What Tony Robbins and Sudoku Taught Me About Success

Are you familiar with the numbers puzzle called "Sudoku"? Literally, the name, from Japanese, means "numbers poison," though it could also be translated as "Number Addiction." The games are computer generated, usually, and the basic idea is pretty simple. You need to fill in the missing numbers, between one and nine, so that each 3x3 grid has all 9 digits, and each vertical and horizontal row has all 9 digits, without repeating. And the thing is, all correctly made Sudoku puzzles are solvable!

There is only one solution, but there is a solution. As I was doing my brain calisthenics with Sudoku last week, I realized that I didn't give up. I kept trying to find the answer. The reason? Because I knew there was a solution. This reminded me of the speech I heard from Anthony Robbins, when he was talking about giving up, or not. I paraphrase, but the point was that it is most difficult to keep going, to keep trying for what we want because we are not sure of the outcome!

Think about the last time you started a project or even embarked on a new hobby. If you were SURE you could play the guitar expertly after 2 years, how much longer would you keep at it? If you were certain that your new business proposal would bring in an extra $20,000 to the bottom line, how much harder would you work on it? It's only when the result is in doubt that we start to question our own motivation. Once we start doubting the result, it's not a far journey before we start doubting why we are doing what we are doing, and even, eventually, doubting ourselves.

Puzzles like Sudoku are great for keeping your mind nimble and in shape, but also for teaching stick-to-it-ivenes and perseverance. So the next time you find yourself flagging, doubting whether to continue on something that you were enthusiastic about previously, imagine that it's like a Sudoku puzzle: the answer, the result you want is guaranteed. It's just waiting for you to uncover it.


Just For Fun: Halloween

For your halloween merriment!

For your halloween merriment!


Toddler Tantrums

I had to share this "instructional video" on how to properly throw a tantrum.

For help with your toddler, visit

Talking to Toddlers


New Age Toddler Discipline

Discipline was for me always one of those "hard" words, in my mind linked with other un-fun words like "military" and "punishment."

Of course we know that discipline and punishment are two different things entirely.

But what about "communicative discipline"?

I've come across a young father who has used Ericsonian hypnosis techniques and NLP technology to actually increase rapport with his young children.

No, he doesn't recommend hypnotizing toddlers into obedient zombies. Actually, I think part of what makes being a toddler a toddler is the mischief they can get into. They are naturally curious, and not afraid to make mistakes.

Perhaps we all should have a little more toddler in us...?

Anyway, if you are interested in NLP, as I am, and are also in the midst of raising little kids, give this page a look.

I think you'll be surprised at what a little knowledge can do for your family:

Talking to Toddlers


The Day after Mother's Day: A word for Dads:

In most families, and especially here in Japan, child-rearing duties fall to the mother in the household. Watching my wife deal with managing a household—cooking, washing clothes daily, packing school lunches and communicating with teachers,--I’d say she has one of the busiest, hardest jobs in the world (though arguably one of the most rewarding). Add to this that some women, on top of all that, work during the day, and I feel almost in awe of working moms.

We men have our jobs, too, and they can be tiring. I imagine thousands of Japanese salarymen dragging themselves home after ten or so hours at the office, exhausted, hungry, and perhaps with a little work-related stress brought home for good measure.

Meishi! Furou! Neru! (Dinner! Bath! Sleep!) is not a real good basis for conjugal communication, but to say that I didn’t have nights when that’s all I wanted would be less than honest.

So what’s a father to do with his kids? Even moreso, what can the father be doing if one of his children is not going to school?

The easiest thing to do ( and what I see most often) is the blame game. I’m out all day earning money for this family! Couldn’t you at least get the kids to school?”

Blaming your wife is certainly no way to address the issue of futoko-ism. Neither is blaming the school, teachers, or your child him or herself.
The first thing you can do is to support your wife. She and you are in this together, and she needs your support (and you will need hers) as you tackle some of the challenges you will face being a “futoko parent.”

Now, being the parent of a futoko kid may not be as glamourous as being the parent of a golf pro or a t.v. personality, but it can be just as rewarding. And here is a promise: during your child’s futoko period, whether is last for days, weeks, months or years, if you stay in the game, don’t give up, and get support, you have the opportunity to learn more about your children, your spouse, your family and yourself than you ever thought possible.

The easiest and least effective route for the father to take is just to opt out. Deny there is a problem or leave it to mom and the teachers to sort out.

In my 15 years of meeting school refusal kids and their parents in japan, I can say that one of the common factors I often see is the absense (physical or emotional) of a father figure. Often times the mother is single, the father is no longer present…..