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We Need Our Heads Examined



Landon Saunders


            Have you ever suffered from Rigid-brain Syndrome? Mark Twain wrote a letter to a person who had this problem and recommended a drastic cure.

            He wrote, “It is discouraging to try to penetrate a mind like yours. You ought to get it out and dance on it. That would take some of the rigidity out of it. You really must get your mind out and have it repaired; you’ll see yourself, that it is all caked together.”

            The problem isn’t lack of information; we’ve got plenty of that. It’s a lack of passion and purpose for the information, a lack of drive and dream and direction.

            When nothing is done about this—when there’s no purpose and direction—we are in danger of becoming—how shall I put this? Well, here’s what one guy was called who suffered from this problem: Swamphead!

            You see, in every person there is an upsurging of life and energy that has to go somewhere. If it fails to flow and find direction, fails to cut a river, it creates a swamp. When life grows stagnant, unpleasant things are bred—nasty pests and reptiles of the mind including anxiety, depression, and loss of meaning.

            Still another character was called Grasshopper-Brain, a nickname that also described a state of mind. Grasshopper was constantly jumping from one thought to another, never staying with any one issue long enough to grasp it or be grasped by it.

            One day as he hopped along, he came too near the edge of a cliff and fell several feet to land on a tiny ledge.

            For the first time in his life, Grasshopper stopped jumping around. All of a thousand thoughts became one: “How do I get off this ledge?”

            Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

            The education you most need teaches you the importance of finding purpose, direction and concentration for your life. Even if you have only a fortnight to live, you have enough time to do everything you really need to do in your life.

            Are you beginning to sense ever more deeply the power of this idea?

COMING FRIDAY: Refrigerator Heads


The Time Management Expert



Landon Saunders

            What if you are successfully managing…the wrong things in your life? Has your education given you the proper ideas to manage?

            Once there was a time management expert who was founder and president of a successful time management company. He called his company “Omni-Bee.” His logo was a gyrating bee—inspired by the dance of the honeybee who returns to the hive to communicate where she found a flower.

            His company had prospered. The books and tapes were best-sellers, and his public appearances drew large crowds.

            One night, this successful man had a terrible dream—he dreamed he was dying. In his dream he reached out his hand desperately grasping his “To Do” list that he had faithfully prepared. He glanced at it, crushed it into a ball and let it drop to the floor.

            He awakened wet with perspiration. As he lay there, he couldn’t keep from thinking about his life. All his adult life he’d travelled the country urging people not to waste their time, and he had practiced what he preached. He never wasted time.

            But as he lay there thinking, he suddenly realized he had wasted something of far greater importance—he had wasted his life.

            It wasn’t that he had not done a lot of good things. He had. His problem was, he had neglected the things that are most important: family, relationships, generosity, love.

            Managing time can be just an elegant way of killing time—if it is based on a fragmented view of what it means to be human.

            The education you most need tells you how to manage time—but it also gives you a world view that enables you to manage your time doing the right things, the things that matter, the things that make for a fulfilled life.          

            I like the way Edward Hall put it: “This is what intelligence is: paying attention to the right things.” When you decide to pay attention to the right things, it begins to give your life focus, direction, purpose, power…and maybe best of all, peace.

COMING MONDAY: We Need Our Heads Examined

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

The Education We Most Need



Geoffery Moore


I want to make a few comments about Landon’s thoughts on education that we shared on Monday.

A few years ago, I read a question that really got my attention. Well, actually, there were two questions.

But before I give you these questions, I want to ask you to get ready for them. Turn off all the chattering in your brain. Turn off all the to-do lists, all the worries. Turn off all the news and noise. Turn it all off.

Now, are you ready? Here are the questions:

First: What did you come into the world to learn? Second: Have you learned it?

In other words: what is the education a person most needs in life?

I’ve lived with these questions for a while, and I suspect they have little to do with book learning. I think they. are about the inside part of education–the part that goes to the meaning of our lives.

As some have observed, in our time we’ve lost the inside part of education. Gradually, education focused more and more on the technical and less and less on the total, human life. It’s an education that can help us function, but it doesn’t tell us why we should function.

We are so busy inventing new things that we no longer have time for the truly big questions. And the big question is still the same: YOU. Nothing that engages the minds of human beings has the magnitude of this issue. What is a human being? What is a man? What is a woman? What is it to be truly alive? What is the meaning of a life?

The danger is that the answers to these central questions will be assumed. Taken for granted. And when that happens, something precious is lost.

So what do we do?

I like the way the German poet Rilke put it. He said we should not be in such a hurry to get answers, but we should love the questions and live the questions—and then, by and by, we may live ourselves into an answer.

So I leave you with two questions to love and live with:

What did you come into the world to learn? And have you learned it?

“How old will I be before I’m educated?”



Landon Saunders

            “How old will I be before I’m educated,” the young man asked himself.

            He calculated how old he would be before he got his Ph.D. But then he asked himself whether that would mean he was educated.

            As he thought about what he meant by “educated,” he gained a startling insight: his thinking included nothing but himself..

            He decided that thinking about nothing but yourself was a sign of being uneducated. This meant that some of the Ph.D.’s he’d met were uneducated.

            Maybe, thought the young man, education comes with age and experience. Then he thought back on many of the older people he’d been around, and realized that growing older has little to do with growing wiser. Even reaching the age of ninety wouldn’t be enough. To be truly educated, he would have to be much older…and much younger.

            With all of these thoughts swirling in his head, he sat down and wrote these words:

            I want to be as old as eternity…because only eternity can broaden my interests beyond myself.

             I want to be too old to lick my wounds. Too old to complain. Too old to be afraid. I want to be as old as eternity, for, to eternity, even death goes unnoticed.

            I want to be too old to panic at pain. I want to be old enough not to be a messiah when being a friend would be enough. Old enough to know I can’t live others’ lives no matter how much I love them. I want to be old enough to know that I am and always have been in love. Old enough to laugh and cry at the same time. Old enough to look daily into the raw terror and the raw joy. Old enough not to know better than to risk my life for any instant of total “Let there be light.”

 COMING FRIDAY: The Time Management Expert

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book, with posts two or three times a week. – Geoffery Moore, Editor]

           The Living Conversation is based on the work of Heartbeat, a non-profit educational organization founded by Landon Saunders in 1971. Landon spoke to tens of millions in his Heartbeat radio program over the NBC, CBS, and Mutual radio networks. He gave workshops and speeches in more than 100 cities across America, This blog is a free public service. There is no charge to subscribe, your information will never be shared with anyone, and you can cancel at any time.


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Welcome to The Living Conversation 

“I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear. I wanted to live deep.”  

Henry David Thoreau

Someone has said that the greatest source of stress is not the petty annoyances, frustrations and problems.

The greatest source of stress is the living we don’t do—that underlying feeling that we’re somehow missing out, or not living the way we could be.

And the greatest source of joy? The living we do well.

The Living Conversation is about mining that joy for all it’s worth! It’s based on the belief that every person counts and it’s never too late to have a life that loves to happen, no matter what happens.

This blog is based on the groundbreaking work of Landon Saunders and the Heartbeat educational organization over the past 50 years. (See the About page for details.)

Our brief posts come out two or three times a week and there’s never any charge or obligation. This is a public service.

So I invite you to sign up. Read. Ponder. Share. And most of all, enjoy!

Geoffery Moore