Saturday Sage: 7 Steps to Blow-up Logjams

In the early days of logging, specialized loggers called River Pigs pushed, pried, and pulled logs off rocks and debris to prevent logjams.

On June 13, 1886, a log jam developed in the St. Croix River in Wisconsin that was described by a local journalist as “the jammedest jam” he had encountered. It took hundreds of men working for six weeks to clear it, eventually using steamboats and dynamite.

Logjams in life can feel like “the jammedest jam.” They lead to boredom, painful dissatisfaction, discouragement, even jealousy. Be a River Pig when you see logjams forming. The good news is enticement is better than dynamite.

Logjams block the flow of life, but a sage uses enticement to blow them up.

logjams block the flow of life, but a sage uses enticement to blow them up. Image of a logjam.

Blow-up logjams:

The skill of enticement is like a River Pig’s ability to release the flow of logs, but we’re talking about the flow of life, not logs stuck on debris.

Enticement is using a known interest to motivate a person to experience a renewed flow of life.

Enticement makes blowing up logjams fun:

Enticement blows up logjams by redirecting attention toward unexpected possibilities.

Passengers on Southwest Airlines from Long Beach, CA, to Hawaii experienced enticement when they found a ukulele on their seat. Most of us dread long flights, but this crew gave a ukulele lesson.

Some passengers didn’t love the chaos, but it’s an example of enticing someone into a new experience. Blowing up the jammedest jam can be dangerous, but it’s worth the effort.

Enticement: 7 practical steps to blow-up logjams:

  1. Know what needs to be accomplished.
  2. Explore the highlights of their life since high school.
  3. Facilitate free creative thinking by asking questions that tap into their interests.
  4. Watch for revelations to appear out of nowhere.
  5. Challenge by asking, “What would you be willing to try that you have avoided?”
  6. Develop an agreement to hold them accountable.
  7. Celebrate the first sign of accomplishment.


Use something like a ukulele to capture interest.

Create a safety net that instills confidence.

Create a safety net. Image of a person helping a child learnt to ride a bike.

An example of blowing up a logjam:

  1. Take someone for a coffee at a place neither of you have ever been.
  2. Ask, “What have you wanted to try but something stopped you?”
  3. Agree with them, “There are probably too many valid reasons not to try this.”
  4. Entice them with, “What are 5 things you will miss if you don’t try?”
  5. Ask, “What date are you going to try this?”
  6. Ask, “Who will you ask to join you?”
  7. Close the loop. “When can we meet here again so you can tell me all about it?”

Enticement formula:

Be easily impressed:

When a kid goes to Target to look at toys they are fascinated by almost everything they see. They are easily impressed. Being impressed by the skills and talents of others is key to gaining their enthusiasm. 

People love it when others notice their talent and skills, especially when those abilities are jammed up.

Being easily impressed releases us from focusing on failure. There’s more to life than logjams.

Develop new attitudes:

Embark on an attitude scavenger hunt. Notice when attitudes shift from can’t to maybe I can.

We catch people in the middle of an attitude shift after they feel we genuinely care for them.

A shift in attitude makes surprises possible.

When your attitude shifts you position yourself to look for new possibilities.

Instill hope:

Looking into the future without knowing where it leads is life’s journey. You help others thrive on the journey when you instill hope.

Hope is a place of renewal. We think life has potential.  

Stepping out in hope is easier when we have people who are rooting for us.

Enable action:

Blow up myths that block people from trying new things. 

Interview three people who are tops at their jobs. The best waiter in town, an airline captain, the leader of the local hospice organization. You pick.

Develop a sense of discovery and learning. Talk to a couple of friends about your new discoveries. Develop an action plan. Look for obvious opportunities.

Enjoy good times:

Celebrate progress by honoring it.

Invite people to journal about progress. 100% of the time, good effort brings some kind of reward. 

You solidify progress when you honor it with words.

Bonus: 5 darn fun questions to entice free thinking:

  1. If you could parachute to anywhere in the world, where would that be?
  2. Who would you rather sing with than anyone in the world?
  3. If you found a thousand-dollar bill, what would you do with it?
  4. What would you name a movie based on your favorite relative?
  5. What’s the name of your horse that is running in the Kentucky Derby?

How would you help blow-up a logjam in someone’s life?

This post is a collaboration between Dan Rockwell and Stan Endicott.

Note: I relax my 300 word limit on the weekends.