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Randall Bell, PhD
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Gilligan's Island
Gilligan's Island - blog post image

It’s true, Gilligan’s Island was probably the finest entertainment ever produced. Today’s shows and stars simply do not come close. Yet I may be biased.

My Uncle Jerry (Jerry Hopper) was one of the show’s directors. Uncle Jerry directed lots of movies and TV shows, but as a five-year-old boy, I really did not care about that very much. However, when my uncle started directing Gilligan’s Island, that really got my attention!

I attended Acacia Elementary School, and after kindergarten my friends and I would run home to eat cookies and milk and watch the show. Gilligan and the castaways were marooned on an uncharted island, and they came so close to being rescued so many times. With every episode we were on the edge of our seats, crossing our fingers that this would be the time they got off that island!

It did not take too long, and I got my first crush. There were two cute girls on the island, the movie star Ginger and Mary Ann. However, Mary Ann stood out as the girl of my dreams.

When I saw my uncle, I tried to use my inside connection to get to meet her. Uncle Jerry quietly sat and listened to my aspirations. After I poured out my heart’s desires, he told me that he thought that he could probably set me up with Ginger, but I was focused. I told him, “No! I really don’t want Ginger; Mary Ann and I belong together!” Uncle Jerry just kind of smiled and said, “Well, I think Ginger would be very interested, but if you are not interested in Ginger, I’ll have to see what I can do.”

Of course, there was a bit of an age difference. With this whole “kindergarten thing” hanging over my head, Mary Ann would have to drive and pay for our dates and do just about everything. But that all seemed quite reasonable to me. It was clear, at least in my kindergartener mind, that Mary Ann and I belonged together. Let’s face it, the girls in my kindergarten class were just too young and immature. Mary Ann had it going on. My uncle was very smart, and he pointed out a real problem. Mary Ann and I could not hang out together until she was rescued.

My buddies Kevin, Bret and I had spent hours watching the show and analyzing the ways to finally get everyone off that island. Later, I sat in the back yard of my aunt’s house and eagerly told my Uncle Jerry that Gilligan was so close, and I was sure I knew the solution to finally get them all home. In fact, I went over several strategies to get Gilligan off that island once and for all. I told him that if he just followed my plans, we would have success. My uncle just smiled and said, “Those are good ideas! I’ll think that over and talk it over with them.”

I was so focused. If Uncle Jerry would just follow my excellent counsel, I could get Gilligan and the castaways back home, I could be with Mary Ann and life would be right. I still vividly remember how completely focused I was. I kept watching the show to see when Uncle Jerry would do what I told him to do and make it all happen!

By the time my Uncle Jerry followed my advice and got the castaways rescued, my interests had changed to rocket ships. So Mary Ann and I simply never happened.

Yes, rocket ships were clearly responsible for me never getting together with Mary Ann and living the dream. Over the years, I’ve had other distractions that steered me away from what was really important.

As we get older, more and more of these distractions seem to come along. Indeed, the distractions of modern life can become so overwhelming that many people completely lose sight of what is truly important.

When it comes to the Me habits, our mindset will take us in the direction we will go. We must ask ourselves, “What is it that I really want … and are my daily actions really taking me in that direction?” One of the rich habits is to have quiet, reflective time and focus on what is of highest priority.

One of my most effective habits is to quietly meditate early in the morning on what matters most. My prospects with Mary Ann might be over, but I have other opportunities, and this time I’m going to focus and make them a reality!


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