And Tomorrow, who will know you were here?


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

**The speaker describes a meeting with someone who has traveled to a place where ancient civilizations once existed. We know from the title that he’s talking about Egypt. The traveler told the speaker a story about an old, fragmented statue in the middle of the desert. The statue is broken apart, but you can still make out the face of a person. The face looks stern and powerful, like a ruler. The sculptor did a good job at expressing the ruler’s personality. The ruler was a wicked guy, but he took care of his people.

On the pedestal near the face, the traveler reads an inscription in which the ruler Ozymandias tells anyone who might happen to pass by, basically, “Look around and see how awesome I am!” But there is no other evidence of his awesomeness in the vicinity of his giant, broken statue. There is just a lot of sand, as far as the eye can see. The traveler ends his story.


** **

In A Nutshell

Late in 1817 Percy Shelley and his friend Horace Smith decided to have a sonnet competition – that’s right folks: a sonnet competition! For the subject of their sonnets, Shelley and Smith chose a partially-destroyed statue of Ramses II (“Ozymandias”) that was making its way to London from Egypt, finally arriving there sometime early in the year 1818. In the 1790’s Napoleon Bonaparte had tried to get his hands on the statue, but was unable to remove it from Egypt. That’s partly because it weighs almost 7.5 tons. Shelley, like Napoleon, was fascinated by this giant statue.


One More Thing

One More Thing

From my days as a new insurance agent, I recall a chat with one of the “top producers”. My question, “Looking back to your first 3 or 4 months in the business, what did you do differently from those who started at the same time but are no longer in the business?”

His answer, “At the end of the day, I would do ONE MORE THING.”

My response, “Huh”

The clarification, “Do you know how at the end of the day, everybody knows that it’s the end of the day? Maybe it’s when the bell sounds or the whistle blows. Maybe it’s when the clock reaches a certain time or the sun goes down. Maybe it’s when the last dishes are washed. But at some point, people mentally shut down intending to do NOT ONE MORE THING. That’s when I would force myself to do ONE MORE THING. I would make one more phone call, write one more letter, complete some form on my desk, read something technical, file the accumulation of stuff on my desktop. When others quit, I did one more thing and that has become a habit.”

So last night I tried it. As I was making my list for today, instead of writing something on my list, I wrote three checks and a letter — two items that never even got to my list of tasks. This morning, when I walked into my office, I thought, “Gee, if, for the last month, I had been doing what I did last night, there would be 30 things that I should do that don’t need to be done today.”

For those that don’t get it yet: Perhaps making long lists is really a waste of time, perhaps it is really your way to get out of doing something. When you are making those comprehensive lists of things that need to be done, you are actually avoiding doing something. Would it be better to (1) identify only three things that could be done, (2) identify which of the three is most important for you to do right now–but according to your long term goals, (3) do it, (4) repeat number 1? Then at the end of the day, when your mind is packed and ready to go on vacation, promise your mind the vacation if it will just stick around to do ONE MORE THING.


Clean Your Plate!

“You can’t leave the table until your plate is clean.”

Have you ever heard something like that at the family table? Have you used that line with your children? Funny how that line creeps into our daily life. You ask somebody for some of their time and they respond, “I already have too much on my plate.” In other words, “I’m too busy.”

Do you ever wonder what they really mean by that statement? What do you mean when you say that or think that, “I’m too busy?” Sometimes a person might simply mean: “I don’t want to listen to what you have to tell me.” Or they could be saying that they don’t have time to do what you want them to do. What might be intended is “You have not given me a reason why I should share my time with you on this matter.” Sometimes the personal perception is “I already have too much on my plate.”

So how can people “clean their plates?” I remember the family dinner table from my childhood. Dishes would be passed and I would take what I thought I wanted from each dish. Several times, at the end of the meal, I just couldn’t take those last bites; there was too much on my plate. Dad or Mom would say, “Your eyes were bigger than your tummy.” So the lesson I learned was that it was better to go back for seconds, than to take too much, the first time dishes were passed.

And so it has been with life, many times I have said, “Yes,” to doing something, only to find that it was more than I could handle. Then I had to face the embarrassment of admitting that I would not be able to complete the job, or I would have to turn it over to someone else to carry the burden that I had created. In either case, it would leave me with a sense that I had failed.

Sadly, I have found that many people have created the feeling that they are too busy by their own doing, or should I say, not doing. If that is your feeling, let’s start here: do not allow other people to control your schedule. This starts with, “No!” If you really have a scheduling conflict, make a decision – never created a conflict that requires you to be doing two things at the same time. My father would say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” If you can’t do something “right”, do not accept the commitment to do it.

Two rules to achieving a persona of success:

-Do everything you say that you will do.

-Never say you will do something that you do not intend to do.

Thanks, Dad.

John Joseph Dauer