No 45 11-10-17 Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

No 45 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, November 10, 2017

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy

“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

Growing up, my dad always said to my mom “Be sweet Miz Woodbury”. Why, she had a direct option on people and situations. I’m just the same. I’m quick to speak and fast to react. My weakness is that my buttons get pushed so fast that I can’t get them under control and bam, there goes my big mouth!

What’s the answer? This courtesy quote is excellent. The answer is wait a moment before speaking and reacting. Now at 61, finally I take a moment before saying the first thing that pops into my mouth. I have learned to take a breath, pause, and listen to the other person finish their sentence. My dear friend, Roz DeBeve, always said that God had perfect mathematics when He gave us two ears and one mouth. Roz said to be successful, listen twice as much as you speak!

For another aspect of courtesy, I have learned from my great friend, Linda Greenberg, to say “I’m sorry”. Perhaps there is a disagreement between two people, and you are caught in the middle of it and you did nothing wrong to either party. To be the peacemaker, just say “I’m sorry” that happened and just take out the fight and be the calming factor. I’ve seen many fires put out with this simple act of courtesy.

Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said during a homily a few years ago that he had gone through a major change in his life. He said he would get angry and be “in the right” in arguments. He stood before us, hands behind his back, and he said, “Now I just say, I’m sorry” and I don’t fight. His message had a profound effect on me. Does it matter if I am right? It matters if I am a great peacemaker and am able to help, console, guide, and repair situations in a positive way.

“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

The biggest part of courtesy for me is laughter. Of the four personality types, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, and Choleric, I am a Chosen Sanguine and a retired Choleric. That means that I was a jerk for a long time and did not laugh enough. I was way too strong and made others see that I was always right. Guess what readers, this was not good for my heart and I almost had a heart attack over this.

Now, I find that courtesy through laughter is a true medicine. When I am dancing and we make a mistake, we look at each other and say “what was that?” and we laugh and give each other a hug a move on. What a great approach to teaching and this keeps my students happy, and they do learn how to dance beautifully loving each and every moment.

Yes, I’m quick just like my mom J. Clair was, yet she was also a very polite and gracious woman. My dad always had a great laugh and he smiled at all who were around him. I’m so blessed to and honored to be their son and have their Southern characteristics in my personality.

Courtesy: try this. Just go out and give a smile and share a laugh with someone. Tell them how great they look today and how happy you are to see them. Ask them how they are and say you are looking forward to seeing them again. Remember, the smile we see in other’s faces is our own smile we are giving to them. From our quote today,

“It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing and conveys much”.

Thanks for reading!

David Earl Woodbury

Keep on Dancing!










Excellence for its own sake! 1-29-16

No 5. Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury

Friday, January 29, 2016

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Excellence for its own sake!

“Those who turn good (organizations) into great (organizations) are motivated by a deep creative urge and an inner compulsion for sheer unadulterated excellence for its own sake.” – Jim Collins

Have you ever felt that you are in a renaissance? I feel it right now. I know that all the hard work from the past two years is finally paying off and that we are truly seeing success at our Arthur Murray Dance Center. Have you ever started a business, in a new location and new city, from scratch? No staff and no students and no one knows that you are even there? We have.

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A great thanks to the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce for putting Arthur Murray Santa Monica on the map. Also, to St. Monica Parish for their support and putting the word out that we are here, teaching the West Side to dance!

“Aspire, break bounds. Endeavor to be good, and better still, best.”- Robert Browning (1812 – 1889) English poet

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Now that we are in our third year of business, I am humbled. We knew what we were getting into when we opened a brand new location. We love people, we love dancing, and we are good at what we do, and we knew of seven day work weeks, and 18 hour days, yet it is all worth it. The challenge has made us strong and I feel like a new, more alive person every day. My old crabby person is slowing fading away to the new strong grateful person (my staff and husband would not agree!).

“In doing your work in the great world, it is a safe plan to follow a rule I once heard on the football field: Don’t flinch, don’t fall; hit the line hard.”- Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919) 26th President of the United States

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Do you have dreams. A bit of advice “Don’t burn your bridges until you get to them.” Dreams are fueled by hard work, determination, and nerves of steel. If you can’t handle problems, can’t handle facing yourself at your worst, and can handle the truth, you won’t make it. And for being angry at others, anger is like you drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It does no good.

“To know a truth well, one must have fought it out.”- Novalis (Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg)  (1772-1801) German Poet

Yes, you will have wonderful times ahead, trials ahead, triumph and tragedies, but you will know your own truth if you don’t give up. I have faced my own truth and have lived through that realization.

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“Yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battlefields, and no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat.” – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) Scottish Novelist

We don’t always know what the day ahead will bring. In dancing, as well as owning a dance center, we may plan a day that will go well, or be a challenge, but the magic that makes everything work is the dancing itself! I remember Roz DeBeve always saying to me “Go back to dancing”. It makes everything right again.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) American Civil Rights Leader

Live a life of excellence and live to your best potential!

Happy Dancing,

David Woodbury (email me if you like my blogs!)


















Recreating Yourself 9-19-14


No 37 Changing Lives through Dancing
By David Earl Woodbury
Friday, September 19, 2014
Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
— George Bernard Shaw

How to create a new you? It can be through dancing and dancing can give you the courage to make the changes in your life that are now only dreams. Do you want to overcome shyness? Are you out of shape and need to drop a few pounds? Are you depressed, stressed, overworked? Well then, dance. Angry, dance a Tango (never waste a bad mood!). Need a lift, dance some Samba. Lacking grace and poise, dance a Waltz. Want to be agile, learn Salsa and Swing.

For all of your needs, there is a dance to fix all your problems. So many times, new students enter our doors and they don’t think they can dance. After a wonderful lesson with a professional Arthur Murray Instructor, they are amazed that they CAN dance and how EASY it was. The Arthur Murray way of teaching is Fun, Easy and Quick. All you have to do is give it a try!

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As a new studio owner, I find that I have new challenges every day. Before owning a school again, I thought I knew all the answers to all the questions. Yet, I found out that I did not know all the answers and that sometimes I had a hard time finding any answers at all to what was happening around me. Now, I realize, most of the things that bother me don’t matter anyway. What matters is giving the great Arthur Murray service first to my staff, students, and then to anyone else I come in contact with.

My great friend, Jim Byrd, asked me for a favor many years ago. He only asked me one thing in 16 years of friendship. And that was, “Treat me the same as you treat all your students”. At first I thought that this was an easy request, then I found out how hard that was on a daily basis. Imagine being pleasant in the morning, afternoon, evening, feeling sick, feeling well, good days, bad days. Wow, what a difficult request. I was not always good, but I tried to be my best and I still try to be my best even today.

If you are patient in one moment of anger you will save a thousand
days of sorrow.– Chinese Proverb

I have a quick mouth and a fast response. My tongue is a two-edged sword and my mind and wit are fast and furious. My fuse is short and I can set off in a second. The times that this happens to me are always times I regret. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15.11. NLT. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15.1 NIV. These are two verses I try to remember daily. It is better to pause a moment before speaking, especially when angry.

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How does this apply to dancing? First, we learn “floor craft” in competition dancing. We learn that our partners are not ram-rods used to plow through a group of dancers. Out ladies are not battering rams and our job is to protect and present our ladies on the dance floor. We learn to let someone pass in front of us rather than cutting them off or crashing into them. Also, we learn how to say “I’m sorry” for bumping into someone. Many dance events are won by the caliber of elegance and grace of the couple on the floor rather than their bravado.

Also, taking dance lessons teaches you to not be so defensive. We learn to listen to someone criticize our faults, give us the answers to how to fix them, and then give them immediate results. We learn to hear that we are wrong and we learn to like it. I am a defensive person. If you pause, I’ll defend myself. It’s awful. I’m working on it. Martin Barthold from Sherman Oaks is trying to help me out of this. He is a saint and one of the only people in my life who is trying to help me out. Thank God for him. Martin, I’m getting better.

So let us go forward quietly, each on his own path, forever making
for the light.– Vincent Van Gogh

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The solution: DANCE MORE. And yes, I’m dancing more and loving every bit of it. I’m trying to listen more, not go off so fast, and still trying to create a new me to help be of service to others.
Remember God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we speak to be successful in life. Thanks Roz DeBeve for those words of wisdom.

Thank you,
David Woodbury