The more I don’t know.

So here is a quote that I have though of elevendy-hundred times over the course of my life.  I believe I first heard it in my thirties, and I cannot begin to calculate how many times I have referred to it when thinking about all sorts of life issues.



As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.

— Albert Einstein

So the more we know, the more we don’t know (the darkness).

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I’ve used this quote when thinking about faith, parenting four children, marriage, friendships, definitely running a company, managing personal finances and retirement planning, how to be a good son, and on and on and on.  The more I know, the more I don’t know.

A daunting thought, but great fun to ponder.  Continuous improvement….nothing more important.



Can we talk?


Thursday I spent the day with the Solution Tree Guiding Coalition.  These are the current thought leaders within the company who will drive our success, or failure, in nearly every area.   They are a talented group of individuals whom I obviously trust with key decisions, and led by Ed Ackerman, President of Solution Tree.

It was a good day with a tight agenda where we discussed and broke down our financials.  We reviewed or history, shared 2013 hits and misses, to-date, dug into forecasts for 2014 and debated new initiatives moving forward.  I LOVE to discuss market trends and define future goals and initiatives, so for me this was a great day, and we repeat it each Fall.

One of the tools for success we discussed was communication.  I had recently attended a Strategic Coach meeting in Chicago where I first used one of their tools to help me better understand communications.  Kind of an important part of any team, and one I really felt was important to this team since they are playing such a critical role in my family’s future business success, the success of 125 Solution Tree employee’s families, 300+ authors, another 200+ associates.  Then there are all of the educators and a huge multiple of students’ lives! So you can see why I  think it is kind of important stuff that we communicate, and more importantly be successful.

So as not to bust copyright laws, seeing how I am a publisher, I won’t cut and paste Strategic Coach tools, but the concepts are easy, not revolutionary, but just plain good.

How do you like to get information and how do you like to give information.

Sounds simple.  I know I have very definite ways in which I appreciate information and ways I deplore getting information, so I’m assuming you do too! For instance, I don’t read emails all day long.  I sure the heck get them all day long, around 150, but I’m not at my desk alone in front of the screen all day.  So if someone wants a ‘quick response’, this is not a great mode of communication to me.  And, I don’t write long emails. If you get a long detailed email from me it is usually one you would prefer not to receive.  If I am not asked a question in an email, especially a chain or cc’d email,  I don’t feel compelled to send an answer.  As for text messages, turn around time here is much different.  I look at text almost too fast…but not while my car is moving. I respond with an answer almost too fast…I say dumb stuff too often.  I listen to voicemails as soon as practical, and call back in the same way.  I hate surprises, especially bad news that is only news to me, and I prefer to know about a problem whether I am a fix or not.  Oh how I hate to hear of an issue from an unrelated third party.  HATE IT!  I prefer face-to-face meetings, and an appointment is not needed. My door is always open.

The point here is that I know very well how I like to be communicated with, and how I like to be updated. I know how I like to communicate, and how I like to update.  But do the people I work with know?  And a better question for this blog is, do the people you work with know how you prefer communications?  I am pretty sure many of them are not mind readers, and I would image that by the time they figure you out, they have frustrated you quite a few times.  And that sucks for them.

So here is a note to self, and to you…let them know!!!  How do you like to receive information, give information?  When is the best time, worst time?   What do you need, and I mean in what detail.  Bullet points or short novels?  How will they know if you don’t tell them? Is it a secret?

Think you will save yourself and others a lot of angst.

Quotes from The GREATEST!

In the Fall of my Sophomore year at IU, I road-tripped with some fraternity brothers to New Orleans and saw two great events in two phenomenal venues.  The first was held on Friday September 15, 1978 at the Super Dome. WOW what a place.  She truly was the Eigth Wonder Of The World, especially to a small town boy from Indiana.  And how cool to be in the crowd, sitting in the isle of the ‘Fat Cat’ Section, when Muhammad Ali won his third Heavy Weight Title by defeating Leon Spinks. Then, the next day, we watched a night game at Tiger Stadium where LSU hosted IU.  We lost 24-17, shock, but it was so different to be be in a football stadium like nothing I had ever seen before, with football fans rivaling IU Basketball fans for passion and spirit.

Now to the point.  I recently watched a documentary on Ali with two of my kids, the girls.  I tried to explain a bit more about him and his personality, the civil right movement, how in my lifetime so much good has happened, and that this mouthy kid from Louisville played a huge role in education the world.  Struggling to explain his personality I downloaded and shared some of his quotes.  Here are a few that make me smile and think about ‘the Man’.

I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale, handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I am so mean I make medicine sick.

I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.

It’s hard to be humble when you are as great as I am.

If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand.  I beat people up.

It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get that gorilla in Manila.

I’ll beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.

Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.

That all you got, George? (rope-a-dope trash talk)

My toughest fight was with my first wife.

Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life.

I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me.  It would be a better world.

If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize.

I am American.  I am the part you won’t recognize.  But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.

Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.

We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God, is all that will last.

I have this picture in the workout room in my home, signed by Ali and Frazier. What an era of boxing and in our history.

Quote – Governement and Budgets

I think I looked up 100+ quotes on “Government and Budgets” attempting to find a fit for our current mess.  Had to go back a ways to find this little gem.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be filled, the public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.                                Cicero (63 B.C.)


Quote Winston talking about our Government TODAY


Let’s talk debt ceiling, and adult behavior.

Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong-these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.

—    Sir Winston Churchill, 1941




Quote. From thoughts to destiny!

I am currently sitting in Australia.  There is a 14 hour time difference between Bloomington and Melbourne.  I can tell you with all honesty, that from this seat, the future looks great.  Juss so ya know.

I am very blessed to work with fine and fun people in all aspects of Solution Tree.   But one of the nicest is Ms. Renee Sadowski.  Renee is a Customer Service Specialist (duh) and has been filling in at the front desk. She insists on calling me Mr. Jones, which make me think of my father, and welcomes all with a warm smile. Renee shared this quote with me last week, and I believe it needs no further introduction.

Watch your thoughts, they become words,
Watch your words, they become actions,
Watch your actions, they become habits,
Watch your habits, they become character,
Watch your character, IT BECOMES YOUR DESTINY!!

Thanks Renee