Category: Don’s Blog

Tips for Fishing and Living #34

Tip #34:

“All fishermen are liars; it’s an occupational disease with them like housemaid’s knee or editor’s ulcers.”

                                                 Beatrice Cook, Till Fish Do Us Part, 1949

Fishers do not lie, they will, when given the chance, exaggerate. And in each retelling of their latest fishing escapade, that fish they caught will become larger and weigh more, not to mention the tremendous fight it took to bring it in increases with the latest version of the story. But fisherpersons do so no more than what most of us also do regarding any number of tales we like to tell. We are after all, primarily storytellers.

You could say it’s all about perceptions. That is, our perceptions are what really matters. Take for example the way people call each other either optimists or pessimists. This is quite subjective and yet people are so adamant about their convictions. There are also the so-called realists. My personal take on this is that optimists are actually the true realists; whereas the so-called realists are often pessimists. But that’s just me, who is, of course, a spot-on realist.

As storytelling goes, some of us find it way too easy to bitch and moan, and complain to no end, thereby getting ourselves into “poor-me” mode. Once I had a client who told me; “the whole world is out to screw me over!” He got a lot of press time with this story. Whenever something went not quite right in his world he simply had more proof that he was right about this vendetta the world had out for him. He was RIGHT. Boy how we love, love, love being right.

I tried to explain what Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you cannot, you are right,” as bearing on his predicament. I informed him that his outlook was a predictor of his “reality.” I continued with the idea that since my belief is that I have a great life and I more often than not will bring forth positive things into my life, so if he and I each got a flat tire on our way home, he would add this to his belief that the world was out to screw him, while I would figure the odds of a flat tire were small but real, and it wasn’t the end of my life. I’d also probably put it all in prospect and see the flat as really small. I could even imagine that my flat may have averted me from having an accident by keeping me off the highway. We both would be furthering our respective stories. Both are made up. The difference is my story won’t give me an ulcer.

Don’t get me wrong. All of us can become stranded by circumstances in the midst of life. This can happen suddenly, and depending on the situation it might momentarily stymie us. Our otherwise joyfulness can vanish. Our self-confidence may get shaken. But most people have the capacity to work through such times. What I’m talking about is how some stay in the funk and are stuck there without taking on something new or better, while others find ways to move on and even learn from this so-called crisis.

Newspapers and most of the media are chock full of “woe-is-me” and victim type stories. These stories sell. We live in a society that is highly litigious and lawsuit happy. Few seem to be willing to take any responsibility for one’s own destiny. I realize I am walking on thin ice with such a blanket statement. I am subject to being viewed as lacking compassion or kindness for my fellow humankind. Actually, I see it as just the opposite.  

Two days after Thanksgiving our 105 year old house’s sewer line backed up. We were down for the count. Because we have a utility sink in the basement laundry room, it filled up with some not-so-pleasant water. It even overflowed a bit.  As you can imagine it was not fun. We made some calls and after the folks that tackle such problems came, reamed out the sewer pipe to the street where tree roots blocked the waste water flow, and buttoned up the pipe line, we were back in business.

The next day I told a couple of friends about this. Each became extremely alarmed and dramatically upset. It was as though this happened to them. I thought their alarm to be more than necessary. I said we had handled it and it was resolved. Stuff happens! We live in a circa 1910 colonial house. It’s a fantastic and lovely house, and it comes with old sewer lines. My point: although we didn’t like that this happened, we tend to put such events into perspective. In this case no one got hurt; it could have happened on Thanksgiving, but didn’t. We were certainly inconvenienced, but maybe we now had an opportunity to not take our lovely house for granted. And, as I said, ultimately we coped with it.

Back to taking personal responsibility. Instead of asking myself, “how could this happen to me/us?” I pondered “what could I have possibly done to avert this, or what can I do in the future to keep it from happening again?” This is me attempting to take responsibility for my sewer pipes. My pondering will and can lower the possibility for sewer line problems in the future much more than feeling sorry for myself.                                                                                 

I could make a case that we are all in the lying business. I’m using the word lie to mean what we say to ourselves and to others, as our take on life. I’m talking about the spin we give to events and circumstances. In other words, the connotations or interpretations we give to each circumstance of our everyday life unwittingly set us up for having a life of freedom or one of doom and gloom. Things happen all the time. The destressing part of those things that happen has a whole lot more to do with what we make them mean. When we discovered our sewer line was plugged we got to work to figure out what needed to be done. We took action. We managed until it was handled. No need to panic. Problem solved. End of story. You could say we owned it.

Another piece that gets factored into many of our experiences is time. If we are into an unenjoyable activity, we’ll see it as both burdensome, as well as, going on way too long. Time drags on! It’s just the opposite if the experience is fun and is something we enjoy. Then time seems to fly by way too quickly. We’ll say it was “great time well spent.” Again, something unpleasant is either dull or bothersome and seen as “a waste of time.”

You could say we’re constantly proving Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

It all goes back to doing what one loves, and loving what one does. If you want to call it lying, I’m okay with it. Also, I’m quite willing to cut the fisherperson some slack. We might want consciously to do the same when it comes to ourselves.

Tips for Fishing and Living # 33

Tip #33:

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” 

                                                                                                                    Henry David Thoreau

 It usually takes a long time, and even then it isn’t automatic, for most of us to understand that life isn’t about all those things we think are so terribly important. Life is so much more. It’s got more to do with learning how to show up, to be fully present, and to take life in as it is – without judgment, without a need to compete, and without a need to analyze.

Sometimes it takes us to be into the second half of life to start to understand what we seek is on a deeper, even spiritual, plane. Why is this so?

This can take a while for us to even begin to realize we are required to surrender all we hold onto, so that we are then free to allow life to be as it is. It is usually in our second half of life that we even entertain questions such as:

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • What is the purpose of my life?
  • What is it that really matters to me?

When we do get to such a place – to a state where we are able to surrender, and where we are able to accept our life exactly as it is – we have then arrived where a life of satisfaction and peacefulness is possible. This satisfying and peaceful life, even while so much of life has no resolution or closure, can and does bring about a radical shift in our being. We arrive at a place where we are alright even while the world is not alright. Until we are at such a place it is difficult to imagine this seemingly contradictory way. In the past I have written about how we can be two-headed: totally committed to a particular outcome, while at the same time completely unattached to the result. This is similar. We call it an oxymoron – an apparent contradictory statement. And as we know, we humans dislike such ambiguity in our lives. We prefer clear and absolute answers. But as we age we accumulate to the idea that life isn’t so cut and dry. There is a lot of grey, and as we start to accept this greyness we get to see the wisdom and possibility that can evolve from living with this ambiguity. And, believe it or not, we start to breathe easier. We relax; we hang out in this deeper realm.

Children are capable of playing with total abandonment. They can fully immerse themselves into a world of pretend and playfulness without holding back at all. It comes naturally to them. Children have no one to impress or expectations to live up to. They just do so with ease and delight.

Then, after a while, we send them off to a factory-type place called school. Once there, we proceed to drum this natural capacity to be playful, and spontaneous, and their innate ability to live in sheer delight right out of them. We socialize them. We methodically go about conditioning them into the various norms of what it means to behave correctly and to think correctly, so as to fit nicely into society.

If we are lucky, eventually we grow up. And as we age we start to see that all this socialization hasn’t been so fulfilling. If we recognize that we are not who we want to be, but are more the externally shaped person we have been led to become, we can start to go to work to regain some of our former natural capacity. We start to see that these learned ways don’t work – or work poorly. Some people panic with such a realization. But if we remain calm and can own our feelings of discontentment and inauthenticity we are half way there. If we are upset enough, and courageous enough, we might take appropriate action(s). If we are lucky, we learn to become like children again.

Picasso said it best: “It takes a long time to become young.”

This so-called grown-up conditioning – our socialization – comes about largely due to our dislike for the unresolved, and our wanting simple answers to complex issues. All of this is predicated on our anxiety. If we are to move past the present discontent of our lives we have to first be willing to walk within this unresolved and murky place, and find that we can be okay in not knowing, or with uncertainty.

Some people never get comfortable living in the uncertainty and with ambiguity. These folks remain, instead, on the proverbial treadmill of trying harder and harder at doing the same things over and over while hoping to get a different result.

Some religious people can approach God this way. They expect or demand simple answers. “Just tell me what to do!” They’ll read the bible in search for the “yes” or “no.” They want an authority to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. They do not trust their own, God given, inner guidance system.

Many of us tend to search for symptom relief rather than actual solutions to various difficulties we might be facing. If a doctor can give me a pill for a stomach ailment, so much the better. If I do not have to stop ingesting fatty foods or give up booze, and just take a pill, then I’m okay with this approach. Symptoms are valuable. They are our body’s way of letting us know something is not quite right. This is our body’s way of pointing us toward a healthier way to live.

When we mask our symptoms, or merely relieve them without looking for a possible cause or a more systemic solution, we are prone to remain on that treadmill. We stay stuck living in dis-ease and distress.

 Knowing what we want is such an important thing. It is critical for us to live a evolved and fruitful life. Once we know WHAT we want, getting what we want is about the details. The WHAT is the most critical question. HOW comes afterwards.

An Exercise:

Write out what exactly you want for your life. Make it positive and measurable. What would your life look like? How would you know you achieved this desire state?

Be Positive.

Make your statements all positive things you want. Don’t list any negatives you don’t want. For instance, don’t write how you want to avoid illnesses, sadness, or failure.

Instead write:” I want to be successful, healthy and happy.” Then write what your version of success, health, and happiness look like.     

Measurable:

Describe your success, happiness, and health. You might write: “I want to be living near the ocean, or next to a lake, able to watch sunsets, have lots of sunlight, with access to nature…

You might write about your ideal weight, physical activities you are able to engage in, what you are capable of doing on a regular basis.

Then, once you are clear about all that you want, now start to come up with new and old actions and behaviors that may move you toward your stated goals.

As you implement these various actions you’ll need to assess them on a regular basis. Are they working? If so, continue. If not, stop doing this and find better actions. Maybe you need to add additional actions to further you along your pathway. Maybe you need to double down on some that are only partially moving you in the right direction.

Keep your focus on the end result.

“When you are running the race, keep your eye on the finish line.”

We are all about being long distance runners and not sprinters. This is sage advice for one’s life.

And most of all, enjoy the journey itself.

Final thought: Consider letting me, or a supportive friend, know how you are doing.

Tips for Fishing and Living # 32

Tip #32:

“Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.”

                                                              Author Unknown

 Human beings love having, and often seek out, both significance and contribution. We don’t simply want significance; we don’t just want to be a contribution; we NEED them. For some people the need is very large. These needs then become what motivates us to do and not do various things, all as the basis for our strategy to obtain that particular need.

 Along with a need for Significance and Contribution, is also the need for Certainty/Comfort, as well as a need for some Uncertainty/Variety. We also have a need to Grow, and to Love and be Loved. Anthony Robbins calls these needs our Six Basic Human Needs. He says we need these to survive as well as to evolve. Perhaps more on all six human needs at another time. I will address only the two needs for significance and for being a contribution for now.

 Bragging about catching a large fish could be a way to get some of our need for Significance or Contribution met. As stated other times, we are meaning makers. We make up meanings about everything. This includes how we interrupt what will or won’t give us the basic human need(s) we are looking to acquire. Then we go about appraising everyone and everything regarding how we are coming across via the lens of the meaning(s) we first made up. Of course, what we are doing is using external measurements to determine our needs and our own worth. We are listening primarily to our ego – our mind – which is another way of saying we are focused on a fear based perspective.

 It is, of course, appropriate to celebrate those things we have achieved. We need to acknowledge milestones and moments of triumphs before we step up to the plate to take on our next venture. It’s valuable to acknowledge we didn’t have or didn’t know whatever it is that we now have through our efforts and good actions. We can celebrate the fact that we caused this to happen.

 We are in a brand new place. Hooray! We are transformed! We must acknowledge this new reality. Otherwise, if we just go about with business as usual we might not take in all that has occurred due to our diligence and great efforts, and by diminishing this we run risk of reverting to our older ways.

 But here’s the thing: Even with great accomplishments we can still be outwardly focused and driven by those external kudos and opinions of others and of our mind, but not be tuned into our own inner voice. When we start listening to internal measurements – namely: our Heart – we can determine more accurately what is truly good or not good for us. Otherwise we might be achieving on a grand scale and not be happy. We might be getting very rich and feel impoverished. We could be impressing the world and feeling lonely.

 The acid test needs to be based on how we feel. Ask yourself better questions regarding what you are trying to determine if you wish to do it or not:

  • Do we feel expanded? Or do we feel diminished?
  • Do we feel radiant? Or do we feel subdued?

 This is a kind of listening based upon our own internal compass. Learning to trust this internal voice is critical to happiness. We may call it lots of things: our inner compass – our Heart – our intuitive knowing – our Soul. It isn’t what most think it is. I subscribing to doing everything that you “feel like doing.” Not at all.

 I’m proposing you trust the deep inner voice that encourages and offers you huge dreams and aspirations. It’s that soft but persistent voice that nudges you go for the gold. I am saying to you to, once and for all, listen to this sacred feature within you that gets too easily dismissed, or muted, by the nay-sayer voice that lives within your mind, and that feeds you tons of cautionary “what ifs” and “you can’t do that” stoppers. These are messages from our fear-driven Ego. It is not you friend.

 By not succumbing to the ego’s voice and instead listen to our heart inform us we’ll actually come away from a day of fishing as being a great day because we feel refreshed, and recharged, regardless if we caught a single fish, let alone what the size of the said fish is.

 If I had to distinguish the old from the new I’d say this:

The old way is from our head and is totally about surviving.

The new and transformed way is from our heart and it is all about thriving.

It is our choice:

  • Survive

or

  • Thrive

 I’ve previously mentioned the technique I sometimes use when I’m about to go do something new – a workshop or any enterprise –  by first writing a letter from the future where I describe all the great things I did going into it and during this actual event.  I also stated – and this is critical – I describe who I had to BE in order to do whatever it was I did. This BEING is all the ways I listened to my Heart and stopped listening to my Head. I cannot understate this enough.

 The Head is mind chatter with all sorts of limiting thoughts, those “what ifs,” the usual “that will never work,” or the “who are you kidding?” chatter. And all the countless sabotaging crazy mind s_ _t. It’s all illusionary.

Stop it!

Stop listening to this!

It’s nonsense.

It’s all made up.

 When we listen to our heart and pay attention to what we are truly passionate about we are in service to the Universe. If we aren’t there, this only means we haven’t made our intended contribution big enough. We’re playing too small. We are still back in survival mode.

So Dream Big. Play Bigger.

You might have heard this before: “Build it and they will come.”

 All of this can seem counter-intuitive. I’m telling you to get comfortable with not knowing the outcome ahead of tine, with following your heart, and letting things unfold to see where it goes. I get it. This is scary stuff. After all, what I’m asking you to do is jettison everything that feels heavy, and to take a leap! That’s all. Just know your mind is your career. With your mind in charge you are only manipulating yourself. Learn how to operate, instead out of love and all the rest will be your domain.

 The irony is you actually are more likely to catch some big ass fish!

Tips for Fishing and Living # 31

Tip # 31:

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.”

                                                                Author Unknown

Beer drinkers often get a bad rap. If we look a bit closer, however, and get beyond what WE KNOW about beer use and abuse (or, for that matter about any sort of substance abuse) as a way to escape life’s problems, and look at how some of these folks approach life, be it by sitting in a boat and having a beer or two, we might find something illuminating going on. Beer drinkers might actually know something about life. They may understand the importance of occasionally pulling out of the helter-skelter world.  Some call it the “rat race,” and these people withdraw from it in regular doses.

These people may have figured out that life isn’t all about doing great and important things! It turns out enjoying the journey of life itself is more essential. And such awareness comes about from periodically pulling out and “wasting” time.

I’m not promoting drinking beer. Nor is beer drinking necessary for one to slow down life. All I’m saying is that we ought to slow down. This is not the first time I have made this case, or I am not alone in doing so, either. Undoubtedly this will not be my final campaign on this point.

The Four Agreements is a favorite book I pick up every so often to re-read is. Don Miguel Ruiz, the author, draws on his acquired Toltec wisdom to make the case that each of us is born into a blind loyalty that produces our own self-created suffering. This suffering is brought about by the subconscious influences from our society that hook us from birth. He calls this societal agreement.  The Dream.  Ruiz says we all are born into the Dream, that we are engulfed by it, and that we can’t see what we can’t see. We go about living within the Dream without realizing it

The Four Agreements are the antidote to this dilemma. They are a powerful instrument available to us for finding access to enlightenment. They provide us freedom to live powerfully. Each of the Agreements is a specific practice, or discipline, that allows us to become conscious of what we are born into and make us capable of living our life to full potential.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.
  4. Always do your best.

Incorporating these four agreements into one’s daily life will radically alter your life in unimaginable ways. In fact, even consistently doing one or two of the agreements will have a radically positive impact. By the way: implementing these agreements into your life is actually way more superior to just beer drinking.

Be impeccable with your word.

Say what you mean. Do what you say. This turns out to be so much more than simply not lying, or just telling the truth. It is about being totally honest and living a life of complete integrity. It is about be truthful to others, as well as, to yourself. It’s an awareness that our words have power, and that we should choose our words carefully. Our words transform the way we think, and affect the opinions of others.

Don’t take anything personally.

Again. This is a hugely transforming shift. We all are prone to take EVERYTHING personally. We’d be best to suspect that whatever one says to us or about us doesn’t have much or anything to do with us. It is about the one speaking.  I have challenged people to say something to me that would offend me or hurt my feelings. Usually they are much too polite to take me up on this. But, the point I am trying to make is that only I am capable of making me feel badly. The other person may strike a nerve with their comment/criticism of me, but it will only penetrate because I already think this negative remark to be true. And even then I may likely not be offended. I might simply reply, “I know you are correct. I know this about myself. I appreciate you reminding me of it as I am eager to address it.”

I have a placard that reads: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think!” Ruiz says that nothing people say or to you is actually about you – it’s about them. When you get upset by something someone said to you, that’s about your own fears and experiences, which makes it essential for you to deal with this. You do not have to believe it. You can check it out and you certainly do not have to become reactive.

Don’t make assumptions.

We are meaning making machines! We go about our day making up various meanings about anything and everything. Then, depending on the meaning we make up, we can become extremely offended or angry or depressed, all the while forgetting we were the one that made up this particular meaning to begin with. Instead of making assumptions, we’d be better off asking questions: “Is this true? Is there another way to see this? How is this helpful?”

Often we often jump to conclusions and make assumptions that are wildly wrong. If you say “hi” to a friend, and they don’t reply, you would perhaps make the assumption that he/she was mad at you without any real evidence. At least check it out before you scratch him/her off your Christmas card list.

Always do your best.

This seems simply enough. Too often we live with a double standard where if someone does something foolish or poorly (our judgment) we are usually willing to cut them a break. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. ‘So and so is having a bad day…’ We’ll possibly put their mistake into a larger context and think how this is out of the ordinary from their otherwise quite decent behavior. But, when we do something foolish we often beat ourselves up and think of ourselves as a messed up person. If I tell one lie, I am now a liar! PERIOD.

Also, my best today may not be my best tomorrow. So I don’t need to find fault what my past, only to see where there is room to improve. I now know better, and this present way of being, today, is my new best. Perhaps tomorrow it will no longer be suffice.  Always do your best, even if your best constantly changes. This is called growth.

 The Takeaway:

The moment we’re born we are made to conform to society’s Rules. The agreement to do so is made unconsciously as we want to belong and be accepted. We become enculturated into it over time. The consequence is that we are stopped from finding our true Selves. By using the ancient Toltec wisdom of the Four Agreements we are able to replace those limiting societal rules with better rules – agreements that liberate and free us to live life to the full.

Tips for Fishing and Living # 30

Tip #30:

“It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.”

                                                   John Steinbeck

Being “against” anything or anyone is usually a poor way to operate. A better way to a high quality life is when we make sure our life is filled with high quality connections. Such connections come about when we posture ourselves in a cooperative spirit; not a combatant one.  

Essential ingredients for building high quality connections are:

  1. Respectful engagement. In other words, we bring into our relationships an active presence, honest attention, and genuine affirmation.
  1. Support for what the other person is up to. This is a “win-win” approach that does more toward fostering effective relationships than taking a combative stand can ever do.
  1. Trust; a belief that you can depend on this person in spite of his/her imperfection. This may call for some measured faith, meaning you know what someone is and/or isn’t capable of and you respect their capacities, and limitations as well.
  1. Humility. A fish has fish-ness. Humility is related to Respect, but also carries a realistic sense of ourselves. I am not better and not worse. We are simply different.
  1. The capacity for play. This is the capacity to create actual time and space to regularly goof off. Some call this wasting time in the best sense and doing so without any particular outcome needed.

Doing these things with others can often produce extraordinary results. The capacity to play makes does all the others easier and it warrants more explanation as to why it is so essential.

A little bit on brain theory:

Whenever we have a problem and then become anxious, we cause the hypothalamus (inside our brain) to fire off a chemical/electrical charge that literally locks us out of the cognating, creative, problem-solving portion of our brain (The Frontal Lobe). This discharge sends off the activation of the part of the brain primarily for fight or flight response (The Brain Stem). The Brain Stem is the oldest part of our brain and is what we humans have in common with reptiles. Reptiles only have the brain stem.

When we become anxious about some prevailing problem or difficulty we cause our brain to lock up the part we need in order to solve this problem, at the very time we need it. We aren’t able to access the part of our brain designed for solving problems.

 You could say, we now have two problems.

 This is why playfulness is so essential? Play has a way of getting us to calm down, to “cooling our jets!” and in doing so allows us to regain access to the greater capacities of our brains.  We need to relax in order to then be capable to look at our presenting problem with our mammalian capacities as a human being. This is instead of being a reptile.

 You might be thinking, “well, I do not ever get upset or anxious.” I would challenge you on this. Often we simply don’t realize or acknowledge our anxiousness. A lot of times we are going about with a chronic level of anxiousness. Chronic, meaning we are tolerating it. Sometimes we are even able to recognize other people’s anxiousness. It’s easy enough to recognize someone who gets overly talkative as anxious. It may be less obvious to see someone who gets extremely silent, or withdrawn, as also manifesting anxiousness.

But when it comes to recognizing our own anxiety the tell-tale sign of chronic anxiety is when we become serious.  Extreme seriousness is almost most always a sign of anxiousness. Some say we are being significant. Seriousness and Significance are a red flags for anxiousness.  And this is not a good place to be when it comes to solving problems.

You can be at a board of directors meeting with folks sitting around the conference table wearing expensive suits and outfits, with impressive leather brief cases, who might look calm (professional), yet are actually so anxious, maybe about “being found out,” that they are acting like a bunch of reptiles. They are not thinking and responding; they are reacting and in a “flight or fight, survival” mode.

I am not saying that “life is a joke” or that everything is a lark. Rather, we ought to NOT take ourselves too seriously. By creating emotional “distance” from our problems/issues, we’ll more likely produce better, effective, richer solutions. Humor and playfulness are essential for our health and well-being and can make a powerful difference.  It allows us to be more objective with whatever we might be facing.

I’m serious about the importance of humor and play! (JOKE)

Our family went on a camp-out where it rained so badly that we got totally drenched. Our sleeping bags and camping stuff got soaked. We were wet to the bone, and miserable. We ended up pulling up stakes, cutting our camp-out short, and throwing everything into our van to head home. We were feeling very sorry for ourselves.

 About a week later my wife and I were at a friend’s dinner party and we started telling about our recent camping mishap like it was the funniest thing that had ever happened to us. We laughed and had a delightful time in the telling this event.

 Here’s the point: If only we could have seen the humor in the midst of the leaking tent and flood and our overall demise, we might have been spared from becoming such reptiles in the midst of this event. It would not have stopped the rain, but who knows what we could have done regarding our situation while we were experiencing it. We certainly could have skipped suffering over it.

 Getting back to the above fish vs man quote, we know fish have very tiny brains. However, according to Culum Brown from Macquarie University, they are more intelligent than they appear. Fish are able to draw from their memory of negative capture experiences and therefore become less easy to catch.

 These observations need to be understood as instinctive patterns of behavior triggered by specific environmental events. Fish do not actually understand. Assigning human like characteristics to fish – or any nonhuman species – isn’t useful, but we needn’t dismiss their various behaviors as insignificant.

 The take away here? Never under estimate who you are attempting to reel in – be it a fish or fowl or another person. Smart anglers go to the trouble to bring  apparatus all designed to attract a likely fish: the right size hooks, correct lines and sinkers for the various depths, floats that may draw attention, various rods, reels, baits to lure the kind of fish they hope to snag, all for the purpose of winning the prospective prize. All for increasing the possibility of luring one to bite.

 The angler takes into account what makes a fish more likely to “cooperate” and then operates accordingly. To the non-fisherperson such tactics may be viewed as being overly obsessive. But it may be good to see the angler as bringing respect into this encounter.

 Building effective strategies in life best occurs when we discern what the operative motivators of those attempting to persuade, win over, influence, or form a successful relationship. Psychologists have divided motives into three types: Biological motives, social motives and personal motives.

 Advertisers work hard to figure out what perspective buyers want or need. Then they spend their efforts tapping into these motivators. A luxury automobile isn’t merely about getting you to and from the grocery store. It is designed to offer the promise of safety, achievement, or prestige; or all of these things and more.

 I would propose we go about bringing some love to the fish. More importantly, when it comes our relationships with people, we can bring respect, support, trust and humility. Let’s not forget some play and humor, too.

There’s an old adage that seems to apply: “If you want a friend, be a friend.”