Tag Archives: david corbin

TRAPPED: Its Better To Be A 3 Legged Coyote than a 4 Legged Fur Coat

My dear friend Joe Tye sent these thoughts recently……

A coyote caught in a trap will gnaw off its leg in order to escape. It instinctively knows that it’s better to be a three-legged coyote than a four-legged fur coat. It’s willing to go through (relatively) short-term pain in order to gain its long-term freedom.

Contrast the coyote with the monkey. According to a traditional Indian fable, a monkey can be caught by leaving a banana inside a large clay pot that has a very narrow opening at the top. The monkey grabs the banana and struggles to extricate it from the pot as his captors approach. The banana will not fit through the narrow top while wrapped in the monkey’s clenched fist. Now the monkey has a choice, doesn’t he? He can let go of the banana and escape (hungry but free), or he can hang on to the banana and hope against hope to keep both the banana and his freedom. The monkey takes the second approach, clutching the banana as he attempts to run off, dragging the pot behind. He is, of course, quickly captured.

So many people react to the traps that hold them back just as the monkey did. They envision a goal – financial independence, entrepreneurial success, spiritual equanimity – as being “out there” in front of them somewhere. But they are trapped and either unwilling or unable to, like the coyote, go through the painful process of chewing off a paw (changing spending habits, ending an abusive relationship, qutting drinking) so they can escape to a better future. They cling to their “banana” and wonder why they’re stuck, why they can’t seem to move toward the future they say they wish to create.

Though I’ve never tried this personally, I’ve read that if you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will instantly jump out. If, on the other hand, you put the frog into tepid water and gradually turn up the heat to the boiling point, the frog will relax into a fatal stupor. Perhaps that’s how we get stuck in our own little traps: we grow so accustomed to the pain that it becomes tolerable, even comfortable, when compared to the risk of making a leap into the unknown.

The keys to escape the traps of life might be simple common sense, but the locks are rarely easy to open. We become so used to our traps, so comfortable in them, that we hardly recognize them for what they are. And we end up sleeping with the frogs.

Some lizards are equipped with a break-away tail; if they are caught in the beak of a predator, they yank so hard that the tail comes off and they can run away, diminished in stature but still alive and free. And before long, they grow a new tail. Perhaps that’s an even more apt metaphor than the coyote, because once we escape from our traps, we can usually grow back whatever we’ve lost – in fact, more often than not, it will be stronger than the original.

Sign up for Joe Tye’s Spark Plug and he will send you some awesome original thought.


I aint the only one……

Look, You and I have this in common – we look at the glass half full… and I feel that it’s served me well. It still does. Hope you agree. I say, “Assume the best but put it to the test!”
The test?
You bet. Its all about critical thinking. Be willing to test assumptions, ask penetrating questions and have the courage to inquire.
Now, dig this research. It’s ‘counter intuitive’ and may press buttons. However, as Illuminate: Harnessing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking reveals, it is ‘mission critical’ to focus on all aspects of the topic- both positive AND negative- expect the best, prepare for the worst! And, as the bumper sticker professes, “question authority” for to accept it without question puts us in the same arena as sheep. And that’s just baaaaaaaaaaad.
Take a look at this research on the power of ‘negative thinking’ : http://tinyurl.com/ylxwf34

People are worse off than you… so what?

Things have been mounting up for me lately. (can you relate?)
I’ve been faced with many of the big things in life… all at once; the death of my beloved father in law, illness in the family, friends in financial distress, other friends with life and love issues and, on top of that, many business projects, including the release of my latest book last month, are all calling for my attention. It’s really been a test of energy, conviction and value choices.
That said, this morning while I was at my usual coffeehouse, my phone was buzzing with an incoming call and simultaneously a new text message- both urgent, both related to the issues above and both unwelcome before my first coffee. No choice, they both had to be dealt with immediately. Got the picture?
Something interesting happened and it packed a great lesson for me… and maybe for you.
I thought to myself, ‘well, there are people out there much worse off then I, so quit the pity party’. And, yes, while that is true, ‘what does that have to do with me?’
Out there is out there. I’m in here. I’m the one who needs to process all of this information, my feelings and (here’s the point) if I stay focused ‘out there’ then it’s just another form of avoidance, not facing it.
So, I thought to myself, that while, indeed, there are people much worse off than I, I must not use that as an avoidance from facing my own stuff. If I focus on the fact that there are people worse off than I out there then I am just ‘hiding out’ and not addressing the 1000 lb elephants in the room.


Survival of the Fittest….NOT!!!

Whoever taught us that it was ‘survival of the fittest’ probably lied to us about something else too.
Maybe that was true some time ago but I doubt it.
Dinosaurs were fit..big teeth, etc… but they haven’t been spotted in a while.
Today, we have more and more proof that the statement, when modified to the following is true:
Adapt or perish.
Typewriter company execs, people relying on vinyl record sales, vhs or cassette sales arent exacty thriving- nor are those employees of Montgomery Ward or the Sears Catalog.
Talking about the Sears Catalogue, I had lunch with Art Martinez, former chairman of Sears and asked him how he had the ‘audacity’ to pull the plug on the Sears Catalog. After all, the catalog was a mainstay in the US; people would use the catalog to research what advancements were made in areas of eyewear, clothing and fashion, furniture, elixers and even transportation.
“Why, did you close down the Sears Catalog Mr. Martinez?”
His answer had me baffled at first. He said, “Because we were too successful.”
Ohhhhkayy, I thought, as the Grasshopper ready to question the Master.
He followed up quickly saying, “We were so successful that we became overly confident and stopped listening to our customers.”
“You mean, like when you wouldn’t accept any charge card other than your own little brown Sears Card? I remember that you didnt allow customers to have the convenience of paying with Visa or Mastercard.” “You got it” he remarked.

In what areas are you not changing and adapting?
I ask so that I can stay awake to the areas that we stay ‘stuck’ and not fall into that pattern.

Here are some areas that I’ve been somewhat resistant :
Learning and using Facebook, Twitter and Blogging.
Cutting back on simple carbs.
Not eating after 9pm.
Taking time to meditate and reflect.
Arrange my schedule to edit my next book, BrandSlaughter.
As I’ve written and said so often in my adult life, ‘We are either Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotting’. aka Adapt, change and grow as though your life depends on it……’cause it does!

Obscure Ted Kennedy Quote

With the passing of Sen. Kennedy, I am reminded of a quote that he said many years back. It was this: “I don’t know why that guy is screwing me over, I was not even nice to him”. What? Why would someone screw us over if we’ve helped them?
Pretty funny line. I love the irony.
Pretty sad line. It’s too often true… and really painful.
How many times have we been disrespected or screwed over by someone who we were so nice and helpful to? My answer- too many.
The easy response to this observation is ‘Fine! I’m done helping people’… and whom among us hasn’t been of that mind before?
Sadly, that cynicism and protectionism is used by so many people to hide behind, stay safe and justify apathy. The mind obscures the heart.
I know that this is sort of preachy but I strongly believe that these experiences of being dissed by people that we’ve helped are there to test our conviction toward helping, mentoring and contributing.
Please, if you are confronted with this painful situation, stay aware of and awake to your thoughts and feelings… and resolve to continue helping, contributing, mentoring and adding to others the value of your caring energy and gifts. Remember:
Great quote Teddy. RIP.

We’re screwed unless…….

Im old enough to remember when the USA used to make stuff. We made cars and planes, widgets and gadgets and everything in between. Now we dont make much. Instead, we converted to a service economy and developed innovations in medicine, technology and more- all based on the capital of thinking, creating and utilization of our well educated brains. So, cool, we keep up our education and develop minds that can keep us in the game of innovation and product/process development.
EL PROBLEMO- Our education system is in trouble. The best indicators of this is measuring such things as how long students are staying in school (drop out rates are at an all time high in high school and college) and grade rankings. I understand that we cannot ‘measure’ our educational effectiveness to the nth degree but these really are some good markers to read that the USA system of education is falling farther and farther behind other countries like China, India, Australia and others.
It’s time for us to realize that this experiment called the USofA is only 200 years old and is just as vulnerable as any other society to becoming a debtor nation (oh, that’s right, we already are), low wage workforce serving other more productive nations.
At the risk of sounding like a one track record, I profess that we have a way out and that’s by ILLUMINATING the NEGATIVE and apply the FACE IT, FOLLOW IT and FIX IT methodology and get on with it. Once we follow the causes of these issues and see not only HOW we got here and WHAT forces are keeping it in place then, and only then, can we work to alter the course and FIX those processes in place.
I would love some commentary on this.


Had an interesting experience today that was both meaningful and profound for me. I needed to confront someone on a matter- someone who is very dear to me- who I dearly love and who unintentionally had made a poor decision leading to tension between us, hard feelings on my part and a bit of ‘guilt’ on hers. These are pretty high on the list of negative emotions which are so common and so dang damaging to the human condition so it wouldn’t server either of us to carry them around. Hence today’s experience.
I decided to Illuminate the situation and FACE it head on. In doing so, I needed to sort of FOLLOW IT, which is to say that I considered where my feelings were coming from, what they were effecting (feeling lousy, hurt, angry) and what her feelings might be (I didnt really know for certain). Then with all of this, I began a conversation with her to FIX IT- which we did.
In order for this to happen, we needed to allow ourselves some space, some vulnerability and be open to outcome.
So, at lunch, I took the opportunity to ‘address the elephant in the middle of the room’ and, with love and respect, spoke my truth.
Guess what happened?
I’ll tell you on the next blog- NOT. Here’s what happened. We each had an opportunity to express our feelings- and it was awesome. As always, the reward far exceeded the risk. I can assure you that this simple event is a huge addition to our solid relationship. With her sincere apology I had no need whatsoever to elephant stomp her to transfer pain or any of that crap that is all too common.
My grandmother once said, and I quoted this in my Psyched On Service book, that “a delicate tea cup that is broken and then mended is now stronger than had it not been broken.”
Our relationship was not broken, but I can assure you that its stronger than ever.