Other Stories

The Moon and Me

I looked at the moon through the tall buildings of the city. And the moon looked back at me, not a full moon – just a crescent – and the beauty of that moon in the center of the city lifted my spirits for a few moments before the reality of the ugly buildings returned to my mind.
Yes, moon, I can see you. You’re a beautiful thing in the middle of all this barren concrete, but you are so away from it all, and I am stuck right in the middle of it.
And the moon looked back at me and spoke gently.
The difference between you and me is indeed one of perception, but perhaps not one of distance because I am just as far from you as you are from me. And perhaps I see the ugliness of the city as much as you because I can see it as it spreads its cold concrete upon the earth.
Rather than distance, we differ in another way; you see only the bright side of me – the face that I show to the world illuminated by the sun and full of beauty. Yet I know and accept that a full half of me is hidden in darkness from you. I accept that dark half of me because it is part of who I am.
You, too, have a dark half and you try to learn more, to see further, so that you can push the darkness away from yourself. But just like me, the darkness is a part of who you are. You can adventure in the darkness and try to extend your light, but as you extend your light you will find that you also expand your darkness. As knowledge and understanding grows, so its shadow grows alongside.
I still did not understand and asked the moon “And should I then simply live in the darkness for it shall always be part of me?” The moon replied:
As you grow and learn, the things that you do not know and understand will grow alongside. But the world cannot see your darkness anymore than it can see mine. Although your dark side is an invitation to learn more and to expand your wisdom, it is your growing light that shines. You shall always be half in darkness, but you shall truly be a greater light for the world.
A passerby saw me gazing and talking to the moon and muttered “another beautiful moon and beautiful lunatic.”

Other Stories

The Car Breakdown

At the beginning of my 8:00 a.m. class one Monday at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), I cheerfully asked my students how their weekend had been. One young man said that his weekend had not been very good. He’d had his wisdom teeth extracted. The young man then proceeded to ask me why I always seemed to be so cheerful. His question reminded me of something I’d read somewhere before: “Every morning when you get up, you have a choice about how you want to approach life that day,” I said to the young man. “I choose to be cheerful”. “Let me give you an example,” I continued.
The other sixty students in the class ceased their chatter and began to listen to our conversation. “In addition to teaching here at UNLV, I also teach out at the community college in Henderson, about seventeen miles down the freeway from where I live. One day a few weeks ago I drove those seventeen miles to Henderson. I exited the freeway and turned onto College Drive. I only had to drive another quarter-mile down the road to the college. But just then my car died. I tried to start it again, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. So I put my flashers on, grabbed my books, and marched down the road to the college.
“As soon as I got there I called AAA and asked them to send a tow truck. The secretary in the Provost’s office asked me what had happened. ‘This is my lucky day,’ I replied, smiling. “‘Your car breaks down and today is your lucky day?’ She was puzzled. ‘What do you mean?’
“‘I live seventeen miles from here.’ I replied. ‘My car could have broken down anywhere along the freeway. It didn’t. Instead, it broke down in the perfect place: off the freeway, within walking distance of here. I’m still able to teach my class, and I’ve been able to arrange for the tow truck to meet me after class. If my car was meant to break down today, it couldn’t have been arranged in a more convenient fashion.’ “The secretary’s eyes opened wide, and then she smiled. I smiled back and headed for class.” So ended my story to the students in my economics class at UNLV.
I scanned the sixty faces in the lecture hall. Despite the early hour, no one seemed to be asleep. Somehow, my story had touched them. Or maybe it wasn’t the story at all. In fact, it had all started with a student’s observation that I was cheerful. A wise man once said, “Who you are speaks louder to me than anything you can say.” I suppose it must be so.

Other Stories

An Unenjoyable Job

The therapist drove to his office on a Monday morning feeling the burden of his work weighing heavily on him. The week before had been particularly tiring and he knew his diary was full for today and for the early part of the week ahead. With a heavy heart he stopped to buy petrol and as he went to pay the attendant gave him a cheery smile and wished him a good day. He drove on reflecting that in that one simple gesture the man at the garage might have made as much difference as he did to his clients in an hour of therapy. Suddenly a simple job involving routine but friendly contact with people seemed very attractive.
He arrived at his office thinking about the lack of purpose in his life to find his first appointment was a new client for a first session.
To his standard first question of “How can I help?” came the reply, “Well, I think I’m wasting my life, I serve people in a garage and I can’t stand the monotony and lack of human contact”

Other Stories

Carnegie Hall

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” asks the tourist of the New York cab driver.
“Practice, baby, practice” he replies. (Very old joke)

Other Stories

Just Warming Up

The Tarahumara Indians of southwestern Chihuahua are the ones who can run 100 miles at a clip without it seeming to be a big deal. Then do it again the next day.
Some enterprising person brought them to the Olympics (Amsterdam, 1928) to compete in the Marathon and they didn’t even place.
The problem was no one had explained to them that the race was only 26 miles long. They thought they were just warming up.

Other Stories

Always Be a Deaf Frog

Once upon a time there was a race of frogs. The goal was to reach the top of a high tower. Many people gathered to see and support them. The race began.
In reality, the people didn’t believe that it was possible that the frogs would reach the top of the tower, and all the phrases that one could hear were of this kind:
“What pain!!!. They’ll never make it!”
The frogs began to doubt themselves. The people continued:
“What pain!!!. They’ll never make it!”
And the frogs, one by one, admitted defeat, except for one frog that continued to climb. At the end he, alone, and with an enormous effort, reached the top of the tower.
One of the quitters approached him to ask him how he had done it, to actually finish the race. And he discovered that the frog was deaf!
Never listen to people who have the bad habit of being negative…because they steal the best aspirations of your heart. Always remind yourself of the power of the words that we hear or read – THINK POSITIVE!
Conclusion: Always be deaf to someone who tells you that you can’t and won’t achieve your goals or make your dreams come true.

Other Stories


In Ireland, there was a survey among people a few years ago asking them about their greatest wish. More than anything else – much much more, people wanted to … win the lottery.
And it is interesting to consider whether winning the lottery makes people happy. Research shows that the answer is a very restricted … yes. It makes them happy for a short time.
However, studies have shown that people get much more satisfaction by earning their money than winning it. In addition, the boost in happiness from a lottery win has been shown to dissipate over time. Studies of past lottery winners shows that happiness levels typically return to where they were prior to the big winning.
Even more surprising, one man who won $315 million in a lottery reported significant unhappiness and feeling of being “cursed.”

Other Stories

Stop the Ripples in the Pond

“Throw a pebble into the pond” instructed the teacher. “Now try and stop the ripples”. And of course every move the student made to stop the water moving caused new ripples and so on and so on. “The only way to control the ripples” said the teacher, “Is not to throw the stone in the first place”.

Other Stories

Cleaning Lady

1. Most Important Question
During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’. I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Blog Other

Remembering to Be Curious

StayCuriousBrian Cullen, Nagoya Institute of Technology

Sarah Mulvey, Nagoya City University

From its beginnings in the 1970s, at the heart of NLP has been the attitude of curiosity. When Richard Bandler and John Grinder started NLP by modelling the language patterns of Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir, and Milton Erickson, they were really curious as to how these therapists were able to be far more effective in their communication than other people. This curiosity was their first step in being able to try to see the world from other points of view. It is this attitude of curiosity that makes it possible to step into someone else’s map of the world and begin to understand the patterns that make up their excellent performance. So let’s begin this article with one of the greatest tools that we have to get people curious… a story:

Once upon a time, there was a small boy who banged a drum all day and loved every moment of it. He would not be quiet, no matter what anyone else said or did. His parents were quite forward-thinking people and believed that it is important to make your own decisions. So they didn’t just take the drum away from the boy. Instead, they tried to persuade him. They called upon many wise men and asked each one of the these people to convince the boy to stop playing the drum.

The first person who came was a scientist. The scientist explained to the boy about sound waves and the power of sound. He told the boy if he continued to play the drum in that way, that there was a good chance that he might break his eardrum. However, the boy was just a child and this scientific thinking was too difficult for him, so he just kept playing his drum.

The next person who came was a priest from the temple. He came dressed in his colourful robes and burning incense. He explained to the boy that drum-beating was a sacred activity and should be carried out only on special occasions and at certain ceremonies. But the boy didn’t really understand, and besides, he really wasn’t all that interested in these gods that he couldn’t even see, so… the noise continued.

The third person who came was an engineer who had studied in the university in the capital and she was very smart indeed. She was also very practical at finding good solutions. She didn’t even bother talking to the boy because that seemed inefficient. Instead, she gave the parents and the neighbors earplugs. It was a great idea, but unfortunately, the earplugs couldn’t keep out the constant drumming from morning to night.

The fourth person who came was a teacher. He gave the boy a book and tried to get the boy interested in education. “There is so much more to learn – so many amazing things in this world – and books can be the doorway to a new world for you.” The boy looked at the pictures for a while and then turned back to the drum. It seemed so much more fun.

The fifth person who came was a therapist who believed that the child suffered from anger issues. Obviously, the child was playing the drum all the time because he was angry at the people around him. So the therapist gave the boy meditation exercises to make him calm and explained that all reality was imagination. The boy sat in the right pose and made the right ‘om’ sound for what seemed like a long time to the boy – almost one whole minute, in fact! And then he picked up the drum again and the noise continued.

And you’re probably curious about how the story ends, and it’s good to be curious, isn’t it? Because when we are naturally curious about something, it is so much easier to learn. If we’re teaching something, or trying to persuade someone of something, or even trying to sell something to someone, doesn’t it make sense to try to engage their natural curiosity?

When I was a kid, I had this great old radio that used to belong to my grandfather. Actually, it was never really mine – I just sort of made it mine by taking it out of the garage and putting it into my bedroom. And I was a curious kid – of course, all kids are naturally curious. So naturally, I wondered what was inside the radio. And one day, I got a screwdriver and I took the radio apart and I laid out all the pieces carefully. And I learned so much as I examined each bit and became even more curious about what all the pieces did. Then I carefully put the radio back together… and found that I had three extra pieces! The radio never did actually work again, but I sure learned a lot.

And there was another time at Christmas when I was about 11 years old when my brothers and sisters had combined their pocket money and they bought me a single present. So of course, I really wanted to know what that present was. There it was sitting under the Christmas tree, wrapped in purple shiny paper, and every day I would sneak into the room and carefully shake it, smell it, try to judge the size, and even try to carefully peel back some of the wrapping paper… all because I was so curious about what was inside.

My Christmas present curiosity wasn’t unusual! If you look at any children, they are naturally curious – always wanting to find out stuff and driving adults crazy by asking, “why? But why?”. It’s not just humans either – look at a kitten or a puppy and you’ll see real curiosity. Everything is so fun and so new.

So to help you remember your own times of natural curiosity, and to develop and anchor those states of curiosity, here is a fun exercise to try now.

Exercise 1

Remember back through your childhood. What were three things that you were really curious about?




If you can’t remember, I’m sure that your father or mother will be able to help you!

And then what happened to us? Because most adults aren’t nearly as curious as kids.

Exercise 2

Think of three reasons that might lead to people being less curious as they get older.




Yet some people never lose that natural curiousity. Some people just keep learning all through life. Some people are always willing to find out more. And don’t we live in an amazing time to find out more with tools like Google and the Internet and easy access to millions of books and videos? When I was a child, we had a really expensive set of encyclopedias that my parents bought – they were probably $1000 or more. And anytime we had a question like, “Why is the sky blue?”, my mother would immediately send us to check the encyclopedia. And naturally, we would then spend more and more time finding out about all the other fun stuff. Now, you have Google! That’s the most amazing encyclopedia in the world right there on your telephone or computer! It’s so easy to be curious now. And while many people lose that sense of curiosity, others seem to be able to keep it right through their lives. So how do some people stay curious?

Exercise 3

Think of someone you know who has a really strong sense of curiosity, someone who always wants to learn.


What is different about that person that allows them to be curious like that?


It’s not just that it’s fun to be curious and to learn all through your life. The attitude of curiosity is at the heart of NLP because it’s so important for helping us to understand other people’s maps of the world.

Being curious is also good for your health, it’s good for your career, and it’s good for your communication. In research, it has been shown many times that your brain stays healthy when you keep learning new things. Learning a foreign language, a musical instrument, or a skill like knitting helps you to stay healthy and to decrease your risk of alzheimer’s disease. And in today’s job market, things change so quickly. If you want to keep a good job all your life, the single most important thing that you can do is to keep learning. Of course, being curious is good for your communication and relationships because as you learn new stuff, you will be more enthusiastic and a more interesting person!

Enjoy life – be curious! And if you were curious about the end of the story…

And then finally, an old woman came by and heard the drum and said, “What is that noise?” The neighbours explained about the boy and how the scientist, the priest, the engineer,the teacher, and the therapist had all been unable to help. It seemed like nothing could be done.  The old woman looked at the situation calmly and smiled at the boy. Then she picked up a hammer and chisel and said to the boy,  “I wonder what is inside the drum?”