No 32 8-11-17 What is Creativity?


Photo is my lovely mom, J. Clair Woodbury.

No 32 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, August 4, 2017

What is Creativity?

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”- Mary Lou Cook (1918) American educator

Are you a risk taker? I never thought I was. I liked the sure way and the clear way. I only wanted to move forward when I could clearly know the outcome and what would happen at the end of my efforts. Study, take test, pass, accomplish, and do the proven thing.

Now in my life, it seems that everything I do is a gamble and a risk. I’m forced to do my best, even when I don’t feel like it. Even when I feel old, tired, and useless and irrelevant, I move forward. The spark of creativity is always the great energy recharger for me. I’m always breaking my rules, doing things in a new way that I swore I would never do. I make a ton on mistakes, but yes, I do have some fun! And I have lots of laughter in my life.

“Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know.” – Charles Kingsley (1819 – 1875) English Novelist and Clergyman

There is a day when you want to call your parents for advice, money, love, food, a visit, or just a quick hello, and they are no longer there. There is a time you will want to call your old best friend and just have a quick hello, a little cry, or a hearty laugh, and they too are gone. You are now your own parent and confidant and mentor. You’re forced to work and to produce your best. This pressure does breed a strong will and will bring out greatness inside of you that you never knew existed!

“Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best.” – David O. McKay (1873 – 1970) American Religious Leader

I have found my purpose in life. It challenges every fiber of my soul and being every day. I guess you want to know what it is! My purpose is to help, guide, inspire, and motivate others in their lives. I thoroughly know that the riches of this world will not make me happy and will not save me on the last day. I came in with nothing and I will take nothing with me when I leave. I will only leave behind the legacy of how I lived my life and what service I give to others. I don’t mind a good roof over my head, safe transportation, a good business life, yet all the possessions and money in the world will not buy me happiness. Now that I can afford to eat and drink anything I want, my doctor tells me I can’t! The only cure for the blues for me has been helping others through service. It is long, tough, hard, challenging and tiring, but the fulfillment of that service is immeasurable.

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself – and be lenient to everybody else.” – Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887) American Presbyterian Minister

My task in life now is to be ready. Be ready for that person who comes up to me on their last thread. The couple, man or woman, who comes to me in tears and tells me of their life and what is happening to them. I have a gift. I always have a good word for them. A word that stays with them and heals them. A word that sends love, forgiveness, power, and hope. As the years go on, I want to continue my work as a dancer for the rest of my life, but the deep river that runs through that work is to transform lives, through dancing and through service. This is tough life mission, but a mission I have accepted.

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.”- A.W. Pinero (1855 – 1934) English actor

Yes, I love strongly and deeply. I’ve always been lucky in the love department. Perhaps that’s why, even at almost 61, I still do what my mom, J. Clair, always said, “Keep a little song in your heart!”. Keep on singing and believing!

Thank you for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!



Optimism is Essential – February 26, 2016

2016-02-06 21.02.09

No 9 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 27, 2016

Optimism is Essential…

“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” – Nicholas Murray Butler

Everywhere around us we are met with challenges. Even those who seem to ‘have it all’ have obstacles that they must overcome. Never envy the other person, or you might have to walk in their shoes. Some days my ‘opportunities’ seem never-ending and courage seems to flee from me, yet time marches on and I make it through my encounters. Perhaps optimism is just us going on and doing our best every day. Perhaps the prize goes to the brave souls who go the whole distance.

“Give us, O give us, the man who sings at his work! Be his occupation what it may, he is equal to any of those who follow the same pursuit in silent sullenness. He will do more in the same time — he will do it better, he will persevere longer. One is scarcely sensible of fatigue whilst he marches (dances) to music.” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish Writer

All my over 40 years with Arthur Murray, I have seen the best workers in the world. Dancers who just love every aspect of their lives. An unparalleled work ethic that is humbling to the average person. Dancers who come in early, practice late, get a day’s worth of choreography done in an hour. They are too busy to feel fatigue and the joy of dancing replenishes their spirits. What is truly amazing are my teachers who have had the same work ethic for many, many decades and continue strong after a half century of devotion to dance. They are unstoppable.

“I don’t like work… but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Your own reality — for yourself, not for others — which no other man can ever know.” – Joseph Conrad

Perhaps no one truly loves working a 12 to 14-hour day, week in and week out, but no one ever thinks of their doctor working 3 day shifts, your accountant sleeping 2-3 hours a night in April, the driver who is guiding your tour bus overnight, or the pilot who is flying you across the world on a 14-hour flight. It must be the reward of the job well done, the feeling of accomplishment, or the fact that they truly find their best selves in their works each day. They truly know their champion selves for they see the fruits of their well-earned labor weekly, sometimes daily.

Optimism is not a gift, it is a habit gained through actions, positive actions. We’ll never understand a sunrise until we have gone through a dark night. We’ll never truly appreciate a rest until we have spent our energies in a longtime endeavor. I chose to have optimism. I chose to be positive. I chose to not give up.

Just like ballroom dancing, we get out of it what we put into it. The practice, perseverance, preparation, and patience are habits that make us champions. Any champion who is at the top has overcome failure, disappointment, and defeat. The reason they are superstars is that every setback only made them better and stronger. Live in the moment and remember “it will get better”.

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

Miserably Fail or Gloriously Conquer! 2-5-16

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No 6. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, February 5, 2016

Miserably Fail or Gloriously Conquer!

“Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.”- Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893) American Bishop

Well, wouldn’t you just love it if everything always just worked out. If everyone would just agree with you and do it your way. Then everything would just be perfect. We’d have our way all the time, no one would every question us or argue with us and we would always have the final word.

Ok, get a grip. This will never happen. You might be the one in charge, have the original idea, be the butcher, baker, and the candlestick maker, but you will not be immune to change, and even at times failure of your original plans. A Sherpas will tell you that the only way to get to the top of Mt. Everest is to plan on everything that can go wrong to go wrong. The guides always plan on the worst possible of conditions, and even so, many perish on the path to the top.

Getting to the top of your own Mt. Everest may be the most challenging and long continues process of your life. For me, it will be the rest of my life. I’m just not going to retire and sit at home watching TV for the rest of my days. I want to wear out, not rust out. Also, I’ve too much to learn about people and life to stop now. Sometimes I just feel as if I don’t know ANYTHING about life and what to do.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.” – Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) English Philosopher, Lawyer and Politician

I have a detractor in my life who is always saying everything I’m doing is at the wrong time. So frustrating to not have them believe in me. When the heck is the right time to do something? And to my amazement, this person is going along the same, day after day with the same comfort zone as I’m feeling like a ping pong ball in the game of life. I think that today is the right time to get started and to begin living a dream. I outreach my grasp every day. My saving grace is that in my sea of life, I only envision the new land that is ahead for me.

“Who would have ever heard of Theodore Roosevelt outside of his immediate community if he had only half committed himself to what he had undertaken, if he had brought only a part of himself to his task? The great secret of his career has been that he has flung his whole life, not a part of it, with all the determination and energy and power he could muster, into everything he has undertaken. No dillydallying, no faint-hearted efforts, no lukewarm purpose for him!” – Orison Sweet Marden (1850 – 1924) American Editor and Speaker

This quote means everything to me. Daily, I am flinging my whole life with all my determination and energy and power into everything that I am undertaking. It costs me my health, wealth, peace of mind, sleep, friendships, and challenges the very core of my being. But I am not going out with a whimper. I’m moving forward with a shout of triumph. (Listen to Brahms Song of Triumph – this is the sound of what I feel daily!)

With every struggle, I grow stronger. Every challenge, I become a better may. I will not quit. I will not give up. I will achieve my dreams!

Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury (email me if you like this blog)

Grow by Brave Reflection 1-1-16

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No 53. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 1, 2016

Grow by Brave Reflection!

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“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”- Thomas Paine (1737-1809) British-American Writer

What happened to the holidays and 2015? It seems as if just yesterday we were taking Christmas Eve off for mass. Joel and I served the 4 PM, 6 PM, were Co-Team Leaders of the 9 PM, and we served the Midnight in the Church. Plus, we walked to and from the campus. We did a little bit of everything that night. We directed traffic on Lincoln, had dinner in the rectory, said “Merry Christmas” to hundreds of guests, and we heard the best Christmas music in the world with four different choirs and cantors. What a great night.

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Christmas Day was quiet and peaceful. The next thing I knew, it was Saturday night and I was getting ready for Sunday’s Mass. Then, I was preparing for my return to the studio. Wow, time flies!

This reflection shows me that time passes quickly and we should make the most of our lives, while we have them. A poison to me is apathy. I asked someone recently how their Christmas was and they shrugged their shoulders and said “naaaah” with a frown. The response still saddens me, for I had the best Christmas of my life, and I’m still excited over it. Take joy from life, then share it with others. Don’t share the “grumpy” part of life, share the excitement and thrill of life.

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“Despite some of the horrors and barbarisms of modern life which appall and grieve us, life has – or has the potential of – such richness, joy and adventure as were unknown to our ancestors except in their dreams.”- Arthur Holly Compton (1892 – 1962) American Physicist

We can live the dream today that in the past others could only imagine. We are surrounded by the richness of life; we just have to embrace it.

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Are you afraid of making mistakes? I make mistakes every day. Usually it is my big mouth and the words that come out of it that trips me up daily. Controlling my tongue is my greatest challenge. Yet, I plan living my life as a presenter, trainer and speaker. The price for this goal will be to master what I think first, then govern the words that come from my heart to other’s ears. Yes, life is an experiment to see if we are able to achieve our great potential.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin) (1622 – 1673)

On this, the first day of 2016, write out a dream list of what you will do this year. Tell others about it. Choose tough goals and plan how you will achieve them. I think that 2016 is your year. My word for this year is “Unforgettable”. I want to be remembered for the service given and the lives that were changed. A big goal yes, but a goal of a lifetime for me. Live in the glory and have a great year!

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Thank you,

David Earl Woodbury

What is your Word for 2016?

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No 52. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, December 26, 2015

What is your word for 2016?

One of our dancers and our friend, Erin Deviny, introduced me to this concept of finding your word for the year. Her word for 2015 was “Unparalleled” and for 2016 is “Risk”. Such powerful words! They go with empowered, growth, release, exploration. Erin loves words and I was just drinking in her message as she is preparing her positive attitude for the new year.
Erin also gave me an alternative for the New Year’s Resolution. Take a big glass jar and write down all the wonderful thing that happen to you during the year. Save them, and read them at the end of the year. What an amazing thought. New Year’s Resolutions are great, but sometimes tough to keep. Remembering the wonderful things that happen all year and reading those on your next New Year’s eve. Now that’s exciting!

What’s my word? Guess what? It’s “Unforgettable”. Just as Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole sang:
In Every Way,
And Forever More
That’s How You’ll Stay.

Why Unforgettable for 2016? Well, I want to leave a legacy of giving service to others. Leave a legacy of
helping to change lives. Leave a legacy to those who don’t think that they can make it, and show them that they can make it in their lives. That “having it all” sometimes means helping others to “have it all” in their lives. As it is said, you can have everything you want in your life as long as you help other have what they want in their lives.

What will be your word for 2016? Prepared – Excited – Empowered – Healthy – Successful – Mentoring – Live-Changer – Incredible? What is your theme for the new year?

To be unforgettable, I have to get out there and let others know first how truly great they are and the amazing potential for greatness that they have locked inside of themselves. I have unlocked my own greatness box and I’m trying to hang on as the new life flows out. What is the fuel for all of this energy…the desire to give direction to others and to help them grow in their lives.

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Do I know how to do everything? Well, to be honest, no. I know a few things in my life and I do them quite well. But for the things I cannot do, I have surrounded myself with the most amazing friends, leaders and mentors who can do the things I cannot, and we share our gifts with one another.

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Do I have fear of failure? As a blogger and writer and speaker, I’m supposed to say “No”, but I do have fears of failure. I usually don’t fail because I’m moving forward so fast in my life trying to accomplish great things daily. If I can create some magic each day, motivate someone, get and share a great idea, or just check off a few important items daily, I’m happy. Daily I’m moving forward in my life, living my dream.

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Exercise: Take a piece of paper, or your computer, tablet, cell, or Etch a Sketch and write down a few words. It’s OK to write anything that comes to mind. It does not all have to pie in the sky stuff. But I want you to write down some life altering thoughts as well. Put this list under your pillow and sleep on it. Then wake up and choose a word for your year of 2016!

Then, find a memory jar, or a file box, or daily journal or blog, and write down the wonderful things in your life that happen each day. Put your word-for-the-year on the outside of your memory jar and think about it daily. Then, at the end of the year, pull out your thoughts and have a cup of tea and fill your heart and mind and soul with the beautiful experiences of your 2016. Have a peaceful and safe and Happy Holiday everyone!

David Woodbury
Keep on Dancing!

Make Up Your Mind 6-19-15

2015-06-18 11.51.02

No 25. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, June 19, 2015

Make Up Your Mind

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work
hard at work worth doing.
— Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th President of the United States

Imagine walking up to Joshua Bell, famous violinist, and say “You are working too hard. Slow down and enjoy life a bit. Don’t practice so much”. Or saying to an Olympic marathoner, swimmer, sprinter, weight lifter “Slow down, you’re going to burn out!”. Would you tell a great brain surgeon “I bet you regret all those 24 hour shifts as an intern”. Would you have gone up to the Golden State Warriors and said “Hey guys, slow down and relax. Don’t take this so seriously”.

I don’t think that any of us would ever say these things to any of the great conductors, composers, athletes, physicians, leaders, mentors, or any champion of today. We know that no greatness is ever achieved without sacrifice and passion and commitment and a 100% focus on the plan and goal we have ahead of us.

You sort of come face to face with your own values at some point,
where you can walk away or do something about it.
— Scott Neeson, who left the presidency of Sony Pictures to found a nonprofit helping very poor children in Cambodia

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Someone recently told me that their goal was too hard, took too much time, and was not what they wanted. My heart sank. I can only thank God for what I am learning every day in my life and for the great opportunities that are coming my way, moment by moment. Yes the road is long, and sometimes hard, but the good times are precious and the rewards are priceless. I welcome the many, many lessons that I am learning today and the opportunities I am given to grow daily.

Matterhorn Catching Joel 5-24-15
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to.  But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.– Sir Douglas Bader was a British fighter pilot who lost both legs in a flying accident, but still fought in World War Two. He was knighted for his work with the disabled, and the quote above is from his talk to a 14-year-old boy who had lost a leg in a car accident.

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The great ballroom dancers of today will tell you the secrets of their success. First, they love to dance. Second, they love to PRACTICE. As Christy Melgoza says, “Practice makes permanent”, and that’s the truth. Champions have an incredible work ethic and great discipline. They do not give up. They take defeats in stride and are stronger as they continue to improve.
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

When we go to a concert and hear the great singers of the world, we never think of the road that got them to that stage. The countless hours of practice, the rejection they have experienced in competitions. The many auditions. The successes, the failures. The rough times. We just purchase our tickets and enjoy the magic that they deliver to their audiences.

It is right to be content with what we have, never with what we are.
— James Mackintosh (1765-1832) Scottish Statesman, Historian

I don’t think I’m ‘there’ in my life yet. So much character building left, so much to learn, so much to experience, so many more leaders and mentors to learn from. Then, I have my dreams as a leader, franchisee, writer, speaker, motivator, friend, husband, team member, and passions to be all that I can be in my life.

Make up your mind, live in greatness and don’t be afraid of a little hard work. See you in the winner’s circle!

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury


Believe in Someone! 5-1-15

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No 18. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, May 1, 2015

Believe in Someone!

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
— David Viscott

Most Loved 2015 Arthur Murray Santa Monica

Sometimes, we have to be the courage that helps someone else begin. This is how it is in dancing. First, we ask our partner to dance with us. We extend a hand and a smile. We allow our partner to take her dance position and then we begin to move with the music. We guide the steps we have learned in perfect order, giving the best lead and using our floorcraft to safely guide us around the dance floor. At the end, we thank our partner and wish for the next moment where we may dance again together.

In life, not everyone is a leader. A leader’s responsibility in life is to lend a hand to others who might need a little extra care to help them along their way in life.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly
smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration
that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him
and is willing to trust him with his friendship.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Poet and Essayist

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Once, I was at mile 13 of the San Francisco Marathon 1986. For some reason, I was not having a good run. I was sick and felt tired and just wanted to start walking, perhaps even not finish the race. Behind me I began to hear laughter and a couple of male voices gleefully chatting together. As they passed me, I noticed their T-shirts, “Achilles’ Track Club” and I saw one man had his right hand on his partner’s shoulder. He was blind running a marathon with his pacer.

I was humiliated. Here I was, sighted, and I was complaining that I was not feeling well. As the blind runner and his pacer passed me and ran on, I gave myself a little talking to. I straightened up, started running faster, and I put my bad attitude to rest. I ran a great next 13 miles, and I did see the blind Achille’s runner at the finish line, he had run much faster and beat me.

Mary Hudgen's Scarf 4-30-15
What does it mean to become a better man? A great man?    A great man
is largely forgotten by the public. He doesn’t stand on top of a
mountain waving a flag saying, “Look at me悠’m a great man.” A great
man often disappears into the ether. Hardly anyone notices that he
was even there, apart from his family and close friends. He was
reliable. He showed up. He was there. He was useful where he could
be. He made mistakes. Tried to make better of those mistakes. Doesn’t
mean you have to cure cancer or understand the theory of relativity.
It’s not necessarily as rock-and-roll or as cool as you might think.
Part of being a great man is accepting that. To dare to be average
and normal is actually a pathway to becoming a great man. To have
more humility. To accept responsibility more. To just get on with
what’s in front of your face.
— Tom Hardy, Actor, interview with Details magazine

I want to be a great man. Now I know that means I must help others realize their own greatness and help others achieve their goals. Guess what? That’s so fulfilling and so much fun and so easy. Imagine living a life just to see others grow and realize their full potentials in their lives.

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Get out on the dance floor and reach out a hand and say “May I have this dance?” Try it in life as well. Reach out a hand to someone and believe in them!

Thank you,

David Woodbury