Success: Do You Have the Right Passion?
Take some time today and read Elizabeth Grace Saunders on the thought-patterns of success.
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Take some time today and read Elizabeth Grace Saunders on the thought-patterns of success.
As the airliner entered the worst of the weather, Bonin told the cabin crew to prepare for turbulence. Eight minutes later, everyone on board would be dead.
The Satrap Ekuman's difficulties with his aged prisoner had only begun when he got the fellow down into the dungeon under the Castle and tried to begin a serious interrogation. The problem was not, as you might have thought from a first look at the old man, that the prisoner was too fragile and feeble, liable to die at the first good twinge of pain. Not at all. It was almost incredible, but actually the exact opposite was true. The old man was actually too tough, his powers still protected him. All through the long night he not only defended himself, but kept trying to hit back.
If they were going strictly on how well the job would be done, he wasn't the best choice, but he had two advantages over the other contenders: They knew him and he was already on-board. He had a good, not a great, record, was pleasant and honest and they wanted to keep him happy.
At Anderson Layman's Blog, a classic story about Yogi Berra.
The old line about being able to get a lot of things done if you don't mind who gets the credit is true. What surprised me early in my career, however, is just how many people are consumed with acknowledgments of achievement.
My local pharmacy now keeps its small baskets behind the sales counter because "People keep taking them." [I asked the clerk, "What about the vast majority of your customers who don't?" but got no reply.] They also keep the Sudafed behind the druggist's counter and you have to show I.D. before they'll sell it to you lest their supplies be pillaged by a local meth lab. I've been carded at a Target when buying a container of NyQuil. [And I really, really, don't need to be carded.]
You may depend upon it, sir, the knowledge that he shall be hanged in a fortnight concentrates a man's mind wonderfully.
An extraordinary performance of "Mr. Tambourine Man."
Back by popular demand: Father Guido Sarducci's Five Minute University.
The silence of snow, thought the man sitting just behind the bus-driver. If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called what he felt inside him 'the silence of snow.'
Must reading from Wally Bock: weekend imagination igniters.
Sound dietary advice in Woody Allen's futuristic film "Sleeper."
FutureLawyer has a video of some guy who built a tree house on land he doesn't own and then wants people to help him keep it. [As Kant would ask, "If everyone did it, would it be a good thing?"]
Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.
My computer wizard, Eric Rodarte of DarteData, tells me that my IBM ThinkPad - which I dearly love - may be in need of a replacement.
Art Contrarian (his entire post has great examples) goes after something we've all noticed:
The incomparable Nicholas Bate, who should be read every day, gives an index of posts from January 1 to now.
Years ago, when In Search of Excellence was written by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, it quickly became a best seller. Despite being dated, the book is still a worthy read. I've found many workplaces, however, where a more accurate title would be:
We are wide-eyed in contemplating the possibility that life may exist elsewhere in the universe, but we wear blinders when contemplating the possibilities of life on earth.
At CoolTools, a beginner's guide/computer handbook .
Want to inspire a professor's creativity? A student who submitted a paper with a blank sheet certainly helped with a major work. Cultural Offering has the video.
Here's a charming attitude by an Environmental Protection Agency regional director. You can imagine how that mindset gets translated within the organization.
Many people don't want to:
At Unhappy Hipsters:
I've been getting a lot of visitors lately to a post I wrote in 2007. Its topic was 21 things I wish I knew in my twenties.
"Do you remember that fellow you wanted us to hire?"
Over lunch one day he told me, "The one thing I've learned in my career is that today's son of a bitch is tomorrow's hero. People have a habit of coming back." He'd met every Arizona governor but the first and could give pithy and often brutal takes on each. He followed the legislature the way some follow the racetrack but with far more detachment. His father had been a powerful, behind-the-scenes, operative but the son was more content to stay a few seats up in the stands. He was a walking novel. I cherish his memory.
My mother loved children - she would have given anything if I had been one.
I had never considered visiting North Yemen. I arrived quite by accident while sailing with four others from the Maldives to Athens by way of the Red Sea. The little I had heard about Yemen convinced me that it was a place I didn't want to visit, although the rumors were tempting enough. There were stories that the entire male population was hopelessly addicted to a narcotic leaf called qat, that the men wore skirts, and that during public circumcisions the foreskin was thrown into the crowd, where people rolled on it as a sign of joy. If this was how friends and family members fared, I wondered, what would happen to people the Yemenis didn't like? Intertribal warfare had been going on for 1500 years, and child brides were sold for twenty times the average yearly income. Alcohol was prohibited, and before having intercourse husbands were known to mutter "Bismillah" (In the name of God). It didn't sound like my kind of place.
My workshops are performances, not recitals. I've never been into the "sit on a stool, throw a slide on the screen, and then mumble a few explanations" approach to training. The usual preference is for substantive and fast, with doses of quick humor, plenty of case examples, and lots of interaction with the audience. As a result, by the time I'm done, I'm exhausted. I want to crawl off somewhere, drink bottles of water and perhaps stare at a ceiling.
If no action is to be deemed virtuous for which malice can imagine a sinister motive, then there never was a virtuous action.
I'm not a materialistic person but occasionally something is spotted that sparks a massive envy attack.
We know the requirements. We also know the mindset of compliance auditors. Our goal is to help the client get through the process with as little pain and as productively as possible. That means knowing which words are red flags, which battles are worth fighting, and which are not.
Your professional contacts consist of far more than friends and allies. They also include information resources, perspective providers, and adversaries.
Wally Bock: weekend imagination igniters.
A complex system that does not work is invariably found to have evolved from a simpler system that worked just fine.
The Pioneer Woman has what appears to be a reasonably easy recipe. Of course, the easiest recipe I know is to get someone to make them for me.
Dean Martin: "Memories Are Made of This."
There always are interesting things at Eclecticity. Where does he find that stuff?
I set aside my goose quill pen to hammer out this link to a disturbing article. Am I the last person to hear of this? An excerpt:
And National Geographic knows the best spots.
Regardless of how you feel about publishers, e-books, the battle over the agency model, and the actions of the Justice Department, there is much to admire when a CEO takes personal responsibility. Here is Macmillan's CEO John Sargent describing his decision:
In Japan, employees occasionally work themselves to death. It's called Karoshi. I don't want that to happen to anybody in my department. The trick is to take a break as soon as you see a bright light and hear dead relatives beckon.
There is some classic management reading at Cultural Offering. Read and savor the story of MacGregor.
Wally Bock on magical bosses.
In my experience, people will more readily discuss possible legal violations than ethical ones. Cite the law and you're a serious decision maker. People scoot up to the conference table. The high priest/lawyer may be called upon to read the entrails. The legal issues are quickly sorted out. Usually no one gets upset. Mention an ethical problem, however, and you can see the personal defenses shooting up.
Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity....Even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
The Rolling Stones in Amsterdam with "Gimme Shelter."
It was an unnaturally cool morning in this part of northern Spain, when the youth who had got there first gave a whoop of triumph from the top of the rise which men called Montjoie, the Mountain of Joy. At least in those last moments before he died, the youngster knew absolute pleasure of a kind which he could never have known while slaving in the fields. He was only a damned peasant, after all, Gregory thought, watching him.
Let's see, there is, nah, too glib. Too revealing. Have done it before. Everyone knows that. Risks breaching confidentiality. Too opinionated. Boring. Bizarre. Other bloggers have covered it. My clients would flip. Where's that "Plan 9 from Outer Space" trailer?
If you liked Hilary Mantel's historical novel "Wolf Hall" - I loved it - the second volume in the trilogy is about to come out.
One does not have to be Sherlock Holmes to develop a skill for noticing. Given time and practice, you can sit in a meeting and spot what was not said, what was rushed, who filibustered to avoid questions, who used diversions, and who sat quietly and then made a telling point. You can witness alliances and feuds, challenges and surrenders, and individuals whose specialty is the backroom deal. You can see when a person who seemed to lose did not, where a bluff has been called, and when someone fell on a sword. Finances aside, there is a reason why so many are reluctant to leave the workplace. It is often the grand stage of life. The plots can equal a Shakespearean comedy or tragedy and there is no admission charge. The acting is usually superb if only because so many of the players naturally take to their parts.
No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been for what he gave.
FutureLawyer on the physicist who beat the traffic ticket.
Out of town and walking around a university campus. The contact person for my workshop recommended scouting out the location ahead of time and she was right. The place is a maze. I asked three students for the location of the building and not one of them knew. Fortunately, I had some rough directions and was able to reckon the spot by using stars and reading animal sign. Eventually, I could ask at a front desk and not get blank stares. Plenty of other stares came my way, of course, since my passport to the World of the Young expired years ago. Unfortunately, it cannot be renewed and so I have a visiting alien status.
Another consultant once asked me for some advice on his training sessions. He seemed surprised when I told him I think there is a fine line between a so-so presentation and an excellent one. The more we talked, the more evident it was that he really had some very good material but his presentation was too defensive. Timidity was keeping him from crossing that line into the very good or even excellent territory. He seemed to want to bribe the audience into loving him and that's a tactic that works for, say, three seconds.
Back by popular demand: George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
For a long, long time it seemed to me that I was about to begin real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
Anderson Layman's Blog has themes from old TV westerns. Great stuff.
On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
Wally Bock gives some weekend imagination igniters.
I once had the tradition of reading The Wind in the Willows once a year.
The UK trailer for "A Night to Remember."
Richard Mason gives his choices, including a famous adventurer known as Fanny Hill.
Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you.
Even so, every Westerner I have ever met who has been to Beirut fell in love with the place almost at once. Even the Israelis I know who have sneaked in (and I know several) think it’s fantastic. “Life crackles in the air there like it does here,” Israeli journalist and academic Jonathan Spyer told me after he used a British passport to visit Beirut from Jerusalem. “I think that’s proof of health. And I don’t feel that in Western Europe.”
Congressman Mo Udall once described the status of a committee meeting by noting, "Everything has been said but not everyone has said it."
Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett is a fascinating account of a very unlikely weapon.
The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell with a sick note to the boss.
Eclecticity has started a great contest: How would you caption this photo?
E-mails. Faxes. Phone calls. I understand there are people who even text-message. [A brief pause while some readers scream, "Dinosaur!"]
There are certain scenes and smells that evoke a flood of memories for me. A whiff of Camel cigarettes will bring back "smoke 'em if you've got 'em" Army days. The way a questioner's head is tilted or some shoes are tied will trigger memories from other events. With all of those ghosts that rattle around in the attic of our minds, it is surprising that we can get anything done and yet sometimes those seemingly disconnected memories will help us make important connections and thus facilitate our reasoning. I can see a minor gesture and know that the speaker is not quite confident - my mind provides plenty of precedents - or hear a combination of examples and know that they are meant to conceal and not make a point. "How did you know that was going to turn out that way?" a less experienced person might ask. When you observe carefully and have a helpful attic, it's not always that difficult.
The habit of learning is what keeps us fulfilled, surviving, and interesting.
There's a painfully accurate cartoon at Anderson Layman's Blog.
I occasionally go to a hardware store where several of the staff members look and sound like alumni of a tough biker gang. [It takes little imagination to picture them chain-whipping shoplifters.] They are always friendly, however, and - here's the important part - helpful. They know their stuff. They can solve my problems without making me feel like an idiot.
She was so zealous that some indifference would have improved her judgment. He was so inept that his laziness prolonged his career. Some vices, if taken in the right dosage, can improve performance. Hypocrisy and procrastination have probably saved all of us at some point in our lives.
University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
When you talk about...
A true bargain: FutureLawyer has the details.
Forbes has Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's top ten leadership tips. An excerpt:
When people make a major decision, they want a flag to wave or a shield to wield. The inherent quality of a course of action may not be apparent or even that important. [Those innocent souls who rely solely upon high quality selling itself are in for disappointment.] The decision makers want to feel good or safe about their choice and if you can make them feel both you are in good shape indeed.
Pope Leo used to cite his father, Lorenzo de Medici, who often said, "Remember that those who speak ill of us don't love us."
Spengler on what James Q. Wilson would tell Mexico. An excerpt:
Miklos Rozsa conducts the suite from "Ben Hur."
Okay, this Citroen concept car was out at car shows in 2009. Why isn't it out at the dealerships?
The trailer for "Jesus of Nazareth."