Why I officially bench the ego each morning

“The knowledge of how to joyfully live simply is still within us. Stand still, stop running, just BE.”—Robert Wolff

Benched today!!

So I collect stories about people of a certain age who still bike, dance, hike up mountains. For example, I once wrote about Lou Batori, a Hungarian-born aeronautical engineer who skied (he even had his own parking space at Crystal Mountain Resort) until he was 107. When I met him, he was only 100 and was getting ready to take a cross country motorcycle trip with his new bride (she was in her 80’s) sitting in a sidecar.

Then there was “Papa” Jack Weil who showed up every morning, sat at his little wooden desk in the front of the Denver Western wear store he started six decades earlier. As he said, “I check the obits in the paper and if my name’s not there, I head to work.”

Clint Eastwood is the latest to make my collection. At 92, he’s starring in a documentary that dropped a week or so ago called “Why on Earth?” Someone asked him how he found the stamina to keep making movies, to keep coming up with new projects.

“Well,” he explained, “An old man knocks at my door every morning, but I refuse to let him in.”

That’s kinda how I feel about my ego that tries to jump in every morning with a report on all things going wrong. Its entire mission, it seems to me, is to diminish the gift of life’s wildly perfect moments, to override the benevolent, radical abundance of reality.

It waits for that first moment of consciousness, squawking desperately “put me in. put me in.”  It always wants to be in the game, to run the show, to block the sweetness of my one short life.

So every morning, before the ego can get too carried away, I attempt to disqualify it.

“I hear you,” I say. (It never hurts to acknowledge it). “But today, you and your message of fear and scarcity are going to sit on the sidelines. I have way too many wonderful gifts to notice today, gifts that, if you have your way, will sadly be obscured. Life is too short to miss even a moment of all that goodness. So here’s your red shirt. Sit quietly on the bench while I enjoy.” #222 Forever!  

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).

Lessons on love, joy and the power of dreaming from the world’s oldest CEO

“Behold infinity every day and all that you see shall be given you.”—Glenda Green

I’m writing a story this week about Denver’s Rockmount Ranch Wear. It’s a six-decade business that was started by “Papa” Jack Weil who joyously ran the company until he was 107. He showed up every day, sat at his little wooden desk in the front of the store and was widely regarded as the world’s oldest CEO.

He wasn’t, as far as I know, a student of metaphysics, but the reason his business was so successful and that his snap-button Western shirts are the go-to shirt for everyone from Eric Clapton and Tom Hanks to Robert Redford and Paul McCartney (he wore not one, but two different Rockmount shirts the night he hosted Saturday Night Live) is because Papa Jack believed the following things:

“It’s not who you are that matters. It’s what your dreams are.” Papa Jack’s grandson, Steve, runs the business today. He wrote a book called Ask Papa Jack: Wisdom of the World’s Oldest CEO that gives powerful insight into that magical component of always believing in possibilities, in dreams, in what could be. Forget what looks like reality. Dream! That’s where everything comes from anyway.

“The government predicts possible 7 percent unemployment. If it goes to 10 percent, there will still be 90 percent working, consuming, buying.” Wow! By focusing on what’s working (Nine-tenths of the population is still out there consuming), you get more of what’s working. Most of us zero right in on that 10 percent figure, on the thing that isn’t working. Well, guess what? You get more of what isn’t working. It’s like the speck and infinity I talked about yesterday. Why focus on anything but what you want?

“I was always thinking of something new. And I never stopped enjoying myself, not for a minute.” He nailed it on the head with that one. Love what you do. It’s the door to everything. Enjoy yourself and never STOP enjoying yourself, not for even one split moment. The reason Ang Lee used Rockmount Shirts in his Oscar-winning Brokeback Mountain (the shirts worn by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are forever entwined and displayed at L.A’s Autry National Center) is because he could feel the love Papa Jack put into all of his products, into creating, into dreaming.

“Every morning I read the obits, and if my name is not there, I get dressed and go to work.” Papa Jack had a great sense of humor. He believed in making things fun. If it isn’t fun, why bother? That’s the key. Always focus on the fun. Infuse joy and delight into everything you do.

“Relationships are everything.” Papa Jack was forever baffled at the popularity of his shirts with such headline-makers as Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley and even Miley Cyrus. But he was every bit as personable and valued his relationships with every customer, which when it comes to business (and pretty much everything else) is all that really matters.

So yeah, Papa Jack probably never read “The Secret” or studied the law of attraction, but because of his gut instincts and knowing on a deep, visceral level that relationships, love, joy and creativity are the bottom line, he created a life (and a business) that lives on long after he’s gone.

Pam Grout is the author of E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.