#758 Action is Eloquent

Posted by frank April - 24 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Here is the test. It is only 5 questions, 20 points each. If you don’t get 100%, as David Spade said in Tommy Boy, “Hit yourself in the head with a ballpeen hammer.”

1. Is getting enough sleep good for you?
2. Is smoking cigarettes bad for you?
3. Does regular exercise help to improve your health?
4. Should fast food be the staple of your diet?
5. Should you save any money for retirement?

Grading Key (Duh)
1. Yes!
2. Yes!
3. Yes!
4. No!
5. Yes!

The point is that we know what all know what to do. The issue lies between the knowing and the doing.

“ACTION is Eloquent”. Shakespeare

“I don’t feel like it”, or “Maybe tomorrow” is the ruination of many a plan and is what is in between the knowing and the doing.

We know what to do. We just allow feelings to get in the way. As Dr. Rob says, “It is the start that stops most people.”

Here is what I’ve learned; Start the action and the feelings will follow. Most folks don’t feel like exercising until they are actually exercising for a few minutes. It’s that way with most things. If you wait to feel like it I am afraid you will be right where you are now wondering why you can’t make a change.

2017 Motto “Daily disciplines create desired outcomes”

#757 The World is a Mirror

Posted by frank April - 17 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

How people respond to you is a strong indication of your own attitude.  Long before we had language we were already in packs communicating through facial expressions and posturing.  We still do that today.
 
I remember a great example of this.  Many years ago a coworker told me that I looked angry when he came to work in the morning.  I wasn’t angry but when I thought about it, I realized that because I was in early, I was already in “work mode” when people came in and my face had a big “do not disturb” look on it.
 
The problem wasn’t that I felt unwelcoming but my posture and attitude were way out in front of my feelings pushing people away.
I made a conscious adjustment to open up my face and my stance and it worked.
 
A few years ago I had a motto that said, the world is a big mirror reflecting back the face you bring it every day.  It is an amazing truth.
 
2017 Motto…Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#756 Opinions or Validation?

Posted by frank April - 10 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Are you seeking opinions or validation? Do you really want to know what I think or are you polling the world looking for votes?

We hear a lot about open architecture in software. What I recommend is open architecture for our brains. I want us to constantly seek information and opinions without leading people toward our opinion.

Great and useful information can come from anywhere. When I was training for a marathon the best running advice I got came from a guy in a wheelchair.

The problem is that when we are challenged in our thought process we often knock on doors seeking validation or our idea. We ask leading questions hoping to gather enough yeses to solidify our concept and move forward with what we want. Sycophants and naysayers both offer less than good advice when led.
Great questioning, of people from various disciplines, adds up to better decision-making than validation does.

2017 Motto…”Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.”

#755 Water on a Rock

Posted by frank April - 3 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Many would think that big choices like quitting your job or moving to a new city are what changes the course of your life but it is the little things, day by day, that shape life.

Like water dripping on a rock, over time, an unchangeable grove is formed.

Joey was fit in college. He ran a few times a week, played hoops with his friends and hit the gym many days between classes.
When Joey got a job on Wall St., he decided he would put the gym on hold for a year or so and focus on his career. He still played ball with friends every couple of weeks and made it a point to jog on Saturday and Sunday. That helped Joey to only gain about 10lbs in that first year after school.
The guys from the job went out for drinks most nights and invited Joey along. Wings, beers and nachos added another ten. Still, Joey wasn’t really fat and anyway, who looks the same as they did in college?
Joey met a girl and spent most weekends with her. Jogging got in the way of sleeping in and going to brunch so he gave it up.
Once they married and the kids came along even the occasional hoops game went away.

Joey is about 40lbs overweight, eats a sandwich or a slice at his desk most days and still manages to go out for drinks a few times a month. He never made a decision to put on 40lbs, become sedentary and a prime candidate for a heart attack, but he did decide to stop jogging, playing ball and going to the gym. He has accepted the 40lbs as part of aging without ever thinking that he actually DECIDED to gain weight and put his health at risk when he made those small decisions over the course of his life.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#754 An Inside Job

Posted by frank March - 27 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Master the inside world and the outside world will be a little kinder. When you’re angry, frustrated or unhappy most things you see have a negative slant to them but when you’re happy the world is all sunshine and flowers!

This is because we have this “stacking” mentality. When we aren’t happy we tend to stack up reasons for our unhappiness, finding fault and pointing out imperfections in every area of our lives.

Quiet reflection and specific gratitude are the ways to master the inside game. Taking a moment or several moments to reflect on what’s good helps to tame those frenetic, worrisome thoughts and promotes internal happiness.

Dan Harris wrote an excellent book called 10% Happier. How I tamed the voice in my head, and reduced stress without losing my edge.

Dan is in a high-pressure, competitive, career as a newscaster and writes simply about his journey into his meditation practice. His book illustrates well this point that life’s outcomes begin inside.

Whether you call it prayer, meditation or quiet reflection make it a point to do it daily. The result will be the same and you will find that a good life is always inside out.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#753 Energy begets Energy

Posted by admin March - 20 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Sluggishness is for people with little to do. Energy begets energy.
Last week we had a snow day. It snowed most of the day so I did not begin the clean up until late in the afternoon. My son in law, Brian, met me out back with his shovel to help and said, “I did nothing all day and I am more tired than if I had worked 12 hours straight!”
Brian spends his work day climbing huge trees with a chainsaw hanging from his tool belt. It is physically demanding work so hearing this from him gives the statement extra punch.
Inertia is an insidious disease. It feeds on itself making it harder and harder to break free. Dr. Rob says, “It’s the start that stops most people.”
Energy begets energy. If you find yourself stuck or resistant to doing something, fool yourself. Begin it with the intention of only doing it for a few minutes. Motion changes emotion and movement alters moods.
2017 Motto daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#752 Mindfulness

Posted by frank March - 13 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Several years ago my cousin Steve encouraged me to create a motto for each year. I like to create a motto that defines my intention for the year or addresses something I need to have front and center.
I, like many of you, am a victim of “Me and the moment.” My 2017 motto encourages me to make a plan and stick with it.

Think about it. We too often make choices that feel good and satisfy us in the moment but cause us pain the next day, the next month or in years to come.

“Yes! I’ll have fries with that!”

Bad choices cannot always be reversed. Those things that you convince yourself make sense, like skipping the exercise, smoking the cigarette, or watching one more episode even though you have to get up in a few hours, may feel good in the moment but looking back you almost always regret them.
The antidote to short-term pleasure causing long-term pain is mindfulness. It’s taking a beat to think about what you really want; and it may be fries today, which is fine, as long as it is a mindful order of fries. I have, too often, eaten 500 calories at the fridge while I am deciding what to eat!

Mindfulness, like sobriety, is essential for making better decisions. Be where you are. Take a beat and think, then choose your move.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#751 Complainers

Posted by frank March - 6 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You know how some people have a low tolerance for pain? That’s me, except it’s for complaining. I literally become exhausted by complainers.
Let me break this down. I complain. You complain. We all complain. It is part of the human condition. It is our way of working out an issue. We often need to articulate what we don’t like in order to figure out what to do about it. I get that; it’s a process; complain, think, solve in equal parts or hopefully at a formula more like 20-60-20 in terms of the time and energy you give to each part. Here is what exhausts me; 80-10-0.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand the purpose of openly articulating what is bothersome, over and over and over again. My nonscientific finding is that people who are 80-10-0, or close to it, don’t want a solution. In fact, they reject almost all suggestions and help out of hand.
It is as if complaining is a soother for them; that it is in their comfort zone. Yet to me they look and sound miserable.

As I said, I have a very low tolerance for this. I want to hear the problem, think about possible solutions and try something. And I want to do that quickly!
Perhaps it is my sensitive nose but what complainers don’t realize is that they are infecting the very air around them with the toxic plume of their diatribe and creating an environment that will produce more complaining!

I need two things from you this week: One: please give me your take on this. Help me to understand the purpose of unceasing complaining. Perhaps there is some measure of good to it I do not understand?
Two: If you are in my camp on this make a tacit agreement with me, a pact for today, that you (and I) will not utter a complaint for 24 hours. I think it was Gandhi who said, “Be the change you want to see”

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#750 Help or Hurt?

Posted by frank February - 27 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Takers may eat better but givers always sleep better. 
 
I was working with a seasoned sales professional last week and we drifted in to a conversation about abusing trust and taking advantage of customers.  We all know that in many businesses (including mine) all people do not pay the same price for the goods they buy.  I learned this early on when I watched my Dad negotiate the price of a leather jacket in the almost third world market on Orchard St in the lower east side of Manhattan.  The price marked on the jacket was just a place to start.  The price Dad paid was not the same as the price some other person would pay that day.  The outcome was dependent on negotiating skills and who had a stronger desire.  Did the seller need the sale more than the buyer wanted the coat?
 
Chris (the seasoned professional I mentioned) and I are both in a position to set prices where we can and make as much profit as we deem fair and that the client and competition will allow us to make.  But is that really the case?  Are we supposed to make as much profit as the client and competition will allow?
 
The answer is NO.  Making a fair profit for the goods and services you provide is the blueprint of a free market economy but price gauging, lying, cutting corners, taking advantage of naivety, or welching on promises are not ways to make a larger profit.  They are ways to make an UNFAIR profit.
 
What I liked about working with Chris is that he gets that.  He approaches the selling process as I do and as all good sales professionals do; to help.  When your motivation is to help, and you lead with sincerity, it is much more likely that the client will accept your help and expertise and be willing to pay a fair price for the goods and services you offer.
 
2017 Motto…”Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.”

#749 Peace is Harder than War

Posted by frank February - 21 - 2017 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

• Acceptance is harder than judgment.
• Patience is harder than frustration.
• Responding is harder than reacting.

The first word in these statements, the one that’s harder, takes thought and practice.

It’s easy to judge based on what the surface shows you. It’s easy to quit anything in frustration, like a two year old, throwing a toy he can’t operate. It’s easy to let anger flare up and shout whatever insults come to mind when someone insults or hurts you first.

It’s hard to say, “I don’t know what I don’t know” and give someone the benefit of the doubt.
It’s hard to take a deep breath, quiet the voice in your head, and refocus when a project has gone off the rails.
It’s hard to stop and think about the effect your words might have before you say them; especially in a heated situation.

Like most things, not smoking, eating right, exercising, doing your taxes, cleaning out the garage, or mending the fence, acceptance, patience and responsiveness are harder in the moment but will make you happier and healthier in the long term.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes