Less is More

Less is MoreMuch more dangerous than failure is success.

With success comes loss.

There is a loss of striving to reach the goal.

After the empire is built, then what?

Last week, in the course of a three-hour conversation with an empire builder, he was most proud of one story.

It was not about the treasures of the empire; it was about the joy of doing. The story epitomizes the essence of this Universal Principle: the fun is in the doing.

As his eyes danced back to the memory of a time long ago, he spoke of a harvest. Earlier in the conversation he had briefly mentioned the juggling act of doing the seeding in and around the other duties of caring for his cows. His first love is the livestock; he farms to care for them.

He smiled as he reminisced about an accomplishment only a few can appreciate. As a member of his club, I enjoyed the verbal portrait he presented. It was one of a cowboy, a combine (without a cab and with a 14’ header), a small straight truck, 320 acres of 20 bushel wheat, and 11 days.

Just imagine hot August days, with hardly a breath of air, sitting in the open on a bouncing seat above the spinning reel of the header, as it sweeps the standing stalks into the cutting bar. The aprons catch the fallen individual stems with heads of grain and rolls them gently to the center of the combine.

This continuous river of wheat flows under the driver into the threshing cylinder at his back. More dust and more roar, as metal fingers pluck wheat kernels from heads of grain. A cowboy, a combine, and a cloud of dust creep back and forth through the field.

The field is 320 acres. That’s one mile long and half a mile wide. A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet. With the combine traveling at two miles per hour, two trips across the field can be made in one hour. Each swath measures 14’ across. Since the cowboy, the combine and a cloud of dust have 2,640 feet (one-half of a mile) to traverse, that’s about 200 trips back and forth across the field.

Two trips per hour, nine hours per day, for eleven days was the time required on a bouncing seat, in the heat of August, through a fog of chaff, for our cowboy to earn the right to tell his story. In addition to the time in the driver’s seat, effort was also required to grease, fuel, and repair the iron beast. That was done throughout the stops to unload each hopper of grain into the truck for transport to the bin.

Short story; long lesson: the fun is in the doing. Really?! Eleven days of slogging through the discomfort of heat, dust and itch. Fun?! Yes, because the accomplishment of a harvest is the “Ribbons and Bows” around the planning and preparation that transforms thought into action.

Actions accumulate into a manifestation of success: the treasures of an empire. The stuff will come and go; the legacy will last forever.

The legacy is, simply, to say little and do much. A little bit of verbiage can be powerful, by speaking only the truth. Actions speak so much louder than words.

By giving our best, each and every day, we honor those pioneers of long ago and encourage the beneficiaries of tomorrow, to discover their own path to destiny.

www.kimfoard.com

Simply Complex

Diamond 3-D BrillianceArtisans give new life to the old perspective by capturing the essence of a single focal point.

The complexity and chaos of the ordinary is simplified into an expression of the divine.

The masterpieces of great art forms are discernible by one simple test. They appear magnificent: at close-up and from far-away.

By broad stroke and precise finish, tangible raw material is transformed into a reflection of the intangible thought, conveyed from the artist to the beholder.

What once was crude and unrefined becomes beautiful and polished.

Such is the journey of a diamond.

Formed in the center of the earth at high-pressure, high-temperature conditions and forced to the surface by a volcanic eruption, an ordinary rock in appearance becomes a priceless treasure.

The name diamond is derived from the ancient Greek αδάμας (adámas), “proper”, “unalterable”, “unbreakable”, “untamed”, from ἀ- (a-), “un-” + δαμάω (damáō), “I overpower”, “I tame”.

Diamond is the hardest known natural material on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This has been known since antiquity and is the source of its name. Somewhat related to hardness is another mechanical property: toughness, which is a material’s ability to resist breakage from forceful impact.

Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms into an inflexible three-dimensional lattice, protecting it from contamination. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material.

Diamond has remarkable optical characteristics. Combined with wide transparency, this results in the clear, colorless appearance of most natural diamonds. Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors), which results in its characteristic luster.

At the beginning of this thirty year adventure as a CPA entrepreneur, I was sitting in a Continuing Education Seminar and the presenter asked us to do the following: Draw a Triangle at the top of a page; underneath that, draw a Square; underneath that, draw a Rectangle; underneath that, draw a Circle; and, finally, underneath that, draw a Wavy Line.

Then, he asked us to place a Checkmark next to the image which best reflected our personality.

After a brief pause, he continued. The wavy lines are the Free-spirits. The circles are the Friendlies. The rectangles are the Worker-bees. The squares are Upper-management. The triangles are …

In his words: There are a few of you leaning back in your chair, with your arms folded across your chest, thinking, “I could do that. In fact, I could do that better.” They are the innovators, leaders and visionaries.

I laughed, because he had just described my posture and read my mind. And, my Checkmark was pointing at the pinnacle of the Triangle.

Do we come hard-wired into this world? Or, is our twig bent, in the formative years, to produce the fruits of our efforts, today? I don’t know.

From the comments of Family and Friends, this is what I do know:

“Kim, you ask so many questions, I’m sure you’re going to grow up to be a Philadelphia lawyer!”

“Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

“It’s rare to get cowboy poetry from a CPA, so thanks again Kim for making our day. More importantly, congratulations to you for having an open mind, looking for a better way, and contributing to the dignity of our profession by doing the right thing for your customers.”

Average is not a way of thinking, or behaving, for me. I respect and honor the right of others to be a commodity. My frustration will be on display for those who think that I should accept Average as my standard. Never have; never will.

With the belief that each individual is a priceless gem, my choice of stone is the Diamond: proper, unalterable, unbreakable, untamed, hard, tough, inflexibly three-dimensional, thermally conducive, widely transparent, optically dispersible, predictably exhibiting trigons of positive and negative relief.

This is the 100th Blog Post Anniversary Edition of SageTalk ~ Building Dynamic Relationships. What began as a forum for sharing thought has become a journal of adventure. Rough on the outside, rich on the inside; treasure awaits for those souls who will cut and polish the core of these messages.

We all have a unique perspective.

Mine is simply complex.

www.kimfoard.com

A Penny Doubled

A Penny DoubledIf you were offered 1 Million Dollars, today; or, 1 Penny, with the opportunity to double it for 31 days; which would you choose? We all do it; we go for the immediate gratification and forfeit 9 Million Dollars!

Granted, instant wealth is a secret fantasy of us, all. The next best dream entertained is to receive compound interest on a passive investment. Least favorite is to, actually and actively, earn our way to wealth.

Since the odds of winning a lottery are slim to none and interest rates are little better, let’s take a look at the return on smart thinking and hard work. Passive investments hope to earn a percentage on what already is. Active efforts yield bountiful harvests from the whole seed, planted for the benefit of future growth.

Real treasure has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the lessons learned on the journey of Life.

Speaking of which, a rich Fellow had business obligations in a far away country. Before leaving, He entrusted money to three of his servants in proportion to their abilities. Two of them went to work and earned double what they were given. The third one dug a hole and hid the gift.

Upon the rich fellow arriving home, the servants were asked, individually and separately, to give an account of how they had used the money. Two of them replied, “Master, you gave me wealth to invest and I have earned double the amount.”

Their master was full of praise and to each of them said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.You have been faithful in handling this small amount; so, now, I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

The third one recognized the Farmer Philosophy inherent in the principle of the matter; yet, did nothing to increase the principal of that within his sphere of influence. His response, “I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.”

No percentage. No harvest. No celebration.

After the judgmental and tepid tirade, the fearful one was quizzed by the benefactor, “Why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.”

It’s not about the money. It is, all, about the lessons learned on this journey of Life.

You see, the rich fellow didn’t really care about the money, or the percentage of its increase. He was more interested in providing opportunities for growth. That only happens by smart thinking and hard work.

Then, he ordered, “Take the money from the lazy one and give it to the one who harvested the most. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given; and, they will have an abundance. But, from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

All, we do, begins with a thought and the fun is in the doing!

www.kimfoard.com

White Lines & PAWS

Dog Cat and White“Just keep your eyes on the white line, until you drive back into blue sky and sunshine.”

In some parts of the country, people drive for days to get out of the city. In Montana, we drive for hours to find one. Unless we’re driving at least 300 miles to do something, it’s probably just not that important!

It was Thanksgiving Day and Family was gathered 350 miles away. My first clue to a little excitement for that morning was at 3:30 AM, as I read the online Severe Weather Alert for blowing and drifting snow in an area known for high winds. The image that came to mind was of the log chain—that the community uses for a wind sock—popping links into snow drifts.

The reality was much different from the imagination. Before I even made it to the area of predicted severe weather, there was no hope in seeing anything on the side of the road. The road had disappeared into a white nothingness.

Blowing and drifting snow?! Who knew, or cared. The world had gone, white!

Visibility was zero. Now, wait. There was visibility. All white! White snow; white air; white road; and a few splotches of white lines were visible. We take them for granted most days: those solid white lines down the edge of a highway. That morning, they were the difference between moving forward and hibernation. A simple stripe of paint offered hope of progress.

It only took another 100 miles and 4 hours, until I drove into blue sky and sunshine.

Eventually, I drove right into the ranch yard and open arms of Family. A special Thanksgiving Day it was. In addition to the traditional fare of food and drink, this day included an opportunity to Meet the Parents. My daughter and her sweetie bravely hosted an event of Thanksgiving for their parents, who had yet to meet.

The meeting, and visiting, was made easier by George and Indie. You see, George is a big, old, grey cat; Indie is a small, young, red-heeler dog. Hence the expression, “Getting along like cats and dogs.” Oh, they get along just fine. Deep down, I do believe there is affection between the two. It’s the expression of the emotion that is comical.

Much more than the yelps and growls, it’s the PAWS which offer the love pats!

While we can learn much from two-legged folk, the lessons tutored by George and Indie made sense of my earlier morning experience of White.

Planning
Action
Will
Stories

Planning ~ You can see it in their eyes, as they think of the next episode of feline and canine adventure.

Action ~ They, literally, spring into it. Any doubts or reservations are pushed aside and they launch full-bore into the episode at hand.

Will ~ Fun will be obtained, by any means necessary to that end. Any resistance to great sport is overcome by sheer willpower.

Stories ~ We will remember, forever, the Day because it is wrapped in the ribbons and bows of the narrative.

My morning of Montana adventure contained all of the elements of PAWS. From the bag of winter survival gear to the full tank of fuel, planning and preparedness were the order of the day. Sitting beside the road in hopes of a kinder and gentler Mother Nature was forgone in exchange for moving forward, one mile at a time. Will-Power was my co-pilot, although, He was white-knuckled and wide-eyed, at times. Then, there are the tall tales—stories to tell the grandkids!

When given the opportunity of the impossible, let’s focus on the solutions available within our PAWS. By putting our hands to the task of finding joy by doing, and our feet to the path leading us to the discovery of an adventure, we find a priceless treasure that is ours, forever.

www.kimfoard.com

Rainbow Rider

Life is presented to us on a spectrum. Sometimes, we lose sight of that.

To illustrate this concept, if we raise our arms to the height of our shoulders, an axis line is established. It runs from the fingertips of one hand, through our heart and soul, out to the fingertips of our other hand. Now, if we picture in our minds eye the innumerable arcs that stretch from fingertip to fingertip, we understand spectrums.

On the one hand we have this — on the other hand we have that. Our left hand is opposite our right hand. They are different and unique, working together individually to accomplish a greater good. We would never think to dismiss one in favor of the other. We’re reminded of their mutual importance when we try to zip with one hand.

While some may believe the universe revolves around them, our control is limited to the two hands connected to the core of our heart and soul. As we expand the analogy of spectrums, we find the sphere of our earth. An imaginary axis line that man uses as reference, exits at the opposite Polar Regions, establishing North and South. Between the poles, we have the Equator, which is defined by East and West.

North is as opposite and as far from South, as East is from West. Wherever you are right now, look into the distance towards your favorite direction. Can you believe that you are standing on the “X” of spectrums, marking the exact spot which is the beginning of a journey halfway around the world in any direction?

The choice is ours. We limit ourselves by anchoring to a favorite spot and then whining about what is in sight. We forget that our view is always limited by the spectrum curve.

Now, with the stage set, think of a rainbow — the most vivid spectrum of reality and imagination. Folk lore provides for a pot of gold at each end. Streaming from one to the other is a gorgeous spectrum of color.

Life is a journey of contrasts. We have good times and bad times. The effort required to go up a mountain is rewarded by the tummy-tickle at the top as we coast down into the valley below. The straight stretches of highway allow us to set the cruise control, while the switchbacks provide for a white-knuckle focus of attention.

There is treasure to be found at the extremes. From the grief of loss to the ecstasy of triumph, we are rewarded from the pot of gold at each end of that rainbow of experience.

After a storm, a rainbow is given as a sign of hope and a reminder to ride the spectrum of life. As any good bull rider knows, we must ride “jump for jump” — while staying centered and balanced on top. That’s where the view is the best!

www.kimfoard.com