The Gift of Acabar

The Gift of Acabar is a book by Og Mandino published in 1978. It’s a very short book, only 114 pages and a fast read.  Yesterday I re-read it on the plane. Here are my notes and takeaways.


Every human has one very special power: the power of choice.
Although there have been millions of people, through the centuries, who have used their power wisely, the majority choose to spend so much of their precious allotment of life feeling sorry for themselves.
We all fall victim to this mindset, but it does not serve us. If you wish to change, you must choose to do the work to change. Change comes from within.
Along with the power of choice there is another very special gift: the spark of life. With this gift comes an opportunity – another choice – to apply your own special talents, whatever they may be, to leave this world a better place than you found it. This is the true meaning of life. Billions of humans have failed in this and wasted their lives. And this is our choice that we make on a daily basis – to fulfill our destiny or waste our lives. The only thing we have to do to fulfill our destiny is use the talent the universe gave us to make this a better world.
That’s it. Simple. Use the gifts you have to bring more light into the world. It doesn’t have to be a big light, you don’t have to be famous or wealthy or a genius. All that is asked is that you use whatever gifts you have to the best of your ability. If your skill is with a hammer, build! If you have a knack with a hoe, plant! If you are happy on the water, fish! If a pen does your bidding, write!
Adversity is not a curse – it is a blessing. To struggle is the only certain way for anyone to achieve their full potential. The brightest stars are those who have been tested in the fires of tribulation.
We live in a world that is filled with people making excuses for their failure because it is always easier to quit than to keep trying. Do not walk that path of despair.
Instead, choose to fulfill your destiny: use your gifts persistently, never stop trying, keep pushing forward whatever the adversity, and work to make the world a better place.


This reading sparked a follow-up thought in me:
When I see people – especially kids – plugged into their phones and screens, I am saddened because they are not fulfilling their true potential, they are not making the world a better place; instead they are wasting their lives; wasting their spark. I am not immune to this, I do the same thing to unplug and unwind and sometimes I fall into the trap and lose my way. When we can’t think of anything else to do, when we lose track of our purpose, then we have squandered our greatest gift – the spark of life.

Last Post For A While

This will be my last post for a while. This blog has always been an experiment for me – what does it do to my brain to capture a new idea every single day? Can I say one thing every day I’m willing to stand behind? I wanted to find out the effect that could have.

My original thought was to continue this until October, for one year. However, through this experience I’ve realized the mental bandwidth used Continue reading “Last Post For A While”

Tacoma’s Everywhere

Have you ever noticed, when you’re in the market to buy a new car, once you decide what kind you want suddenly you see many more of those cars out on the road? I needed a small pickup truck and settled on the Toyota Tacoma. For months before I finally bought mine, it seemed the only vehicle on the roads were Tacoma’s. They were everywhere!

Continue reading “Tacoma’s Everywhere”

The Fiction of Teenage Rebellion

I think it’s a common misconception that the teenage years are necessarily ones of rebellion and turmoil. In fact, I believe it’s possible for parents and their children to develop a warm, intimate relationship based on mutual love and respect. Rifts do not need to exist in families, even during the Continue reading “The Fiction of Teenage Rebellion”

What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

In honor of St. Patty’s Day. Sometimes I’ll ask a candidate during an interview, “Tell me about a time you had a positive outcome to a situation, in which you felt luck was part of it. What did you learn from that experience?”

It’s a bit of a trick question because what I’m looking for in the answer is Continue reading “What’s Luck Got To Do With It?”

Ask For Feedback

Another way to stay committed to continuous improvement: ask for feedback. Ask my employees. Ask my band mates and housemates and friends. I can even ask my kids. (You know I want to be the best Dad I can be, right?)

– What should I do more of?

– What should I stop doing?

– What should I start doing?

Then LISTEN to them. People aren’t accustomed to being asked this Continue reading “Ask For Feedback”

Star Therapy

I lose perspective now and again (and again and again) and take stuff far too seriously. But at night before sleep sometimes I remember to think about the stars, which are very, very far away. And I try to imagine the world from that distance. Then sort of zoom in to my speck of Earth and I start to see, “Look there this tiny little guy whose going to be there for the slightest blip of time who’s worrying about this thing.”

The Kid Who Doesn’t Know

The difference between the kid who knows he’s cute and the one who doesn’t. Turns out the one who knows he’s cute, isn’t actually. This is the epitome of authenticity.

Making an impact in the world for the sake of getting attention rarely accomplishes either. Impact comes from first discerning what you love and then spending your precious resources – time and energy – doing it, even without anyone noticing.

Buridan’s Ass

Here’s a parable about a donkey. The donkey is standing midway between a pile of hay and a trough of water but it dies of hunger and thirst because it cannot make a decision.

Most decisions can be undone. Just because I try out this path doesn’t mean have to stay on it forever.

Make a decision and keep moving. I can do all the things I want, but not by standing here thinking about it.