The story is told about a farmer who went into an automobile dealership to buy a stripped-down model and ended up with all the "bells and whistles."  The $14,000 car turned into a $22,000 car.  He loved all the "extras," but, frankly, he had exceeded his budget.  A few months later he had a chance to at least partially balance the scale.  The salesman who sold him the car showed up at his farm to buy a cow.  After carefully looking them over, he made his choice and asked the question, "How much?"  

Chances are good - especially if you're inclined to be a little negative - that you read the above title and said, "There's no such thing in our society today.  Mergers, downsizing, economic uncertainty, foreign competition and turmoil, etc., make employment security impossible."

Since I always close each column with, "See You at the Top!," chances are good that some regular readers have been curious about "the top," and have probably asked themselves questions like, "Is there such a thing as 'the top'?"  "Is the top a destination, or is it really a journey, as I've always heard?"

Many people have for years maintained that there is a direct connection between the physical, mental and spiritual, and that our faith has a direct bearing on our health.  Now there's a fascinating book entitled It's Better to Believe by Ken Cooper, the fitness expert who got Americans to run.  Dr. Cooper, in clear, concise terms, spells out the reasons for his convictions.

In our hurry-hurry world, most people do not have time to become bookworms, but virtually all of us can become "tape worms."  (Or “podcast worms” or “CD worms”…you get the picture.)  A study by the University of Southern California revealed that if you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year you can acquire the equivalent of two years of college education in three years' time by listening to educational information  in your car.  Since the average American adult spends from two hundred to seven hundred hours each year in an automobile, this is good news.  

The Rutan Model 76 Voyager was the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. It was piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. Chances are good you read the story then probably gave it little, if any, additional thought.  It was interesting, fascinating, unbelievable and inspiring.  At the time, you were probably thinking, "Maybe I should attempt a little more in my own life."  

The Chinese student is substantially better at math than the American student, particularly in higher math which gets into the abstract.  The primary reason is because the Chinese student is drilled so thoroughly in the multiplication tables that he could be awakened in the middle of the night and given the question, "What's x times x?" and he would give an instant reply.  What this type of training does is free the right brain, or the creative portion, to be creative.

Different people use different means of relaxing and enjoying life.  A few months ago we acquired a little Welsh Corgi whose official name is "Taffy," but for the benefit of accuracy and integrity, I have named him "Dirty Dog."  He's quite a character.  His heart is good; his intentions are the best; but his manners are questionable and, on occasion, he is a downright selfish, thoughtless little dog who thinks our sole objective in life should be to provide him with first-class living accommodations and on-going entertainment.

As a rookie salesman I had a very difficult time getting started.  However, once the ball started rolling, I enjoyed a spectacular four-year run of success.  This led to a career change and new job in New York City.  It was exciting and rewarding, but required that I leave home each morning before my two little girls were awake and most of the time when I returned at night they were already asleep.  I could not handle that style of parenting, so in just three months' time we moved back to Columbia, South Carolina.

One of the major problems in our society today is the lack of pride many people have in their personal appearance.  Research clearly proves that a neat appearance and manner of dress has a direct bearing on conduct and performance.  It is also instrumental in gaining employment and has a bearing on your future with the company which employs you.  The person who hires you forms an opinion of you in roughly three seconds and that opinion is a factor in every decision made about you for several months.

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