No 36 9-7-18 “To Discover Ability in Others”

Tish, Laurel, Joel and David 9-6-18

“It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.”

– Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)

American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher

Today as an older dancer, I love to discover the great new dancers of today and help them grow and mature to their full potential. What a joy to see a new first-time dancer and see that they have great possibilities and a knack for learning and a great ability to dance. To see a young professional dancer and visualize that they will be great is the future is very exciting.

Many times, a new dance student comes in with no experience and they think that they have no ability or talent. The first thing is to show them that they were able to walk or drive in which is much harder than dancing. For having rhythm, they naturally have a heartbeat that keeps a steady beat for a lifetime. They breathe in and out naturally with a graceful rhythm that is second nature.

The goal at Arthur Murray is to show the four basic elements and building blocks of dancing and how easy it will be for them to learn. When I see someone dancing, I only see the greatness inside of them. It’s my job to show THEM the natural greatness they already possess and how to use their current skills and build on them. This transference of confidence to new dancers is one the great joys in my life.

“No obstacles fell in his way that seemed to him insurmountable. He might be defeated, as he sometimes was, but he shrank from no hardship through impatience, he fled from no danger through cowardice.”

– J. P. Morgan writing about Napoleon Bonaparte

Perhaps a dancer will think they just don’t have the ability to dance. It is our mission to show the doubting novice that through patience they will learn, and with courage they will succeed. Perhaps this is the goal as a mentor, to uplift and guide others to greatness and build rock-solid confidence.

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

American Poet and Essayist

Many times, in my life I have heard that our actions are sometimes the only books that others will ever read. We may speak any truth we wish, but our actions speak who we are in our hearts. Others read us and our actions daily and they know us from our actions and trust us on what we do. Since Joel and I life a mile from our school, we truly must live the Arthur Murray lifestyle wherever we go. We see our students at the market, at mass, on walks, at the beach or the Promenade. We drive as if the other drivers were our newest students. We treat everyone we meet as if they were “reading” our lives through our actions. This is a great privilege and a great challenge to maintain daily.

Challenge for the day, let others read the book of life through your actions and always try to see the ability and greatness in others.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury






No 35 8-31-18 “Go out and do something kind for somebody”

“When you find yourself overpowered, as it were, by melancholy, the best way is to go out and do something kind for somebody.”

– John Keble (1792 – 1866)

English Clergyman and Poet

Have you ever had melancholy? I have. I have had times I could not get up and get out. I’ve had times I could not move and communicate. Sorry, but I think I’m not alone. I have been crippled by this cloud of darkness. And now, at 62 I have found the answer to this, giving service to others. It is my drug, my new lease on life, my freedom, my balm in Gilead. Now, the reward from doing something kind to someone else is better than silver or gold.

“I want to remind you that success in life is based on hard slogging. There will be periods when discouragement is great and upsetting, and the antidote for this is calmness and fortitude and a modest yet firm belief in your competence. Be sure that your priorities are in order so that you can proceed in a logical manner, and be ever mindful that nothing will take the place of persistence.”

– Walter Annenberg, Publisher and philanthropist (1908 – 2002 )

Persistence, my key word in life. I also love the phrase “hard slogging”. Oh, I wish the days were easier sometimes, but they are what they are, and life gives us what we need when we need it. During discouragement, I try to be calm, refrain from speaking quickly, and I try to remember the good home training I have, and I try to use it! Persistence, live by it!

“Never speak of yourself to others; make them talk about themselves instead: therein lies the whole art of pleasing.”

What’s the kindness thing you can do for someone? Listen to their story. Don’t interrupt, just hear them out. Let them talk. This is so hard for me because I sometimes actually believe they want to hear about me, but they don’t. It’s all about others and listening to them. To truly please someone else, just close the mouth and listen to them. Who knows, you might learn something, have a good laugh, and have your friendship deepen!

“I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amidst the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail.”

– Charles A. Beard (1874 – 1948)

American historians

To tell you the truth, I have been in a bog for a few months. I’ve felt tired, fat, and I’m having my 62-year-old physical, not fun! Just recently, I have been feeling better, more productive and fuller of hope. I do know that during these rough times in my life, that I am developing that noble strength and growing as a man of service.

“Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”

– Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

16th President of the United States

Let’s practice this. This is our motto: “It will get better” …and it will! Don’t give up. Keep on going. You will find a way. Hey, go be kind to someone, you’ll love it!

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury





No 34 8-24-18 “Doing the Right Thing” Changing Lives Through Dancing!

“I have the right to do anything I want, but is that always the right thing to do?”

David Woodbury – Arthur Murray Professional

In ballroom dancing, we have a concept on the dance floor called Floorcraft. This is how couples dance Quickstep, Tango, Paso Doble, and Cha Cha on a crowded floor. The rule of dance is that we do not crash into or step on or bump into our fellow dancers on the floor and that we maintain decorum on the floor.

When there is a bump, the correct behavior is to pause, apologize and see if the other couple is OK. When all is determined to be well, the dance continues. We do not elbow anther couple, kick them, step on them, or push them. In fact, when watching a Quickstep competition, is sometimes seems like a runway with the planes positioning before they take off at full speed. It is a fascinating thing to watch!

Are these dance rules always followed? I once saw a Standard couple knock a judge over into the lights. The music stopped, and silence fell over the whole ballroom. The judge was slowly helped up and to my great surprise, she continued to judge the event and finished the evening of judging ahead of her. I will always remember that she had the right to react to what happened, but she responded with grace and poise.

What if the rules of the ballroom dance floor applied to our daily lives? What if we always looked out for the other person, carried ourselves with grace and poise, stopped to see if the other person is OK if we knock into them? Perhaps in some ways we already do this, just like walk through Grand Central Terminal in NYC. We all manage hopefully to make it peacefully to our destinations.

In relationships, I do have the right to say or do anything I want at any time. Does that mean that is the right thing to do? The answer is often no and if I exhibit destructive behavior, this is a withdrawal from the relationship, friendship, from those around me and even though I have done what I had the right to do, I have done the wrong thing. Once the withdrawals are made from the other person, sometimes it’s too late to make a deposit and there remains emptiness.

Every day, I am free to do what I want, say what I want and be what I want to be. It is my right as a person. I have now learned at 62 that does not mean that I am doing the right thing, and my incorrect behavior can be very destructive to others.

What is the solution? The answer in my life always comes back to service. Am I doing, saying, and acting the right way to make others uplifted around me? Am I giving the best daily that I can to others. During the periods of my life when it was just about me all the time, I was very empty and unfulfilled. I “got my way” and “did what I wanted” but I was not happy, I was not free, I was miserable.

Now, perhaps I sacrifice tiny moments of my life and let others be right instead of just me. Rather than defensively standing up just for myself, I allow others to feel right and listen to their viewpoint and I try to listen more than I speak. Instead of thinking of my own reply while someone else is speaking, I will listen and wait and respond rather than react.

Giving service and striving to be a good mentor in life requires practice, patience, perseverance, but not perfection. Do I always now say and do the right thing? I can only say that now I do take a moment, pause before speaking, and listen from the heart to what others are saying.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury





No 33 8-17-18 “Good friendships are fragile things”

2018-06-07 08.23.22“Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.”

– Randolph S. Bourne (1886 – 1918) American Writer

After 42 years with Arthur Murray Dance Centers, I now have a lifetime of my dancing friends, and they are truly my family. These are precious and fragile relationships. All of us have gone through thick and thin, success and failure, sadness and happiness, health and illness, and we have stuck together for decades.

On the other hand, there are some friendships that have shattered like a precious vase, like a broken like a picture frame. These are the tragedies and losses of life and are very sad. Sometimes a cross word has caused a riff, a callous gesture, a blunt conversation, and repair is possible but not probable with some of these lost relationships. I always hope that at any time, especially at Lent that healing will happen and I always pray for that healing.

“Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.”

– Frederick William Faber (1814 – 1863) English Priest and Hymn Writer

Many, many of my life-long friendships truly began with a hello. Or a compliment, or a dance, or an introduction. That thread was stronger than steel and a golden thread of love has been woven throughout our years of knowing each other. The sadness I feel for the relationships where the thread has broken, is that the reconciliation may never happen, but I never lose hope!

“I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.”

– Pete Egoscue (1945) Founder of Physical Therapy Method ‘The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion’

We just celebrated our 5th year of ownership of the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Santa Monica. I never thought it would be easy. In fact, I cannot believe how hard it was at time and still is to this day. But, it is worth it. The personal change I have experienced over the years has been fantastic and I have grown and matured 100 times over from when we started. Easy no, worth it, YES!

“The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.”

– Margaret Fontey (1919 – 1991) English ballerina

At one time, I thought I was very serious about my career. I began to believe what others graciously said about me and I began to believe that I had arrived and that I “had it all”. Then I quit growing. Today, I am surrounded by many mentors and guides, and leaders who constantly correct and guide me. Today, I truly take my career seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. My mom, J. Clair, always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart”. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you have a joyous laughter in your voice and you’re focused on service to others.

“We cheerfully assume that in some mystic way love conquers all, that good outweighs evil in the just balances of the universe and that at the eleventh hour something gloriously triumphant will prevent the worst before it happens.”

– Brooks Atkinson (1894 – 1984) American theatre critic

This magic does happen in my life. Somehow, at the eleventh hour, things do seem to work out. I once worried so much, almost to the point of illness. Then I realized that the sun would rise in the morning and no matter what happened, there would be a new dawn in the morning. So now, I cherish my friends and family, pray for the broken threads that need to be mended, and I try to laugh every day.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury





No 32 8-10-18 “To Give Real Service”

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Donald A. Adams (1925) former president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

When was the last time you had great service? At Arthur Murray, we practice the Cadillac Treatment with our students. We concentrate on the 90/10 theory. 90 percent of the lessons are geared for the student and 10 percent is the instructor’s opportunity to be a great Arthur Murray professional.

At Arthur Murray Santa Monica, we place our staff above all in our training and service. Why do we do that? A happy, well trained, and professional staff give the best service daily to all their student for they feel that they are important, fulfilled, and happy to be the best in all areas. I love to enter an establishment where the staff is happy and likes their workplace and their fellow staff and even their owners. A great student of mine once said that management is not a skill, it is an art form. Our entire business theme is set up in one word, Hospitality, and we strive to practice that every day!

“Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.” – Stanley Baldwin (1867 – 1947) Former British Prime Minister

Arthur Murray Dance Centers are a hub of enthusiastic, happy, fun-loving people. You’ll be at an Arthur Murray event and hear lots of laughter and see lots of smiles. The big common denominator is the great enthusiasm shared by all. Loving your hobby or work is such a key to joy in life. What a joy to receive great service from someone who says that they love their occupation and they receive their own satisfaction from a job well done. If dancing is your hobby or profession, you always want to do your best.

“Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much.” – Erastus Wiman (1834 – 1904) Canadian journalist and businessman

I recently read about the three keys to success in business: Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind! I once thought that someone who was kind in business was a sap or unsuccessful. As years have passed, I’ve met many, many successful women and men who were truly nice and kind people. They were loved by many and they respected by all. They were smart, savvy, and leaders in their fields, and they remained as courteous people.

As a young boy, I remember walking down Church Street with my dad in Nashville, Tennessee, and everyone said, “Hi Troy” “Hello Colonel Woodbury” “Hello Mr. Woodbury”. Everyone new and loved and respected my dad. He was a man first of faith, great in business, and involved in service. At my dad’s funeral, so many groups came to honor him. He seemed to be a part of every organization in Nashville. This had a profound impact on me and now, I am turning into my dad and learning how to give service to others as he did. In dad’s last years, he had a marble base on this bedside table with a brass plaque that read “You are my life’s hero”. He truly and was and still is my hero until today.

Service, I strive to learn what it truly means and to be the best at giving it. I come from the place of service with a giving heart and a willingness to learn and to be better in all areas of my life.

Try this, go to a friend, a client, your partner in life, a stranger, and ask them, “What may I do to may this a great day for you?” You’ll be surprised at the smiles that will come over their faces and the opportunities you will have to inspire others.

 Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury





No 31 8-2-18 “Perseverance is a great element of success”

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) American poet

Do you compare yourself to others, their success, their money, their status, their material possessions, looks, careers? I do and wish I didn’t. What I’m trying to learn as I grow older is that I’m perfect just as I am and that I am valuable and worthy. I do give myself credit in that I do knock at the door over and over until someone wakes up, turns on the light and opens the gate for me.

“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can be aroused by two things: first, an idea which takes the imagination by storm; and second, a definite, intelligible plan for carrying that idea into action.”

– Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

Today, the two greatest motivational killers are apathy and complacency. Just settling for the average is rampant today. Just getting by and going the easiest route and using the lease amount of effort is OK today. But apathy is not for everyone. There are many, many excited souls in this world who have the power of enthusiasm coupled with a great imagination. They then have a plan to carry that action through and make their dreams realities.

“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it.”

– John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) English art critic

“People tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) American author

Our great efforts in life are rewarded by what we become through them, not just by what we gain from them. If I just had a nickel for all the fabulously wealth clients that I have known over my years who were unhappy. They had money, possessions, time, health and even partnership, but they were so unhappy in life. I too was unhappy at one point in my life and found that giving service through participating relentlessly was the only Balm in Gilead for me.

“The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.”

– Bishop W.C. Magee (1821 – 1891) Irish clergyman

When it comes to mistakes, I’m driving the lead goof up car. I make a million mistakes.

The other day I jumped out of an Uber and left my bag in the seat! What a knucklehead!

I was so ashamed that I did not tell ANYONE! The driver was a saint and drove all the way back to my drop off point and gave me my bag. She accepted her big cash tip and a hug and a blessing for bailing me out! I will never do that again, but I always remember that mistake. Where was my mind?

When I was little, and I would break something, I was brokenhearted. My dear mom, J. Clair, would say “Now it’s personalized”. I say that to myself over and over as I “personalized” many areas in my life. Thanks mom for giving me this healing salve to use in all my errors in my life.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”

– R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899)American lawyer

“We tend to make courage too dramatic. Courage is often doing something simple, unpleasant, or boring again and again until we get it down pat. People who are physically challenged and who have the determination to get around their handicaps are great examples because their courage makes them test their limits every day.”

– Dave Thomas (1932 – 2002) American Businessman, Founder of Wendy’s International Restaurant Chain

The person is faithful, that always shows up, that does not forget to lock the doors at night, the quiet soul that does the daily work day in and day out is truly my hero in life. To me, they have the greatest courage to get up, get going, and get the job done. Courage is not just being David in the lion’s den, but the person that is always there for you on whom you may always rely.

“Nothing is more endangered in the modern world than the powerful combination of hard work toward meaningful goals joined with an exuberant embrace of the present moment.”

– Tom Morris (1821 – 1908) Scottish golfer

I’ve been so lucky in my life that I have done what I love for 42 years. My “work” has always been my passion and I have never had to worry about a job. Hard work and faithfulness to that work have been my goal over all these years. Yes, in do work toward my goals daily and I relish the present moment in life. I’ll always have a place to fulfill my dreams and hopes if I faithfully, with courage, strive to make every dream I have a reality. (I promise to try to not be the driver of the goofy car of mistakes anymore.)

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury





No 28 7-13-18 “The Greatest Test of Courage”

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”             – R.G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) American lawyer

Do you like the rough times in life? I don’t. I can barely handle the great times in life with all their abundance and joy, much less loss, illness, and unexpected changes in life. The rough times are hard for me and they take their tole on me. I must have a lot of courage for I am truly able to bear defeat and much more somehow without losing heart. Perhaps it’s my mom, J. Clair, looking down on me from heaven. Perhaps it is the hand of my father that I often feel on my shoulder, giving me strength from the world above. No matter how it happens, somehow, I have the will to go on and not give up.

“People tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”                                                  – Elizabeth Gilbert (1969) American author

We all want to be happy. I’m way beyond thinking that happiness is from luck or similar to the great weather we have in Santa Monica. At one time I did fight and strive and insist on happiness in my life. Is just did not come. I was not happy. I was not satisfied. Then the light went off in my life. I realized that Happiness was truly spelled, Service. The moment I quit looking for happiness, and began to serve, I finally relaxed in my heart and felt a little bit of peace.

I was tired of always trying to do the best thing for just me. Now, I looked outside my own life to others and realized the great need for leadership, service, and mentoring. There was and still is a wide-open field for anyone who has the calling to give to others.

“I never said it would be easy. I said it would be worth it.”                                                  – Pete Egoscue (1945) Founder of Physical Therapy Method The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion

Is this an easy path, the life of service? No, it is not, but it is worth it and rewarding. I’ll never get high enough on the ladder of success. I’ll never have enough stuff, money, or time to spend it. But, I’ll always have time to volunteer for an event, a fundraiser, a dance competition that supports kids, or just give some time to someone in need. I do now know the only secret of happiness and I’m sticking with it.

Thanks for reading to all my lovely readers!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!

FB: David Earl Woodbury