Leslie Ungar, The Inner Brilliance of Electric Impulse, Inc.

Herbie’s Hints

Leslie’s Articles

Wisdom from a Dad to a Daughter

My Dad was Herbert L. Ungar. That “L” was very important to him. I wrote Herbie’s Hints in honor of my Dad and the one-sentence chunks of wisdom he doled out through-out his lifetime. These hints also recognize my Mom, who was the only person who ever called my Dad “Herbie”.

I am grateful for the 52 years I was able to receive these hints directly from him. Each Herbie’s Hint has a phrase or a philosophy he taught me. My Dad was a man of few words. He liked clarity, simple clarity. Every hint has concise helpful information from Herbie’s perspective. Each Herbie’s Hints concludes with a question for you. The question is to challenge you to figure out how to apply the tip to your life and then benefit from each hint.

Someone else’s Dad asked me how I remember so many things my Dad told me over the years. Perhaps it is because of the time he spent with me. My Dad didn’t just tell me. He worked with me, he coached me, he videotaped me riding and showing, he cheered me, and he held up an honest mirror to me.

It was not until after he died that I remembered all of the verbal jewels he had shared with me. So I gathered from the reaches of my memory the tips he had bestowed upon me over the years. Now in some small way you too can benefit from each and any of Herbie’s Hints.

  1. Herbie’s Helpful Hint
    There are many numerical axioms in the equestrian world for how to define a good rider. Three falls make a good rider. Thirteen falls make a good rider. And there is the gold bar of twenty falls make a good rider. My first riding teacher told me the13 rule. My Dad said to be sure, I better follow the 20 rule. So 20 falls was always my magic number. I looked forward to falling off a horse. Now think about it. I actually looked forward to hitting the hard ground from five feet above.

    Lesson Learned:

    My Dad took a possible negative and turned it into a positive. He created a silver lining. There were a few broken bones and a few concussions along the way. With every fall I thought I was closer to being a stellar rider. The challenge for you is to how to develop the equivalent of 20 falls. How do you turn a negative into a positive to continue to move forward with abandon?

  2. Herbie’s Helpful Hint
    When I showed horses I had “amateur” status. Amateur status meant that I was not paid to show horses. I often showed against professionals, who were paid to show horses. That is technically what separated amateurs from professionals. My Dad had a different explanation. He claimed the difference between an amateur and a professional was that amateurs made the same mistakes over and over and professionals made new mistakes.

    Lesson Learned:

    Look at the mistakes you make: as a leader, as an owner, a president or a manager. Look at where you make the mistakes: in communication, speaking, hiring or in any aspect of your work. It’s not whether or not you make a mistake that’s important. It’s not perfection we need to pursue. What we need to pursue is being effective. The important distinction and the question you need to ask yourself is whether you make the same mistakes or new mistakes? What kind of mistakes are you making: new ones or the same ones?

  3. Herbie’s Helpful Hint
    My Dad said, “NEVER GIVE UP”, period. There were no exceptions, no caveats, and no excuses. He expected me to stay the course. NEVER GIVE UP meant not you did not give up in 110 degrees humidity or 20 degrees below zero. The horse had to be exercised. Giving up was not an option. I remember one day going out to the barn to exercise a horse before school. It was so cold the sand in the ring froze. I thought sand never froze!

    Lesson Learned:
    There is a difference between giving up and the game being over. When the game is over, it just means you ran out of time. You didn’t give up. Only you can truly distinguish the difference. In a world where we can talk across the world in seconds, it seems as though everything comes easily. In any century the rewards go to those who stay the course. Do you hold yourself to a “never give up” standard?

For 25 years my Dad and I spent 6 nights a week, 6 months of the year in the barn with our horses and dogs. Six nights a week I worked the two show horses. At the time, I didn’t think about how he just appeared, materializing out of seemingly thin air whenever I needed an extra pair of hands. Perhaps with these tips he can figuratively appear for you, too.