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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Three Rules




I surfed through channels yesterday killing time. Yes, I know that as a writer, I should have been chained to my laptop doing what I truly love to do, but I needed a break. Kim was out grocery shopping. The dogs were asleep, and the house was too quiet. I needed noise.

By chance, I happened to catch Joe Buck’s interview with Lou Holtz. I knew “about” him Holtz, but didn’t “know” him, and even after the interview, I have to admit I still don’t know him all that well. But I have to say that if I had the opportunity to sit and talk with someone for just a casual conversation, I would love to have the opportunity to speak to him.

Fascinating. Funny. Thoughtful. Insightful. Genuine. Happy.

He took programs that were at the bottom. Programs that were losers. Yet, he built them to be contenders and champions. As he said (forgive my poor paraphrasing), “Yes, I was always rebuilding, because if you’re winning, they keep you. The only jobs available are the ones that have poor programs.”

The way he did it, though, is what jumped out at me. For example, he sat three offensive stars at Arkansas for breaking one of his rules. Three offensive stars who accounted for 78% of the scoring. Those three offensive stars had to sit against Oklahoma in a bowl game. And Arkansas still won.

He believes that life is simple. Why complicate it? Keep it simple. And that is the basis for his three rules of life. Not just for football. Not just for business. For everything. For education, for family, for relationships. Three rules of life. Period.

#1: Do what is right.

Pretty simple, I guess. But at the same time, not necessarily easy to accomplish. We like to make excuses. We like to shrug one or two things off, look the other way. Fear. Embarrassment. Too much time or trouble. Uncomfortable.

Yet, I look at what is happening in our country, in our world right now and perhaps there aren’t enough people willing to do (or say) the right thing. We leave it to others. Someone else. Or we might think it’s okay to “let it slide just this once” only to discover that we let it slide all too often. It becomes our way of life, the way we deal with each other, with ourselves.

#2: Do everything to the best of your ability.

Sometimes we’re just too tired. Sometimes we might not give a damn. Sometimes we think to ourselves, “It is good enough.” Pretty easy to do. Feel that way enough, it becomes routine and pattern.

When I was in eighth grade, I won a silver medal in a science fair. The top three were invited to the Marquette University fair. I didn’t care all that much. Silver (or bronze, for that matter) was good enough. I didn’t like science. Music and English, yes. Science, not so much. But it was in the basement as we spruced up my project when Dad who told me, “If you do something, do it the best you can. Period.” My dad believed and lived by the same rule Holtz did. What’s with old guys anyway?

#3: Show people you care.

Sometimes easier said than done. There are some people we might not care about. We might not like him or her. So, why bother?

I believe it was perhaps this rule that turned Holtz’s teams into winning programs. He genuinely cared about each of his players from the first team star to the third team bench warmer. He cared. He showed it. His players felt it, saw it, and they responded to it . . . to him.

I have worked for supervisors and bosses who cared. They showed it. I felt it. I have also worked for supervisors and bosses who professed to care, but in reality, didn’t give a damn. You had to make them look good. You dare not make a mistake- big or small- for you will feel and know their wrath. You end up living and working in fear of doing the wrong thing, instead of living and working to do the right thing.

We can’t . . . I can’t . . . live like that. I can’t work like that. We die . . . I die . . . a little each day in that type of world.

Do what is right. Do everything to the best of your ability. Show people you care.

How can we go wrong if we live by those three rules? We will feel better by living those rules. We will make those around us feel better living those rules. Those three rules might be the real deal. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Below is the cover design and the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis                        

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                          

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis                                          

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Betrayed book cover courtesy of David King and Black Rose Writing.
Photo of Lou Holtz found online.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe