"This is awesome... what a great way to teach and develop others. I love it; watched several on the web-site..."

- Cliff Robinson, Senior Vice President of Operations for Chick-fil-A

Vanilla•Buster (noun)


One who dares to live life at full throttle. Someone who is determined to become the best they can be, to follow their dreams to the end of their days, to risk whenever necessary, and to squeeze out of life its finest wine.

Vanilla Busters is founded upon the belief that everyone is meant to live an epic life. By “epic” we do not mean a life that is necessarily famous or wealthy. An epic life is one in which the gift, talent, passion mix we are born with is fully maximized and we have drained dry all our potential.

Vanilla Busters are men and women who refuse to settle for an ordinary, mundane, risk-free life. They have made the resolute decision to abandon the security and safety of the bleachers, and to enter into the dangers and glories of the playing field. It's about giving up small dreams and bite-sized ambitions so that we can take hold of dreams and ambitions big enough to make our stay on planet earth worthwhile. It's refusing to allow someone else to do our risk-taking, and daring to live life at full throttle. It's about saying "no" to vanilla, and shouting "yes" to life.

Great Vanilla Busters Throughout History

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

- Teddy Roosevelt

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

- Helen Keller

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."

- Henry David Thoreau

"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically ... No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

- Rosa Parks

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

- George Bernard Shaw

"Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputations can never effect a reform."

- Susan B. Anthony

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

- Jack London

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream... I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood…I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

- Martin Luther King

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."

- Woodrow Wilson

"Let your dream devour your life, not your life devour your dream."

- Antoine de St-Exupéry

Sample Videos


Resources

Vanilla Busters Roadmap

This book is dedicated to the belief that everyone is meant to live life at full-throttle. That we are all meant to be “vanilla-busters”; men and women who refuse to settle for an ordinary, mundane, adventure-deleted life.

It is about abandoning the security and safety of the bleachers to enter into the dangers and glories of the playing field. It’s about giving up small dreams and bite-sized ambitions so that we can take hold of dreams and ambitions big enough to make our stay on planet earth worthwhile. It’s refusing to allow someone else to do our risk-taking, and daring to live life at full throttle. It’s about saying “no” to vanilla, and shouting “yes” to life.

Jim Collins, in his best-selling book “Good to Great”, wrote an outstanding analysis of what separates the very best companies from the myriads of good ones. In it he carefully details the central, key, non-negotiable characteristics which marked each of these very best companies.

In a very similar way, “Say ‘No’ to Vanilla” does the exact same thing - only with people instead of companies. What are those few, key, non-negotiable traits which separate great existences from good or mediocre ones? What does it take to upgrade one’s life from “good to great”? Or another way to put it, what are “the common threads of uncommon lives”?

For more than five decades, best-selling author Dwight Edwards has been studying and pondering this very issue. In this landmark book, he discusses in fascinating and compelling detail the five key components of individuals who have dared to become the best they could become and elevated their lives from good to great. The book is packed full of historical and biographical illustrations to support his five key traits. This book is a roadmap for joining the ranks of those throughout history who have earned the title, Vanilla Buster.

A Tale of Three Ships

Using a metaphor based on the story of Columbus and his three ships, this extended parable outlines the three possible directions every person’s life may take: the sinking ship, the cruise ship, or the battleship-respectively symbolizing personal survival, unbridled enjoyment, and meaningful influence. Acknowledging that many people choose all three approaches at some point, this meditation focuses on avoiding smaller ambitions and striving for the quality and significance possible within the "battleship." Providing specific and practical guidelines for discovering one’s combined ability and passion, this inspirational handbook is beneficial for both young and older adults.

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The Five Pillars of Peak Performance
(Audio)

A compelling, thought-provoking analysis of the five common threads which produce uncommon lives.

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About Dwight


"I love, but love helping people and organizations to make the necessary mental shifts and belief adjustments that enable them to move up to the next level of extraordinary living and peak performance. We only change when we believe we are “trading up.” In other words, we only let go of what’s holding us back when we recognize that letting go will put enough room in our hands to take hold of the better awaiting us. We let go of the Twinkies so there’s enough room in our hands to take hold of the filet mignon. As our tag line puts it, ‘Trading Up to Your Best Life.’ That is what I am completely about."

Dwight Edwards is founder and president of Vanilla Busters LLC. He is a best-selling author, professional speaker, and high-performance coach at River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. Vanilla Busters is a company dedicated to helping individuals, companies, and teams achieve peak performance and extraordinary living. He authors a weekly article entitled "High Octane for the Mind – reflections on peak performance and extraordinary living” with thousands of subscribers. We have now added to "High Octane for the Mind" a monthly, highly motivational, short video which is receiving rave reviews.

Dwight has authored eight books, among which are “Say 'No' to Vanilla - the five keys to living life at full throttle” and “A Tale of Three Ships.” His book, “A Tale of Three Ships” won the prestigious "Champion of Literacy Award" for 2009.

Formerly, a professional tennis player and having spent more than 30 years as a life and executive coach, Dwight brings a wealth of experience and wisdom in dealing with human behavior and peak performance. He has spoken for the last 30 years throughout the United States, he has given presentations at Yale, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Rice, Texas A&M, The Air Force Academy, West Texas A&M, Mary Hardin Baylor, University of Houston, and many other universities and high schools.

In addition, he has also spoken to a variety of businesses and government agencies including Lime Rock Partners, USTA/USPTA, Transwestern Commercial Real Estate, Norton Ditto Clothiers, Ben E. Keith Foods, Chesmire Homes, ChildBuiders, Colorado State Patrol, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Literacy Advance, National Chef Convention, 911 Operators/Houston

A graduate of The University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Dwight and his wife Lauri reside in Houston.