“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”   Mark Twain If you had 10 words that would accurately  describe you, which 10 adjectives would you use?  What would be the 10 words you would like for others to use in describing you? Finally, do you know what words other people would use in describing you? Fill in the blanks: “I am” (insert the adjective that best describes you) “I am . . . “(using an adjective that others would use in … [Read more...]


“Martial arts is not about fighting; it’s about building character.”  Bo Bennett After multiple ceremonial strikes on his shoulders, the Master bows and hands him his new belt, representing a new category of accomplishment. The audience includes family and friends of members who have achieved new levels in Taekwondo.  My grandson, Chase, receives his first black belt. Wow! Great accomplishment. I have seen him in action, and it is apparent that he is good in this form of martial … [Read more...]

The Exceptional Eight

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”          Nelson Mandela The Exceptional Eight! Who are they?  A question I love to answer. The ‘Exceptional Eight’ is the moniker I assigned collectively to our grandchildren  shortly after the youngest, John Rowan, entered this world in July 2015, our older daughter’s sixth child – our eighth grandchild.  Some of the names I have heard for our new two-year old grandson are “John Rowan,” … [Read more...]

The End

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot “You can stop taking your blood pressure medicine. You no longer need it.” His welcomed words were the unbelievable end to a three-year journey. The beginning of that story, three years earlier, took place in his office with the words, “You are on the way to stroke, diabetes and early death.” The gradual evolution of that journey reminds me of so many movies. … [Read more...]


“The human race has one effective weapon, and that is laughter.”  Mark Twain Loud laughter fills the room and lingers.  Before the audible merriment subsides, he quickly fires away with another joke. Gaining momentum, the laughter now seems to perpetuate itself. Classic Gary!  I am in the audience enjoying these magical moments. We are meeting at Hackbarth Delivery Service (HDS) headquarters in the conference room. This segment of the corporate training program for new managers within our … [Read more...]

Fish On!

“Passion is the genesis of genius.”     Tony Robbins “Fish on!” he eagerly hollers. Immediately, his eight-year old brother Rylen and the rest of our fishing team focus on Brayden, the 10-year  old who is enjoying his first-ever offshore fishing adventure. Our team of 11 are bottom-fishing in the Gulf of Mexico on The Great Gab-Sea in search of red snapper. Rylen is also making his maiden offshore fishing excursion. All eyes are on Brayden. His passionate and energetic exclamation is a … [Read more...]


“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” Henry Ford Less than two blocks from my home, Harrison Park is hosting a neighborhood youth day of fun and games. One of the contests is a two-person potato sack race. My best friend David and I join together as a team.. Each team member  is required to put one leg into the same potato sack, and then the pair holds the sack up while  racing to the finish line. As David and I huddle up for the … [Read more...]

Ten Words

“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.”     Zig Ziglar Standing at the end of the long hallway – the entrance to the kitchen where my mom is busy cooking – I point one finger in the air, and with great confidence, shout the 10 words that will forever change my life. I have decided that I am going to accomplish a special goal today. It is unlikely (I am only 10 years old). The odds are greatly against me. Even some of the most renown … [Read more...]

Imagination Failure

“Great ideas originate in the muscles” Thomas Edison Can imagination be harmful, possibly leading us away from success rather than toward it? Yes! I know because I have been here before. It would be hard to convince Napoleon Hill of a negative outcome related to imagination, a topic that he dedicated an entire chapter in his best-selling book, The Laws of Success. Even if we have not read this book, which I do recommend, we have been exposed to material that declares that imagination is a … [Read more...]


 “Fall down seven times and get up eight.”   Japanese proverb  It is among my treasured success principles . . . she taught it to me by how she lived. The teacher, Lucille Hackbarth, was my mother. Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. was a 27-year old teacher when she started on a journey that would result in discovery and further research on what I call my mom’s ‘success principle.’ While teaching seventh grade math in New York City public schools, Dr. Duckworth noticed that some of her smartest … [Read more...]