The Lucky Man Blog

So many people we meet in our lives have little or no hope for the future. The Lucky Man Blog was developed to help these people begin to find hope by share stories from the past of the author. These stories will demonstrate how a set of principles followed for every day life could be so simple that anyone could follow them, and yet so powerful that their practice could help overcome practically any obstacle. These principles include both logical and spiritual qualities that help the follower focus on improving himself first and then his life.

Read on to learn how the author developed these in his own life during times when he had little hope, and his entire future and perhaps even his life was a stake. Join our author as he weaves his way through the trials of his life, and how through the application of these principles, he not only found hope. He found true peace in his life.

Where Are They Now?

sky-1107952_960_720.jpg

I want to thank all my friends for the kind words yesterday. I'm a guy that lives a very complex life by following a handful of simple rules. And these simple rules allow me to evaluate every thing I do, and correct my course based on the outcome of my evaluation. As I step back this morning and reread the comments and compliments from the article I wrote very quickly yesterday morning, I have to believe that I am on the right course.

At the same time, I also see that those who chose to comment are old friends and classmates that I have reunited with in the last few months. Absent are my family and long term friends and coworkers, and I'm not quite sure what to make of this. These guys have stood with me through the good, the bad, and the really bad for the last 35 years. Now that I have found my voice, and perhaps even my purpose in life, they are quiet. Many of these people have stood beside me through the mine field that has been my life, and some of them know me better than I know myself. Yet where are they now?

Since it's inception, I have always meant for my blog to be a vehicle to share my thoughts, feelings, and experience on topics such as politics, religion, family, and everyday life. Because of the life I have lived, I feel I have unique perspectives on these kinds of topics, and I have lately felt compelled to share them. Perhaps my long term friends have heard much of what I have to say before, so they've just tuned it out. I get that. I'd probably be tuning myself out too.

But in the last months, weeks, and days, a new purpose for my blog has become apparent. But this purpose extends beyond my blogging to perhaps even how I live my life as a whole.

I mentioned in the beginning of this article that I lived by a handful of simple rules, and a new one has formed in the last several months. What steps I take to follow this rule are still being considered, but the rule itself is still very simple: I will use my life experiences combined with christian principles to give hope to people who have no hope.

These long term friends will question my ability to apply christian principles because I shunned organized religion many years ago, and promised to keep my relationship with God private. While Matthew 6:5-7 allows me to justify this decision, my reasons for making this decision are a story I will save for another article.

But today, as I begin another chapter in my life, I hope that all my friends – old, new, and rekindled – will continue to not only give me support, but also help me recognize when I'm off course. As I begin to share about my relationship with God, and the rewards he's given me on this earth, it's important to me that I don't fall into the traps Matthew 6:5 and 6:7 warned us about. And it's even more important that my motivation remain pure – give hope where there is no hope.

Do You Have Something To Share?

heart-742712_960_720.jpg

Lately I've been led to share my life with the people around me. For the most part it's been easy, and I've been rewarded time and time again for my efforts. But I have also begun to realize that my efforts up until now were just not enough.

I had a call several days ago with an old friend and classmate. He was going through a rough time because of changes that were happening in his life. These were significant changes, and without going into a lot of detail, the future of his life was about to take a different direction because of these changes.

As we talked, the conversation quickly turned to the financial aspects of this change, and because I have had some experience with these kinds of change, we talked for at least 20 minutes about how he might protect a good sized chunk of his wealth. As our call continued this financial discussion, I suddenly realized something. We had spent almost all of our time talking about his financial wellbeing, without a word about his emotional or spiritual wellbeing. And while I immediately changed the subject to ask him how he was, and what I could do to help him, I was left with the need to stop and reevaluate the conversation, and what part I should have played in it.

Now this conversation is not nearly as important as what I learned from it, and that's really what this article is all about. This new lesson in life that has weighed heavily on me ever since. You see, practically everyone can share money, or the things money can buy. The only real difference between any of us is the amount. I can promise you that if you do that, you'll be rewarded for your efforts. But it was at this point in time that I realized that it just wasn't enough.

Anyone can open their wallet. But I came to realize in this moment that opening your heart to people and giving them the gift of hope would likely be a much more valuable. Why is this is so difficult? Opening up your heart also requires that you that you share everything else you have hidden in there as well. All the pains and challenges of your life hide that are hidden there like the proverbial skeleton in the closet.

It's important to realize that it is only when we begin to share those mistakes, those things that caused us immense pain in out lives, that we become truly blessed. It's not enough to just open our wallets, we have to open our heart to these people in need. It seems that while the people in our lives might look in some ways to be different than you and I, the fact is we have all shared the same kinds of trials in our lives. And although we may handle them differently, we all need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Someone else in my life recently went through a breakup of a long term relationship. While there is no doubt that ending this relationship was the correct thing to do, still this person's heart was breaking. I had a conversation with this person on one of those many occasions you could see their heart was just splitting in two and they said repeatedly; "you just don't know, you just don't understand." But I did understand, and I did know exactly how they felt.

At my age I've seen many relationships end, but only one rose to the level that I thought I couldn't survive the change. This was a very painful time for me, and I made some very big mistakes because of it. Because of the pain that it caused, I rarely discussed it with anyone. I had locked that skeleton away in a closet inside my heart and vowed to never take it out again.

But it was because of this person's impassioned cry for help, and repeated statements that I just didn't understand, that I opened that closet, and let that skeleton out. I wanted this person to know that they weren't alone. That I had felt the pain they were feeling and lived to talk about it. The jury is still out on whether it helped or not. Sometimes it takes time for our words to really sink in. But I believe that sharing my deepest darkest secrets about what I went through at a time when I felt I had no hope, might just give this person hope of their own.

I know I could have opened my wallet and shared something tangible with them, but I truly believe that it's only when I am willing to share of myself, that I am truly blessed. And truly appreciated.


I hope this article will help you see that we all have something to more to share that our possessions. And it is only when we share out lives, and the painful things we keep hidden away, that we are truly blessed. So now its your turn. Please scroll to the bottom of this page and tell me what you think of this article. If you'd like to post your own stories hear on Th Bristol Line, you can contribute here.

Thanks again for allowing me into your life. I hope somehow my words give you the things you need, and along with them, a little bit of hope when you need it most.

The Company You Keep

I talked about my father in my last article, and a piece of bad advice he gave me many years ago. Out of respect to him that I recognize none of us are right 100% of the time, and he also gave me some pieces of advice I wish I had listened to from the moment that he tried to help me understand.

image-1.jpeg

One of those pieces of advice he gave me repeatedly was "if you lay down with dogs, you're bound to get fleas." Maybe I was trying to be politically correct long before there was such a thing, but I never really liked that statement. I would never lay down with a dog, and only very rarely do people get fleas. That statement is mostly true, but it is incomplete. It fails to advise us on what or who we should lay down with.

You see, we live in a world of polar opposites. And in our world, if you get the proverbial fleas by laying down with a proverbial dog, then perhaps if you refuse to share your life with this flea ridden mutt, and instead surround yourself with more positive influences, would you get the polar opposite of a flea? The truth is, I have laid down with a proverbial dog or two in my life, and I had the fleas to prove it. I've also seen the opposite effect of making more positive choices about what or who we lay down with.

Now this is all well and good in the animal kingdom, but how do we apply these ideas in our daily lives? A few years ago, I read the book The Blue Ocean Strategy. While the book is business related, a couple of it's concepts apply here. One of those concepts is "a rising tide lifts all boats." And while our earlier discussion about the dog with fleas could certainly define the negative relationships in lives, this reference to a "rising tide" can help us define the the effect positive relationships can have on our lives.

The problem with theories and supposition are that they live in a vacuum and prove nothing. But they give us the ability to recognize that there are those people that impact our lives in both positive and negative ways. I touched on this briefly in an article several weeks ago (What We Take From Our Friends),  and it was in this article that I talked about becoming a mirror image of the traits we respect in the people closest to us. But like the dog statement, it is incomplete because it fails to deal with the polar opposite. Because these opposites are constantly at odds with one another, there is a never ending tug of war from strong positive poles, and incredibly stronger negative poles.

For all the good things I took from my friends, there are others in my life that could loosely be called friends that have infected me with some negative traits.  With this realization, I've come to the conclusion that we all have two kinds of people in our life. Some people in our life elevate us and make us better people, while the others bring us down and give us the proverbial fleas. I've seen this dynamic work in my life over and over again, not realizing that these people who bring us down are a much stronger influence on our lives than the good people around us.  To paraphrase again, imagine you are in a rowboat with five of your friends. Four of them help to row and get you to your destination, but the fifth keeps standing up and rocking boat. Sooner or later he will capsize the boat, pulling you and the other four friends underwater to certain death.

I have found that in life, you are rewarded by putting yourself in good company, with good people who will raise you up and make you a better person. But good company alone isn't enough. Just like the one passenger on the boat could ruin that journey, having someone negative in your life can pull you down, and jeopardize every blessing you have.

I learned this simple rule that I now practice every day, way too late in life. Too much of my life has been spent being dragged down by the people who like to rock the boat. On a few occasions I may have even been the guy that rocked the boat.

But in the past couple of years, I have found it important to surround myself with people who raise me up, and make me become a better man. At the same time I had to learn to insulate myself from those people in all of our lives that are negative, and bring us down. And the latter is the hardest task of all. Many of these negative people may be family, or perhaps even some of our best friends. I've learned that regardless of who these people are, you must learn to insulate yourself from their negative energy to live a positive life. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, surrounding yourself with good friends who are honest and of good character will always make you a better person, and multiply your blessings.


I've used a lot of examples here to explain a very simple way of picking your friends that can make you a better person. Even today, following this process continues to make me a better man. 

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you did, please leave a comment below. And don't forget to share!

Maybe He was Right

Gratitude_1454078246.jpg

At one of the lowest points in my life some 35 years ago, my father told me that when I got past the problems I was facing, I should probably move away from Bristol. "You'll never make anything of yourself around here" he said. In retrospect, I know that statement wasn't really about me. His instructions were more about his vanity, and how embarrassed he was of his oldest son's actions. They had very little to do with my future.

Regardless of his motivation, it didn't take very long for me to prove his statement wrong. And I believe that when he died, he was actually proud of the man I'd become. But he would never take back those words, he just wasn't that kind of man. For what it's worth, at the time he said that, I saw his statement as more of a challenge that an instruction. I love it when someone tells me I can't do something. I just have to prove them wrong.

But earlier this week, something strange happened. While talking with a new friend and potential financial adviser, I told him this little story, and followed that with a somewhat boastful "he was wrong." But somehow, a few minutes later, I made a discovery: He should have been right. Maybe he was right.

I've told many of my friends about just how blessed I was to have the life I have now. And to be honest, it has become somewhat humbling. And in the last several months, I have tried to share my good fortune while maintaining  my humility. The funny thing is, my attempts at humility have multiplied my blessings over and over again through my friends, both old and new.

But it was through this discussion with this new friend that I learned just why I should feel blessed, and why I feel so humbled right now. My father was right. I had ruined my life. I shouldn't have been able to have made anything of myself. It really is a miracle that I made it this far. I could not have done all this alone.

By focusing on some basic spiritual concepts, I found the strength to pick myself up, dust myself off, and make something of myself. But I wasn't alone. So many of my friends have helped me over the years, even at time when I had fallen too far to save. I was given chances and opportunities that at the time, I know I didn't deserve. And by living a life based on these concepts, new doors for me while old ones rarely close.

Today, more than 30 years since my father said those words that I can never forget, I have so much to be thankful for. I have everything I need, and most of what I want. After spending most of my adult life with no more friends than I could count on a single hand, I have more good friends that I can count, more than I ever dreamed I would have. 

Many people would say I'm lucky, but luck is a thing of cards and dice. And I've never thought reducing the value of your life down to the value of a game of chance. I'm not where I am because of luck, I'm here because I could clear my mind, consider where each pathway in front of me might take me, and then following the path that would hopefully lead to my success.

The funny thing is 30 years ago, when my father told me what I should do, he was probably right. He really should have been right. Even then, I was able to discover the first of these principles and set my life in the right direction. But even still, finding those initial changes required to save my life weren't something I could have ever done alone. God was with me every step of the way.

But my gratitude doesn't end there. So many of you have been brought into my life for a reason that only became apparent in the last couple of days. You are in my life so that I may learn to be a better man through your examples. I want to thank you – the family and friends I share my life with now – for allowing me into your life. It honestly wouldn't be the same without you.


I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. Just use the form below.

Where has the time gone?

time_1453894539.jpg

It's been six months – almost to the day – since I finished my last article on  The Bristol Line. I've started to write several times, and aside from 4 or 5 unfinished posts, I've done nothing worthy of posting for my readers. Sometimes life get's in the way. And in this case, life certainly has hampered my ability to contribute on a regular basis. Life over the last six months has literally been a whirlwind of activities. Between the seemingly endless work activities, and the growing social activities that the changes in my life have bestowed on me, I've just found little time to write, with so much more to write about than ever before.

But all that is changing. With the planned elimination of some work related duties that took a great deal of my personal time, I'm finding more and more time to write. So today I am committing myself to continually adding new content for my readers, but first I plan to add some old content. I'm going to start by adding articles that highlight specific moments from the last 6 months that have had a significant impact on my life, and the lives of others.

Keep an eye on the Lucky Man blog for the next couple of weeks as I attempt to chronicle what have been some of the best times of my life over the last 6 months. I hope that those of you that were along for the ride will add your own thoughts to my articles.