The Value of Dreams

Almost 6 years ago I made a new friend – Colonel Gail Halvorsen, aka the Candy Bomber. I reached out to him after watching a special Christmas program that included a narration of the Candy Bomber’s story by Tom Brokaw.

A man who understands the value of having dreams

A man who understands the value of having dreams

This famous WWII veteran has been kind enough to speak to groups of Boy Scouts I have been involved with through the years. I have been inspired by this remarkable man who was a spry 92 years old when we first met and is still going strong today at 98.

The last time we met was at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AZ. The museum had his biography for sale so I bought a copy for my teenage son who had met him that day. I asked the Candy Bomber to autograph the book.

He wrote an inscription to my son that included the admonition, follow your dreams.”

We have all heard motivational speakers and read books by authors who make a living encouraging us to “follow our dreams.” The phrase is commonly viewed as a cliche, maybe even trite. But coming from a 95 year old career Air Force man, the advice carries power and meaning for my son and me.

After so much life experience, nobody would blame someone of that age if they were cynical, pessimistic and even jaded. The inscription – in the handwriting of one who has experienced so much of this world – continues to inspire me every time I pick up the book.

I’ll let our readers click on the above links to see how this phenomenal human being has followed his dreams throughout his life. Thank you Candy Bomber for living a life that inspires us to embrace the Gift of Dreams.

The Value of A Day

In a previous post about the Value of Friendship I wrote about a friend who unexpectedly lost his wife last month to a pulmonary embolism. At the funeral their daughter gave a wonderful tribute to her mother.

She concluded her remarks by saying, “If there’s one thing the last week and a half has taught me it’s that we don’t know how much time we have with the ones we love. We don’t really know when the last time will be that we can tell someone we love them.”

A poem by Laura Strickland reminds us that every day is a gift not to be taken for granted:

Life is Precious

Life is so precious, And each day is a gift. So enjoy every minute, As it were your last to live.
Cherish your loved ones, Hug them tight, Share with them your heart, And your time.
Nothing is forever, And life goes so fast, Each minute that passes, Is one you can’t get back.
When troubles arrive, And knock you off your feet, Stand up and smile, And remember life is too sweet.
Every morning when you wake, Decide right from the start, That “Today will be a good day” And let it all in with an open heart.

The Value of Giving

"It's already used up..."

“It’s already used up…”

I’m a fan of old movies. One of my favorites had such a tremendous impact on me the first time I watched it that I purchased a 1st edition copy of the book it was based on.

Magnificent Obsession was first published in 1929 by author Lloyd C. Douglas then made into a movie with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman in 1954.

As typical, there are many differences between the book and the movie. But the central plot is the same.

Dr. Phillips (Hudson in the book) is a highly respected brain surgeon who dies as a result of a critical piece of medical equipment being used to save the life of a young playboy by the name of Bobby Merrick. There was only one of these medical devices in the small town they lived in and was used to save Bobby Merrick instead of Dr. Phillips.

Bobby Merrick learns about an obsession Dr. Phillips had. As explained in the book, Dr. Phillips believed “that his professional success depended upon certain eccentric philanthropies which had to be kept secret to be effective.”

This philosophy turned into an obsession and he gave freely of his money and property to those in need with strict instructions that the recipient never disclose the identity of their benefactor. This was the magnificent obsession.

The mysterious phrase Dr. Phillips recited whenever anyone tried to pay him back or asked why he gave so freely was “it was already used up.” What he meant by this, one of his friends explains, is that he had already received so much more in return for giving that in his mind there was literally nothing left for the recipient to pay back. In fact, the more he gave, the more he felt like he was in debt.

On Christmas day, 2010, Psychology Today reported on a study performed by social psychologist Liz Dunn and her colleagues which appeared in the journal Science. The study concluded that people’s sense of happiness is greater when they spend relatively more on others than on themselves.

In one survey of over 600 U.S. citizens, it was concluded that spending money on others predicted greater happiness whereas spending money on oneself did not, and this pattern was found across all income levels. “In other words”, Psychology Today explained, “even those with little money reported greater happiness when their proportion of spending on others, relative to the self, was greater.”

The Value of Love

In the book The Ultimate Gift, the Gift of Love is summarized, “This is the ultimate gift. To care for others more than you care for yourself and to live for others more than you live for yourself.”

My wife teaches our children, “Love is a choice.” For those who receive the Gift of Love into their lives, they know that true love is a choice to put those you choose to love before yourself – spouse, children, parents, siblings, neighbors and even co-workers and customers.

I was intrigued by a Modern Leadership podcast I listened to recently. Jake Carlson interviewed Brad Compere, founder and CEO of Capstone Title – a successful title agency in Austin, Texas.

Brad Compere, CEO, Capstone Title

Brad Compere, CEO, Capstone Title

Despite being in a very commoditized, transactional industry, Capstone chose love as their core value – and they mean it. Capstone’s unconventional approach to facilitating real estate deals is front and center on their home page:


At Capstone Title, We LOVE

We LOVE being open and honest
We LOVE our team members and clients
We LOVE serving others
We LOVE learning and growing

In the podcast Mr. Compere confirms, “[Love] is all encompassing in terms of how we operate and how we think as a company and as a team.” He tells the story of how this came to be. When he and his partner were forming the company they were trying to decide what they were going to be about and how they were going to differentiate themselves in such a competitive industry.

His partner told him, “Life is really basic. In our personal and professional lives it’s about loving people.” And the decision to make love the driving force behind Capstone’s decision making and behavior was made.

I guess the reason I was so intrigued by this interview is because sometimes we have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives – we have our personal life and our business life. We have those we love in our life, and we have those who are our colleagues and acquaintences, employees and customers.

The older I get the more love feels like a state of being rather than a feeling I have for this person or that person, this group of people or that group of people. Love is becoming more about who I am than about characteristics I admire in others.

May we pass on the most transcendent value of them all to our family members and heirs – The Value of Love.

Kent Phelps, Attorney