Beginning In the year of 2010, maybe, it’s time for the 2 x 10: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me. Ten little words, two letters apiece: a solid plank in successful lives.

Coattail LessonsHave you heard the one about the two golfers, Fred and Bob? Well, the two of them were playing as a duo in a tournament with some of their buddies. At the end of the day, everyone was sharing stories at the 19th Hole in the Clubhouse, when someone noticed Fred and Bob were missing. As the party moved outside onto the veranda to peer into the dusk of the evening, some movement was detected advancing toward the Clubhouse.

Naturally, some went out to meet Fred and Bob. As they approached, it was discovered that Bob was no longer of this world. When they asked Fred how he managed to finish the course, he replied, “Hit the ball; drag Bob.”

While the names have been changed, Fred is a friend of mine and the story above is one that he tells. He and Bob have been business partners for more than thirty years. To continue with the dark humor of a sad situation, Bob’s tombstone might as well display the reality of his life:
Died 198X – Buried 20XX

In the course of a road trip with my family, one day we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Hanging on the wall was a sign that read:
Unless You’re Lead Dog, The View Never Changes

Now, there are several themes in the introduction above:

We get what we allow.

Coattails are dangerous.

Leadership begins with self.

An unspoken question between Fred and me has been, “How much better might his Game have been if he could have just concentrated on hitting the ball?” We don’t talk about it because it is a judgment relative to the past. What we know, for a fact, is that Fred has grown into a productive citizen — whereas, Bob relies on coattails for mobility. Furthermore, as an accomplished critic, Bob is one of those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Coattails can appear in the form of Heritage, Wealth, Success, and Reputation of a preceding generation. While all of that can be the foundation for the succeeding generation to build something special for themselves, generally, it exudes the taint of janitorial duty — the next generation is expected to maintain the empire.

Friends, Mentors, Employers and a variety of other Heroes can be sources of coattails. The most dangerous source of all is Government, with its propaganda of Free Lunch programs. Folks, “There ain’t such a thing!”

There is a price we pay for everything. Future dividends only come from present investments. Much more than financial matters, though, we are contemplating facets of the soul.

Moral of the story — The secret to happiness is, so eloquently, articulated by Teddy Roosevelt.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly!

From the Ages, comes the premise that we are to work out our own salvation with reverence. As with any relationship, the effort begins with us, individually, and is directed toward one other individual, deity, or focal point of development. Once we realize that life is best experienced from the inside — out, we begin to understand that internal change affects the external.

Beginning in the year of 2010, maybe, it’s time for the 2 x 10:
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Ten little words, two letters apiece, which — if, believed and lived — can make a difference in the life of each individual and the lives of many others.

So, please, pause for a moment and check for Coattails. Be honest with yourself, when you ask this question, “Am I trying to ride on the coattails of someone else?”

If so, please, hop off.

Is someone trying to ride on yours?

If so, shake them off.

Trying never accomplished anything.

In fact, we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing.

Let’s all discover the fun of learning, together.


We either nurture the character required to produce liberty and responsibility, or a society of selfishness emerges.

Liberty and Freedom At The Core

From the song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, Me and Bobby McGee, comes the line, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

The powerful, rhyming, complement in verse is what I offer for consideration, “We all have the free will to choose.”

In the darkest depths of war and in the slavery of a Nazi concentration camp, Viktor Frankl discovered true freedom.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way—an honorable way—in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory….

More from the Wikipedia article:

He (Frankl) often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of men to exist: decent and unprincipled ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. Following this line of thinking, he once recommended that the Statue of Liberty on the East coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West coast.

Quoting from the Statute of Responsibility Foundation:

The Statue of Liberty has served as a symbol of liberty, both in America and throughout the world. Its counterpart, the Statue of Responsibility, will likewise serve as a symbol – a visible representation and call to responsibility – both in America and abroad. These two principles – liberty and responsibility – when linked together, will help engender and secure freedom for the present generation, and for generations yet unborn, wherever a thirst for freedom exists. Only by balancing Liberty with Responsibility can Freedom be sustained.

In other words, our freedom to choose is not a license to harm others. Our choices must be within the parameters of what is: Right, Just and Fair.

Loss of Freedom

Granted, the concepts inherent within the words Right, Just and Fair are intangibles; hard to understand and measure. So, the temptation is strong to take the easy path of materialism. The accumulation of Stuff becomes a way of life. It is visible to all, very tangible, measurable, flaunt-able, and laughable. Because: We do not own things; Things own us. As a result, true freedom is lost.

A wise, farmer, friend brought to my attention the fact that Mother Nature hates a vacuum. In his words, “You either plant seeds to produce a crop of value, or weeds will grow.”

So it is with our life. We either nurture the character required to produce liberty and responsibility, or a society of selfishness emerges.

The secret to happiness and freedom is found in: A belief that we are wonderful chunks of conduit for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.

Our value is not in who we are; it is in what we allow to flow at the core. We have the freedom to choose the object of our service. That choice will determine every thought and action.

Love Is ...

Some will gain the whole world and lose their soul. Others will embrace suffering and sacrifice in their journey to finding the true self.

The first group will be concerned about “keeping up with the Joneses” and “what others think about them”.

The second group has nothing to lose and everything to gain. They understand: The salvation of man is through love and in love.

As the song Me and Bobby McGee concludes, we hear the rest of the chorus: “Nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free.”