The Myths of the Jack-O-Lantern

Last night my son and I had great fun carving a pumpkin. He asked why do we carve jack-o-lanterns, what does it mean? A fan of transparency, I told him I did not know. Thus we began to consider, what is this tradition about?

Google returns many prevailing myths about the origin of the modern day jack-o-lantern. While all of them have their persuasive elements, none are so compelling as the symbol we considered of the lighted candle within the carved pumpkin. We like it because it is the most TRP explanation, of course.

No smile is complete without the fire from within. Once the fire is lit, the smile is radiant. Whether the fire is the passion of the artist whose brush strokes add the color to life, the leader who inspires his followers, or the homemaker who creates harmony for a family – no smile is complete without that fire.

So, go set the world a-fire. So to speak. Happy Halloween!

Daniel and the TRP Team

What is the TRP Concept?

5 minutes with Carl

Carl was 35-years old, tall and muscular, a salesman on the fast track in a large company. His assertiveness and quick mind earned him a big salary and a reputation as a star performer—and reinforced his inherent impatience.

Carl heard that the company had started teaching classes on something called “TRP.” Always wanting to be on top of things, he decided to find out about it. One day he strode into the training department and learned that a man named Howard taught the TRP classes. Carl located and walked directly into Howard’s office.

Howard, a quiet man of slight build in his 60s, was writing at his desk.

“I’m Carl, from the sales department. I heard you teach a program called TRP. I have about five minutes between meetings and would like you to explain the concept to me.”

Howard looked up from his work and said, “How dare you barge in here with your pompous demands! Who do you think you are, anyway? Get out of my office!”

On hearing this, Carl’s jaw tightened and his neck veins bulged. His fists clenched and his eyes narrowed as he glared at the small man, thinking of what he might do to him.

Now Howard spoke in a quiet, friendly tone, “What you are experiencing at this moment, Carl, is called ‘victim mentality.’ It is part of the TRP concept.”

Carl’s quick mind kicked in. His body loosened; his eyes lit up with recognition and he broke into a broad smile. “You’ve taught me a valuable lesson, and one that I’ve needed to learn. I truly thank you.”

Then Howard leaned forward, as if to share a secret. “And what you are experiencing now, Carl, is called ‘TRP.’ It is the second part of the TRP concept. It means that each of us can learn to respond positively—no matter what the circumstance–and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.”

***

With TRP we learn a new, powerful way to stay positive and effective in all situations. We learn, as Carl quickly grasped, that valuable lessons are sometimes disguised as surprising or unpleasant events. We learn to recognize and penetrate the disguises and capture the life-changing lessons.

***

Frank’s Test

Our long-time friend and colleague, Frank, describes how he used the TRP concepts.

“Several years ago I was a hospital administrator and occasionally worked with a certain surgeon. He was notorious for getting upset with people, especially those of lesser professional stature, yelling, screaming and being verbally abusive. In these encounters with him I sometimes became defensive or lashed back, or walked away sulking. Around the same time that this was happening I learned about TRP; how to recognize my own ‘victim mentality’ in these situations and how to respond positively instead.

“One morning the surgeon stormed into my office red-faced and began to yell louder than ever, just inches from my face. People in the hallway outside my office were shocked.

“For a moment I reacted in the old way. But I caught myself and shifted out of my victim mode. Then I could listen to his words, and see behind them, to the truth of what he was saying. He was asking for something for his patients, not for himself. And he was right—it was a situation that needed correction and I was the person in charge of that area.

“When he finally paused I said, ‘You are right. I apologize and will work with you so the situation does not happen again.’  He was shocked and walked out of my office. A few minutes later he returned and quietly said, ‘As you can see this really does upset me.’

“In the next few weeks we handled what was needed, by working together.

“Soon afterwards the surgeon was hired away by a prestigious hospital in another city, a real honor for him and a confirmation of his surgical skills.

“A year later he came to my office when visiting here. He asked if I had a moment to speak with him, and said, ‘Frank, I just want you to know how much I appreciate your listening to me and helping me. When I was here I was a real jerk—I know that, and I am not like that any more. I was under lots of pressure that I wasn’t handling well, so it was really helpful to have someone actually listen and try to assist me in resolving the patient problems and surgical issues I was working with.  It meant a lot to me and it helped me learn some important lessons.’”

***

Have you ever wished that, like Frank, you could stay effective in the middle of difficult situations?  Or deal with difficult people, or improve a relationship? Have you ever wanted to learn some “secret” that would make life clearer, happier and more fulfilling?

Two Heroes

Malala Yousafzai is 16 years old. If you haven’t seen her on the news yet, you will soon. She’s been nominated for a Nobel prize. After having been critically wounded by the Taliban, she’s gone on to find her voice. She carries a message that the education of women is a critical step in achieving freedom in her home country of Pakistan.

Rick Rescorla worked security at Morgan-Stanley/Dean-Witter, in New York at the World Trade Center. He was fervent about preparation, performing safety drills over and over, which every one else did NOT always love. But on September 11, 2001, his ability to remain calm and deliberately perform his duties saved lives. He safely evacuated over 2,700 people and was last seen on the tenth floor, ascending the stairs to evacuate people from other companies on higher floors.

In another time and place these two people wouldn’t be recognized for having similar purposes. But we can see that they do. One uniquely advocates for education, the other was just doing his job. Both Reversed the Flow and put the needs of others above their own.

Making it Through the Day

I recently learned a story that had a big affect on me. He’s an ordinary guy named Richie. Ordinary in many ways, he just has to work a little harder to get things done that are simple for a lot of us. But, there is not an ounce of victim mentality in his attitude. “Getting through the day” can be a struggle, if we look at it that way. But Richie embraces struggle.

How do you make it through your day? Watch the below video for inspiration. We can all learn from Richie Parker’s “creative engineering.”