A Contrarian View

"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” John Kenneth Galbraith As soon as I am comfortable with a view I have adopted, it is going to be challenged by the ultimate challenger in my life, my wife Carol. Sometimes, I just know that I am on solid ground. Then, I dive into a one-on-one with my life partner, and soon I have second thoughts about a view that seemed to be certain only minutes earlier. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Carol poses a … [Read more...]


“A baseball swing is a very finely tuned instrument. It is repetition, and more repetition, then a little more after that.” Reggie Jackson I pull back on the throttles of the twin 715 diesels of The Great Gab-Sea as we approach the ‘trolling corridor,’ an area located about 8.5 miles south of Perdido Pass in the Gulf of Mexico. Our team grabs the rods and reels that have already been prepared with different selected lures. Choosing my compass heading, I engage the engines in idle speed as … [Read more...]

The Most Powerful Words

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Maya Angelou ‘I love you’ are influential words.  Most of us were introduced to this phrase during childhood. When properly applied in life-giving situations, these three little words are a catalyst for exceptional outcomes.  Conversely, when used in selfish or other negative ways, this phrase can be emotionally hurtful and even destructive. ‘Love’ is not a neutral … [Read more...]

What Could Have Been

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”  Source: Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”  One of my all-time favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. And my favorite character in that movie is Cowardly Lion. I love the scene where The Wizard shares wisdom about courage and fear with Cowardly Lion. As mortal living beings, it is natural for us to associate … [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 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...]


“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...]


 “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...]