I don’t have many routines in my life except for my daily trip to the post office. I grew up in a small town without mail delivery so picking up the mail has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father used to drive us to school, but a mail stop came first. As the oldest child, it was my duty to fetch the mail from the box. To make it more fun, I began taping coins to bits of cardboard and sending away for things I saw advertised in comic books, insuring that some of the mail would be addressed to me. Even though e-mail has replaced the personal letter, I still enjoy finding something handwritten in my mailbox.

Since today is a postal holiday, there won’t be a mail run, but I wanted to pass along one of my all-time favorite letters, although I’ll keep the writer anonymous. He wrote, “Exactly 24 hours ago, I took my penny pail to the bank and cashed it in for $23.09. Against my better judgement I decided to visit Border’s Book Shop to have a latte and browse through a book that had caught my eye on several previous tours. Before my coffee was cool enough to drink, I decided to spend over half my available cash on Making a Living Without a Job.

“After brooding for nearly two weeks and accomplishing nothing, I read your entire book in one sitting. Since then, I have sold books (not yours) to a used bookstore, sold an expensive golf bag to a secondhand sporting goods store, sold a rowing machine to a secondhand exercise machine store, took four large trash bags of good clothing to a consignment shop, dared to try my new Rollerblades, scheduled a meeting with my father-in-law to learn his business secrets, faxed a letter and resume to a local business college to teach several courses, made several phone contacts for some consulting work and listed 37 potential Profit Centers. Oh, yes, I also made a huge pot of Texas Red chili and did five loads of laundry.”

He goes on to write about his previous adventures being self-employed. “I have been making a living without a job, though I lacked an understanding of the process and certainly lacked the passion you so eloquently described. I knew the time had come to return to the dream. Thank you for giving it back to me.”

With the possibility of a letter like that waiting for me, you can understand why a trip to the post office is my first priority every morning.

Live in the active voice, not the passive. Think more about what you make happen than about what happens to you. ~ William Dewitt Hyde