Occasionally, characters appear amongst us. We nearly always stop and drink in the scenes and story lines they create because of their very oddnesses. And we may even come to treasure these individuals because they help us see the world in useful and/or intriguing ways outside the boundaries of normality. Or we may not. We may simply adopt the habit of moving to the other side of the street when we see them coming because we know in advance this isn’t going to lead anywhere we have much interest in going.

We’ve learned at Brain Technologies that we can expect this kind of persona to appear on our radar scope several times a year. One just did. I’m sharing that information because I sense that there is probably something to be learned here. I’m just not sure yet what it might be. So let me introduce you to Jim Duffy of Lavonia, Michigan, and maybe you can help me figure it out.

Some of what I can tell you is in full view on his profile on LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals. Reading what you find there brings more than a few “ouch” moments. Like where he sums up his high school activities and societies as “hanging out.” He does the same thing for his three years at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus, where he says he was finally asked to leave.

My name shows up—at least I assume it is a reference to me although it uses only my first name—in a strange note under “Experience.” The note reads in full:

I Leaped!

Read Dudley.

Successful ventures are generated from engagement.

I have been given a dead line of March 31, 2014 for the completion of my dissertation. Send me an email if you can be a supporter. I need engagement and a group of supporters would be epic. I’ll keep you posted as the momentum grows.

Coach engagement. Always and forever..

So much more to follow.


You are welcome to draw the same conclusions I’ve drawn. Jim has read my book, LEAP! How to Think Like a Dolphin & Do the Next Right, Smart Thing Come Hell or High Water. He liked it.

Jim Duffy . . . character

Jim Duffy . . . character

In fact, it motivated him to check with Capella University to see if he still had time to finish his doctoral dissertation before the deadline passed. He apparently has until March 31, 2014 to do so. He’s decided to go for it, but like Adam Richman in Man V. Food he wants a cheering squad to urge him on. Apparently, anyone can sign on.

I had happened to look up Jim’s profile on LinkedIn because I received a terse e-mail from him out of the blue the other day. He told me that he’d decided to make the leap toward finishing his Ph.D. The e-mail read in part:

I leaped. It happened early this morning. I find myself calm and excited and clear. I have no great vision or dream but I was going to make one up but decided not too.

I had planed to leap on 12/31 while on vacation in Florida but that was planning and planning is not always the path.

I received an email stating that my time was up as of 12/31. Than another stating that the email was a mistake and we are sorry. But, I thought my time was near; so. I asked for my end date. My end date is 03/31/2014. At first I was shocked but that was a lie because I generality push things to the end. But I was scarred.

All of my time and money would be lost. I failed again just like every time in the past. I’ve been very good at failure.

But. no – I leaped.

Thank You,


In that same e-mail, he also told me about a frustrating ordeal that involved purchasing a new refrigerator. Apparently, this also had something to do with his decision to make the leap and finish his dissertation before the deadline. But since I can’t figure out what the connection was, I won’t take up your time by relating that anecdote.

I’m introducing you to Jim to begin with because, as characters go, I’m beginning to suspect that Jim Duffy is one of the keepers. At the very least, I invite you to join his leap-cheering squad. If not that, then maybe we both could say “Jim Duffy, Ph.D.” three times before we go to sleep every night between now and March 31.

If that also makes us both of us characters, too, then so be it.

P.S. That’s the photo above of himself that Jim has posted on LinkedIn. As you probably already know, characters often don’t wear socks when they pose for formal portraits.

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