Thoughts + Articles

A Promise You Can Count On!

Do you keep your promises? Is your word your bond?

My favorite teacher and mentor of all time was Professor William Lincer of the Juilliard School. Before he passed way he asked me to contact two of the greatest thinkers on the brain in the 20th Century and have a dialogue with them. The two brilliant thinkers were Dr. Gerald Edelman and Dr. Oliver Sacks. Both were medical doctors, researchers, scientists, and lifelong musicians. Dr. Sacks was a pianist and used music to help his patients heal. Dr. Edelman was a violinist and music was an important part of his life as a thinker and researcher.

While studying with Professor Lincer, he suggested specific books for each of his students to read, study, and write a short report on the main ideas of the book. The book reports were due once a month. He was interested in educated his students to be not only wonderful musicians but marvelous thinkers who cared about others and wanted to make the world a better place. He wanted to educate the “whole person”.

Dr. Oliver Sacks was a physician specializing in neurologist. He wrote many books including “Awakenings”, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” and was Professor of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine.

My reading assignment for Professor Lincer was to read Dr. Sacks books listed above and writing two short reports on them. Both books were fascinating.

Dr. Oliver Sacks leaves a legacy of case studies of his patients observing their uniqueness. He cared so much to help others and teach them that their affliction made them unique. Dr. Sacks said, “I am a storyteller. In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy, physiology and biology.”

Dr. Gerald Edelman was a physician, 1972 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology /medicine for immunology, neuroscientist – Theory of the brain – “Neural Darwinism”, professor, researcher, author, and musician. His interest was in “how the brain works”.

Professor Lincer’s reading assignment for me was to read Dr. Edelman’s book “Brilliant Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind” and one of his articles and write two short reports on them. Both works were “brilliant”.

Dr. Gerald Edelman said: “Think: if you had a hundred thousand wires randomly connecting four string quartet players and.. signals were going back and forth in all kinds of hidden ways [as you usually get them by the subtle nonverbal interactions between the players… That’s how the maps of the brain work by reentry.”

After Professor Lincer passed away, I wrote letters to Dr. Sacks and Dr. Edelman telling them of Professor Lincer’s passing, the promise made, and sharing the research we were working on. Also asking them relevant questions on their thoughts on this work. Both Dr. Edelman and Dr. Sacks were kind enough to share their thoughts with me.

Both Dr. Edelman’s letter and Dr. Sacks’ letter are in frames above my desk as a reminder to keep asking questions and try to help others every day.

What are the three steps for keeping your promises?

1) Write down the date you make the promise (month, date, & year), and the date you will complete the promise. (Month, date, & year)

2) Write down the obstacles you will have to overcome to make your promise.

3) Place your promise in front of your computer/work station so you can remember to work on it each day.

During the Civil War, Jeb Stuart signed “his reports to General Robert E. Lee “Yours to count on” (YTCO). He meant it and so should you.

Remember it’s never to late to make a promise and keep it!


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM, John Maxwell team Member, Certified WCSC, Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful.

She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her new book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget ” is available on amazon as a book or e-book.

If you need a speaker contact Madeline at

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 11:43 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Back To Top