The second best thing I learned this year (and a funny one, too):
Brain Teaser – There’s a current Broadway musical set during World War I about a horse that serves in the military. Sound familiar? That’s because Steven Spielberg is releasing the movie version on Christmas Day. I’m amazed how an idea suddenly appears in more than one place at the same time. In three novels I read by different fiction writers the plot revolved around a particle that may travel faster than light. If that quantum physics conundrum that could shatter Einstein’s theory of relativity is a mystery to you, the best joke I heard this year won’t be all that funny: “‘We don’t allow neutrinos in here,’ said the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.”
Lesson #3 of my top 10 insights this year:
Good Book – On January 1, I committed to read 20 minutes each morning, and my first selection was a mystery filled with deception, war, betrayal and lust. Over the next 242 days, I missed just four, and finished the book on August 31. Reading 1,598 pages plus every footnote – along with the accompanying 579-page commentary – of the Bible is something I always wanted to do. What’s on your ‘need to read’ list for 2012?
What’s the fifth most important lesson I learned this year?
Father Time – For a service project leading up to his confirmation, my son decided we would spend a day working with Habitat for Humanity. A June day. In Houston. During the hottest summer on record. Our eight-person team painted the entire outside of a house in six hours. These were our only instructions: “be safe; ask for help if you don’t know; treat it like your own home; have fun.” Simple is often best. By the way, the grateful homeowner contributed 250 hours of labor in exchange for an interest-free note on her new 1,200 square foot residence.
For the past eight years I’ve written a monthly e-newsletter about my business and life observations. The December issue is always a reflection on the things I learned. Here is a most delightful sixth lesson of 2011:
Gimme S’more – Pepperidge Farm knows what it’s doing when it comes to product extension – adding Pizza, Whole Grain, Pretzel and other flavors to its popular Cheddar Goldfish Crackers. Heck, those cute little guys even have their own website with fun and games for kids. Recently, Kathy brought home Goldfish S’mores Adventures. Delicious… and highly recommended.
Here is the eighth most important thing I learned this year:
Wins Galore – Last week Sports Illustrated honored college basketball coaches Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski as its sportspeople of the year. I recently heard Coach K tell a story on Sirius XM about his 1989 Duke team. Christian Laettner had a bad turnover that cost the Blue Devils a game. Senior stars Danny Ferry and Quin Snyder immediately went over to console the freshman, who would go on to lead Duke to national titles his junior and senior seasons. “That’s collective teamwork,” said Coach K. “No blame. No criticism. No finger pointing. We always win and lose together.”