Jumping Off The Lily Pad

Five frogs are sitting peacefully on a lily pad. One decides to jump into the water. How many frogs are left?

If you answered four you might be surprised to learn you may be incorrect. Just because a frog decides to jump into the water doesn’t mean he’ll actually do it.

This popular riddle isn’t meant to trick you, it’s meant to teach you one of life’s most valuable lessons…jumping off the lily pad. 

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

A couple weeks ago I wrote an article (Wealth Versus Worth) about Tex Earnhardt in honor of his birthday on December 9th. Tex was a dear friend and role model to me for 25 years. He passed away last year.

In the article I recounted the many times Tex and I ate together at restaurants. He would routinely walk around talking to other diners, seamlessly getting to know strangers like they were old friends he had known for years. 

Tex was one of those rare individuals who lived big, having the courage to jump off the lily pad every day in big and small ways. I’m sure he often jumped off the lily pad in very big ways while building his highly successful city-wide network of auto dealerships.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky

Jim Carlisto is a leader in my company and a dear friend. After he read my article about Tex, he sent me an email saying, “That tribute gave me goosebumps!”

In the email JIm talked about his father, Jack, and how he was much like Tex. While Tex carved out success in the auto business, Jack did so in the insurance business. Jim was proud that his father was the #1 life insurance salesman in the country for 30 years. 

In his email to me, Jim recalled a story from his childhood growing up in Oceanside, California. When the movie Jaws came out in the summer of 1975 it was a must watch event in his town right on the ocean.

The line to get in the theatre was a city block long, with some people waiting for an hour. Rather than standing in line, Jack Carlisto saw this as an opportunity to “work the line,” making new friends and building his business in the process. 

Here is Jim’s email to me regarding his dad: 

Greg, Wow and I mean wow! That tribute to Tex gave me goosebumps. What a remarkable man and how lucky you were to be his friend. He is certainly a man that everyone should aspire to be. 

I loved the part about going around and meeting strangers in a restaurant. My dad did that when we were younger and it used to embarrass the entire family. My dad was a giver and a great marketer and business man. 

I’ll never forget in our hometown of Oceanside, California the movie Jaws came out and the line to get in the theatre was a city block long. My dad looked around, smiled and left to go to his car. We were all embarrassed because we knew what was coming next. 

He came back with 100 full-size calendars with “Jack Carlisto Insurance” on them and went right down the line, giving them out to everyone. That was a Friday. On Monday his phone rang off the hook with people wanting a quote on their auto and home insurance. 

My dad was the type of guy who truly believed “everyone is a prospect until proven otherwise.” My dad was the #1 life insurance salesman in the country for over 30 years straight. With 4 contests a year nobody ever beat him even once. You would have loved him and so would your dad, Chubby.


“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” -Lewis Carroll

Since Jim sent me that email, I’ve been reflecting a lot about Tex and Jack. I like to think of myself as a lily pad jumper, an outgoing, “live big” kind of guy. But my lily pad jumping pales in comparison to Jack Carlisto and Tex Earnhardt. 

When was the last time I walked into a restaurant and introduced myself to everyone (or anyone) there? When was the last time I “worked the line” at a movie (or anywhere). Never. 

We all have to decide who we want to be, how big we want to live, and how often we dare jump off lily pads. The older I get, the more I look back and regret every lily pad I didn’t jump off. 

So thank you Tex, and thank you Jack. You inspired me to do more jumping off the lily pad.