waffle iron

How A Waffle Iron Changed Running Forever

Do you know why there is an ordinary old waffle iron — pulled out of a backyard garbage pit and now broken and brown with rust — sits displayed in a protective case like the Hope Diamond in Prefontaine Hall in Oregon?


The answer has nothing to do with breakfast food.


In 1971, college track coach Bill Bowerman’s team was having a heck of time adapting to the relatively new (and expensive) urethane track that had been installed at the University of Oregon. 


Traditional metal spikes were ripping it up and athletes struggled to keep their traction. 


Bowerman became obsessed with searching for alternatives that wouldn’t destroy their new track and could work on other surfaces, like dirt, grass, and bark chips. 


He looked for inspiration anywhere he could find it. 


He constantly asked his wife Barbara to search through her jewelry for anything “that had stars on them or things that we thought would indent or make a pattern on the soles.”


One Sunday morning. Barbara decided to stay home from church to help Bill find an answer to this perplexing question. So she started making breakfast on an old waffle iron that was a wedding gift back in 1936, distinctive for its old-fashioned Art Deco design. 


The epiphany came as Barbara was serving her husband breakfast.


Bill saw one of the waffles come out of the iron.  He looked at the pattern on the underside of one of the waffles and thought, you know, if I turn this waffle upside down, revealing where the waffle part would come in contact with the track — I think that might work.


He got up from the table and rushed into his lab and got two cans of whatever it is you pour together to make the urethane and poured them into the waffle iron. 


In his excitement, Bowerman forgot to spray a nonstick substance into the waffle iron. Unable to open the waffle iron back up, Bowerman abandoned it and went into town to fetch new waffle irons for his experiment. Barbara, meanwhile, threw out the now-ruined wedding gift.


Seven years earlier, Bowerman had entered into a handshake agreement with one of his former track athletes Phil Knight, to start an athletic footwear distribution company called Blue Ribbon Sports. 


The company, you’ll excuse the pun, had very little traction in the sporting goods industry.  No one seemed aware of them.


They changed their name and paid a freelance graphic designer $35 logo to design their logo.


The new name was Nike.  And a simple, distinctive swoosh became their new logo.


“I don’t love it,” Knight told the graphic designer, “but I think it will grow on me.”


Nike launched their new shoe with the waffle iron-inspired sole.


Embraced not only by passionate runners but also, as Time magazine put it, “the army of weekend jocks suffering from bruised feet,” the Waffle Trainer became a part of American history and cemented Nike’s place as the iconic brand it is today. 


Bill Bowerman became a shoe legend; Knight pronounced him in his memoir as “the Daedalus of sneakers.”


Some years later, the Bowermans’ son Tom was digging alongside the house and came across a curious looking pit of forgotten belongings that never quite made it to the landfill.  Included in the pile were crudely cobbled-together shoes, old prototype metal plates, cracking rubber soles, peeling molds …


… and one rusty old waffle iron. 


In 2011, Nike’s self-proclaimed “Holy Grail” was put on display in Prefontaine Hall, where it has remained ever since.


Says Nike historian Scott Reames: “It’s a perfect example of how we find innovation, where we look for it, how it can come from the most mundane or unlikely sources. That’s an important message; we can find inspiration in literally anything.” 


waffle iron


Though he became famous for writing several books of poetry, William Ernest Henley is remembered most for his 1875 poem “Invictus” .

A favourite of my own mentor, Bob Proctor, it has become one of mine too after both studying and teaching from it over the last few years.

Literally translated from the Latin word, invictus means ‘unconquerable’ and the poem is often recited during times where stoicism, courage and refusing to accept defeat are needed.

Nelson Mandela is known to have recited the piece to other prisoners incarcerated alongside him at Robben Island, some believe because it expressed in its message of self-mastery

Having contracted tuberculosis of the bone in his youth, William Henley had endured the amputation of the lower part of one of his legs in his twenties.

The early years of Henley’s life were punctuated by periods of extreme pain due to the draining of his tuberculosis abscesses and yet Henley’s younger brother Joseph recalled how after draining his joints the young Henley would “Hop about the room, laughing loudly and playing with zest to pretend he was beyond the reach of pain”.

In fact, in a letter to Henley after the publication of Treasure Island (1883), Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “I will now make a confession: It was the sight of your maimed strength and masterfulness that begot Long John Silver … the idea of the maimed man, ruling and dreaded by the sound, was entirely taken from you.”

Frequent illness often kept Henley away from school, and yet in 1867, he passed the Oxford Local Schools Examination and went on to receive an LLD degree from the University of St Andrews;

“Invictus” was written during one of Henley’s periods of isolation through illness and is a reminder of the strength and reilience that exists within every one of us.


Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the Horror of the shade.

And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait  the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley


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Acres Of Diamonds

Acres Of Diamonds

During the 1800’s, clergyman Dr Russell H Conwell single handedly raised millions of dollars to fund the building of Temple University – a renowned school for young people who wanted to go onto further education but lacked the money to do so.

Dr Conwell raised this money by giving over 6,000 lectures across the USA, and in each one he told a story called ‘Acres Of Diamonds’, to convey his central message: that everyone has the opportunity to make more of themselves, with their own skill, with their own energy, and with their own friends.

The story was the tale of an African farmer who had heard stories about other farmers on the continent who had made millions by discovering diamond mines.

The farmer was so excited by these stories that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting himself.

Selling the farm, he spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the priceless diamonds that he hoped would bring him his fortune.

Finally, worn out and in a fit of dispair, he threw himself into a river and drowned.

In the mean time, the man who had bought the farm from the unfortunate farmer happened to be crossing a small stream on the land when he caught a fleeting glimpse of a bright blue and red light from the between the rocks in the stream bed.

Bending down, he picked up the large stone and, admiring it, placed it on his mantel piece as an interesting ornament.

A few weeks later, a visitor to his home picked up the stone, looked closely at it, weighed it in his hand, and almost passed out.

He asked the farmer if he knew what it was.

When the farmer said that he thought it was a piece of crystal, to his astonishment, the visitor advised him he’d found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered.

Rough Diamond

The farmer didn’t believe this at first.

He told the man that there were stones just like this one sprinkled generously throughout the bottom of the stream.

Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent.

The first farmer had unknowingly owned outright acres of diamonds, but he had sold them for practically nothing in order to go looking for them elsewhere.

The moral is clear: if only the first farmer had taken the time to research his desire for a diamond mine…

To find out what diamonds looked like in their rough state.

And to thoroughly explore the land he already owned before going to look elsewhere…

All his dreams would have come true.

Instead, acting on a whim he died without achieving the thing he wanted most in all the world.

The thing about this same story that so profoundly affected Dr. Conwell, and subsequently, millions of others, was the idea that each of us is, at this moment, unbeknown to them, standing in the middle of his or her own acres of diamonds.

As Earl Nightingale noted when recounting this story in his own highly acclaimed book Lead The Field,

“If only we will have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore the work in which we are now engaged, to explore ourselves, we’ll usually find the riches we seek, whether they be financial or intangible, or both.

Before we go running off to what we think are greener pastures, let’s make sure that our own is not just as green or, perhaps, even greener.

It’s been said that if the other guy’s pasture appears to be greener than ours, it’s quite possible that it’s getting better care.

Besides, while we’re looking at other pastures, other people are looking at ours!

To my mind, there are few things more pitiful than the person who wastes his life running from one thing to another, forever looking for the pot of gold at the end of the  ainbow and never staying with one thing long enough to find it.”

There were undoubtedly good reasons for your having chosen your present work in the beginning.

If there weren’t, and if you’re unhappy in the field you’re in,  hen perhaps it’s time for some serious exploration.

But first let your magnificent, miraculous mind thoroughly explore the possibilities lurking in what you’re presently doing before turning to something new.



Lead The Field – Earl Nightingale

Why is having a big, worthy goal so important?

And why do most people never achieve the things they really want in life?

It’s in our DNA

Human beings
are goal-orientated creatures by nature. We are, as far as we know, the
highest form of creation and we are supposed to set goals.

We are supposed to look for ways to improve our own lives and those of the lives around us  because it plays a huge part in the evolution of our species.

Dissatisfaction with your life is a healthy, creative state of mind  therefore  we are DESIGNED to be discontent!

Creative discontent is at the very heart of motivation, and yet so many people settle for what they currently have (and frequently complain about it) rather than taking measures to improve things.

And these are usually the same people who, when you tell them about any potential goals/dreams you may be considering will tell you to ‘stop fantasising’.

They’ll ask you why you ‘can’t just be happy with what you’ve got and leave it at that’ because of jealousy, fear or their own guilt.

But the truth is, in order for any human being to live a fulfilled, creative life, goals are essential.

The Law of Creation And Disintegration

One of the most dynamic laws of the universe is the Law of Creation and Disintegration. Absolutely NOTHING will stay as it is, therefore  you’ re either improving the quality of your life or, by default, you’ re taking away from it in one way or another.

And so the choice is yours. It’s a decision only you can make and making no decision is to make a decision.

But the fact is, it’ s only when you become sufficiently dissatisfied with your life as it is now, that you will begin to think of ways to improve it — most importantly, you will decide on a goal.

Dissatisfaction has given us cars, planes, TV and the internet. It has taken us out of the cave and put us into skyscrapers.

It is only because Thomas Edison experienced a deep dissatisfaction with the candle that we’re not all reading by candle light today.

How would YOU like to live?

So start to think about how you’re living now. The things you do from the minute you wake up until you close your eyes at night.

think about how you’d LIKE it to be — how, with the infinite potential
you possess (we all possess), that scenario might be improved upon.

thinking about this — several times a day, every day — and you can be
sure that dissatisfaction will set in, if it hasn’t already.

Someone once said “In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to daily acts of trivia.”

Isn’t that true? So many people fill their days with meaningless tasks that result in…nothing (or just more of the same), because they just don’t really give what they’re doing any serious thought.

Goal achievers are interesting people. They’re productive, happy people beacuse they aren’t bogged down with such trivia.

As a committed goal achiever you will likely accomplish more with your life in one year than most people do in a lifetime.

Which way would you rather live?

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