~ The Service Professionals Resource ~ 
January 7, 2015 
Volume 11, Issue 1                                                                                                          $3.95
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Publication Data
Mark Matteson publishes his Sparking Success EZine Street newsletter on the first Wednesday of every month. The next newsletter will go out on February 4, 2015

A simple choice
Freedom From Fear Forever

freedom from fear
Freedom From Fear Audio CD
Audio CDs
Sales Success Stories
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at mark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com.


An Ordinary Guy

by Mark Matteson


I was enjoying a quiet breakfast with a good book in a five-star hotel in Galveston, Texas. My mind wandered. I reflected back to the day before. I had presented to a group of 150 mangers and engineers. I was in the zone. The words just flowed. It happens sometimes. Preparation meeting opportunity. When I was done, one person stood up to clap, then another, and soon the whole room was on its feet. A standing ovation. Wow. It never gets old. What rush. It was extraordinary! At least, that is what I was thinking about when I heard a couple of young children yelling and making way too much noise for that time of day, 6:30 am, or in a public place for that matter. I wondered why their parents (and grandparents) weren't doing something. I looked around. I hadn't noticed before, but all the tables were filled with parents and young children. It was the calm before the storm. They were waiting to get on a Disney Cruise, an 8-day excursion with Mickey, Minnie, and Donald. I was Goofy. No wonder they were excited.


There are no bad children, only lazy or unaware parents and grandparents. My wife and I raised three boys. When their little shot clocks would run out in a restaurant, we would take turns taking them for a walk so the adults could enjoy a conversation. These excited children made one last scream, like banshees on the attack. Even the other parents turned to look. I was trying to finish reading The Girl With Dragon Tattoo. Regretfully, I shot the mother and father a dirty look. It lasted only a second or two. I went back to reading about Lisbeth Salander's quiet revenge on a cold winter evening in Sweden.


The grandparents finally took the children out while the parents stayed to finish their coffee. "About time," I thought to myself. As the grandmother walked behind me to the exit, she said in a sarcastic and unusually loud voice, "Let's go kids; we don't want to bother the ORDINARY people!"


I thought, "Ordinary? Was that an insult?" In her mind, I believe it was. It came from a mean place, a place of entitlement. Her haughty remark was intended to cut me to the quick. I wrote it down. "Ordinary." Robert Redford's directorial debut in 1980 was Ordinary People. It won the Oscar for best picture. John Legend's "Ordinary People" is one my favorite songs.




Is that what she meant? I looked up the definition in the dictionary: the regular or customary condition or course of things; normal. I kept reading: of common rank, quality or ability. Which did she mean? I suppose she meant the latter, not the former. Common. (Wait, isn't that the rapper-turned-actor in Hell on Wheels? I love that guy!)


A disapproving glance created this cowardly insult. I looked up the antonyms for ordinary: abnormal, irregular, uncommon. "Wait a minute," I realized, "SHE is abnormal and irregular. Excellent."


Smashing the other person's furniture never makes mine look better. Verbal attacks have been known to start wars. I used to be the master at great comebacks. I had no filter in public when I was young. The laugh was all that mattered. Winston Churchill was my hero. He always had the perfect comeback. Lady Astor was his nemesis in Parliament. One day she said to him, "Sir Winston, if you were my husband I would poison your tea." He replied, "Madam, if I were married to YOU, I would drink it!" I used to say things like:

  • I refuse to enter a battle of wits with an unarmed person.
  • I've stepped in puddles deeper than you.
  • You would be amazed at how excited I am to tell you "Goodbye."

About 20 years ago, a mentor of mine said to me, "Would you rather be right or happy?" That simple quote changed my life. "It's the silence between the notes that makes the music." After Snow White's evil step-grandmother left, I did three things in silence:

  1. I wrote down what happened and my thoughts and feelings about it.
  2. I said a little prayer for her. ("That woman's an idiot, BLESS HER BLACK HEART!")
  3. I laughed aloud.

You see, that's what normal people do. Hey, maybe I am ordinary. That's okay with me. God knows I don't want to be like that woman. I wasn't going to let that lady rent space in my brain. I shifted my thinking and committed to having a great day. As John Legend sings, "take it slow..."

Small Hitlers are around us every day.-Jay Carter

Positive anything is better than negative nothing.-Elbert Hubbard


To complain is always non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.-Eckhart Tolle


Maybe I should sign up for a Disney Cruise.  I could book a speaking engagement and be on stage with Goofy; that's so ORDINARY.

Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at mark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com. 
Book of the Month
Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence
By Gary Mack and David Casstevens

In 2006, I borrowed this book from oldest son Colin's bookshelf and read a few chapters. I was impressed with the quality of my son's choices. It's a great little "bathroom book." A few weeks ago I saw it in an airport bookstore and purchased it. I am on my second reading. Here is a paraphrased story from this gem of book:

A 12-year-old Cassius Clay worked all summer bagging groceries in Louisville, Kentucky. He had a goal, to buy a used blue bike. By summer's end, he had saved enough money to buy the bike. He loved that bike like nothing else ever before. He had worked so hard and long to earn the money. Near summer's end, someone stole it! He looked for weeks, but sadly, never found it. When he started boxing a few years later, he told himself before he stepped in the ring, "THAT's the guy that stole my bike!"


To order my new e-book, You Don't Have To Be Sick To Get Better, go to http://sparkingsuccess.net/store/.



Mark resides in Edmonds, Washington and takes great pride in the fact he flunked high school English. To watch Markʼs demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net


Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to:www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him atmark.enjoythejourney.matteson@gmail.com.