#716 The Ubiquitous Smart Phone

Posted by admin June - 27 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The ubiquitous smart phone

Too many people rant about our reliance on our smart phones and how we will all look like question marks some day because of our phone searching posture. I love my smart phone. I love getting directions in an instant or telling Siri to remind me to check on the plumber Thursday at 9. I love getting a quick answer to “How old is Marissa Tomei?” I love learning Italian on my Babbel app and getting a car to pick me up in 5 minutes rather than fighting for a cab.

My objection, and I suspect most people’s objection to the smart phone. is the distraction. When I was a competitive bodybuilder I was taught to “put my head inside the muscle I am working.” Which means to focus on biceps, to the exclusion of all else, when I am training biceps. When I see a guy texting in between sets at the gym it makes me cringe.

I am a big believer in “Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it.” Texting while driving is stupid and dangerous. Texting while we are having a conversation is rude. Looking at your phone while you are at dinner with family or friends takes you out of the moment as does looking at it when you’re out for a hike or a nice walk in the park.

Do what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Be where you are. This philosophy has been around forever and it was a challenge long before computers and smart phones came on to the scene. Distractions have always been the nemesis of good work, good conversation and beautiful moments. Now we carry the distraction in our hands.

That guy in the gym texting in between sets of curls had arms like pencils but he could probably drive a nail with his thumbs. Probably not what he was after…

2016 Motto Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#715 Leadership

Posted by admin June - 20 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

As many of you know I spent four years in the US Navy Presidential Honor Guard. During those years I learned a lot about leadership.   In the military, the insignia on your shoulder allows you to boss around those with lessor insignia.  The mistake I’d seen, all too often, was people believing that rank was all there was to it.  High ranking officers can be put there by virtue of time in service, test scores and by appointment.  Leaders, conversely, become leaders by earning the position.  Don’t get me wrong, I did meet many good leaders during my time in the Navy.  I only point out the difference between rank and leadership to make the point that even in a system with a well-defined chain of command, leadership is never about rank.

A good friend of mine, who is the exemplary leader of a strong company, recently had breakfast with a Marine Corps General. The General is, of course, high-ranking and according to my friend, he is also a gifted leader.  My friend asked him about his thoughts on leadership.  He responded;

  1. Know your stuff.  Be knowledgeable, up to date and always learning.
  2. Take care of your people. Take the time to get to know them and what motivates them. Respect them as individuals while integrating them in to a cohesive team AND if after working with them, they don’t fit in to the team, get rid of them because you owe it to the others.
  3. Be a person of character. Be someone that others can depend on. Let your people know what you stand for, what you expect of them and be uncompromising in your commitment to your mission and your people


I have nothing to add…

2015 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#714 the Softening of the language

Posted by admin June - 11 - 2016 - Saturday ADD COMMENTS

This is a pet peeve week for me. I have issues with the inadvertent softening of the language. First of all, let me tell you that I am a believer in the Meheraban hypothesis. His experiments at UCLA led him to publish that 57% of our message is received visually, 36% is the tone and verbal inflection and just 7% of our message is the words we use.

So, when I listen to speakers that throw in “sort of” and “kind of” throughout their message with a vocal inflection that matches those weak phrases, it infuriates me!

I have studied communication for years. I give lectures and do trainings on communicating so to witness an error as egregious as this, spread through society like an airborne virus in a Robin Cook thriller makes me crazy!

I want to know who patient zero is.   Who is the first non-linguist who decided to attenuate his own message by uttering, mealy-mouthed, “I sort of think that…” NO YOU DON’T! YOU EITHER THINK IT OR YOU DO NOT!

This “Sort of, Kind of” thing has crept into language as a guise for being understated or humble or intellectual or I don’t really know what! What I know is that those who have adopted this speech pattern are worse for it and it is pervasive.


I would love to go on a rant about Um as a placeholder in speaking but I fear I have already reached the end of your blog-reading tolerance. Um, perhaps, I can sort of, kind of, write about that another time…

2016 motto” Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

The Wind and the Sun #713

Posted by admin June - 6 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

At 1:01 AM on June 5th, the miracle occurred.  My Angel, Alicia, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  When Alicia was diagnosed they said this day would never come.  Thanks to the generosity of so many of you and the good work of the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, they were wonderfully wrong.  God Bless Alicia and her beautiful little girl, River. 

For this week’s thought, my favorite Aesop fable:

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveler. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveler wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the
traveler, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

#712 The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Posted by admin May - 30 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Are you dismissed out of hand because your reactions are too extreme and therefore unreliable

Phil asks, “How is the new guy doing in accounting?” Janet replies, “Tina doesn’t like him.  Says he’s slow to catch on.”  Phil says, “Tina doesn’t like anyone and says they are all slow to catch on!  Please check with Diane to see how he’s really doing.”

Tough to please is OK. Always disapproving or negative isn’t

I worked with a guy who predicted a loss or failure early on in almost every project. He was in a position of authority and while he wouldn’t shut down an idea he would express enough doubt so that if it went south he could say “I warned you guys.”  Eventually, we came to disregard him entirely because his primary interest was in being right, not in the value of the idea.


If you are a doom-caster perhaps you are coming from a place of help, experience and fair warning and you’re probably reading this remembering all of the times you called it right.


That’s fine, but the parking assist warning in my new car has beeped so many times, when I know for sure I have a few inches left, that I have turned that feature off entirel

Being judicious with warnings and advice gives you a greater chance of being heeded and helping folks to avoid driving in to a ditch. That’s what you want…isn’t it?


2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#711 Just My Luck

Posted by admin May - 23 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

A friend of mine was telling me about her Dad. She said he was a miserable guy; perpetually unhappy.  She said he always spoke about having the “Bernstein Luck” which was no luck at all or constant bad luck.  He blamed anything that didn’t go his way on “The Bernstein Luck.”  He said his Dad had it and his Dad talked about his grandfather the same way.

If it rained on his golf day, It was “The Bernstein Luck.” If the boiler broke, It was “The Bernstein Luck. If the car got a flat or there was a traffic detour or the restaurant ran out of the dish he ordered, it was “The Bernstein Luck.”

I’ve had a flat tire and some broken appliances. I’ve been stuck in traffic and rained out of an events but I don’t fundamentally believe that I caused those things to happen or that that happen more to me than they do to you.

This man, THESE GENERATIONS OF MEN, espoused this philosophy to their children to the point that their legacy is of hapless men who got what they expected; a raw deal in life.

There is so much to be learned from this; but most of all, as I think about my Darling Alicia due with her little girl due any day now, I think about the example I’ve tried to set for my family and the responsibility she and her husband are about to take on in setting the example for their little girl.

This friend of mine remembers her Dad first by his self-defined ill-fated, life. That’s bad enough but what about her world view?  How much did he poison her well before she moved out and dug her own?

2016 Motto. Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#710 I Don’t Like My Face

Posted by frank May - 16 - 2016 - Monday 1 COMMENT

I don’t like my face
A few weeks ago I went to a seminar. It was an all-day affair in a secure building in the east forties in Manhattan. In the morning I checked in with security. I had to give them my license and take a picture. A peal and stick label came out of the machine with my name and picture on it and I put it in my jacket and went to the elevator.
I left the building during the hour the seminar broke for lunch. When I returned, I went fishing in my pocket for my pass as I asked the security guard if I needed to go through the whole process again. She said, “Don’t worry about it. Go on through. I remember you.” Now, mind you, I am just another nondescript businessman in a suit among hundreds of businessmen in suits who passed through that busy lobby. So I said, “Wow you have some memory to remember me from this morning. Was it my red tie?” She said, “I remember you because you looked so serious walking in, like you were thinking really hard about something. Well, that and your ear buds are black and most people have the white ones.”
I thought about that a lot. Is a scowl my regular countenance? I think it is. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that. I have worn that look of concentration so long it has become my face-posture and I don’t like it. I don’t like it that while I feel welcoming and friendly, I may look unapproachable.
During the next week I focused on this and tried to have a slight smile and a more welcoming face. I made an effort to turn off the voice in my head and focus on the moment because ruminating about business issues and to do lists, steals me from where I am and puts that look on my face.
I’m sure it will take me some time to adopt a better face-posture, but I am determined to get there.
2016 Motto. Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#709 What’s Your Story?

Posted by frank May - 9 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

What’s your story?
I’ve heard that, in police matters, eyewitness accounts can vary greatly from person to person even when no one is lying. Lying, in this example, means not intentionally masking the truth; believing what you are saying is true.
I think about this as a key element in personal development and one I am trying hard to improve upon. Let me explain:
I tell myself stories about the world and the people who surround my life. The narrative is one I have created based on my life experience. I then look for evidence to support what I believe. Like the eyewitness accounts, I see through my personal lens. For example, if we walk together through the streets of Manhattan we will see a myriad of things, yet we only mentally narrate a few. You may narrate how crowded the street is or how wide the sidewalk is or how many police are out while I may narrate how dirty the streets are and how many homeless people are lying about. You see, if my view is that NYC is a dirty place with an out of control homeless problem, I look for evidence to support what I believe. I certainly could have self-narrated the same way you did. The streets are wide and crowded with many police.
The way this relates to personal development is related to my 2016 motto, Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it. My good friend Paul, wrote me last week, after reading my Monday blog, and told me about how he makes a conscious effort to walk the floors of his business and stop by a few desks when he sees or knows of good work being done and sincerely compliment the work those people are doing. If his self-narrative was that his employees were careless or lazy, or that no one knows how to do things but him, he would see mistakes and messes and have to “fix” those rather compliment. It isn’t that his employees never make a mistake or goof off, it is his self-narrative that has him see what supports that narrative.
So what’s your story?

#707 The Doing of Deeds

Posted by frank May - 2 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

My least favorite expression has to be “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Part of it has to do with the philosophy behind it, part has to do with the act of complaining and part of it has to do with the subtle self-aggrandizing; “Aren’t I wonderful? I do lots of good things for people even though they poop on me.”
The truth about this expression is that the noticing of an unrequited deed , or even one that results in inconvenience to the good deed doer, speaks to the focus and self-narrative of the one noticing, not the universe at large.
In other words, the complainer is looking for reasons to complain.
The self-aggrandizing part saddens me too. My pyramid of a healthy attitude, related to this subject, is built in five levels:
Bottom – Doing favors and complaining about being unappreciated or “punished”
Next level up- Doing favors and overtly seeking appreciation in return
Next level up – Doing favors and publicizing them
Next level up – Doing favors and keeping quiet about doing them
Top – Living life, helping others, and not considering the acts favors at all.
2016 Motto: Notice what’s good and raise a flag over it!

#707 How to Worry

Posted by frank April - 25 - 2016 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

This message is taken from Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline
Success hotline delivers a 3 minute motivational message, 7 days a week, 365 days a year I call daily!


From an old family recipe

WORRYING: The attempt to solve problems in the future by tormenting oneself now about possible bad results then.

1. Pick a topic (any topic).

2. Imagine something bad happening in relation to that topic.

3. Replay this negative scenario over and over again in your mind.

4. As you replay this AWFUL THING (whatever it is), breathe very shallowly or, for maximum discomfort, stop breathing altogether.

5. Simultaneously, hold your body completely still while you:

6. Furrow your brow and clench some muscles.

7. Think, “It’s hopeless. I’ll never be able to handle this.”

8. DO NOT, under any circumstances,

a. Breathe deeply.

b. Move your body.

c. Laugh.

d. Ask for help.

e. Problem-solve with one or more sympathetic human beings.

f. Take concrete action.