Nerves And Butterflies

Nerves And Butterflies

“Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.” –– Steve Bull

Just imagine it. There you are, mentally ready and eager; but those pesky butterflies refuse to fly in formation. The next thing you know, you are pacing the floor, ringing your hands, and quoting Charles Dickens, “Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are!”

Is that the pits or what, your becoming unhinged over a few uncooperative butterflies? Indeed it is! It’s every bit as bad as Arthur Somers suggested, “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained;” and that channel just keeps getting deeper.

Fortunately, there are only three basic butterflies, only three that actually matter. Getting them to fly in formation isn’t that big of a deal. You only need to identify them and then figure out where each goes in the formation.

The secret principle for getting butterflies to fly in formation is called the To It Principle. It includes three sub–principles which, coincidentally, happen to match exactly with the number of butterflies you are trying to get to fly in formation. Now how cool is that, one sub–principle per butterfly?

The first sub–principle is the Up To It Principle. Assign that one to your lead butterfly. You are either up to it or you aren’t. Sure, worrying about whether you are up to it is the basis of your anxiety, what is getting you unhinged. Even so, the only way to determine whether you are up to it is to take a deep breath and get started. Worrying and putting off getting started just cuts that channel Somers pointed out even deeper.

That’s why you need the second sub–principle for getting butterflies to fly in formation. It’s the Around To It Principle. You keep telling yourself that you will get started one of these days, when you get around to it. Well, assign the sub–principle to the second butterfly and put that reluctant flyer in the formation, just behind the left wing of your lead butterfly. You either get around to it today or you likely never get around to it at all.

Okay, you are up to it and have finally gotten around to it. You are ready for the third sub–principle. It’s the Down To It Principle. This one is definitely not rocket science. Since you are up to it and have finally gotten around to it, it’s time to get down to it, do what you need to do. Assign that job to the third butterfly and slip it just behind the right wing of your lead butterfly.

There you go, your butterflies in a tight formation. As it turns out, there isn’t any trick to it; and, if you’ll excuse the pun, that’s no Bull.

You are nearly ready to go; you have those pesky butterflies in tight formation, leading you to your glorious future. There are just a couple more things you need to know as you pursue your success.

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” –– Fanny Brice

You have a job only you can do. The job you have is being you. At the end of each day you must take a test. Did you give being you your very best?

e. e. Cummings had some words that will take you pretty far. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” The challenge is never giving your courage a rest. That’s how you give being you your best.

Raymond Hull also had something important to say. “He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.” What that means you’ve already guessed. You have to be just you to give being you your best.

You can’t be who other people want you to be. You can’t be a spider or a bird in a tree. The spider has its web and the bird has its nest; but you have something special when you give being you your best.

Judy Garland didn’t find her advice on a shelf. “Always be a first–rate version of yourself;” and Johann von Goethe’s message wasn’t a surprise, “If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.”

Confucius was a philosopher who knew how to depart, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Go north or south or go east or west. Wherever you go, give being you your best. – with your personal butterflies tightly aligned and leading your way.

. . . . .

Just imagine it. There you are, mentally ready and eager; but nerves and those pesky butterflies are holding you back. The next thing you know, you are pacing the floor and ringing your hands. Is that the pits or what, your becoming unhinged over a few uncooperative butterflies? Indeed it is! This article helps you get control of those butterflies and give your success your best.

. . . . .

You can find additional articles and contact information for Gary Crow at
And at


Do you want to be successful, want to succeed? Of course you do, as do we all. Even though I am now a mere apprentice guru, a guru–in–training, being a full fledged guru is on my success horizon. As a step toward full guruship, I am, from time to time, sharing with you some secret guru stuff. My first offering a few posts ago was The Friendship Secret. Today’s offering is The Success Secret.

Success requires Focus, Focus, Focus. Your full, undivided attention is on your success agenda. You do not permit distraction or competing priorities. You continuously say, “Yes!” to your success.

Success requires Timing, Timing, Timing. You are where you need to be, when you need to be there, doing what you need to do. You are always prepared, always good to go.

Success requires Attitude, Attitude, Attitude. It is not a whatever you happen to feel about it today attitude. It is the success attitude. You believe in your success, your capacity to succeed. What’s more, you have no doubt about what you do to succeed. You do whatever it takes.

Success requires Persistence, Persistence, Persistence. You are committed to sticking to it. How long do you hang in? You hang in as long as it takes to succeed. You persist.

Success requires Practice, Practice, Practice. This is the key element separating you from the less successful. However talented, skilled, capable, clever, ingenious you are today, you can improve, can get better, can do better.

It’s simple. If you can do better, you do better, a day at a time, a month at a time, a year at a time. With your success, good enough is never good enough, since you know you can do even better.

Success requires Responsibility, Responsibility, Responsibility. The responsibility element is similarly uncomplicated. You do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time.

There you have it: your success agenda in a nutshell. The standard is too exacting? It is unreasonable for mere mortals? Perhaps, but try qualifying or limiting any part of the standard. You quickly get something less than success, an unacceptable outcome, at least unacceptable for you.

Success requires Imagination, Imagination, Imagination. The imagination element is where you may nod in agreement but miss the point.

It is pleasant to imagine yourself wildly successful and enjoying the perks of success. However, this type of imagining is potentially counterproductive. It distracts from your success agenda, from today, from the here–and–now.

Imagine yourself as more talented, more skilled, more capable, more clever, more ingenious. How much more? More than today. Concurrently, imagine strategies and approaches to get to more. Yes indeed. Concentrate on your success agenda, stick to your agenda, imagine ticking off the boxes on your path to success.

Success requires Determination, Determination, Determination. Another simple success element. You made up your mind to succeed and nothing less is acceptable. Your success is not a matter of “If.” The only variable is “How soon.”

Success requires Effort, Effort, Effort. This is where the game is lost for most. They weigh their current level of effort against the perceived likelihood of success and conclude they are falling short. They refuse to sustain their current effort and do not seriously contemplate an increase. Since your success is a foregone conclusion, your effort decision reduces to whatever it takes. You just do it.

I have shared the elements incorporated within The Success Secret. Consider them carefully to see if the secret reveals itself to you.


   !Timing _ Attitude _ Persistence

   !Practice _ Responsibility _ Imagination _ Determination _ Effort

Did you find the secret? I am sure if it has not yet appeared, its arrival is imminent. Please indulge me in trying my hand at a more advanced guruism.

Experienced gurus typically conclude their teaching with a maxim, a memorable saying capturing the essence of their lesson. Here is my pass at this valuable technique. You undoubtedly will have no trouble recognizing its source.

To succeed, Focus, TAP the PRIDE inside and say, “Yes!” to success.


Have you had the pleasure of talking with Dustan and Ashley? Dustan describes himself as being in “soft support” and told me Ashley is in “tier 2” support. They both are members of Verizon’s amazing cell phone support team. Since I spent my last post ranting about siber Frankensteins and the gurus at Redmond, it seemed a pleasant change of pace to reflect on how delightful it was to encounter Dustan and Ashley.

I was on a trip from northern to southern Ohio last Sunday. It was a beautiful fall morning but the trip down route 71 is, at best, long and boring. To help pass the time, I selected a favorite station from Pandora on my smart phone. The signal was strong and the music was relaxing, at least until it stopped. Yep, it just stopped. I did not have a clue why.

Since I wasn’t driving, I clicked around some on my phone to see if I could diagnose the issue. My first thought was Pandora had a problem of some sort. Other features of the phone still worked so Pandora seemed the obvious focus for my pointing finger.

I would rather not admit how long it took before I noticed my phone was patiently reporting “No Service.” Suffice it to admit it was about 6:30 in the evening and we were headed back north when I finally realized “No Service” meant my smart phone, as smart as it is, was not connecting to the cellular network. – I did only say my phone is smart, right?

Later that evening I took a deep breath, prepared to suffer through a tedious hour or more and called Verizon’s support line. I could not have been more misjudging. First I talked with Dustan. As soon as I told my tale of woe, Dustan’s first comment was to apologize for my music being interrupted. You heard it correctly. He apologized for my not having an uninterrupted music experience. Whatever happened next, at least I got a little empathy. Pandora stopping really had bummed me some – not a lot but some.

Now comes the amazing part. Dustan said, “I will get your phone fixed for you this evening.” Not, “I’ll try,” or “We’ll see what can be done.” Just a simple, “I will.”

Dustan’s last step was to pass me along to Ashley who he assured me would fix the phone. She is a tier 2 person and has a higher level of skill and resources. Ashley also said, “I will fix your phone,” but added “I’m sorry you needed to talk with a second person. I will fix your phone. You will not have to talk with anyone else.”

I’m embarrassed. While working with Ashley, I noticed I had somehow put my phone in airplane mode. One click and all was well. Ashley reacted as if that were the phone’s fault, my putting it into airplane mode. She didn’t apologize for the phone but came close. At a minimum, there was not the smallest hint of smart phone, dumb customer.

Are there lessons to be learned here? I’ll let you judge. It is enough for me to have had a very positive experience with Dustan and Ashley. Thanks to both of you.

Taking The Hint

Taking The Hint

“How many apples fell on Newton’s head before he took the hint? Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.”
–– Robert Frost

Hints are a good thing, especially if you are patient enough to get the point. Apples are a good thing too; but like hints, they can cause you problems
if you don’t deal with them thoughtfully and appropriately. To help with your management of hints and apples, consider this; but be patient. Its value
will gradually come clear.

A good–old–boy was at the county fair getting hustled by a city type trying to sell him a gunny sack full of pigs. “What I have here for you today and only
today is not just pigs. It’s an opportunity, a chance of a lifetime, the best deal at the fair. You don’t get just one pig but the entire bag of pigs for
the price of one: a mere $10. I can tell that you are a shrewd businessman, a sophisticated fellow who….” Just as the hustler was building to his powerful
close, the bag ripped and out popped a half dozen cats with nary a pig in the bunch, prompting the good–old–boy to offer this advice: “If you want to sell
me a pig in a poke, you shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag.” “Far fetched,” you say? You think the county fair was a figment of an overactive imagination?
You are saying, “When pigs fly?” Well, maybe so; but then again, it’s like the good–old–boy himself says, “Don’t discount flying pigs unless you have a
good air defense.”

You may have heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; and it is certainly true. Knowing this, you should seriously evaluate your intentions;
and if they actually are good, consider making it a point to pay the devil his dues. This way, you’ll be pre–paid whatever happens. It will also be nice
not to have to worry about any out–of–pocket expenses the next time someone tells you to go to hell and you decide to take them up on their suggestion.
Lest you become too enthused about the chance to get away from the rat race for an eternity or two, though, you need to know that if you do business with
the devil, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get burned.

This getting burned thing also comes up if you use your bare hand to strike while the iron is hot or if you ignore the admonition to avoid jumping from
the frying pan into the fire. The point that might be easily overlooked, though, is that where there is smoke, there is fire and you fight fire with fire;
but if you play with fire, you are going to get burned and once burned, twice shy. Knowing this helps you see that the real risk isn’t getting burned,
then. It’s suddenly becoming irrationally shy. You start shying away from this and then from that; and the first thing you know, you are afraid of your
own shadow, are a bundle of nerves, can’t think straight, are at loose ends, and are beside yourself. Picture that: you beside yourself. It’s a split personality
kind of thing. There you go. Too much emphasis on good intentions can drive you crazy. Knowing this, it will help to also keep in mind that you shouldn’t
let people drive you crazy when you know you are already in walking distance. There is likely a grain of truth in there somewhere about blue smoke and
mirrors too; but you can reflect on that yourself.

Of course, an apple a day keeps the doctor away; but why might you want to know that other than the obvious advantage it could give you when planning a
secret liaison with the doctor’s wife? Aside from that, it’s a good thing to know if you don’t want to take a shot in the dark or be caught with your pants
down, so to speak. OK, you’re right. The doctor’s wife thing was sexist. Change it to the doctor’s lover or some such. Having said that and knowing that
water and words are easy to pour and impossible to recover, you better know a bit about apples before you start a one–a–day plan, whatever its potential

Start with the fact that the apple never falls far from the tree and the harsh reality that there is small choice in rotten apples; and as you well know,
the rotten apple spoils the barrel. This lets you know to look for the apple close to the tree, being sure to avoid all things rotten, anywhere you find
them. Best is to only go with those that are ripe for the picking, avoiding those little green ones, since they can give you pause to think about the wisdom
of anything that keeps the doctor away.

Okay, so much for assuring a quality supply of ripe, red apples, with a yellow one now and then just for a change of pace; but you still need a plan for
the day when you feel like the last living organism in a dead horse, when you would have to feel better to have enough energy to die. What will you do
the next time you ask, “Is there a doctor in the house?” and the answer is, “No,” because of your eating all those damn apples? You are now struck full
in the face, like a bolt out of the blue, with a simple fact of life: the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry; and it’s all because of that apple–a–day
thing. Fortunately, it was Newton’s head that got clunked and not yours. At least you don’t have to be hit over the head to get the hint.


For John O’Brien, his hope was that we may care enough to love enough to share enough to let others become what they can be; but how do we do this at home, at work, and in the context of our other important relationships? Consider the following strategies. They may or may not work equally well for all of us; but they are definitely worth considering.

Cooperation: Emphasize a helpful, supportive approach to all of your relationships and activities with other people.

Bertrand Russell said, “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” You likely will want to set your sights a little less grandly than redeeming mankind; but you nonetheless get the idea. Cooperation is definitely the way to go and helping others is one of the best ways to get there. What’s more, Charles Dudley promises added benefits for you if you are helpful and supportive with other people, “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Now, that certainly sounds like the real deal, don’t you think?

Loyalty: Emphasize accommodating to the special needs and interests of people and facilitating the resolution of problems.

It’s easy here to see how that benefits other people which, of course, is the point. At the same time, though, you also benefit. Jean–Jacques Rousseau said, “The most absolute authority is that which penetrates into a man’s innermost being and concerns itself no less with his will than with his actions.” Sure, if you accommodate to other people and help them work things out, you will feel better about who you are and what you do. It’s like Josiah Royce pointed out, “Unless you can find some sort of loyalty, you cannot find unity and peace in your active living.”

Caring: Emphasize concern for and interest in the activities, successes, and problems of other people.

Maxwell Maltz expressed it this way, “Take the trouble to stop and think of the other person’s feelings, his viewpoints, his desires and needs. Think more of what the other fellow wants, and how he must feel.” The message is simple. Take time to care; and remember Fred A. Allen’s words, “It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.”

Sharing: Emphasize talking with other people, reciprocal assistance, and mutual problem solving.

As you think about this, a developing theme may bubble up into your consciousness. Listen to the message from Seneca, “He that does good to another does good also to himself.” If you don’t quite hear it yet, let Samuel Smiles say it again, “The duty of helping one’s self in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors.”

Respect: Emphasize acceptance of other people’s beliefs and values, receptivity to their thoughts and ideas, and sensitivity to their feelings and interests.

This is a simple principle that Laurence Sterne stated most succinctly, “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” The underlying message was also delivered by U. Thant, “Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.”

Trust: Emphasize giving other people the benefit of the doubt without blaming, accusing, or threatening.

George MacDonald’s observation, “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved,” may or may not ring true for you. Still, trusting others is a gift you can give to people to let them know that they are valued. At the same time, Shakti Gawain reiterates the “What helps other people helps you,” theme, “When I’m trusting and being myself … everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.”

Integrity: Emphasize keeping commitments to and agreements made with other people.

Samuel Johnson said, “There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.” Johnson’s message is clear: no integrity –– no confidence –– no friendship. The principle is easy; but the reality needs your careful attention. Titus Livius said, “Men’s minds are too ready to excuse guilt in themselves.” It’s just like J.R. Ewing from the old TV show “Dallas” said, “Once integrity goes, the rest is a piece of cake.” The take home message here comes from Socrates, “Be as you wish to seem.”

Conflict Resolution: Emphasize identifying, understanding, and working through conflicts and tensions people experience with you or with each other.

As you give this strategy your best effort, it helps to realize that Pierre Beaumarchais was right, “It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.” This lets you know that reason usually isn’t going to resolve the conflict. If not reason, then what? Seneca found what is likely the essence of conflict resolution, “There is nothing so disagreeable, that a patient mind cannot find some solace for it.” A bit of solace and a lot of patience really does go a long way toward calming most heated situations. Getting everyone’s attention and quoting Vernon Howard might be slightly over the top, “We must become acquainted with our emotional household: we must see our feelings as they actually are, not as we assume they are. This breaks their hypnotic and damaging hold on us;” but your keeping Howard’s point in mind certainly can’t hurt. Along with that, two additional grains of wisdom will add to your odds of success. First, Andre Maurois said, “The difficult part in an argument is not to defend one’s opinion, but rather to know it.” If you combine that with the words of Elbert Hubbard, you may not be on the exact, right track; but you are headed in the right direction, “What people need and what they want may be very different.”

Now you know so there you go.