The Survival Station’s E-zine

           Issue #1   Sept.-Nov 2010
             Mark M Pierce, Basic PLUS Author    

                                   Copyright © 2010

Table of Contents

1- The Building Blocks of Success
2 - The Kitchen Table
3 - Something That's Nice to Think About - Moms
4 - A Near Drowning


By: Mark Pierce

When I was in my early twenties I was working at a gas station barely earning enough money to make it from one week to the next. Then one day a customer drove in and asked me to go to work for him in the air conditioning business. I did and a few years later—after learning the trade—I went into business for myself. I succeeded in the business and today I am retired and living a very comfortable, content life. One of the things that I like doing is especially helping young people turn their jobs and careers into success stories. We’ll start with the cornerstone.
The first question is, why did the stranger offer me, a kid pumping gas, the opportunity for a better paying job that could (and did) turn into a successful career?

The answer is that I have always been absolutely service orientated. While I realized that my job at the service station was not going to be my life’s work, I gave it the effort as if it was; I treated all the customers as if they were my own, giving them caring service and even a little extra whenever the situation called for it. The fellow who hired me was impressed—he liked me and offered me the better job. During all the years I worked for him and during the many years I worked for myself, I maintained this same enthusiasm to be helpful to others and always be willing to give more than what was expected of me.

To see what I am getting at, just think about how you feel when, we’ll say, you walk into a store and when someone waits on you they act as if you’re bothering them; as if they are doing a favor to wait on you. You feel the pangs of agitation and the chances are you don’t shop there anymore. On the other hand, when a clerk is attentive, caring and conscientious you become a repeating or even a lifelong customer. This is human nature and this also applies to when you work for someone else—when you give your job, no matter if you are a custodian or a top executive, your attentive, caring and conscientious efforts are always rewarded. 

As a short aside, I want to thank my father for motivating me to maintain this attitude throughout my life. Indeed, as a young man during the 1950s he worked as a waiter—and because he was so customer orientated and gave that extra effort at his job he managed to save $5,000.00 from his tips in a very short time. I remind you that $5,000.00 was a nice nest egg nearly 60 years ago.

In regard to all this there is a wonderful book penned by Marsha Sinetar with title, Do What You Love the Money Will Follow. I agree with this but I believe, since work is work that it is much more important to love what you do no matter what your job. So what I say to people who ask me about succeeding is, put your love into your work and not only success will follow but greater joy will follow also.

It doesn’t matter if you, the reader, think that all this is Pollyannaish or so much bunk or not, I challenge you to simply muster the courage to give your love (and so your enthusiasm) to your work even if you dislike your job. If you like your job all the better of course but, in either case, give your love and so your attentiveness and caring to your work and more, to all those you serve starting today—customers, fellow workers or employers! Do this for one short week and start seeing positive changes occur in your life. And, the added bonus is that you will not only be more esteemed by those around you but you will have gained greater self-esteem as well.

Deciding to Love what you do is the first building block of success. 

Watch for follow up articles by Mark as he places the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th building blocks for a foundation of a happier more successful life.



by: Joseph Lanari

Thousand Oaks, California

Something I think is nice to think about is the kitchen table. On the other hand I think it’s kind of sad at the same time because in so many homes it has lost its relevance. And what I mean by that is, these days, families tend to sit in the living room or go off into the den to eat in front of the TV set. Now I am not saying that families don’t eat together anymore—though some seldom do—but I am saying it’s just not the same as it was when the kitchen was the gathering place especially for the evening meal. But, way back when, before computers, blackberries and such, the old table in the kitchen was more than just a table, it was the center of family life and being with those you love.

Let me give you a little history of the kitchen in the table and why I really do think it is nice to think about. You see there has been more letters written and read at the table in the kitchen than anywhere else. There have been more conferences around the kitchen table than all the big, fancy conference rooms in the world. More newspapers have been read and more debates have occurred at the kitchen table than anywhere else, too. And, it was once a wishing place. That is, more mail order catalogs have been looked at, right there at the table in the kitchen, and more orders filled out…even if they never were sent in. I guess that’s why so many people call mail-order catalogs, dream books.

When it comes to art, there has been more crayon masterpieces created and coloring books filled at the kitchen table then all the pictures painted since the invention of the brush. In fact, in days gone by, little children have built more airplanes and cars at the kitchen table than all the big automobile manufacturers have worldwide.

Of course, the kitchen table is a happy place most of the time. Where else has more checkers, chess and other fun games been played…like monopoly? On the other hand, who hasn’t sat at the kitchen table to sort out problem or even to shed a few tears?

The table in the kitchen was one the most friendly and private place in the entire world when we wanted some place to go just to think things over. Yet, it was also a place where once we told our best jokes and had our greatest belly laughs. But what was really great about the table in the kitchen is that it was always where families got together to enjoy their meals and share their thoughts and daily experiences and where friends were made to feel most at home when they came to visit. It was where neighbors mostly ended up for a hot cup of coffee and good conversation. And of course, the kitchen had always been a place where people join in giving thanks for holiday meals and holiday cheer.

There have also been more birthday cakes cut and served at the table in the kitchen, more candles lit and blown out than anywhere else. But what was most important is that so much love went around and came around the table in the kitchen and that is what really made it such a nice place to be.

Things have changed these days of course but, I still say that the kitchen table is really nice to think about.




What I like about Moms is that if you hurt yourself,

they’re always there to kiss away the pain. And, whenever

you get afraid of the dark; your Mom’s voice lets you

know that you’re safe and sound. 


What I also like best about Moms is that they always have

a shoulder to cry on and as long as they have you by

The hand, you can never get lost.

I like Moms because they always feed the goldfish

and they know just how to wipe away your tears. Moms

know a lot of secrets of course. For one thing they know

just how to tuck you in so that you sleep better. For another 

they are always there to make sure that you wake up

on time. There’s something else too, Moms always know

where the band-aids are.

But you know if I had to choose just one thing

that I like the very best about Moms, it would be that

no matter what…they always love you.


A Near Drowning

A true story of survival.

The author of this story wishes to remain anonymous.

(We will respect your anonymity or publish your name if you wish. Please share your survival stories with us.)

I really don't remember much about my life before that day. A day that would forever change the way I viewed life, death, and the world around me. I experienced something so amazingly terrifying, mortally painful, and yet so blissfully peaceful that I feel almost a need to share this experience with other people.

After church one Sunday, we went to the park to have a family picnic. With darting colorful butterflies to chase, fast slippery toads to catch, and an abundance of rocks and sticks to throw in the water, it was a perfect setting for any seven-year-old. White, puffy clouds hung low against the deep blue summer sky. The thick, tall carpet of green grass seemed to be there just for young eyes to view with enchanted wonderment.

It was a perfect day.

After swiftly stuffing my pudgy belly with pancakes and milk, I decided to go throw anything I could find into the water. I know I had not intended to have one of these objects include myself, but that's exactly what happened. I had inched out too far over the water's edge, and I fell in. Considering the fact that I hadn't learned to swim yet, or to even float for that matter, this was not an idealistic place to find myself. So there I was, out of the sight and hearing range of any welcomed heroes of the day. I was too young to fully grasp the severity of the situation, but when you're choking, panic and fighting for your life seems to come naturally. For a moment, I felt the utter fear of death. My body instinctively sensed a life-threatening situation. I held my breath and struggled to find something to hold on to, but my small hands were only gripping the liquid space. I was helpless and completely out of control in my panicked state. At some point, I finally gave in to the battle I was losing. All of a sudden, my body was no longer craving a breath. I did not need to breathe anymore, and with that, the panic stopped. I can remember slowly bobbing up and down, up and down, like a hook and sinker on a fishing pole line.

The next thing I can remember was feeling the most profound and utter sense of peace I have ever felt in my life. I felt as safe as a baby in its mother's arms. The world became a giant cradle, and I was its infant. I was engulfed in a brilliant white light, so very bright, but not blinding at all.

Then, like a perfectly edited movie, I watched my whole life flash before my very eyes. Frame by frame, it seemed like every little detail of my short life was being reviewed, but who was the audience? Even more, who was the director? Was I being judged? As if all this were not remarkable enough, I can distinctly remember gracefully leaving my body. Like a monarch butterfly breaking out of its cocoon, I hatched out of my physical restraints and started to dart about like a humming bird. Out of my body, I flew over my parents and hovered there for awhile. I then quickly flew back to the water, where I looked at my own lifeless body. I seemed to prefer the view from about fifteen feet in the air. The glittering magnificent colors that made up this new world were spectacular. Everything was much more vibrant than before. The blues were bluer than blue, and the greens were greener than green. I had no fear, and there were no answers because there were no questions to be asked. I felt much older and wiser than my actual years. It was as though I had been through this experience many times before. I was in a very familiar, contented, and comfortable realm.

Then, all of a sudden, I was abruptly slammed back into my painful body, which felt like it was thrown into a tub full of ice water. A stranger had pulled me from the water and managed to physically pound life back into my limp body. This was a horrible and gut-wrenching shock. Where did that enchanted, magical, and all-loving place go?

Being back on earth seemed to be filled with pain, sorrow, and limitations. Instead of flying, I was coughing, spitting up water and people were crying. I was panicked again. I knew immediately I missed the wonderful place where I had been. A place where I no longer wanted candy, I no longer needed a baby sitter, and I certainly had no mortal physical bounds and fears. The place where you are just a soul, no body, no ego, no vanity, no greed, no pain, just love and warmth.

I know I'll go back some day. I just hope getting there is easier next time.