challenge. Or, perhaps on a Friday afternoon your boss called and left a voicemail and she didn’t sound happy. Do you think you would have a great weekend? Probably not. I’ve experienced those calls and all weekend I would be asking myself, what did I do wrong? Why is she mad at me? My mind would be going crazy with fear and worry.

Did you ever have to give a speech or get up in front of your colleagues and make a presentation? Was it scary for you? For most people it is the epitome of terror. In fact more people fear public speaking than fear death itself.

As scary as it was when you finally had to give your talk it was nowhere near as frightening as your mind made it out to be in the weeks leading up to the event. The fact is for most people the daily fear and worry they feel regarding an upcoming event is often greater than the fear they feel at the time the event happens.

Why does this happen and what can you do about it. In my book, Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life I talk about having to give a speech after accepting an award in New York City. For weeks leading up the speech I was a nervous wreck. Every day my mind raced as I came up with one excuse after another to try get out of it, including faking an illness. It was pure misery.

But at the moment I was called up onto the stage the fear seemed to disappear and I knew I would be alright. Isn’t that usually the way it happens? We allow our minds to generate nothing but negative and catastrophic thoughts which in turn cause the fear based feelings we feel in our bodies. It ruins our days, and our nights, and for what?

So, the next time you’re facing a scary challenge or are worried about some future event, remember that only one out of ten things you worry about ever comes to pass. And when that one thing does happen it is never as bad as you made it out to be.

Just remember the words of the immortal Alfred E. Neuman; What, me worry?

Love you,

Michael

You Don’t Like it, Change it!

4 Feb

For many of us, our lives are plagued with fear and worry about what the future holds. I’m not just talking about the long range future of five, ten, twenty years, but what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next week, the end of the month.

This article was written for a Monday morning publication, actually the day after the Super Bowl. How did you wake up this morning? Other than maybe a little hangover from one too many Buds, did you wake up optimistic about what the new day would bring you? Or, did you wake up with fear and dread of the day ahead of you?

Was it going to be another day of dreading being stuck in traffic and maybe being late to work? Was it dread of putting up with the boss or your co-workers? Did you leave the house in fear of meeting with an angry client? Did you see a gray hair or another wrinkle this morning that made you feel old? Are you constantly asking yourself, “Where did my dreams go?”

Would you like to change all this? Good, then we can work together to solve this problem.

First, it is said that over 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Mark Twain said it best, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened!” Think about this for a moment, by a ratio of 9 to 1, what we worry about never ever happens. So, why do we make ourselves and our lives miserable worrying about something that will probably never happen? Unless we make it happen. And we do that.

The Law of Attraction says that we are constantly creating the things in our life through what we give thought, emotion and expectation to. That includes all the good and all the bad. So it is obvious that if you change your thoughts you can change your attitude from one of lack and limitation, to one of constant joy, happiness, peace and abundance. And here is how to do it.

First, you must believe in a higher power. It could be God, the Universe, Jesus, Infinite Spirit, Allah. It doesn’t matter much, they are just names for “all that is.” Next, when you are feeling worry and dread you are going to ask your higher power for exactly the opposite of what you fear. As an example, you fear your boss, and aren’t sure what she’s got in store for you that day. So what is the opposite of this scenario? It is a day where your boss is in a perfect mood and sees all that you do to contribute to the success of the company. So ask your higher power for exactly that; Infinite Spirit, I desire a perfect day at work today. I want a day where I accomplish a great amount quality work and my boss recognizes my positive contributions to the company’s success. Say that when you first awake and throughout the day.

Hey! This is not rocket science. It’s just you becoming comfortable asking for what you want. Remember, it is not that you ask God for too much, but that you ask her for too little.

To a wonderful week,

Michael

Ignorance + Confidence = Success

22 Jan

All you need is ignorance and confidence and success is sure. -Mark Twain

I would like to use the above quote to talk about starting your own business. I have started a number of companies over the years and I can attest to the validity of Mark Twain’s quote. Although I cannot necessarily agree that “success is sure.”

It takes a fair amount of guts to start one’s own business and a lot of naiveté. I wish I could tell you that I had the guts when I started my first company, Michael Luckman and Associates, but if you’ve read my book you know that’s not true. I started my company after I was fired from my marketing position at National Semiconductor.

I’ve always had tremendous admiration for anyone who started their own business. But especially for those who have a dream and then leave the security of regular employment to start their own enterprise.   But it really doesn’t matter if you leave a secure life voluntarily or involuntarily, you will still be faced with the most awesome and debilitating emotion, FEAR.

Starting any new venture, no matter what your experience, is scary. You will be faced with many new situations that you have never faced before, but you learn as you go. Simple things like should I incorporate or be a sole proprietor, to borrowing money from friends, family and banks. Everything you do will be cloaked in fear. But that’s to be expected. After all, you’re only human.

So, moving past the ignorance part, let’s talk about confidence. Nobody can instill you with confidence. Yes, others can motivate you. They can tell you that you can do it. That you’re smart, intelligent and that you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. That you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. But when everything is said and done, your confidence in yourself must come from within. This is why I have such a strong belief in God and the Universe.

I believe that each of us is a part of God. And that part dwells within us. It speaks to us in ways that we don’t fully recognize and often ignore. Some refer to it as our sixth sense or our gut instinct. There are times we wish it would just scream out to us, DON’T DO THAT!!! But because God gave us free choice he will never give you more than you ask for. And there lies the problem. Most of us don’t ask. I certainly didn’t at the beginning.

I think perhaps I was overconfident. I believed I could do it all with just sheer willpower. I wasted a lot of time and energy swimming upstream against the current believing this was the way to go. It wasn’t. Once I asked for guidance everything changed. I entered the water and let God and the Universe guide me. Instead of going in the direction “I felt” was right I allowed myself to go the other way. I did not panic, but let the current take me to where God wanted me to go.

My advice: Know that you can do it, and never be afraid to ask for help.

May you always be blessed,

Michael