Keep Digging for Your Pony


President Ronald Reagan’s favorite joke was about two young twin brothers. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities – one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist – their parents took them to a psychiatrist.

“First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. ‘What’s the matter?’ the psychiatrist asked, baffled. ‘Don’t you want to play with any of the toys?’ ‘Yes,’ the little boy bawled, ‘but if I did I’d only break them.’”

“Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. ‘With all this manure,’ the little boy replied, beaming, ‘there must be a pony in here somewhere!’”

What reminded me about this joke is that I’m currently having a LOT of horse poop thrown at me!  In the midst of many things, despite GREAT reviews so far, I got my first flat turn-down on one of my books yesterday (I know – failure is part of any great accomplishment), my swimming pool pump piping literally blew up last night, a stock I hold SIGNIFICANT HOLDINGS in tanked this morning, along with several other things I won’t bother you with.

I texted my wife just now:  “something AMAZING is about to happen!  I know there’s a pony in here somewhere!  (I’ll explain the story when you get home tonight).”

I’m sharing this with you because I know YOU’RE going through challenges right now.

You’re not alone.

I know sometimes it feels like you are, but you’re not.

Everyone truly is going through challenges.

The question is:  Do we focus on the poop, or do we keep digging for the pony?

You decide for yourself – I’m going to get back to digging!

Keep up the Good Fight,


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Do Your Best, and Forgive Yourself for the Rest.

Do Your Best, and Forgive Yourself for the rest. - Terry L. Fossum
Do Your Best, and Forgive Yourself for the rest. – Terry L. Fossum

‘Do Your Best, and Forgive Yourself for the rest.’  I’ve taught that mantra for decades now.  It seems simple, and straight forward, but it’s truly a double-edged sword that many people don’t completely understand.  It seems that people read into it what they want to!

There are two groups of people who read this, and both see it, and act on it, differently.

First of all, there’s the group of overachievers.  They focus in on the ‘Do your best’ part, and work their butts off, and are never completely satisfied with the job they’ve done.  They are their own worst critics!  When the job is done, instead of looking at the good they’ve done, they see the parts that were undone, or not done well enough.

Then, there’s the other group, those who focus on the ‘forgive yourself for the rest’ part.  They’re quick to call it ‘good enough’.  When the obstacles crop up or the failures occur, they decide ‘it wasn’t suppose to be’, or ‘that’s the best I can do.’  Often they’ll add in:  ‘if it’s not good enough for other people, then they can change it, because I think it’s fine just how it is.’

Which group do you fall more into?

What if we could do both?  What if we could really, truly work our butts off on our goals, even when the going gets tough?  What if we were to be able to push through the obstacles, maneuver around them, and continue on and on and on?

And then, when we’ve finally reached the top of that mountain, whatever that mountain may be for us, we know that we’ve given it all, we have no more left to give, that we truly have done our best.  Then, we can smile and know, ‘it’s not perfect, but it is GOOD.  And it is GOOD, because it has a piece of my heart and soul in it.  It is GOOD because I know that it is the best that I, personally, have to give.

And my best is good enough for me.

Then, there’s nothing to forgive.  We can feel GREAT about what we have accomplished, knowing we have truly given it our all.

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