why so much effort
for such little gain?
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
why so much effort
for such little gain?
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
All good on the caffeine, alcohol and exercise fronts! (So sad on the latter)!
Think of one of those Chuck Close self-portraits. The face takes up the entire image. You can see every pore. Some people try to introspect like that. But others see themselves in broader landscapes, in the context of longer narratives about forgiveness, or redemption or setback and ascent. Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival.
~ David Brooks, Introspective or Narcissistic?
From Kate Murphy, NY Times, No Time to Think:
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter.
And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device.
Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.
It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.
It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.
Read full article by Kate Murphy in NY Times: No Time To Think
Image Source: Sh*t In My Head
Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.
PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.
I’m out the door. And down the highway.
I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. Warmer. Click. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.
And then, AC-DC.
And THEN, AC-DC.
THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.
Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.
Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.
Twice a year the setting sun aligns perfectly with the grid of east-west streets of the main street grid in Manhattan, New York, making for a rather spectacular site as the city practically catches alight. Known as Manhattanhenge – named for a similar occurrence that takes place during solstices at Stonehenge in the UK – the spectacle draws thousands of New Yorkers into the streets to appreciate the unique sunset and capture it on camera. (Source: Veooz)
This photograph was taken on 42nd street in New York City by Eduard Moldoveanu on July 11, 2014.
Eduard Moldoveanu Photography: Eduard Moldoveanu is an engineer by day but photographer anytime he gets together with his camera. He has been in the darkroom since he was a teenager. Back then using negative film he was capturing family events and the beauty of his country, Romania. As he moves into the digital format he re-discover the passion for photography. Today he is a freelancer loving the landscapes and nature but you will find him shooting portraits, sports, street life or abstract photography as well. He is also a Getty contributor and his work can be also find on Getty website.
Don’t miss his portfolio at Enchanted Moments Studio.
“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”
~ John Green, Paper Towns
Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) in a Conversation with Alexandra Horowitz (Cognitive Scientist): The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland
AH: I am not encouraging productivity — and I don’t mind that that’s the case. I value the moments in my life that are productive, certainly, but only the ones that are productive and also present. So it doesn’t have to be either-or. But [I have also] spent time in a job where you then wonder, a year later, what happened to that year. And if I had bothered to sit on the subway, commuting to my office, looking — looking — I think that those moments would have been memorialized, and I would know what happened to that year…I don’t mean to be testifying against productivity per se, but I do see that it’s certainly mindless, the way that we approach there being only one route to living one’s life. And it is within us, this capacity to alter that — at any moment, even within that framework — to change your state.
MP: What’s interesting about the productivity dogma is that we live in a culture where we worship work ethic — by a very narrow definition — as some sort of this grand virtue. And we define it as showing up, day after day after day. But I often think that that’s the surest way to lull ourselves into a kind of trance of passivity, where we show up but we’re absent from our own lives. And I think one of the most beautiful things you do is you show how we can be present in our own lives, through these eleven different people and their perspectives.
AH: Thank you. You know, you are thought of as being, probably, an excessively productive person — again, in that literal sense. You have such a fertile mind — would you say you are not productive? Or, how do you achieve your productivity?
MP: For me, I read, and I hunger to know… I record, around that, my experience of understanding the world and understanding what it means to live a good life, to live a full life. Anything that I write is a byproduct of that — but that’s not the objective. So, even if it may have the appearance of “producing” something on a regular basis, it’s really about taking in, and what I put out is just … the byproduct. It’s kind of like going down the rabbit hole but digging it in the process, too.
If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much to boil hot water without attending to a ritual called: mise-en-place.
What is the first thing YOU do when you arrive at your desk?
What 20 word question can you ask yourself to distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important?
Find the answers here: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day
Excerpts from WSJ: Aging Americans Sleep More, Work Less, Survey Finds:
Read full article here: Aging Americans Sleep More, Work Less, Survey Finds
Source: Headlikeanorange (Young black-tailed prairie dog)
What a player. What a Man. What an inspiration. RIP Tony Gwynn.
Unless we learn to let experience play upon our inner lives as on a finely tuned instrument, we will try to manufacture inner intensity from the outside, we will bang our very bones to roust our own souls. We crave radical ruptures when we have allowed the nerves of our inner lives to go numb. But after those ruptures— the excitement or the tragedy, the pleasure or the pain— the mind returns to what it was, the soul quicksilvers off from the pierce of experience, and the kingdom of boredom…begins the clock-tick toward its next collapse.
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
In conversation things can be metabolized and digested through somebody else — I say something to you and you can give it back to me in different forms — whereas you’ll notice that your own mind is very often extremely repetitive. It is very difficult to surprise oneself in one’s own mind. The vocabulary of one’s self-criticism is so impoverished and clichéd. We are at our most stupid in our self-hatred.
~ Adam Phillips, The Poetics of the Psyche
Adam Phillips, 59, is Britain’s most celebrated psychoanalytical writer. He explores in his wide-ranging views in a conversation with Paul Holdengräber as part of The Paris Review’s legendary interview series.
Wall Street Journal: Study Finds Nearly 29% of World Population is Overweight or Obese:
- The obesity epidemic is global: 2.1 billion people or 29% of the worlds population.
- Increases in overweight and obese people have been substantial, widespread and have arisen over a short time
- 36.9% of the world’s men and 38% of women are overweight or obese.
- No nation reported a significant decrease in obesity.
- U.S. had the heftiest population, with 13% of the world’s obese
- Factors: diet, physical inactivity and one that hasn’t gotten as much attention – changes in the gut micro biome that affect metabolism.
Read full article here: Study Finds Nearly 29% of World Population is Overweight or Obese
SMWI*=Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath in Why You Hate Work:
The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep…
…Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night…
Find the rest of the story (and the solution to the problem) here: Why You Hate Work
Just another Friday morning commute.
Mind is pond skittering. Nothing heavy on the calendar. Chance to leave early. Long weekend. Kids home. 58° F. Morning sun warming with forecaster calling for more Spring heat. Gnawing on a protein bar. Windows down. Feelin’ light. Feelin’ Gratitude.
Ray P comes sauntering in. His Detroit Tigers’ baseball cap is slung low. His pants hiked way up and cinched with a belt burnishing a oversized golden buckle. A middle aged client from 20 years back who inherited a small sum from his Mom who had the foresight to dribble out food money in monthly installments. Mail was unacceptable. He had to pick it up. He’d bite his lip hungrily ripping open the envelope…stare at the check, look at me: “Son, I’ve got the world by the a**.”
I’m at the speed limit in the center lane, flowing with the other fishes, no obstructions this morning. Son, I’ve got the world by the a**. [Read more...]
A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:
…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?
…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.
…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.
…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.
Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’
Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)
It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close. Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)
The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)
He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.
Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder. I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]
“Read in the context of (John) Updike’s…life…is a highly personal and revealing self-assessment. It underscores a sad paradox: although he could anatomize his own failings with perfect clarity, he seemed incapable of changing how he behaved.”
~ Adam Begley, Updike
Image Source: The Novice Chef Blog
Walking through an airport newsstand this year, I noticed a novelty…I quickly snapped a photo and sent out a tweet to my modest list of followers…Then I waited for the love. I checked the response before passing through security. Nothing. I glanced again while waiting for the plane. Still nothing. I looked again before we took off. Nobody cared. My little attempt to pass a lonely hour in an airport with some friendly interaction had turned into the opposite: a brutal cold shower of social isolation.
We are deep enough into the social-media era to begin to recognize certain patterns among its users. Foremost among them is a mass anxiety of approval seeking and popularity tracking that seems far more suited to a high school prom than a high-functioning society…
…it all begins to seem a bit, well, desperate.
…Time for a rewrite, Mr. Shakespeare. This above all: to thine others be true.
…“In a lot of ways, the addictive part is in the anticipation,”
…”I noticed I get in this puppet situation,” she said. “I get bored, and there’s something compelling about being able to put something online, and all of a sudden there’s instant gratification of ‘They like me!’
…Maybe Warhol needs a rewrite, too: Today, everybody can be famous for 15 retweets.
…A growing body of research indicates how deeply our brains are wired to seek social approval.
Read full (and excellent) article at For the Love of Being ‘Liked’
Excerpt from David Brooks in the NY Times: The Streamlined Life
In 1985, only 18 percent of freshmen said that they felt overwhelmed by all they had to do. By 2013, 33 percent said they felt overwhelmed. In 1985, 64 percent of students said they ranked in the top 10 percent or at least above average in terms of mental health. But today, students admit to being much more emotionally vulnerable. They also declare low levels of spiritual self-confidence.
At the same time, one gets the sense they are trying to armor up, in preparation for the rigors to come. They assert their talents. They rate themselves much more highly than past generations on leadership skills, writing abilities, social self-confidence and so on. For example, in 2009, roughly 75 percent of freshmen said they had a stronger drive to achieve than their average peers.
Human nature hasn’t changed much. The surveys still reveal generations driven by curiosity, a desire to have a good family, a good community and good values. But people clearly feel besieged. There is the perception that life is harder. Certainly their parents think it is harder. The result is that you get a group hardened for battle, more focused on the hard utilitarian things and less focused on spiritual or philosophic things; feeling emotionally vulnerable, but also filled with résumé assertiveness. The inner world wanes; professional intensity waxes.
Read full article: The Streamlined Life
Photograph by Mutaz Albar
I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley. I pause to reflect on how I arrived here. “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography. Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it. It was that man in the photograph that is responsible. John VandeZande.
It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.” I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room. And hoped never to get called on.
He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – – DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – – was being heaved up into the major leagues. I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.
He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk. The book in his right hand. And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs. We were gently transported with him on the journey.
He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear. First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden. And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich. And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)
it may take years, Dr. Ming whispers,
to wash them out,
telling me to breathe deep, to breathe
the body is nothing but a map of the
—Len Roberts, closing lines to “Acupuncture and Cleansing at Forty-Eight.”
“On his own at sixteen after being raised by an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, Len Roberts is best known for poems of stark imagery that concentrate on his progress in life and how he has come to an acceptance of life’s flux.”
Yep, about the only way I’d sit still. Bunch of kisses from a big cat to give me some perspective.
The collegiate alumni chairperson of Rachel’s sorority asked the parents of graduating seniors to write a letter to their daughter, which was read out loud to them by their little sister at the traditional Senior Send Off event for the sorority. The event was held this morning. Here was Rachel’s text to us.
Here’s our letter to Rachel:
Let’s just say that you were difficult from the get-go. Your Mom and Dad tried for 9 years (9 YEARS!), and we almost gave up. And then you just appeared. Voila! A tadpole on a monitor. Roll the tape forward 9 months plus 23 hours of labor (23 HOURS!) – – your Mother threw up her hands and Doc pulled out the scalpel.
They say that all babies are beautiful. Hmmmmm. The forceps stretched your head. Your eyes were disproportionately LARGE and bulging. You were WAILING. I had to double pump the scissors with my trembling hands to untether you from your Mother. I was flooded with images of E.T. – – “E.T. Go Home!” I needed assurances from Doc that all of this, this, was normal.
You had colic for 6 months. You started up when I arrived home from work and stopped during our long walks down Biscayne Blvd. You were strapped in a papoose tight to my chest. With the fronds on the palm trees clapping in the gentle evening breeze, there you were looking up at me. Sobbing, then sniffling, then quiet.
We’d come home. I’d turn on Annie Lennox – – “Walking on Broken Glass” – – and you would settle. I would slump down on the couch, exhausted, and let you sleep on my chest. The little hair that you had, was matted and glistening with sweat. Your cheeks and eyes, swollen and red. Your little fingers clenched my t-shirt. Your heart pitter-pattered on my chest. And your intermittent, puffs-puffs of baby breath – – you, all of you, a miracle.
And then the frames would pass. Minutes, days, weeks and years. All accelerating.
You left home to go to College. We cried on the long drive home.
You lit up sharing your experiences with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude Children’s Hospital – – freezing me in place as I listened to your Sunday night updates. I have yet to find my God, but I could feel something working me through you.
My chest swelled when you were named President of your Sorority. When you made Dean’s List. When you landed your Summer Internships. When you received your first job offer. (I just cut the cord. We just dropped you off for your freshman year. Where did it go? Sand slipping through my fingers.)
I know you are listening – listening to these words – sitting among your friends.
It’s time. Time for me to put on my headphones and play “Walking on Broken Glass” in a loop. And roll the time back to remember the beautiful moments in between then and now.
I can feel you.
I can feel your fingers clenching my t-shirt.
I can feel your puffs of breath.
I can feel your heart beating.
And when your heart beats, my heart beats faster.
Love you Honey.
Mom & Dad
“Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either.”
– Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect
Let people feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.
NY Times: Spite is Good. Spite Works:
…Evolutionary theorists have long been intrigued by the origins and purpose of spite, and a new report suggests that sometimes spite can make right.
…The new research on spite transcends older notions that we are savage, selfish brutes at heart, as well as more recent suggestions that humans are inherently affiliative creatures yearning to love and connect. Instead, it concludes that vice and virtue, like the two sides of a V, may be inextricably linked.
…human decency and cooperation require a certain degree of so-called altruistic punishment: the willingness of some individuals to punish rule breakers even when the infraction does not directly affect them — challenging the guy who broke into the line behind you, for example.
…“It could be that Nietzsche was right about punishment,” Dr. Forber said, “that it originated as spite and only later was turned into a mechanism for maintaining fairness and justice.”
“…If you get the reputation as someone not to mess with and nobody messes with you going forward, then it was well worth the cost.”
“…It’s like the Mafia,” he said. “They end up reducing crime in the areas they inhabit.”
Read full article in NY Times: Spite is Good. Spite Works.
I’m on the train, returning home, and rifling through blog posts on my reader.
My index finger pauses. Then stops.
You are perfect.
You are perfect.
I am Perfect.
I am Perfect?
Who believes this nonsense?
No breakfast: And 1 granola bar for lunch. (No calorie diet after weekend gorging.)
No 8 glasses of water a day: Try zero. Zero liquids. (A head scratcher. Is that even possible? Are you a camel? An Android?)
No waiting for Walk Signals: I jaywalk in a criss-crossing of Manhattan streets, sheets of freezing rain slapping my trench coat. Eye glasses wet and fogging. (March 31. Please, Please make it Be Spring.)
No shortage of stupidity. I rub the rain-splashed-grime off the toe caps of my shoes with my hands, and instinctively reach for my suit pants. Black shoe polish. (I look around to see if anyone is watching. Just me. Who does this?)
No breaks: No pauses. No eye rests. No at-your-desk toe and leg stretches. (An accomplished All-Pro Back at the sedentary position.)
No Enjoyment of the Warming Evening Sun: Head down, as the crow flies, walk-running cross-town to catch the 6:30 pm Metro North. (Aware of no one. Aware of nothing. But the shot clock. More March Madness.)
No Perfection: Just another Imperfect Manic Monday.
Ouch. Hitting close to the bone here…
…“Work-life balance” is a toxic distinction, inviting misery and stress, endless juggling and reconfigurations to try and get it “right,” where no right actually exists.
Maybe the hippies, the yogis, Einstein had it right when they say that everything is life – no matter what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with – because everything is energy, vibration, movement. You can’t separate work from life anymore than you can separate water from a river.
The question, then, becomes more about where, energetically speaking, do you want to dwell? What sort of pulse and movement do you want to enjoy, through it all? Tortured and low, with the executives and the mind’s cruel categories, or up high, with the lovers, the synergists and the fools?
~ Mark Morford, Is “Work-Life” Balance a Lie?
Photograph Credit: Brooke Didonato
Excerpts from the Joseph McCormack’s Book Brief: The Brevity Mandate
“Here are the daunting challenges we all face every day to be heard: Attention spans are in a tailspin. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds and now it’s only eight. Professionals are interrupted 6-7 times an hour, often unable to get back to the task at hand. More than 43% abandon complicated or lengthy emails in the first 30 seconds. And the majority of people admit ignoring half the e-mails they get every day.”
“The more you say, the less people hear”
“The business world today is full of information overload and there is not enough time to sift through it. If you cannot capture people’s attention and deliver your message with brevity, you’ll lose them.”
“The discipline to capture and manage elusive mindshare now shapes and defines professional success. Shorter emails, better organized updates, and tighter and more engaging presentations are immediate indicators that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in an attention economy.”
“Getting to the point is a non-negotiable standard.”
Find book on Amazon here.
New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?
I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.
Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
A turn or two I’ll walk
To still my beating mind.
— Shakespeare, The Tempest
Most of the pain you’re dealing with are really just thoughts.. ever think of that?
12” snowfall overnight. DK working from home.
SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
SK: (Eye roll) You’re going to let me do it? Again?
DK: I’ll do it this afternoon after I finish my calls.
SK: No you won’t.
DK: Are you going to keep riding me on this all day?
3” of additional snowfall overnight.
SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No. Not before work. I’m not showering again.
DK: Just leave it until I return tonight. It will warm up and melt.
SK: Really? You’re kidding right? (She heads outside to shovel.)
DK: I told you to leave it. (She has this Thing about a clean driveway)
SK: How do you plan to get out?
DK: Get out of the way. I’m going to ram through the piles with the car.
DK ventures outside to clear the back steps. SK opens the door.
SK: Why don’t you use the steel edger/chopper to break the ice?
DK: Oh come on. Really? I’ve shoveled show before. Get inside.
SK: OK have it your way.
(Mumbling. Girl telling Canadian how to shovel snow. What’s next?)
I get after it.
I bend the show shovel trying to break the ice.
I lean on it to try bend it back.
I look through the back door to see if she’s watching.
Coast is clear.
I stomp through the snow to get to the garage to get the steel chopper.
I start slamming the ice.
On the third swing, I hit concrete.
Cold, vibrating steel.
Shooting, stabbing pain in my lower back.
Air whooshes out of my lungs.
I fall to my knees. (Dear God help me.)
SK: What’s wrong?
DK: My back.
SK: You’re joking, right?
DK: Does it look like a joke? (I crawl upstairs to bed.)
SK: (Laughing) Do you see any irony here?
DK: No. I don’t actually. None.
DK: I do see you getting enormous pleasure seeing me keeled over in pain.
SK: Oh, come on. Big Man clears 2-steps. I shovel massive piles of snow. (Still laughing)
DK: Stay away from me. Way back.
Snow forecast 3″-5” tonight.
I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.
I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin. I’m twisting. Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.
I glance around. The room is fidgeting.
He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.
He’s wildly successful.
A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.
The room is quiet. Locked-in.
His energy fills the room. His mind is whirring.
He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.
And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.
We’re in his web.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone. A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.
He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)
A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.
That is all that matters.
That is all that matters to me.
Forbes: How Successful People Stay Calm:
TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. If you’ve followed my work, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health. The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
- They appreciate what they have
- They avoid asking “what if”
- They stay positive
- They disconnect
- They limit their caffeine intake
- They sleep
- They squash negative self-talk
- They re-frame their perspective
- They breathe
- They use their support-system
Read full article @ Forbes: How Successful People Stay Calm
Thank you Tarique
And, could I do it? Read the outcome of Patrick Leger’s test @ A Digital Detox Test: Unplug Twitter and Facebook. Put Off Email and Smartphone.
“So for one week in January… I unplugged…I disconnected during a regular workweek and, in lieu of tropical seclusion, enjoyed the subfreezing and proximal isle of Manhattan…I determined I would spend no more than 15 minutes in it each session and sign in just once over the weekend. I’d use the phone only from home and would wait until noon to turn it on. I would not initiate any text exchanges, and if I received a message, I would respond as tersely as possible or call the person back. I could not go on the Internet at all unless it was crucial, and certainly not on social media. No streaming or live TV, only DVDs. Handwritten calendar. And music only at home…”
The Lori’s, the Mimi’s, the Beth’s, the… (I can go on and on)…they weave words. Fine, beautiful, silky words. Effortlessly sliding around rock. Floating on air currents on a magic carpet. Drifting upward with red Helium balloons. And then. There’s me. Chopping. Hacking. Slashing. Racking my mind to find just the right word. Blow after blow of self-flagellation. It can’t be due to a lack of depth in (of?) vocabulary. (Well, maybe it is.) I do have a short list of magic words. I love them. Yet, I find it impossible to work them into a sentence. (Note to Self: In time DK. In time. You will work this list. It might be 3 yards and a cloud of dust, but you will cross the damn goal line. Yes you will. And yes readers, you will soon find these deep blog passages of mine “imbued with sparkle and élan.”* Oh, God. Help me.)
Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Conflate To blend together.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Inure To become jaded.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Panoply A complete set.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Propinquity An inclination.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
“…Instead, I found that in quiet, ordinary, every day life, I would hear the word whispered to me in simple moments: give that car the room to merge ahead; give that person your full attention – remain quiet and let them talk; spend a few moments in conversation with the building custodian when leaving work, give that compliment to the woman in line ahead of you with the gorgeous hair; tell the person who helped you that they made an impact; express gratitude to the ones who are there for you all the time; give a moment a chance to happen instead of taking over…”
~ Bonnie, “How Will I Be Changed” @ PageKeeper
“She was 86, competing in the marathon for the 25th consecutive time. Even injured, she abided by one of her enduring rules for any race, which was to smile down the homestretch, aware of the roving race photographers and believing it never served anyone to be caught in a grimace.
Joy Johnson crossed the finish line at the New York City Marathon this year nearly eight hours after she began. Of the 50,266 people to finish, she was among the very last — wearing a pair of Nikes and a navy blue bow pinned neatly in her hair, leaning on a stranger for support. Her forehead was bloodied in a fall she took at around Mile 20…Johnson, who was raised on a Minnesota dairy farm and was given to cheery understatement, waved off any concern. “I wasn’t watching where I was going,” she told her sister shortly after finishing. “It looks just awful, but I’m fine.”
…she herself didn’t have an exercise regimen. Until one day in 1985, when she and her husband were newly retired and their four children all grown, Johnson, who was 59, took a three-mile walk and found it energizing. Soon she tried jogging and enjoyed that even more…As a senior citizen, she ran an average of three marathons a year, buttressed by dozens of shorter races, always with a bow in her hair. Her home in San Jose grew so cluttered with running medals and trophies that she began storing some of them in the garage.
Early the next morning, looking cheery, with her medal around her neck and a blue kerchief over her head, the right side of her face swaddled in bandages, Joy Johnson waited in the crowd outside NBC Studios to say hello, as she did postmarathon every year, to Al Roker (“a nice young man,” she called him) from the “Today” show…”
I won’t be a spoiler. Be sure to read this article and how it finishes: Joy Johnson, a Marathoner to the End