Motivation: Jack Benny & The Art of Living Well

I love Jack Benny. More on that in a bit.


The man himself. From

Wikipedia will tell you that Jack was an “American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor, and violinist,” and that he was “recognized as a leading American entertainer of the 20th century.”

He was all that, and a whole lot more.

Sites like the International Jack Benny Fan Club (IJBFC) will take you down a marvelous memory lane of old time radio and early television, so I won’t duplicate what you’ll be able to delight in over there.

But I will tell you that Jack was also a decent person who treated people kindly and generously. He was a natural comedian without the stereotypical traumatic background, nor with tragic repercussions in his adult life.

He lived well.

And do

As his daughter Joan Benny said in her biography of Jack, Sunday Nights at Seven, “People don’t buy books about nice.”

But oh, when I found out he had started writing his autobiography, how I wished he had finished.

So for a little bit of Monday-or-any-day Motivation, I wanted to leave this thought out in the ether:

We all want to do something to set us apart, be something that makes us special. But maybe we already do. Maybe we already are.

I think what I’m trying to say is Jack was always himself, even when he was on stage playing a character entirely opposite to everything he was. He worked hard, yes, but he also knew how to sit back and let things flow.

So write down those decent things you do yourself or see in others. Because every now and then we could stand a little reminding that it’s okay to just…live well!


George Burns and Jack Benny from


More effusive waxing about Jack Benny found here:

Motivation: Whittier & Avoiding Regret


The above quote is from the poem “Maud Miller,” which you’ll find right here.

It has even more impact when you add the previous two stanzas, even if you’ve never read this poem before:

“God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;
For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

Oh yes, there’s a tale here in this poem, one which I won’t spoil for you if you have yet to be introduced to it.

The only thing I disagree with (sorry, purists) is the emphasis on “dreams of youth.” Dreams don’t stop just because you turn over a new calendar number. (Unless you’re bound and determined that your life is over at an arbitrary age, in which case you’re probably busy wrapping things up.)

I’ve found myself away from poetry for several years now. I used to read it all the time.

But a friend had posted that above image, and I must have read it at exactly the right time, for reading this poem in full makes me think I need to come back this-a-way toward poetry again.

Which quotes stick in your head?


Telling Brands What to Do: Yes or No?

Do people feel a sense of ownership over the brands they follow online?

I posted a motivational image on one of my Facebook Pages and somebody didn’t appreciate it one bit.

Page admins don’t (at least I don’t) just toss something out there because they can. Pages take daily effort, ingenuity, and an excellent, often intuitive understanding of one’s audience. In our case, we handle a broad range of sensitive topics under an umbrella theme, so I try to vary what I post every day.

Sometimes this means taking a step back and posting something that helps people look at what they have and what they can do to make their day a little easier. I like giving my audience a break every so often with something fun, beautiful, inspiring, motivating…you get the picture.

In fact, here’s the picture itself:

We received several hundred likes, shares, and even several very happy comments. This picture and sentiment were by no means original to our Page, but clearly appealed nonetheless.

Then came this comment:
“Not another bumper sticker. Please stick to post [sic] things that are informative.”

At least the commenter was polite. Since posting that picture, I’ve received comments on other pictures that range from verbally abusive to sexually disgusting. Polite or not, people seem to feel they can say anything because there’s a comment box, regardless if it actually has anything to do with the topic.

Is it because we’re all hidden behind screens? Or is it more a sense of propriety over things or entities we associate ourselves with because of all the time and energy we invest?

Perhaps brands become “ours” in a way removed from the very real people behind that thing or entity. Yet have we become too comfortable expressing ourselves? Have you ever told a brand what you wanted them to say or do online—or off?