Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, has created a scholarship program geared toward high school seniors who want to learn a technical trade.

He’s also asking folks to take this pledge. This is something we all should read and apply to our work and lives. It’s solid stuff.

1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.

2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.

3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.

4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.

5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.

6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.

7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.

8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.

9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.

10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.

11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.

12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements to be an accurate summation of my personal worldview. I promise to live by them.



Courtesy: TED

“People with dirty jobs are happier than you think. As a group, they’re the happiest people I know.” {Mike Rowe}

Mike Rowe, the host of “Dirty Jobs,” tells some compelling (and horrifying) real-life job stories. Listen for his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it’s been unjustifiably degraded in society today.


The Super Bowl has become a celebration uniting our diverse nation in a way few things can. And this year’s game was the most-watched television event in history. Millions and millions tuned in from old folks to young tikes. There’s no doubt about it, the Super Bowl is a national treasure that spans across multiple generations.

As exciting as the game is, the commercials contain their own intrigue. At about 3.5 million bucks per ad, we watch them and expect something remarkable.

One such ad was the “God Made a Farmer” ad by Dodge Ram. Quite frankly, as a South Dakota man, I choked up watching this. It reminded me of the kind of folks who make up my great state.

This was more than a sales pitch for a truck, it appealed to something intrinsic in us. A sense of pride, determination, and strength. The things that make our nation great. This is what great storytelling does. It moves us.

Dodge not only created a classy and compelling ad, but it made me want a new truck.

Contrast this ad with GoDaddy.

I hesitate to even mention them because it’s exactly what they want. To create controversy in order to get people talking.

As usual, their ad was lame and tasteless.

It’s not that I”m a prude. If the commercial aired while my wife and I watched Sons of Anarchy, I would write it off as another stupid ad. But when your family is cuddled around you watching the big game, it’s rather disturbing.

The fact is, millions and millions of impressionable children watch the Super Bowl. Little boys and little girls. And GoDaddy has proven time and again, they could care less. When a company knows young children are watching, and they intentionally create ads like they do, it comes across as sick and creepy. Which is why I won’t do business with them.*

It makes you wonder. If you’re a company who’s going to invest a few million dollars on a Super Bowl ad, why not be creative, interesting, funny, or powerful? This is your chance to shine and give us a reason to use your product or service. Tell your story, make us talk, and show you care.

This is what Dodge did. And today, I’m sure they have a sense of pride in their message, their trucks, and their organization.

That’s what good marketing is all about.

* There are many alternatives to choose from to get a domain name. I’ve used and and found them to be easy to work with.


I recently stumbled upon Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule and found it both simple and profound.

For being a polymath who accomplished many great things, he reserved a good deal of margin in his life. He got a full night’s rest (7 hours), had quiet time in the morning, and enjoyed recreation in the evening.

But what really stands out are the two questions he began and ended the day with:

Morning: What good shall I do this day?

Evening: What good have I done this day?

Perhaps this is an activity we all should consider. In fact, I plan to spend the next month intentionally asking myself the same two questions. I suspect it will be more challenging than it appears, but I’m thrilled to see the results.

Why don’t you join me?

Benjamin Franklin's Daily Schedule

Benjamin Franklin’s Daily Schedule


If there were a hall of fame for heroes, Johnny Cash would be in it.

Of course, his musical career is legendary and continues to stand the test of time. But what makes him a hero, that special quality he had, was his raw honesty. In his songs, in his story, and with his gritty style.  His troubles are well-documented, but so is his remarkable change.  He serves as a reminder that no matter how far down the road we’ve gone, it’s never too late to turn back around.

What follows are a collection of quotes that speak to what it means to be a man. Let’s learn from the Man in Black himself as he shares some of his wisdom with us.


On being yourself: “To love who you are and what you do, and to have faith in your ability to do it. You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

“I’m not talking about ego, and arrogance, and grandiose feelings. I’m talking about self-esteem and confidence. That’s vital: self-esteem and confidence.”


On what his marriage has meant to him: “We have a sharing marriage, and we share the road, we share the bedroom, we share the backstage, onstage, we share the music, the feeling, and the emotion, and the joy of it, you know. And the pain and the sadness of it. We share the love of our children. It would be terribly lonely not to have someone to share those things with me. And she’s not only a lady who I share my life with, but she may have been the person responsible for my still being alive. She and God. Because she came along at a time in my life that I was on self-destruct, and she saw what I was doing to myself and she helped bring me back up out of it. And we’ve fought and worked hard to keep our feet on the ground since then. But like I say, today is a good day.”


On how to succeed: “I could go by a lot of catch phrases like, ‘Know your own self,’ ‘To thine own self be true.’ Self-esteem and perseverance and confidence are all important, but the first thing is to know what you want to do. Set that goal out there and never lose sight of it, and work toward it. And know that there are going to be byways and sidetracks, but keep persevering and keep on, and do what you know that you want to do.”


On what his father meant to him: “My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father. He was a good, strong man who provided for his family. That was his sole purpose in life when I was growing up.”


On the purpose of the human body: “People say, ‘Well, he wore that body out.’ Well, maybe I did. But it was to a good purpose. They should be thankful that I wore it out to the purpose I wore it out and that was writing and recording and touring and doing concerts. Everywhere I could possibly do them that I thought I might enjoy them. I thought people might enjoy me.”


On getting past your past: “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”


On his fashion style: “I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion— against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas. Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since.”


On what advice he’d give to young folks: “Youth shouldn’t be clouded by any chemical or anything. Somebody my age can easily know that too, but youth is too wonderful a thing to mess with while you’ve got it.”

“Children, all your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate… I choose love.”


On how his faith fueled him: “The Bible is the source of the greatest joy. It’s a great moral stabilizer in a world that’s run amok. It’s an anchor for my own conscience, my own mind and my own life. It keeps my feet on the ground. It gives the answer to every problem you’re facing, if you look for it.”

“God loves us. That’s why he created us and gave us free will. Kind of like a farmer watching his chickens to see what they’re going to do. It desires that we all come back to him. That’s the way I think, that’s my God.”

Are there any other words from Johnny Cash that have inspired you?



One tool that has been very useful for me and my crazy, busy life is a time budget.  It helps me align my schedule according to the direction I want to go.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Print out two copies of the time budget.
  2. The first copy is to assess how you spend your time in a typical week. Fill it in and be as honest as you can. Include sleep, tv, work, commute, eating, etc.
  3. After it’s completed, review it and ask, “Is this how I want to spend my time in light of my goals and what’s most important in my life?”
  4. Now, take the second copy of the time budget you printed out and schedule a typical week in light of your goals.
  5. As you do this, let me challenge you to take one day a week and chill.
  6. Once it’s completed, stick with it.  (Life happens, so don’t beat yourself up when it does. But do your best to stick to it).
  7. Every once in a while, repeat this exercise. I find I have to do it every couple of months.

You’ve got one life. Make it count. I hope this helps!


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