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As you go forth now to apply what you have learned every day in every way, Simon has one last story for you. Perhaps it will bring a smile and maybe even a gentle thought about those little things enriching your life along your path to excellence.

I’m sitting here watching our puppy bark at his reflection in the window in the door to the back yard. His goal is to get outside but he has a problem. There is a guard dog on the other side of the window, staying right with him, bark for bark, preventing his exit. He first runs up to the other dog, tries to get past him, then backs away to analyze and evaluate. They go back-and-forth like this for a few minutes until pup is distracted by some unseen and unheard temptation in the kitchen.

Dumb, dumb dog. That is certainly not anything you would ever find me doing: barking at my shadow in the window. I’m sure you never behave like that either. After all, we are mature, responsible adults who can distinguish reality from our reflections in the window. The things frightening us are definitely there and justify our fear. The barriers to our success are substantial and not products of our imaginations or in anyway self-made.

There is that puppy again. What is he up to this time? He is running around in circles, jumping up and changing directions, yipping at only he knows what, and having himself a right good time. He is having way too much fun. That pup makes three minutes of silliness seem like a day at the circus. There is no point to it. He is just running around like a. . . well, like a puppy.

There comes that pup again. What is he up to this time? He has been in the bathroom and now he is in the living room, proudly pulling the TP along behind him. Do I get upset with him, laugh at his antics, or just sit back and appreciate his cleverness? How did he manage to pull the TP out of the bathroom, down the steps, around three corners, and into the living room in one piece? Maybe I try it just to see if I am at least as clever as a pup; but alas, someone might see me. After all, I’m a responsible, mature adult who has his image to consider.

Wonder when we lost our puppy’s view of the world? Maybe the pup knew it was his reflection in the window or maybe not. It likely does not matter either way. He is now playing the same game with me. Run up very close, bark, and then scoot back, just out of reach. Do it again, and then again. Woops, there he goes. He is off to other more interesting activities. No, he wasn’t distracted after all. He simply tired of the game. For him, every situation has the potential for fun be it seeing his reflection in the window, taking time to run around in circles, or indulging in the great TP pull.

Look at him, lying in my favorite chair where he is not supposed to be, just resting it seems. I’ll bet he is not there because he is tired, though. He is conserving his energy for his next escapade.

That pup may have something to teach us, not that he cares whether we learn the lesson or not. He is only being a pup, doing puppy stuff. Still, the lesson is there. If we are open to it, we learn the lessons of puppy power.

•Puppy power is recognizing our reflection in the window and giving it a good bark, knowing if we shake it off and walk away, it will walk away too.

•Puppy power is stopping for three minutes of pure fun, time to run around in circles and jump for joy.

•Puppy power is finding out if we really can pull the TP through the house in one continuous pull.

•Puppy power is stopping to rest, not because we are tired but so we will have the energy we will need for our next adventure.

I’ll be dog gone if that’s not one smart pup. Hot dog! my friend; here’s to puppy power. Your old friend Simon says, “You likely cannot achieve success without it.”

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