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Posts by James Newcomb

This Guy Was Preparing While the Other Guy Was Taking Care of Business

Let me tell you a story about somebody who had big hopes for his future, but procrastination got in his way. This is the story about Johnny. Johnny was from New Jersey, and Johnny was going to school part-time, and then he dropped out and became a salesperson. He was a pretty good salesman. 

Every day at lunch, no matter where he was, he came back and went to the exact same diner. He sat in the exact same place and he ordered the exact same meal.

You think, “Well, he must have really liked the diner.” No, no, no. He really liked the waitress. Every day he gave her a really good tip, but he was so tongue-tied, so taken by her, he could hardly talk to her. 

One day he left the diner. He was disgusted with himself, because he thought, “I’m going to ask her out today,” but other than ordering, he couldn’t say anything to her. He said, “Okay. I figured this out. The reason I can’t talk to her is I don’t feel like I’m good enough for her. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to go back to school. I’m going to get my degree. I’m going to go to the gym. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to get in better shape. I’m going to make more money at work. Then a year from today, I’m going to come back and ask her out for a date. I’m not going to show up for a whole year, but every single day, I’m going to write her an old-fashioned snail-mail letter, and the mailman will deliver it.”

He kept resolute. The next day he joined a gym. He went down to the school, signed up for courses. He started doing better at work. As the months went by, things started working out, and every single day the mailman delivered his letter. Now a year had passed. Of course, he wrote her. She never, ever wrote him back. He said, “Well, I’m going to come in next Friday. I’m going to ask you out.” He says, “Now I look different. I have a better car, and I dress better, and I got my degree. Everything’s going great, and I want to go on a date with you.” 

He came into the diner, and when she saw him, she ran over and threw her arms around him, and he said, “Wow, that’s a good sign.” Then he sat down in his old seat, and he ordered the same old meal. He said, “Well, you know why I’m here. Will you go on a date this weekend?” She said, “I’d love to, but I can’t.” He said, “Well, why can’t you?” She says, “Well, I just got engaged.” He said, “Who did you get engaged to?,” and she said, “The mailman.”

While Johnny was getting ready, the mailman was taking care of business.

The Pillow Test (Bill and Charley on the Railroad)

Once upon a time, it was a hot August day in a railroad yard outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, and there was a crew of eight men who work on the rails with their pick axes and shovels. Seven in the men were in their twenties, and then there was Charley who was in his sixties. 

They were all working hard and sweating up a storm, and right before noon, a limousine drove up, and everybody knew who it was. It was Bill McClanahan, the president of the railroad company. He stuck his head out of the window and was watching the work crew, and he shouted, “Hey Charley! Is that you?” Charley shouted back, “Sure is, Bill!” Bill said, “Hey Charley, come over here! I’ll take you out to lunch.” 

So, Charley was proud to be singled out by the president. He tidied himself up a little bit, and he hurried off to the limo, and he got in and drove off, and the other guys were just standing their stunned. They were dumbfounded.

After lunch, the limo brought Charley back, and when he returned the other guys on the crew were just full of questions, “How do you know Mr. McClanahan? How do you know the president of the company?” Well, Charley proudly boated that he and Bill McClanahan knew each other for years. Charley said, “As a matter of fact, Bill and I started working for this very same company on the very same day at the very same job for this very same pay over 25 years ago. 

So, the guys let that sink in. One of the wise guys said, “Wait a second Charley. Let me get this right. You and McClanahan started working for this railroad company on the same day on the same job for the same pay over 25 years ago,” and Charley said, “You’ve got it right.” 

The wise guy smirked and said, “Well, if that’s true, how come he’s the president of the company and you’re still out here sweating and slaving with us?” You could see that this question took the wind out of Charley’s sails. He hung his head and he stammered, “Well, I’ve been asking myself the same question for a long time, and a few years ago, I finally figured it out. You see 25 years ago, I started working for minimum wage, but Bill started working for the company. Twenty-five years ago, I was looking for something to do, but Bill was looking to really do something. Twenty-five years ago, I was looking for job, but Bill was looking for a career.”

You see way back when, when they both started, Bill and Charley started the same job. They started the same pay. They started on the same day. The big difference was that Charley was in the job, and Bill was into the job.

So, here’s my question for you. Which one are you going to be? Are you going to be a Bill or a Charley? If you want to have success in college, we’ll talk about college now, you need to be a Bill not a Charley. Don’t do the minimum; do the maximum. Don’t just look for something to do; do something. Don’t just enroll; be involved. Don’t just be in school; be into school.

Every day you take a test. It’s called the pillow test. When you put your head on the pillow at night, do you look back on the day and say, “I’m glad I did” or “I wish I had”? 

See, Charley would put his head on the pillow and said, “I wish I had done that,” and Bill said, “I’m glad I did.” If you’re Charley, you’ll regretfully look back on your career and say, “I wish I had, I wish I had, I wish I had,” but, if you’re Bill, you’ll look back at that moment of decision in your life, and say, “I’m glad I did.”

Olympic Bobsled Competition Story

The winter Olympics were held in Innsbruck, Austria, from January 29 to February 9, 1964. 

In the two-man bobsled, the greatest driver in the world was Eugenio Monti from Italy. 

Eugenia just ended his last run in with an incredible time.

There was only one team left.

Nobody was going to beat the Italians. 

The last team was from Great Britain with Tony Nash as the driver.

Tony was good but nobody was going to beat the great Eugenio Monti’s time. 

At the end of the course Eugenio Monti’s team was celebrating. 

Part of Tony Nash’s sled was broken.

And he can’t take his last run. 

And Eugenio Monti said “Which part?”

And the guy told him. 

Tony Nash had the exact same sled, so Eugenio Monti detached the part from his sled, sent it up to the top of the course and Tony Nash attached it to his sled.

Nash took his last run, and won. 

Eugenio Monti didn’t want to win because somebody had an defected sled. 

He wanted his best to be against Tony Nash’s best, and he lost. 

Four years later Monti won

We’re still telling this story because that was one of the great stories of sportsmanship of all time.

And because of that Monti won the Pierre de Coubertin Sportsmanship Award, which is very rarely given out. 

It’s only been given out a few times in the history of the Olympic Games.

What about you?

Are you in it to win it at all cost?

Flying Penguins

Let me tell you a story. One day the penguins on the South Pole had a convention, and they were getting real upset with God. How come every other bird that has wings can fly and penguins can’t fly?

Well, they had a committee, and one person on the committee went on YouTube, and he saw these videos of some motivational speaker from Texas, and he did seminars on getting pigs to fly and getting small horses to fly. He could teach animals how to fly.

They got in touch with him, and he said the fee would be $20,000, plus a first-class plane ticket, and they flew him down to the Antarctic. He was there with about 250 penguins who were open-minded enough to learn how to fly.

Well, the seminar went from 9 to 5. All day he went over the physics of flying and the psychology of belief.

He said, “Look, penguins. It’s very simple. The only reason you can’t fly is, number 1, you don’t believe you can, and number 2, you don’t flap your wings hard enough. So he’s going over the physics, the physiology, the belief system, all that stuff.

People broke for lunch. Their eyes were glazed over. Only half of them came back in the afternoon. He kept telling them. He’s a motivational speaker. 

Then at 4 o’clock, everybody took a break, and his assistants took out a couple hundred 10-foot step ladders. He said, “Okay. Last part of the seminar. We’re going to put theory into practice. Everybody get on rung number 1. I want you to flap hard, believe more and jump.” So everybody flapped hard, believed more and jumped, and everybody fell. 

“Okay, rung 2. Flap hard, believe more, and jump. Flap hard, believe more, and jump.” Rung 2, rung 3, rung 4. When they got to rung 5 or 6, now the penguins were twisting their beaks. They were breaking their ankles. It was getting really, really ugly, but he was relentless. “Flap hard, believe more, jump. Flap hard, believe more, jump.”

Now it’s 20 to 5. He only has 20 minutes left, and they were on rung number 8. “Flap hard, believe more, jump.”

All of a sudden, most of the penguins were lying on their back, and somebody said, “Hey, look over there. Look at Ralph! Look at Ralph!” Ralphs in the corner, and he’s just flying, and he comes in for a nice soft landing. 

After people saw that, they got on rung 10. “Flap hard, believe more, jump.” Not on the first time, but after 2 or 3, everybody was up there. They were flying around. They were doing Blue Angel stuff. They were all over the place.

When the seminar ended at 5 o’clock, they didn’t give the seminar leader a standing ovation. They gave him a flying ovation. 

Then the seminar ended, and every single one of those penguins that hung around learned how to fly. Then the seminar was over, and every single one of those penguins walked home.

Did you hear what I said? Every single one of those penguins walked home.

They learned how to fly, but they didn’t use it.

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