Man walking on rough terrain - black on whiteLearn by doing

It’s an idea that was introduced and promoted by the American educator/philosopher John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952).

He was no slouch in the field of education. He was also a bit of a radical. He saw that education (which is from the Latin “educare” – to bring up, rear, educate) was not so much a thing that should necessarily be used to prepare us for a future life but “a process of living” in the present.

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Here’s to 20 years with Madiba

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela in 2008. Photo Credit: www.sagoodnews.co.za

Madiba is not a name most of you will recognize right of the bat.

I didn’t.

That’s because, for one thing, I’m not South African and for another I didn’t take the time to closely educate myself about the man whose unfailing belief in his cause changed his whole country first and later the world.

If you just look at the picture on this page you’ll know right away who Madiba is.

Just in case you’re wondering (and I didn’t know this myself either till I found it here) the other name of this man is of course Nelson Mandela. Madiba is an honorary title adopted by elders of his clan.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the day that he walked out of prison a free man after being locked up for an entire third of his life (Mandela is now 91).

What kind of strength of mindset does it take to survive 27 years in a prison cell and then come out of it and not seek vengince on those who condemded him to all those years?

I only have a clue.


It’s not just positive thinking (although that might help)

It’s not deep-breathing excercises (though that’s a good one for health)

It’s not keeping really busy doing something else (though I think he certainly did that too)

It’s all of those things and something more. Something natural and a mystery at the same time.

A phenomenon really.

I have a name for it. I call it Mindset Immunity

It kept him from becoming a bitter and resentful beast.

It does it for you too if you’re very lucky to have it strike your insides.

Happy anniversary Madiba!

More power to you.


Belief in you

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

Belief is a powerful thing. It can define a life in either direction be it good or bad.

But belief is established two ways: via argument or hard evidence.

A really good argument could be made about the finding that fire burns. All sorts of facts could be brought to bear to reinforce the argument that if you put your finger near a lit match you’ll be burned by its heat.

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Marketing the Impossible

What kind of a mindset do you think it requires to market the impossible?

If you need help with finding the answer you could just search on the net for the name Rufus Harley.

Rufus knew a thing or two about what’s possible and what’s not. You see, he spent a good part of his life branding himself as “the world’s first jazz bagpiper”.

Did a great job of it too despite some… ugh “difficulties”. Rufus, you see, is not the typical bagpiper you might visualize standing in a Scottish Highland. Rufus was an African-American.

Picture it: A black adult 6-foot-2 man dressed in a bright red kilt, sometimes in a dashiki and a Nigerian kufi, playing jazz with all the passion you’d expect of a great jazz performer and you’d be looking at Rufus Harley.

Starting in November of 1963 when he watched the funeral procession of John F. Kennedy on television, with the mournful wail of the sound of the Black Watch Pipe Band resonating within his soul, he was hooked. He found his first set of bagpipes in a pawn store and couldn’t even get a sound out of them at first but after many months of practice he was ready.  He then went on to perform with some of the greats like saxophonists like Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, with the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and with the flutist Herbie Mann.

He even went on to travel the world as the unofficial goodwill ambassador of his home town of Philadelphia.  He billed himself overseas as a “messenger of peace” who liked to hand out miniature copies of the Liberty Bell to heads of state when ever he got the opportunity.

Talk about getting into and being your message.

He even ended up on top TV shows like ” Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” and Bill Cosby’s “Cosby Show.”

Rufus died at age 70 on August 1, 2006 in Philadelphia, his hometown.

I play bass drum in a pipe band. The link is a remote one but that’s the closest I think I’ll ever come to the likes of Rufus. He reminds us that some things may look impossible but if you’re willing to become your passion quitting is not even on the table.

It’s just not what a mindset like that is made of.